Wayland Van Hildyck-Smith, of Forde Park, Newton Abbot, writes:

What insensitive, crass and ignorant bunch thought that anyone who served in the Second World War wants to be reminded of the horrors of war by preserving an air raid shelter in Courtenay Park, Newton Abbot where you sat night after night in utter terror as the distinctive drone of the German bombers came across the Channel to drop their random loads of death on the civilian population below, and you feared to come out when the all ­clear went in case your house was no longer standing and friends and family killed.

Surely you have the intelligence to realise that a coat of paint to restore them will instantly kill any atmosphere they may have had and therefore give no idea of what it was really like.

I would ask your band of ‘enthusiasts’ were you there in the 1940s, were you even born at that time, or are you relying on a few garbled inaccurate tales of ‘what grandad did in the war’.

You can have no idea of what it was like, for example were you in any of the raids on Plymouth where whole streets like Albert Road which led directly to the docks, were reduced to rubble by a landmine, or where the first thing hit in a Midlands town was in fact an air raid shelter full of kids, with no survivors as it is obvious with today’s knowledge that the overground brick shelters were about as safe as crouching under the stairs or the kitchen table, another practice for those who could not bear the confines of a shelter.

Such an ugly and useless building should have been pulled down at the end of the war, as most of them were so that no vestige of the horrors should be a constant reminder to those who were there and those serving in HM forces.

The horrors of the damage the day after when clearing up started are too offensive to note here, especially for the ambulance drivers. So I ask again: ‘Were you there – no? Well I was.’