Wednesday 24 January 2024

World War 2 - January 1944

The American bombers flying over the village on their return from daylight raids at times showed signs of battle with the damage plainly visible to those watching; occasionally debris was seen to fall from the bombers. The coloured recognition flares of the day were fired by the low flying and crippled aircraft to ensure their safety from the anti-aircraft guns. Unidentified allied aircraft could and did invite attention from local Ack-Ack Batteries. 

Four years of war had brought a dwindling supply of non-essential goods to the shops. Caleys of Windsor, in an endeavour to overcome the difficulty, placed advertisements in the local paper offering to buy good quality second hand jewellery, silverware, leather goods, good toys, perambulators, carpets, and furniture.  

The Eton U.D.C. chairman spoke of the acute shortage of administration and maintenance people which made it difficult to maintain many public services such as maintenance to roads and footpaths which had declined since the beginning of the war. The proposal to amalgamate offices, such as the Ministry of Food in Eton with Slough, were not welcomed by local housewives who complained it would be inconvenient. After joining Slough, the Eton food office remained open for two days a week. Complaints to the council Surveyor from mothers who were finding it difficult to push a pram through one path which had become overgrown and was half the original width and also of the damage done by people who rode their hacks on the paths instead of the road brought no firm answer. The Surveyor replied that the matter would be looked into, but it must be realized that it was difficult to obtain labour and materials for those jobs that were not directly connected to the war effort. 

The Council Medical Officer reported on the virulent influenza epidemic that had swept the country during the winter, confirming that the outbreak was subsiding locally, and the worst was now over. He also spoke of an Eton College boy, who had been given permission to pursue his hobby of bird watching at the Slough Sewage farm and was attacked by a family of Coypu. The boy had lashed out at the animal and killed it by kicking it in the head. These large rat like animals were thought to have escaped from a fur farm in Henley in 1935 and established themselves on the streams around the Cippenham area.  

Salvage of many materials was still important in 1944 and Eton U.D.C. took the decision to continue the collection of wastepaper at Eton Wick, previously carried out under the supervision of Mr Chew. Fifty pounds had been raised from the salvage operation and the

monies were invested in National Savings. The saving certificates, purchased on behalf of the council, were in the names of the late Mr Chew and the Surveyor. 

Much of the salvage collected early in the war, such as household aluminium pots and pans and railings taken from public parks and private houses, was of poor quality and of little use to the war industries so was left lying in dumps. The Surveyor when commenting on the salvage situation said the council had a beautiful collection of salvaged bottles that could not be disposed of so the collection had been discontinued.

Light iron was also a problem and no more was collected, but as Eton had a baler, the collection of tin cans continued. Iron garden gates and railings had been taken away in 1940 by council salvage teams. It is alleged that a local resident buried his ornamental gates in a field to save them from the salvage.

Friday January 21st.               

A mixed force of approximately four hundred enemy aircraft, including heavy bombers, raided London. Ack-Ack* Batteries stationed in the Slough - Windsor locality went into action with very heavy gunfire and a similar raid followed on the night of 29-30th, again followed by heavy gunfire from the local Ack-Ack* Batteries. Night raids on London over the next few weeks brought more heavy AA fire from the surrounding gun sites. At least one shot down enemy aircraft was claimed by 608 Battery whilst stationed in this area. Much later a rumour was circulating amongst the battery troops that it had been a Canadian plane which forced landed with no-one badly hurt. The crew said after flying through the Flak of Germany and back ours was the most accurate. The last raid on London known as the Little Blitz was on the night of April 18th, 1944.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting , Thankyou for posting