Thursday 9 April 2020

World War 2 Eighty Years On - April 1940

Salvage Drive Poster
Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum
Royal Navy, RAF and an Army Expeditionary Force were sent to help the Norwegians only to be evacuated at the end of April with heavy losses. Increasing air activity by the German Luftwaffe over southern England. prompted the Bucks A.R.P. service to make arrangements for a better equipped wardens post in the village.  Application was made to use the uninhabited No.1 Bell Cottage, the ARP undertaking the re-enforcement of the building together with the removal of the protection and all equipment after the war. 

No 2 Bell Cottage had already been lent to the Waste Utilization Committee as a wastepaper and the scrap metal dump. Paper, cardboard, household aluminum and scrap iron, all had salvage value to the war effort.  With the help of the Scouts and Cubs, Guides and Brownies, the Schools, Women’s Institute and others the village collection of salvage, managed by Councilor Mr. A. Chew, became a profitable operation. To make the collection more efficient a local farmer lent a horse and cart. If it was not screwed down on to the cart it went such was the enthusiasm of the collectors. 

A government order of 1941 allowed for the requisition of iron gates and railings from public and private property. Palmers Place, Hardings Cottages along with other village properties lost their garden wall decorative rails.

A photograph Eton Wick Road from 1910 showing railings.
Blackout problems at the Village Hall

With no blackout arrangements available and used by the L.C.C. School during the day the village hall was not available for recreational purposes. Obtaining material from Bruce and Lumb of Slough the village hall working party made the requisite curtains, but these when finished were inadequate for the purpose due to the poor quality of the material, therefore no dances or other evening activities took place during the winter months. This curtailment on the use of the hall, also the decline in club registers as members volunteered or were conscripted to the forces or other war work reduced the hall finances. The flower show committee had every confidence and they continued making arrangements for the 58th Horticultural Show on August Bank holiday held at the Wheatbutts. The possibility of air activity over the area was to be no deterrent to Major Dabson, committee chairman with committee members Mr Kemp and Mr Laverty,    

Where censorship allowed the Windsor and Eton Express reported all aspects of local happenings, some serious others humorous. This incident between the village policeman and local farmer has both ingredients.

Following a report of straying horses and the non-burial of dead animals, P.C Raynor visited Manor Farm, Eton Wick, then tenanted by Farmer Urquart. Farmer and policeman did not meet on friendly terms and the outcome was not peaceful, Farmer Urquart when approached took an aggressive attitude with P.C. Raynor. With much argument the meeting ended abruptly with P.C. Raynor suffering the indignity of having a bucket of milk poured over him. For his outburst the farmer was prosecuted and fined £4-10s.

Similar view of Eton Wick Road July 2019 courtesy of Google Maps.
In the intervening 109 years the road has been realigned,
cars and street lighting have arrived and the commercial
heart of the village has moved further west.

This is an extract from Round and About Eton Wick: 1939 - 1945. The book was researched, written and published in 2001 by John Denham. 

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