Friday, April 20, 2012

October 3-9, 1940

Two accidents in Swindon this week included a collision between a Bristol bus and a horse drawn bread van in Marlborough Road. A delivery boy named Graver of 119 Westcott Place was injured and taken to the Victoria Hospital. Meanwhile on Cricklade Street a lorry load of straw collapsed and the pavement was blocked with trusses of straw.
And a speeding driver told Malmesbury magistrates that she would not drive a car again until the end of the war. And she also intended passing a driving test as well. Provisional licence holder, Mrs Ethne M. Williams of 27 Bath Road was disqualified from driving for two years and fined £5 following a collision with an army ambulance on the Pewsey-Marlborough Road near Gipsy Corner. Mrs Williams, who hit the ambulance and then veered across the road and crashed into a tree, admitted she might have gone round the bend at too fast a speed. Acting in her defence, Mr Parker said that it would cost a considerable amount to repair the car, and that his client had sustained cuts to her face. She had been punished to a certain extent already for her lack of experience, he said, and the accident had upset her so that she had decided she would not drive again until the end of the war and until she had passed a driving test.
Lend to Attack was the popular slogan suggested for Swindon's War Weapons Week set for November 11-18 with Mr T Harold Smith calling on bombs for Berlin to focus Swindon savers. A public meeting at the Town Hall enthusiastically welcomed the scheme, an intensification of the national savings campaign. A fund raising target of £200,000 was set which worked out at about £3 6s 8d per head of the population, a tall order for cash strapped Swindonians. Mr Cheyney, Borough Treasurer Secretary, reported that Swindon's average weekly savings in 1940 had so far been about £20,000 with £45,000 the highest amount raised in any one week. Captain J. Tasker, Deputy Commissioner for the Southern Region, said that War Weapons Week involved a tremendous amount of organisation. Other towns had supported the effort with street decorations, processions and even exhibitions of captured German aircraft. Mr T.G. Gay, secretary of the Swindon Branch of the League of Nations Union, was appointed Secretary and a committee was proposed to draw up the weeks' events.
Carnival Queen, Eileen Gordon, pictured with Swindon Mayor, Coun. H.R. Hustings, was among volunteers who donated blood under the Army Transfusion Service Scheme this week.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

September 26 - October 2, 1940

National news dominated the Advertiser front pages this week in 1940 as Japan entered into a new Tri-Partite Pact with Germany and Italy.

“Today’s developments have strengthened the belief in well informed quarters in Washington that the United States may be in the war by the spring, if not sooner,” the Washington correspondent of the New York Herald-Tribune reported.

As the serving Mayor’s term of office drew to a close the Swindon Spitfire Fund inaugurated by Councillor H.R. Hustings topped £3,300.

Donations this week in 1940 included 8s from two little girls who had sold their toys. The Swindon Cellular Clothing Company, which donated 10s raised through their waste paper collection, were praised for setting a good example to other local firms.


Two new acquisitions went on display at the Swindon Museum this week. A lock stitch belt driven sewing machine invented by Alan B. Wilson of New York in 1849 and a single stitch sewing machine dating from about 1845, donated by Mrs Munroe of 22 Morrison Street, were snapped by the Advertiser photographer.


Figures quoted at a meeting of the Swindon Food Control Committee revealed the changing nature of Swindon’s transient population. In the second rationing period from July 8 there were 1,110 local changes, 3,224 removals into Swindon and 1,769 out.

The figures for September were 670 local changes, 2,031 removals into Swindon and 980 out. In addition approximately 3,000 people who had not technically moved into the town were supplied with emergency cards.

Monday, April 9, 2012

September 19-25, 1940

Swindon housewives were warned they would have to learn new techniques to keep the home fires burning with the arrival of coal supplies from South Wales this winter.

Described as economical with a low ash content and high heat value, the coal was virtually smokeless.

Women were advised to use lumps of coal of ‘approximately four inches and slightly smaller for cookers and combination cookers,’ breaking up large lumps with a sharp pointed hammer and not a flat faced one.

And the man of the house was told to leave the poker alone. “South Wales coal needs very little attention and should not be subject to vigorous poking.”


A fitter’s course, the first of its kind to be run at Swindon Technical College, was launched this week. Among the new students enrolled were painters, cabinet makers, carpenters, a coach finisher and a van driver who had all given up other jobs to gain a qualification in this important branch of industry.


The course was the direct outcome of an appeal to technical colleges to train men in specialised work. During their training the men received a living allowance from the Ministry of Labour and an assurance that at the end of the course posts would be found for them in vital industries.

A bag of bones weighing approximately 1 cwt collected by evacuee children at Brinkworth raised £5 at a Red Cross Agricultural Fund sale this week.

Swindon National Farmers Union reported that they were less than £100 short of reaching their £1,000 target following the successful sale in the Market Square.


Visitors bowled for a pig, played darts and created a mile of pennies while a single halter sold over and over again raised £10.

“Where’s Hitler? I want Hitler,” yelled drunken George Daniel Coker only to have his inquiries answered by a Swindon police constable.

Somewhat the worse for wear, Coker, from Stepney, had resisted attempts to get him back to his Swindon lodgings and was carried up Eastcott Hill to the gaol by PC Butler and a friend, reported the Advertiser.

Appearing before magistrates the following day, Coker explained that his home had been bombed while he was working in Swindon and he didn’t know where his people were. A former member of the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, he had been discharged in August as medically unfit. On promising to go back to his work, Coker was allowed on his way.