By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Statesboro takes part in 'blackout' drills for WWII
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.


In July 1939, Great Britain's Air Ministry released “Public Information Leaflet No. 2,” to ensure regulations were enforced during blackouts.

Some American cities refused to obey blackout regulations, citing the effects it would have on tourist revenues. German submariners referred to this continued illumination as "the second happy time."

German U-Boats sank ships off the Georgia coast at least twice near Saint Simons Island. Both the Civil Air Patrol and the Georgia State Guards Boat Details began monitoring Georgia’s coastline.

Stanley Weintraub's article, entitled "Christmas in Wartime," was published in Military Times in 2018: "Christmas trees were plentiful. The Christmas extravaganza (played) at Radio City Music Hall in New York."

In fact, "At precisely 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, as dusk gathered and the temperature dropped, (thousands) had gathered in the fading light. After some further carols, the band began “Hail to the Chief.”

"As the sunset gun at nearby Fort Myer boomed, (and) Roosevelt pressed a button signaling the lighting of the national Christmas tree, as if wartime blackouts elsewhere had no relevance."

The Bulloch Herald issue of Aug. 7, 1941 stated, “Filling Stations Blackout 7am-7pm. Gasoline and oil distributors in Statesboro report 100 per cent co-operation with Uncle Sam's request to conserve on gasoline.”

A.B. McDougald, of American Oil, H. P. Jones, of the Gulf Oil, C. R. Pound of Sinclair Refining and Leroy Tyson, of Standard Oil, all stated their filling stations in Statesboro and Bulloch would open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

And then, nationwide gas rationing began at the end of 1942, with at first, four, and then, three gallons a month allotment. I addition, a 35 mph “Victory Speed Limit” kept people reminded of their need to conserve fuel."

As to power supplies, on November 6, 1941, the Bulloch Herald displayed an ad which stated “U.S. Government Orders Immediate Blackout: Power Shortage in Southeast Critical.”

It declared, “The government’s Office of Production Management issue the following order. The use of electric power for non-essential purposes is prohibited.”

And, “This order is effective IMMEDIATELY, (including) sign lighting; show-window lighting; ornamental lighting; outdoor lighting; flood lighting; field lighting; and interior or exterior lighting.”

Statesboro's city government decided to impose black-outs, the first of which took place on Dec. 24, 1941. Roger Hollend, the Statesboro Air Raid Warden, called the blackout 100% successful.

At 9:30, fire sirens rang throughout the city, and the Darby and Howard Lumber Companies blew their steam whistles. Hal Macon, operator of the Georgia Theater, was going to show movies with outside lights turned off.

The Bulloch Herald reported on March 12, 1942 that the federal and state governments were setting up a system of agencies to control the war-time operation of the counties. A series on the groups would be printed soon.

This series included air raid wardens, aux. police & firemen, bomb disposal squads, demolition & disposal crews, road repair crews, fire watchers, nurses aids, drivers, and emergency food & housing corps.

The most important officer, the air raid warden, would direct all air raid blackouts, oversee operation of air raid shelters, and organized gas and bomb detection crews. Wardens also oversaw emergency first aid.

Statesboro native Evelyn Lee Long Shearouse was a director and instructor of official Air Raid Warden Schools in Southeast Georgia. The next most important wartime services were the auxiliary police and firemen units.

Each unit was comprised of 30 men and women. They trained each week so they could ready to help if attacked. America's coastal cities illuminated vessels traveling along the coastline.

German subs had begun using backlighting to target and sink those cargo ships without any warning. The United States government implemented blackouts in America’s coastal cities.


Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter