Saturday, December 24, 2011

November 30-December 6, 1939

Swindon's Fire Brigade took delivery of a top of the range Leyland motor pump, this week in 1939, amid concerns as to where the new vehicle would stand.

With three fire engines, a large trailer pump, two tenders, 20 trailer pumps for the AFS and sundry cars and vans, the Fire brigade headquarters in Cromwell Street had become so congested that a steam roller shed in an adjoining Corporation yard had been commandeered.

Pre-war plans for extensive new premises on the site of Gillings Wharf near the County Ground were delayed by the outbreak of war, however 'the position is so serious that efforts may soon have to be made to secure permission to proceed with the developments,' reported the Advertiser.

Equipped with a 55ft Bailey Fire Escape, the Leyland 'is capable of carrying at high speed, ten firemen, all of whom will be protected against the weather,' the report continued.

The Leyland reached a speed of 60 miles per hour during at trial run to Lechlade where water was obtained form a height of 20 ft from one of the bridges during a test of the 600 to 800 gallon capacity pump.

A popular new feature began this week in the Advertiser when the editor asked for photographs of fathers and sons serving in the forces and was inundated with entries.

First to appear were photographs submitted by Mrs E. Hayes, 93 Beatrice Street of her husband J.C.W. (Jack) Hayes, a footballer with five international caps and 14 medals to his name, and their son, an employee at the GWR Rolling Mills.

Next to be published were photographs of sailor father and son J.H. and Alan Hogden of 73 Radnor Street. Mrs Gibbons of 71 Pinehurst Road also sent in photographs of her husband and son.

Arthur Gibbons, a Storeman at the GWR Works had been called up as a reservist and was with the BEF in France. The couple's son, who belonged to the Territorial Army before the outbreak of war, was serving in an anti aircraft unit.

Three brothers serving in the same regiment in India were the sons of Mr & Mrs J. Simpkins of 20 Ermin Street Villas, Blunsdon. Formerly employed in the Highworth mat factory, the brothers were stationed at the same fort in Madras. 'They write home twice a week,' reported the Advertiser, 'but Mrs Simpkins isn't able to reply so frequently as formerly as air mail to India costs 1s 3d for half an ounce.'

About 130 local children and evacuees living in the Albion Street area were treated to a trip to the theatre to see a Malcolm McIntosh production 'The Empire on Parade - Modern Moment.' Every child received an apple and orange from C. Baxter of Commercial Road and a picture book from T.H. Beavis of the Market Bookstall. The trip was paid for by Miss Marcia Kiddle, well known for her local charitable events.

Boys at the Limes Home, Stratton St. Margaret were busy sewing and knitting for the troops. Under the supervision of the matron, Mrs Small, the boys had made bedsocks and scarves for the troops at the front as well as hospital garments such as operation stockings, and it was reported 'they rarely drop a stitch!'

Images - Swindon's new fire engine,fathers and sons serving in the Armed Forces and children on a visit to the theatre.

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