Saturday, December 10, 2011

October 5-11, 1939

In a boastful speech to the Reichstag, Hitler said the fate of Poland had been settled for ever and almost the whole of the 'irresponsibilities' of the Versailles Treaty removed. He offered Europe a 'peace conference' and suggested a measure of disarmament and the abolition of certain types of weapon.

But Hitler's peace proposals received short shrift from Swindon MP W.W. Wakefield (pictured right). A pilot in the RAF, Mr Wakefield issued a reply to constituents who urged that Hitler's peace proposals should not be rejected without careful examination.

'How can peace be made with a man without honour, who cannot be trusted, whose word is broke almost before the sound reaches the ears of his hearers and whose written word is torn up nearly as quickly as the ink dries on the paper on which it is written,' asked Wakefield.

William Wavell Wakefield was elected as Conservative MP for Swindon during the 1935 General Election. A former international rugby player, Wakefield captained England between 1923-1927, also playing for Cambridge University, the RAF, the Harlequins, Middlesex and Leicester. During the First World War he joined the Royal Naval Air Service.

'You will not save lives nor get peace so long as Hitler and his regime dominate Germany,' warned Wakefield. 'The quickest and surest way to peace is the overthrow of Hitler. All our energies and efforts must be devoted to that end.'

Mr Wakefield announced he would receive callers at the Advertiser premises, Newspaper House, Victoria Road between 4.30-5.30pm on Saturday October 7.

Housewives were beginning to feel the pinch as supplies of butter dropped by half. Government restrictions on the availability of butter were based on wholesale figures supplied during the eight weeks ending July 29.

If the restriction is to apply to the varying demands of different districts it will hit Swindon particularly hard, reported the Advertiser. TRIP week fell within the eight week period mentioned with about 23,000 Swindonians away from home on holiday.

Bacon was also in short supply and Swindon grocers were informed by the Ministry of Food that half the normal quantity would be reserved before it even left the processing factories.

Retailers were reminded that certain scheduled foods could only be sold under licence as of Saturday October 9. The long list published in the Advertiser on Wednesday October 4 included diet staples such as bread, fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, as well as confectionery, cakes and chocolate.

Application forms for a licence under the Food Control Committee (Local Distribution) order were available from the Borough Treasurer's Department at the Civic Offices, Swindon.

Evacuee children and mothers enjoyed a tea time treat as guest of Swindon Division Labour Party. Mr A.A. Johnson, Labour party agent, assisted by a team of women party supporters, made the tea time treat a regular twice weekly event at the clubroom in Milton Road.


Being seen during the blackout became an essential safety precaution for pedestrians and road users alike. This Swindon cyclist made sure of being seen at night by having an all white bicycle.

Swindon experienced its own population explosion as more than 100 babies were born at the Maternity Hospital at Kingshill. The first five weeks of the war proved to be a busy period with births more than double the monthly average. More than 50 were evacuee cases, a large number of expectant mothers having been sent to Swindon.

Auctioneers Fielder & Jones reported an entry of 100 fat cattle at Swindon market on Monday October 9. Trade was brisk and prices steady, however the produced market saw a smaller entry of poultry with cockerels making between 3s 3d and 5s 4d. Eggs were also in short supply, hens eggs sold for 2s 2 2/2d while duck eggs averaged 2s 2d per dozen.

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