Monday, December 12, 2011

October 12-18, 1939

Weddings continued to make the news and October saw no let up in the number of Swindon couples anxious to tie the knot. RAF Corporal Cecil Carter from Rodbourne Cheney was granted four days special leave to marry his sweetheart, Miss Daisy Royle at Swindon Register Office. The bride was employed at the Savoy Cinema and many of her friends and colleagues were present to congratulate her after the ceremony. Former Swindon Town FC captain, Wally Dickinson was also among the guests.

Another wedding to make the front page was that of widowed Alice Stapleford, 48 and her eighteen year old groom Edgar Harry Elliott. "Why should we worry about the difference in our ages if we are happy," the new Mrs Elliott told an Advertiser reporter after the wedding at Swindon Register Office on Saturday October 14. "We don't care what anybody thinks about it."

Both from the Common, Thornhill near Wootton Bassett the couple said they had met and fallen in love six months previously. Alice confirmed that farm labourer Edgar had his parent's consent to the marriage.

The bride wore an ankle length blue dress and was attended by matron of honour, Mrs Embling, bridesmaid were the groom's sister Violet Elliott and her friend Cecily Ball, also dressed in blue.

The newly married couple were not going to have a honeymoon as they could not afford it, but a reception was held at their home after the ceremony.

More than 10,800 fans crowded onto the terraces at the County Ground to watch third division Swindon Town play Arsenal in one of the first wartime friendly matches. With games temporarily suspended, by October 1939 the Football League had arranged a series of friendlies, which saw giant killers Arsenal visit Swindon, much to the delight of the town's football fans.

Although Swindon Town knew it was on a hiding to nothing, 'players put up a valiant display against their distinguished rivals and were in no way disgraced,' reported the Advertiser.

With tickets totalling £538 11s 3d, Swindon enjoyed the biggest gate of the afternoon in the British Isles.

Lesson for Swindon in Football Craft - Art of Goal Getting Made to Look Easy read the sports page headline which sadly said it all as Arsenal romped home to a seven goals to nil victory.

'Still it was a grand match,' reported the Advertiser, with Swindon magnanimous in defeat. 'It is a very long time since we have seen such a wealth of clever and entertaining football at the County Ground in successive weeks. And that, after all, is all that matters.'

'If the fine is over 5s will you let me pay in two instalments, as I really can't afford it?' pleaded an unnamed woman in a letter read out at Swindon Magistrates Court this week. 'But she lives in Goddard Avenue sir,' was the response from magistrate's clerk Mr Withy, as reported in the Advertiser.

A second major loss to Britain's navy came with the sinking of the battleship the HMS Royal Oak. With more than 1,000 on board, the ship was sunk at anchor by a U boat in Scapa Flow in the early hours of Saturday morning. At the time of going to press it was not known how many men had been saved.

One grateful father wrote to the Advertiser editor expressing his thanks to the people of Swindon who were caring for evacuees billeted in the town. Mr J. King of 44 Follett Street, Poplar gave a special thanks to Mr & Mrs Brett and Miss Bailey of Groundwell Road who between them had the care of his three daughters. "I was astonished at the way I was received and the way in which my kiddies were being cared for," wrote Mr King. He extended his thanks on behalf of all parents who had children staying in the town, and concluded his letter "Bravo, Swindon, for your British attitude, and God bless you for doing your bit."

One stroppy Swindon man received his comeuppance at Chippenham magistrate's court. Daniel Simpkins, 57 pleaded guilty to travelling on the GWR without a ticket, and it wasn't for the first time either. Simpkins had 31 previous convictions dating back to 1917. He told the magistrates he could get no work and was fed up. He had been sleeping out for a week in cold nights and said he was 'fairly sick of it.' Simpkins asked to be sent to prison and the magistrates duly obliged, sentencing him to 14 days.'

Images - wedding photographs of Cecil and Daisy Carter; Edgar and Alice Elliot and their bridesmaids

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