Monday, January 23, 2012

March 8-14, 1940

Two Ashbury brothers were honoured for the part they played in the River Plate Battle of December 1939. Gunner William John Day and Signaller Percival George Day, both of the Royal Marines, were each presented with a leather writing case by the Rev E.G.Mortimer, Vicar of Ashbury.

"I was look out at the time, and I was there when she was first spotted," said Signaller Day, describing his first sighting of the Graf Spee from HMS Exeter. "I saw the battle from start of finish."

"We were pleased to get back to the Falkland Islands, where we were made at home," he said. "They treated us very kindly, and they threw their houses open to us."

Another local hero, Petty Officer Cue, was presented with a travelling clock in recognition of his service on board the Exeter during the battle.

Petty Officer Cue, of Charlbury, Station Road, Stratton, was received an inscribed clock presented by about 70 people from Lower Stratton.

Sanford Street pupils were pictured hard at work as Swindon's Council of Social Service reported a marked interest in the take up of allotments during recent weeks.

"Even so, we still have about 30 ten lug plots of land at Pinehurst waiting to be taken up, and I believe the town council has a lot of allotment land still unlet," secretary Mr T.H. Fessey told an Advertiser reporter.

He anticipated they would soon have as much land under cultivation as in the days when Swindon had 4,000 unemployed men.

Allotments were available at Gorse Hill, Blunsdon Road, Mannington and Rodbourne Farm. Most plots consisted of rough land which had not been cultivated before.

But a shortage of potato seeds was forecast following severe frosts earlier in the year. Gardeners, who had stored their seed in clumps, found the frost had penetrated to a depth of 12 ins of soil and ruined their stock.

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