Tuesday, February 14, 2012

June 7-13, 1940

Photographs of local men, victims of the fierce fighting leading up to the Dunkirk evacuation, appeared in the Advertiser this week.

Former policeman, Corporal James Coid of the Irish Guards (pictured left) was one of those reported missing. Corporal Coid had married local girl Iris Bullock of 80 Perry’s Lane, Wroughton in September 1939. Also reported missing was Rifleman Sidney David Sinnett of the King’s Royal Rifles, only son of Mr & Mrs D.T. Sinnett, 55 Corby Avenue, Swindon. Aged 21, Rifleman Sinnett had only been in France since May 22.

Private Raymond Norton from East Challow, Wantage was in hospital suffering from shrapnel wounds in the leg received while serving with the Royal Berks Regiment. Another soldier returned safely from Dunkirk was Military Policeman Corporal Reg Hale, the son of Mr & Mrs C. Hale of Cheney Manor Road, Swindon.

An appeal for 5,000 blood donors was made in Swindon this week when volunteers from the general public proved slow to step forward.

So far the GWR Works topped the list with nearly 4,000 volunteers. Garrards had 504 registered blood donors with 208 from the Wills’ Tobacco factory and 85 from Comptons and just over 270 from the general public.

“So small has the response been from the public that there is to be a great drive from 24-29 June to get 5,000 more volunteers in Swindon,” reported the Advertiser, and the Mayor promised to be one of the first to have a test taken during that week.

Volunteers would be able to take a blood test at any time of the day or night at any of the first aid posts or hospitals in Swindon as well as at the ARP headquarters at the old Congregational chapel.


The week end of June 8-9 saw North Wiltshire hit by storms, causing considerable damage to property and crops.

Thousands of day trippers at Coate Water were caught unawares when the storm broke following a day of blazing sunshine and a chimney on the sheds of a goods yard in Old town was struck and several windows shattered.

At Liddington the ancient church of All Saints was struck by lightning causing huge fragments of masonry from the tower battlements to crash through the roof.

While Swindon escaped relatively lightly elsewhere it was reported that crops were almost washed out of the ground.

More than 40 entries had been received for the Concert Talent Competitions organised by the Swindon Press Alliance in connection with the 1940 Victoria Hospital Carnival effort. Among the entrants were three bands, a ‘swing quintette,’ a children’s string quartet and ‘The Four Sisters,’ a musical quartet. Following an eliminating contest at Sanford Street School, three entrants from each of the four classes would qualify to take the stage at the Playhouse on Wednesday June 19 for the final competition.


Weddings in Swindon this week included Leading Stoker Percy Jack RN of Falkirk, Scotland who married Miss Emily Hacker of 83 Salisbury Street and AB Thomas McLeod RN of Hawick, Scotland who married Miss Aimee Renee Harper of Abbey Wood, College Street, Swindon. Both couples are pictured following their wedding at the Register Office, Swindon on Wednesday June 12.

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