Saturday, March 31, 2012

September 12-18, 1940

It was decided to begin the despatch of the winter parcels in October at the September meeting of the Mayoress’s Association. These would contain a scarf, a helmet and a pair of gloves or mittens. An appeal was made for the details of all non GWR men serving in the Forces. Families of GWR employees were reassured that their men would receive parcels through the railway scheme.

Miss M.E. Slade, who had worked tirelessly throughout the Great War, organising Red Cross parcels for Swindon men detained as prisoners of war, was again co-ordinating operations from her home in Avenue Road.



The Swindon Federation of Trade Unions launched ‘a penny per week’ scheme at the GWR Works to provide funds to purchase comforts for employees in the Forces, a share of which was set aside for non-railway employees.

“Already a number other firms have followed this example and it is hoped that more and more will join in until the scheme extends to all parts of the Borough,” reported the Advertiser.
Meanwhile, letters were arriving from men who had received parcels from Swindon.

“I feel I must say how much I appreciated the parcel I received. It made me feel proud of my home town to think they are doing such fine work,” wrote E.S. Hillier RE.

“I am sending my deepest and sincerest thanks for the very welcome parcel I received yesterday from your Comforts Association,” W. Walker of the Royal Navy wrote. “I can assure you it is just what one needs here at present during this spell of bad weather.”


Weddings at Christ Church this week included John Herbert Palphramand who married Iris Rosaline Mapson and solicitor’s daughter Daphne Audrey Lemon who wed Alan Gilbert of Gerrards Cross. RAF Sergt George White of Torquay married local girl Ellen Richards of 22 Gordon Gardens at St. Pauls’ Church, Swindon.




And Hollywood came to Huish this week when movie heartthrob David Niven married Miss Primula Rollo. Captain Niven, a former lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry, had returned to Britain to fight for his country. Following his rejection by the RAF on account of his age, Niven 31, had joined the Rifle Brigade. The star of the 1939 production of Raffles, Niven had also played the part of Edgar Linton in Wuthering Heights acting alongside Laurence Oliver as Heathcliffe and Merle Oberon as Cathy.


Well known animal trainer Marcus La Touche brought his dog Viscount to the Playhouse this week to demonstrate that animals could make a valuable contribution to wartime communications.

“Any dog, whatever its breed, can, up to the ages of six years, be schooled to carry messages from any given place up to a distance of two miles,” said Mr La Touche. To prove his point, Mr La Touche called upon Viscount (pictured) a Labrador-Bull Terrier cross, to convey a message of 200 yards.


A Special Constable tried the patience of fire fighter Walter Langton riding his bicycle home following a day of collecting for the Swindon Spitfire Fund.

Langton was stopped for riding down Richmond Road without a red rear light at 9.40 pm on August 31. Swindon magistrates were told that when asked for an explanation, Langton allegedly replied, “Mind your own **** business.”

“Special police are a **** nuisance to the town,” he said, “and are only in it to dodge the Army.”

Langton told the magistrates that he had informed the Special that he was on national service and complained that the constable had spoken to him in a sarcastic manner.

“It seems as if the word spitfire got into your body,” said magistrate’s clerk, Mr A.E. Withy.
Langton was fined 10s and was told that the penalty might have been more severe.


Weddings - top Mr and Mrs Palphramand; middle Mr and Mrs White; bottom Mr and Mrs Gilbert

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