Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 5 - 11, 1941

Nearly 150,000 boys had enrolled in more than 1,200 squadrons of the ATC, W.W. Wakefield, Swindon MP and Parliamentary private Secretary to the Under Secretary of State for Air, told an audience at the Coliseum, Harrow.
Mr Wakefield spoke of how the Royal Air Force was writing history across the skies of Britain.
“One of the most important manifestations of this is in the formation of the Air Training Corps through which the boys of this country can be trained while they are still young, for the gallant experience of being pilots in the Royal Air Force,” he said.
The headquarters of the newly established Swindon Air Training Corps opened at 2 Emlyn Square in the GWR Engineering Society’s premises as arrangements were announced for grading examinations in which cadets would sit special English and Maths papers.
“On Wednesday 16th April, there is to be a combined meeting of all Swindon cadets in the large hall at Euclid Street School,” reported the Advertiser.  “Details of the various RAF trades and duties and rates of pay etc, will be given, and the boys will be asked to take notes so that they will be prepared to state their choice at a subsequent date.”
Pictured are members of the three flights of the Air Training Corps in Swindon who combined for foot drill instruction by an RAF warrant officer at Pinehurst School.

With wartime spending topping £13,000,000 a day MPs urged Sir Kingsley Wood, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to announce an ‘as you were’ budget.
Political pundits felt that any rise in taxation would create a bad psychological effect and would do little to reduce such colossal borrowings.
An increase of 6d in income tax would add £30,000,000 to the government war coffers but it was expected that the chancellor would seek to raise funds by a number of other ways.
Ideas under discussion were believed to include an ‘adjustment’ of allowances and the possible application of ‘a kind of Excess Profits Tax’ to incomes and taking a percentage of any increases in wages since 1940.  A penny on beer would bring £20,000,000 with increases on tobacco and cigarettes also predicted.
Sir Leonard Lyle, sugar magnate and Conservative MP for Bournemouth, was also looking into the contentious subject of food waste and the cost of Army Camps.
Compulsory saving, an increase in purchase tax and a new general tax on services such as hairdressers and hotel restaurants were some of the ideas being aired in government circles.

As Britain prepared itself for the miserly ‘mouse trap’ cheese ration due to come into force on May 5, an unexplained glut hit stores nationwide.
The sudden abundance of cheese was believed to have arisen as retailers got rid of stocks before the introduction of rationing when it would become an offence to buy or sell in excess of the stipulated amount.  But wartime consumer watchdogs wondered how the retail trade had managed to accumulate such stocks of cheese when already subject to 50% ration since January 1941.
‘In at least one Swindon store, however, a couple of whole cheeses came out into the open yesterday, and cast a magnetic spell over the shopping public,’ reported the Advertiser.
Although purchases were unofficially restricted to about a pound in weight per customer, this was more cheese than most people had seen since before the outbreak of war.

Jack Payne

There was something to suit all musical tastes in Swindon this week in 1941.  For the classical music lover Solomon Cutner, a former child prodigy, gave a recital at the Savoy Cinema while big band leader Jack Payne entertained fans at the Empire Theatre.‘Solomon’s brilliant technique and the profound sense of sympathy with which he interpreted the varying descriptive passages of his music was a revelation,’ enthused the Advertiser reviewer. Meanwhile Jack Payne served up a lively programme of musical entertainment including a comedy ‘skit in a celebrity concert.’First saxophone, Art Christmas played practically every instrument in the orchestra finishing with a rendition of ‘In the Mood’ played on the bagpipes.

Swindon Mayor, Alderman F.E. Allen lent his support to the announcement of a national flag day to be held on August 19 on behalf of the air raid distress fund.
“I have decided, so far as it is possible to decide in these uncertain times,” said the Mayor, “that this shall be the only appeal by me to the inhabitants of Swindon during my year of office, and I am sure everyone will support me in the decision I have made by contributing generously.”
Funds raised locally would be made available for local distribution should the need arise, the Mayor explained.

The pupils of Miss Wendy Plaister, the GWR Juvenile Players and Mrs Parson’s junior choir took part in a fund raising concert at the Playhouse.
“A crowded house, which included the Mayor of Swindon (Ald. F.E. Allen), who was accompanied by the Mayoress, saw a colourful and entertaining show,” reported the Advertiser.
The matinee concert was in aid of the Mayoress of Swindon’s and the GWR Staff Joint Comfort’s Fund.
Miss Plaister’s pupils gave a series of dancing specialities called ‘The Art of Dance.’ Pictured left to right are Audrey Selman, Jill Anthony, Barbara Hall, Barbara Foulds and Barbara Martin.

Defending his title for the sixteenth time, heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis emerged victorious following a hard fought battle against contender Tony Musto when referee Arthur Donovan stopped the fight in the ninth round.
Musto had taken a battering during which it appeared ‘he would rather be slaughtered than give in,’ according to the Advertiser.
But Louis didn’t have it all his own way, and it was debated whether the champion had lost some of his deadliness as this was the second time within a month that an opponent was still standing after a few rounds.

Traditionally the most popular season in the year, Easter weddings were at an all time low in Swindon in 1941. Swindon Register Office blamed difficulties in obtaining leave as one of the reasons for the fall in Easter weddings this year. 
One couple who bucked the trend was Lance Corporal Raymond H. Gardiner of Broadway, Gloucestershire who married Iris Coker, elder daughter of Mr and Mrs Edward Coker of Long Brendon House, Kingshill Road at Clifton Street Methodist Church.  Following the ceremony a  reception was held in the adjoining schoolroom.

A Swindon man collapsed in the street on his way home from a shop in Kent Road after buying a newspaper.  Alfred Ernest Evans, 56 of 26 Ashford Road collapsed in the gutter.  Police Constable Stevens, who was in his front room at the time, heard the man fall and ran out to give assistance, but Mr Evans died in his arms.  Mr Evans was a bachelor and had been living with his sister.

Five little piggies had apparently lost their way home when Police Constable Carter found them in Portsmouth Street backsides.
John Singer of 29 Gordon Road told Swindon Borough Police Court that he had left the sow secured but she must have got away and opened the door.
When asked, Constable Carter confirmed that the sow and her five piglets had proved difficult to catch.  Mr Singer was fined 10s.

Mr W. Franklin, school manager and member of the Herring Trust, presented the Herring Trust Prize to Miss Pansy Crumpler of 106 Kingsdown Road at the Upper Stratton Senior School.  The Herring Trust award was presented annually for proficiency, good behaviour and attendance.  Along with Pansy, winners in 1941 included William Furze, Trevor Lancaster, Henry Iles, Barbara Scriven and Eunice Melsom.

1 comment:

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