Sunday, February 5, 2012

May 10-16, 1940

It was business as usual at the GWR Works, Compton’s and Garrard’s on Whitsun Bank Holiday following a Government announcement in the wake of the Dutch invasion.

“The Government has cancelled the Whitsun holiday and the King’s Birthday holiday for all civil servants and workers in industrial establishments,” reported the Advertiser.

The President of the Chamber of Commerce issued a recommendation that all Swindon shopkeepers should open as usual and all factories with the exception of Wills’ who had already closed, should carry on with their normal Monday schedules.

Within a few hours of the Government’s announced decision, several of the larger pleasure transport companies in the West Country cancelled extensive programmes of Holiday tours, both local and long distance, which had been planned for the Whitsun weekend.

In Swindon, families playing hosts to evacuated children welcomed the news that billeting allowances were to be increased. For children aged 14-16 the rate increased from 10s 6d to 12s 6d while the allowance for the over 16’s rose to 15s a week.

Preliminary arrangements had been made for the evacuation of 1,158,000 school children nationwide, should the necessity arise, it was announced.

A local young artist from Badbury Wick celebrated having two pictures hung in the Royal Academy. A former Swindon Art School student, Ruth Hurle (pictured right) won a scholarship to the Royal Society of Arts. The two successful pictures were portraits of six months old Douglas Wakefield, Mrs Hurle’s maid’s baby son, and Chiseldon school girl Joan Fowler aged 12. A third picture of the Italian town of Sienna was also accepted but was not hung.

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