Tuesday, January 24, 2012

March 22-28, 1940


"We are all very proud of the River Plate Battle and I am sure that there must be hundreds of our people eager to join in honouring those from our midst who went through the battle," Swindon Mayor, Councillor H.R. Hustings told an Advertiser reporter as he launched an appeal fund for three local heroes.

Home on leave with his wife and child, Leading Seaman Eric Steward of 19 Langford Grove, Swindon, was on HMS Ajax in the River Plate Battle.

"I was asleep when the battle began," Mr Steward told the Advertiser, "but I was soon up and straight on with the job.

George Mapson, 23, the son of Mr and Mrs W.T. Mapson, of 170 Marlborough Road was another Swindonian crew member on the HMS Ajax.

Able Seaman Leonard Wilkins (pictured) the 18 year old son of Mr and Mrs W.I. Wilkins of 10 Laburnum Road was on board HMS Exeter when the German pocket battleship the Graf Spee was forced into harbour at Monte Video with a loss of thirty-nine crew members.

Swindon reported a surprisingly large number of visitors during the Easter holidays. Despite petrol rationing, Rimes' garage were able to run short trips and evening tours as well as special day excursions to Southsea and Bournemouth. Hardy folk tried the boating at Coate where on Easter Sunday, March 24, there was an attendance of about 300, reported the Advertiser.

The marriage of Roy Edward Lea and Sylvia Irene Walters was the first to take place at the Cambria Baptist Chapel during its 74 year history.

Built for the Welsh workers who settled in Swindon when the GWR Rolling Mills opened in the 1860s, the chapel had only recently been licensed for marriages when Sylvia walked down the aisle.

It was appropriate that this wedding should be the first at the chapel as the bride had been a regular member of the congregation since childhood and was a teacher at the Sunday school.

Wearing a white figured satin dress with tulle veil, the bride was given away by her father, Mr H. Walters. She was attended by two bridesmaids, Miss Maisie Lea, the groom' sister and Miss Phyllis Hewer, a friend of the bride.

Following a reception in the chapel schoolroom the couple left for a honeymoon in Slough.

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