Thursday, December 29, 2011

January 11-17, 1940

In a letter to the Advertiser, the Mayor yet again appealed to the people of Swindon to offer places to evacuated children.

"The total number of new billets required is comparatively small but the need is very pressing and relates particularly to the Old town district," wrote Coun. H.R. Hustings.

"The Local Authority have a responsibility under the Government Evacuation Scheme which they must discharge," he explained. "They are loath to use compulsory powers as the association of the child and the householder will obviously be a much happier one where the responsibility is voluntarily undertaken."

With a steady stream of children joining schools already evacuated to the town and the need to occasionally move evacuees from one billet to another, the need for volunteers to come forward was pressing.

"Billets must, however, be secured, and if a sufficient number of voluntary offers is not immediately forthcoming there will be no alternative but to use the compulsory powers with which the Local Authority are vested," warned the Mayor.

Ministry of Transport advice to drivers of horse drawn vehicles in the event of an air raid was announced. Drivers 'should unharness their horses, and if possible lead them to an open space, side street or stable. Horses should be tied by a halter lead and not by reins, bridle or bit.' In no cases should horses be tied to lampposts or railings.'

The first week of rationing saw local housewives and traders getting to grips with some complicated calculations. With a reported shortage of farthing coins, Advertiser readers were reminded that when buying a quarter of a pound of butter priced at fourpence three farthings, the shopkeeper was not allowed to charge 5d on a first purchase. 'By arrangement between yourselves he can charge you fourpence halfpenny on the first occasion and 5d next time,' the report concluded.

Mr Ray Hobbs (pictured right) branch chairman of the Swindon (No 2 Branch) of the NUR was presented with a gold watch chain to commemorate 21 years service. The chain, intended to match a gold watch given to him by the National Executive of the NUR, was presented by Mr J.A. Slade at a social event held at the ship Hotel where entertainment was provided by Mr George King's concert party.

Images - Evacuees from St John's School, Poplar. (top)

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