Salvage and savings were encouraged by the government to aid the war effort. Poems, ditties and catch phrases are recalled that were chanted by the children engaged in raising savings. Time has eroded the memory of the complete text but the following are recalled:-
“ Rawlapindi is sunk and Hood
Come make these losses doubly good
By the guns that blazed on Jervis Bay
Give us the ships we need today “
Also partly remembered was the following:-
“One day little Albert Ramsbottom
To see how much money he had got
Stuck a knife in his money box
And wriggled and fished out the lot
It came to one shilling and ninepence
Which he found with a few simple sums
Was fortytwo ha'penny suckers
Or twentyone packets of gums"
The shortage of raw materials from normal sources gave impetus to salvage drives. Eton U.D.C co-operating with Windsor, supported a two-week salvage campaign organised by Buckinghamshire C.C., aimed to collect fifty tons. Eton and Eton Wick set out to collect 10 tons of paper, metals, rags and bones, rubber and bottles and jars and surpassed their aim ending the two weeks with a total of 22 tons. The combined total collected was a staggering 140 tons The salvage of books was set at 4500 but the target was exceeded by 2000, Eton Wick contributing 1554.
Though in poor health, Mr Chew, with the help of Miss Morris and the Guides organized the successful salvage drive at Eton Wick. The Guides had been entered for a Rally but they withdrew from this when it became known that Mr Chew was depending upon them. Boys of the village did not have the same loyalty as only Harry Prior jnr and Briddles with two others gave help, transporting the collection by the loan of a horse and cart.
Enthusiasm of Girl Guide salvage collectors was such that if it was not screwed down, on to the cart it went. A competition for the best poster was arranged for children attending local Elementary Schools. Prizes were given by the Salvage Committee, the winning exhibits displayed by Messrs Spottiswoode at their shop in Eton High Street. Winning entries received prizes given by the Salvage Committee. No.2 Bell Cottage, Bell Lane became the village salvage collecting centre having been lent to the Waste Utilization Committee there the waste paper and scrap metal was sorted to await collection.
Increasing night activity by the German Luftwaffe during the months of April and May and into June kept the local anti-aircraft batteries alert as the enemy commenced their reprisal ‘Baedeker Raids’ on the cathedral cities of Norwich, York, Canterbury, Bath (25, 26, 27th), and Exeter (May3-4)¹. This activity also brought broken nights sleep to the village inhabitants as German and RAF planes passed over Slough - Windsor on the way to their respective targets.
This is an extract from Round and About Eton Wick: 1939 - 1945. The book was researched, written and published in 2001 by John Denham.
Note 1 John Denham's wife Betty live in Exeter between 1932 and 1951.