Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 1 - 7, 1941


As bicycle theft soared in Swindon, local magistrates cracked down heavily on those found guilty of receiving the stolen machines.Leslie Caudle told the court Frederick Tucker, a blacksmith from Shrivenham, had paid him 5s for a bicycle he had stolen from outside the GWR Works. Tucker, who said he had about 40 machines on his premises, pleaded that he had not received any cycles knowing them to be stolen.  He was found guilty of receiving two bicycles knowing them to be stolen and received two, three month prison sentences to run concurrently. Leslie Caudle, a soldier, was bound over for twelve months and ordered to pay 15s costs for stealing a cycle. More than 400 bicycles were stolen in Swindon during 1940. Approximately 200 had been recovered and returned to their owners but 204 cycles, worth an estimated £702 13s, had never been found.“If there were no receivers there would be far less of this sort of thing,” said W.T. Brooks, Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire.  “It is a very serious matter.”

 The Army Blood Transfusion Service paid tribute to Swindon blood donors who attended clinics recently held in the town.  As many as 100 volunteers attended daily with the over 50s topping the list. “There were too dozens of cripples and victims of the last war, legless or armless, who pluckily come along to do their bit,” a doctor from the Milton Road Baths clinic told an Advertiser reporter. With more than 1,500 registered donors in Swindon, still more were needed.
“Formerly it was the custom to administer merely a pint of blood to a badly wounded person,” explained the Advertiser.  “Now it is possible and often done to give four or five pints to a person.”  Although it was swiftly clarified that volunteers were only required to donate one pint.
“The great point is that it doesn’t hurt a bit,” the report continued.  “In fact the loss of a little blood would do many people quite a bit of good.”

A nine year old boy told magistrates at Swindon juvenile Court how he stole money two days after he had been placed on probation following a previous offence.“On the first Saturday after I had been to see Mr York I took some money from the office and spent it at the milk bar,” he said, referring to 7s 3d stolen during two raids on a Swindon Transport office.  “On the second Saturday I took bigger money and bought some pop.” Mr York, the Probation Officer, described the boy as a confirmed thief. “Every time he goes out someone has to go with him or there is trouble.” Even the boy’s father agreed that it was impossible to trust the lad.  “If he goes out into the garden he slips off,” he told the court. It was also stated that the boy stole money from under milk bottles.  The magistrates sent him to a Remand Home for three weeks.



Walter A Giles, a GWR travelling ticket collector, received a commendation from the Assistant Commissioner of New Scotland Yard. Mr Giles of 4 Faringdon Road, Swindon came to the aid of a police officer who had been attacked and injured during the course of his duty. This wasn’t the first time that the brave have-a-go ticket collector had come to the aid of the police.  In 1938 Mr Giles was highly commended for the part he took in the arrest of a jewel thief on a West Country express.  On this occasion Mr Giles received a letter of commendation from the Divisional Superintendent and a gratuity of one guinea. Mr Giles had been employed by the GWR for 39 years, 26 of these as a travelling ticket collector during which he travelled an estimated 200,000 miles per year.

Swindon market gardeners were informed that the Government would be the sole purchaser of the next season’s carrot crop grown on holdings of one acre or more.“The price to be paid for washed carrots will range from £6 per ton, free on rail in November, 1941 to £9 in May 1942,” reported the Advertiser.  “Unwashed carrots will be ten shillings per ton less.”Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries were encouraging farmers to make the most of their land and to save two weeks indoor feeding. 
Farmers were told to choose a filed in good heart, sheltered, well drained, and with early grasses and to then apply 1½ of sulphate of ammonia per acre. According to the front page advertisement the advantages were increased milk production and the saving of a fortnight’s supply of concentrates.

And Swindon was leading the way in yet another war time initiative as a mutual first aid repair scheme for war damaged houses was passed at the Town Council meeting this week in 1941.
Deputy Borough Surveyor, Mr W.A. Cutting was appointed Divisional Officer for the scheme and would oversee the purchase of stocks of building materials.  The initial budget was set at £2 per house on 10% of the inhabited houses in the Borough. “In the same way other authorities in the county are accumulating materials for the purpose, and in the event of any emergency occurring the scheme will operate to the mutual advantage of everyone concerned,” reported the Advertiser.

“Women are gradually replacing men in all branches of industry,” reported the Advertiser as the Swindon United Gas Company advertised for women to train as meter readers. “We had women meter readers in the last war and they proved most satisfactory,” said an official from the Company.  Accuracy was the chief qualification required of applicants. And it wasn’t only in industry that women were making an appearance.  So serious was the shortage of experienced stable lads that one well known racehorse trainer was advertising for lightweight girls who can ride and know how to manage horses.



Swindon was winning the war – on rats, according to F.H. Beavis, the town’s Chief Sanitary Inspector. “We have employed a full time rat catcher for a long time, and his efforts have prevented any large scale invasion of the town,” he told the Advertiser.  “Last month no fewer than 560 rats were destroyed by him, chiefly at the tips, and our records show that between 6,000 and 7,000 of them have been caught annually for many years past.”

Teaching staff at Upper Stratton Senior School received a black mark when the headmaster revealed that only four out of 14 were willing to undertake fire watching duty at the school. Several speakers at the school managers meeting expressed their disappointment at this unpatriotic attitude despite evidence that some of the teachers already belonged to the Home Guard.It was resolved to report the facts to the County Education Committee.

An appeal on behalf of the isolated Moredon residents was raised by Councillor Akers at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. With no street fire alarm box and no public telephone kiosk in the area, Councillor Akers appealed to the chairman of the General Purposes Committee for early steps to be taken to address the problem.  The question was deferred to the next meeting of the committee.

Private Walter Stiff and Elsie Cullip
Two servicemen were given leave to get married in Swindon this week in 1941.  Private Walter Stiff of Peterborough married local girl Elsie Cullip of Redcliffe Street at St. Augustine’s Church.  Christ Church was the setting for the wedding of Corporal William James Gover of 22 Lansdown Road and his bride Irene Rose Comley of 55 Regents Place.


Corporal William Gover and Irene Comley


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