The Canadian Bank of Commerce branch at 2 Lombard Street in London, England had to be prepared for the realities of war. In a letter dated July 27, 1917, an employee writes:
Referring to your letter of 28th June which crossed mine of 10th July, my hesitancy at the outset in giving much information regarding the Air Raid and localities was due to the possible censorship of letters. As you realize the papers make no announcement of localities.
In regard to our precautions, after consulting with Bartleet we decided that our greatest safety lay in the basement, although as you will recollect the windows are rather exposed, but to get over this difficulty we placed a row of sandbags about 9 feet high in the customers' space in the basement parallel to the counter for about 18 feet from the men's washroom to the door of the telephone operating room, the thickness of the bags being about 36 inches. The bags which weigh about 30 tons are further supported by upright timbers. The door of the lower vault is kept open and the latter provides room for about two-thirds of the staff and there is plenty of space for the balance behind the sandbag barrier and in front of the vault. Although we are in a fairly exposed place this gives us all the protection we can hope for when the warning as a rule allows us but a short time the arrangement has been favourably commented upon by our friends.
As a matter of interest I think I shall have a photograph taken of the barrier and send it out to you for your records.