Monday, January 16, 2012

February 15-21, 1940

Two local men were involved in the daring rescue of captured merchant seamen from the German supply ship Altmark.

Alec Williams (pictured right) only son of Mr & Mrs Tom Williams of 42 Eastcott Road and E. Head, 24 son of Mrs Head of Bristol Street (left), both Engine Room Artificers, were on board HMS Cossack when the Tribal class destroyer controversially sailed into Jossinfjord, Norway during the night of February 16.
Acting on orders from First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, Captain Vian sent a boarding party of three officers led by Lieutenant Commander Bradwell Talbot Turner and thirty ratings on to the Altmark. They discovered battened below hatches 299 British seamen captured from ships sunk by the German battleship the Graff Spee.

This week in February saw three more Swindon schoolteachers join up for military service. Mr L.W.H. Long, Mr A.C. Bye and Mr I.H. Richards all obtained war service appointments under the Air Ministry. Permission was also granted to Mr R.S.T. Cook to apply for an appointment as a physical training instructor in the RAF.

Miss Gwendolen L. Fenn and Miss Margaret E. Staniforth were both appointed temporary assistant mistresses at the higher education staff to replace assistant masters released for war service.

Fines of £5 each were imposed by Swindon Borough Magistrates on two local firms for failing to keep records of the hours worked by their young employees.

I. Ward Ltd., 38 Regent Street was fined £2 10s on two counts of failure to keep records concerning Joan Vincent aged 17 or 33 Walcot Road who was employed as a clerk.

Gold (Gowns) Ltd., 59 Regent Street were also fined £5 when they were unable to produce records for the number of hours worked by fourteen year old errand boy Colin William McLeod.

"What, be reported for a trivial thing like this? the manager complained when told he would be up before the magistrates.

"It is not a trivial thing. it is in the interest of young people," Mr A.E. Withy, Magistrates Clerk reminded him.

The relocation of London staffs to Swindon saw a rent rise in Old Town and a scarcity of available properties to let. A small bungalow without gas or electricity was advertised at 22s 6d a week while rent on a house off Marlborough Road was £80 per annum plus rates.

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