Saturday, December 24, 2011

November 9-15, 1939

Across the country people gathered to remember those who had fallen in the Great War on the 21st commemoration of Armistice Day.

In Swindon the Mayor (Coun. H.R. Hustings) placed a wreath from the People of Swindon on the Cenotaph which read 'In hallowed memory of their loyal sons who made the supreme sacrifice.'

'Although no hooters were sounded to mark the time of two minutes silence, as usual on Armistice Day, when the Town Hall struck eleven everyone stood in dead silence,' reported the Advertiser. 'Faintly, but distinctly, one could hear the sobbing of individuals, mostly women, who perhaps, lost their sons or husbands during the last war.'

The annual Remembrance Day Service at Swindon's parish church was attended by members of the British Legion and ex-Servicemen, local units of the British Red Cross Society, members of the Urban Council and other public bodies.

'We are getting more drunks in Swindon than we ought to do. We are breaking the record altogether,' declared magistrates clerk Mr A.E. Withy, imposing a fine of 7s 6d on labourer William Petrie of 131 Chapel Street, Swindon. Petrie was found by the police fast asleep on the pavement at 12.20 am on October 22, during a very cold night with a white frost. Escorted home by a policeman, Petrie said, 'I must have had a few drinks and laid down thinking I was at home.'

As men aged 20-22 who registered for military service on October 21 were informed they would receive their call up papers during November, more than 30,000 railway men were released for military service.

After a 5-2 thrashing by home team Stratton Villa, a team of soldiers were treated to an evening's entertainment at the White Hart Inn. The football match was described as 'interesting' during which the soldiers made a rousing start, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes. Villa players C. Woolford and D. Woolford delivered four of the goals while Martin scored with a header from a corner kick. Mrs Butler and her helpers provided a good spread and the game was followed by a darts match and a sing song.

Lieutenant Colonel B.H.D. Hurst, formerly manager of the Government Vocational Training Centre at Chiseldon, was fined £13 3s at Swindon County Police Court for illegally storing petrol. Three tanks containing 68 gallons of petrol were found in a garage near the Colonel's home in Chiseldon.

Colonel Hurst did not appear in court but sent a letter in which he admitted to storing petrol without a licence but denied any intent to hoard, explaining the petrol was bought at a time when his mother was ill and he was engaged in moving to his new posting.

Mr W. Ireland, prosecuting, described it as a case of hoarding and all the more reprehensible because of the Colonel's position.

Swindon Scouts were actively engaged in the war effort. Local troops had collected about 4 tons of waste paper for the governments salvage campaign. Local boys, joined by evacuees, also distributed Ministry of Information posters in and around Swindon.

Father Christmas arrived early in Swindon when McIlroys opened the Nursery Rhyme Castle at their Regent Street store. Joining Santa in his Castle were 'Aladdin and his Lamp, Mary had a Little Lamb and last but not least Thom Thumb.' Among the toys on offer for Christmas 1939 were 'every kind of modern warfare toy' along with traditional tricycles, Teddy Bears, prams and dolls.

Image - Swindon Mayor H.R. Hustings laying a wreath at the cenotaph

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