Wednesday, December 14, 2011

October 19-25, 1939


Swindon's youngest special constable, four year old Willie Dangerfield, twin son of Mr & Mrs W. Dangerfield, posed for a photo call outside his own camouflaged station in the garden of his home at Marlborough Road, Swindon.

Meanwhile two other youngsters made headline news when they appeared before Swindon Juvenile Courts this week in 1939.

A Stratton father took centre stage when his twelve year old son was ordered to pay for the damage caused to a workman's shed. Charges were dropped against his younger accomplice with the older boy ordered to pay 5s damages and 4s costs.

The father claimed that another boy had already vandalised the shed and objected having to foot the bill for all the damage.

'With present day education lads should know better than go about thinking they can treat other people's property with impunity,' said Mr F.A. Blake, Chairman, referring to reports of destructive acts by children in Stratton parish.

'I fought for my country and that man for four years. I took a gun and shot people for him,' the father told the courtroom. 'Now, I am fighting for my son.'

The court also heard from the mother of an eleven year old boy who asked that her son be sent to an approved school.

The woman described how the boy had thrown knives at her and kicked and bruised her. The problems extended over a four year period and she told how he slept out at nights and that they had received complaints about him beating other children.

'I do not want to see him go,' she told the court, 'but it is better he should go now than later on.' The boy was admitted to an approved school for three years.

Swindonians joined the campaign for higher old age pensions as volunteers launched a petition condemning the rate of payment.

A denial made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on September 26 that the cost of living was rising rapidly was challenged by Swindon Labour Party Agent Mr A.A. Johnson. 'We are now informed that there has been a ten point increase in the cost of living index figure,' said Mr Johnson. 'It must be realised that those unfortunate folk who are dependent upon their pensions are suffering great hardship.'

Addressed to 'the Right Hon. Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of England,' the petition reads, 'Sir, we the undersigned citizens of Swindon and district, wish to express to you our profound and emphatic disapproval of the present scale of pensions now being paid to old aged pensions.' It was hoped that signatures on this hastily arranged petition would eventually number over 10,000.

Earlier in the year an old aged pensioner from Bradenstoke invited the Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Chamberlain, to spend a weekend with her in order that she might gain firsthand knowledge of the art of living on ten shillings a week. The invitation was declined.


E. Hill & Son of Kingshill, Swindon announced that their Trianco external gothic arched concrete air raid shelter had received Home Office approval. Confident of their product Messrs Hill took out a large advertisement in the Saturday October 21 edition of the Advertiser.

The standard six foot long shelter could accommodate from six to eight people and withstand a roof load of 400lb per square foot with adequate strength to resist a substantial fall of brickwork or similar debris.

The versatile unit structure made this shelter suitable for smaller homes or by grouping them together for flats, tenements, factories and hospitals, the manufacturers claimed.

The Trianco had to be sunk in the ground a recommended three feet or more, but the manufacturers assured the shelter seeking public that it could be erected at very short notice with little demand for skilled labour.


Lewin John Jones of 15 Westbrook Road, Swindon was killed when a bomb dropped near the ship on which he was serving. HMS Mohawk, a Tribal Class Destroyer was employed in the North Sea on convoy defence and patrol to intercept German warships and submarines. On October 16 while the fleet was at anchor below the Forth Bridge it came under attack from the Luftwaffe. A Ju88 dropped two bombs in the vicinity of the Mohawk causing extensive casualties to personnel on the bridge and upper decks. Mr Jones, 36, had seen active service during the First World War and had just four years to serve until his retirement. Mr Jones left a widow and a two year old child.

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