Thursday, May 16, 2013

April 26 - May 2, 1941

Housewives were encouraged to shop early as 26,000 cases of oranges arrived at Covent Garden, London for distribution nationwide.  But in Swindon complaints about food vultures made the news with tourist or snap shoppers causing resentment among the general public.
People with time on their hands proved they were prepared to queue indefinitely to get their hands on unrationed, hard to get food items.  Although not illegal, this practise was condemned as unpatriotic and was unpopular with Advertiser readers.
“I am far too busy looking after my household of four children, including two evacuees and putting in a weekly round of voluntary work,” wrote one Swindon housewife who signed herself ‘disgusted.’
“Is it not possible to discourage this queuing up and to introduce a more complete system of control so that everyone will have equal opportunity of sharing all the ‘extras’ that are made available,” she asked.
And Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, boasted a pie named in his honour and let housewives in on the secret. Take 1lb each of diced potatoes, cauliflower, Swedes and carrots, 3 or 4 spring onions if possible, one teaspoon of vegetable extract and one teaspoonful of oatmeal.  Cook all together for ten minutes with just enough water to cover.  Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.  Allow to cool, put in a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with a crust of potato or wheat meal pastry.  Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely browned and serve hot with a brown gravy.

The Swindon Education Committee confirmed that several designated Swindon schools would be used as gas decontamination centres in the event of an emergency.
Only schools with a domestic hot water supply would be considered for use.  The Air Raid Precautions Committee agreed to foot the bill for any subsequent repairs arising out of the fixing of curtains and the erection of stripping sheds on playgrounds, the Advertiser reported, and no structural alterations were to take place without the consent of the Education Committee.
Meanwhile shortage of accommodation was causing concern at Lethbridge Road Infants School.  The Education Committee announced there would be no further admissions of children under five years of age and if the situation became worse five year olds already at the school might have to be excluded.
A review of the situation at Even Swindon and Ferndale Road schools was addressed at this week’s meeting of the Education Committee and additional classes with the appointment of extra staff was referred to the Teaching Staff sub-committee.


Sergt Wireless Operator Air Gunner Leslie Joseph George Lockwood, elder son of Mr & Mrs J.W. Lockwood of Tugela Road, Chippenham was reported killed while flying on active service.
Sergt Lockwood, 24 volunteered for the RAF at the outbreak of war.  He qualified as a gunner in July 1940 and was posted to the Coastal Command.
In Swindon the family of Able Seaman Leonard Wilkins received the news that he was safe after his ship Bonaventure was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Ambra while escorting Convoy GA-8 from Greece to Alexandria.  Leonard was one of 310 survivors; 139 members of the crew were lost. This was the second time Leonard 19, had escaped unhurt during the war at sea.  He had been onboard HMS Exeter during the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939.



Olive Monica Quirk, a clerk at the Swindon branch of the Inland Revenue, married Leading Aircraftman Eric Hughesdon at Christ Church, Swindon this week in 1941.  The couple left for a honeymoon in Cornwall following a reception at the Park View Hotel.  Christ Church was also the setting for the wedding of Doris Margaret Smith of 14 Wootton Bassett Road and William Edward Mann from Bexley Heath, Kent.  And Jack George Besant of 50 Salisbury Street married Phyllis May Southall of 15 Liddington Street at St. Barnabas’ Church.


The death of one of Swindon’s early Mayors took place this week in 1941 when Francis Stook Coleman, 79, Mayor in 1906-7 died at his home 39 Devizes Road.
Originally from Bridgwater, Somerset, Mr Coleman moved to Swindon in 1880 where he worked as a clerk for Townsend Solicitors. 
A former deputy clerk to the Old Swindon Urban District Council he was later elected representative of the South Ward.
Mr Coleman was a member of the Royal Sussex Lodge of Emulation and the Gooch Lodge.

Two Swindon mothers were congratulated for their actions in Swindon’s Juvenile Court this week. When their sons came home with new electric torches and refused to say how they had acquired them, the mothers took them to the police station where the boys confessed to having stolen them from Woolworths.
The two lads were given a serious warning but their mother’s received praise from Mr F.E. Eyres, chairman of the bench.  “If all mothers would act in that way our work would be much lighter,” he said.

Fire watcher Joseph Cox of Hawthorn Road, Chippenham was fined £1 for falling asleep on the job.
Seventy three year old Mr Cox was found fast asleep during an alert in a malthouse adjoining the Avon Vale Laundry where he was paid 8s a night to fire watch.
Mr Cox told Chippenham Police Court that he went into the malthouse to have some food.  The fire was very warm and he went to sleep.  He had been in the garden all day digging for victory, he said.

Nearly 29,000 people had been killed and 40,000 injured nationwide during bombing raids up to the end of March 1941, Ernest Brown, Minister of Health announced.
While several hospitals had been bombed during recent raids, Mr Brown was quick to reassure the public that going to hospital did not place them at any greater risk.

Detective Sergeant H.G. Toop of the Swindon Division announced his promotion to Detective Inspector following eighteen years in the Wiltshire Constabulary.
D.I. Toop joined the police force in Trowbridge and moved to Swindon in 1928.  He became the first officer to hold the rank of Inspector in the Swindon CID.

The King and Queen visited the East End of London to see recent raid damage and talk to people whose homes had suffered.
“We can still smile, your Majesty,” said the old lady holding a flag bearing the words “God Save the King,” a picture which tells the spirit of the people, reported the Advertiser.


Do you recognise any faces among these two classes of ’41 – pictured are pupils at the electrical instrument mounting and inspection classes and the bench fitting classes held at the Ministry of Labour training courses ‘Somewhere in England.’


1 comment:

  1. Frances, I must confess I first checked out your blog due to seeing your comment on the Reading the Past blog and what got my attention was your surname, Bevan. I named my younger daughter, Bevan, after her paternal grandmother's maiden surname. :>) We lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia USA when she was born 28 years ago and I currently live in Edenton, North Carolina. I find your blog posts most interesting! I have been watching "Foyle's War" on television and find your information and photos a fascinating correlation with the fictional stories of wartime England.

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