Monday, December 26, 2011

January 4-10, 1940

As Dr Dunstan Brewer announced his retirement as Medical Officer of Health in Swindon, he warned of the mental depression caused by the black-out.

In an address on "Psychology in connection with the War" at the Friends Meeting House, Dr. Brewer stated his opposition to the black-out declaring "the black-out is not worth it. As far as I am concerned it is no good." Claiming it had a severe effect upon people, Dr. Brewer told his audience the black-out was responsible for inducing mental depression.

Referring to the possibility of air raids, Dr. Brewer gave odds of 2,000 to one of being bombed and considered the risks quite negligible.

Meanwhile, in an effort to combat the "black-out blues" the Great Western Players staged a series of short plays at the Little Theatre, Bridge Street Institute, Swindon.

The new venture opened on Monday January 8 with two, one act plays - The Marrying Sort by Ronald Gow and The Friends of Valerie Lane by Dolland Parsons - produced by Mr Stanley Jarman.

A short 'broadcast' sketch called The Switch was performed by Mr Percy North, Miss Joan F. Thompson and James Ellison, while Mr Fred T. Murray acted as programme compère.

The work of several Swindon women received a special mention in the columns of the Advertiser in this week's newspaper.

Mrs A.L. Spackman received a thank you as one of the organisers of the annually held poor children's tea. The first poor children's tea was held 18 years earlier in the Ferndale Road Methodist School when Mrs Spackman entertained 50 children. Since then the event has grown bigger each year with the latest numbering 1,200.



A local family received welcome news this week in 1940. Petty Officer Cue 24, a crew member on HMS Exeter wrote to his mother, Mrs E.H. Lowe of 'Charlbury,' Stratton, that he was fit and well following the Battle of River Plate in December 1939 during which the German pocket battleship the Graf Spee was attacked. A former pupil at Clarence Street and Commonweal Schools, Petty Officer Cue had served on HMS Exeter for three years.

In answer to customer complaints of delays on the rail network, the GWR announced that since the outbreak of war the company had run 2,500 special trains 'for the conveyance of the forces and their stores and equipment' which they admitted had caused disruption to passenger services. The war was also responsible for a record number of freight engine miles operated with merchandise receipts up 51% and coal receipts 41% above the previous year.

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