The contents on this page remain on our website for informational purposes only.
Content on this page will not be reviewed or updated.

© John Taylor. 2007.

As told in Bletchley at War, Volume 1, discontent amongst elements of the code breaking staff had caused a number of the personnel to meet at the Shoulder of Mutton, in Bletchley, and compose a letter stating their grievances. This was duly delivered to No. 10, Downing Street, and not surprisingly the intelligence hierarchy was far from pleased when news arrived of this unauthorised action. Nevertheless, all the needs were rapidly met but within a few weeks discontent again began to stir, and the head of the Secret Service appointed an independent investigator, General K. Martin, a former deputy director of military intelligence, to get to the root of the problem. With his report complete by February, 1942 ruthless measures followed, and indeed the director of G.C.&C.S. was replaced by an ex-naval commander. He was given the title of Director General of the Government Communications Headquarters, as the new name for the organisation, and from thereon the dissension diminished. In fact apart from being the venue for the initial meeting that caused this change, the Shoulder of Mutton also accommodated throughout the war two of the key personnel engaged at Bletchley Park, who were admirably looked after by the amiable landlady, Mrs. Bowden. Originally from Torquay, she had met her future husband - a butler - whilst in domestic service, and shortly after their marriage in 1907 the couple moved to Bletchley where, with an interesting association with Bletchley Park, they would be employed for ten years by Sir Herbert Leon.

Bletchley Park had by now become established as an essential part of the war effort, and of the staff employed, the W.R.N.S. contingent, (known as H.M.S. Pembroke V from December 1942), had first arrived on March 24th, 1941 in ‘civvies’, since the factory making the uniforms had been bombed. As the code breaking operations expanded, so the question of accommodation for the increasing number of personnel accordingly assumed an ongoing urgency and in February, 1942, as a possible solution Peter Loxley, the Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, discussed with the relevant authorities the possibility of immediately taking over Woburn Abbey. However, for the meanwhile this was deemed impractical.

By September, 1941 the German army signals had been more extensively understood, and regular decrypts became available from April, 1942. However, regarding the naval intelligence matters were less euphoric following the introduction in February of a separate Enigma key - the so called 4 rotor Enigma - which, as implied by the name, used four thinner wheels, in place of the previous three. This code was known by the British as ‘Shark’, and by the Germans as ‘Triton’, and with little progress made into breaking the code the U Boat crisis was further compounded when on April 23rd the first ‘milch cow’, U459, delivered fuel and supplies to U boats at sea, so enabling them to double their operational range. Even worse, the Germans had broken British Naval Cypher 3, and throughout 1942 would be able to read the instructions relayed to convoys. Indeed, the loss of merchant shipping became so critical that Whitehall directed an urgent plea to Bletchley Park, asking them to concentrate, as a matter of absolute priority, on the U Boat code. In fact there was an imminent danger that losses of merchant ships and men could not be replaced, and such was the havoc being wreaked by the 249 U Boats that from a figure of 327,000 tons of shipping sunk in January, the statistic for November was 721,000.

As told in the book ‘Bletchley Park’s Secret Sisters’, even the ‘black’ propaganda organisation, operating from premises in the countryside near to Bletchley Park, was asked to assist, and in response began a new and specific ‘black broadcast’ radio station, aimed especially at the U Boat crews. Yet in some respects more substantial progress was being made, and when in August, 1942 the staff in Hut 8 at Bletchley Park discovered the key of the German Mediterranean surface fleet, through consequent action by the British Field Marshal Rommel began to lose almost a quarter of his supplies, being sent to North Africa via the Mediterranean. In a further cause for optimism, Hut 6 was now regularly breaking the ‘Chaffinch’ key of the German army in Africa, and since this revealed the nature of their cargo, enemy ships could now be selectively sunk.

Monitoring the German wireless signals, five widely spaced interception sites provided the raw data for Bletchley Park, and the most important became that of the R.A.F. ‘Y’ service at Chicksands Priory, Bedfordshire, which had been slightly damaged by bombing in 1940. Equipped with ultra sensitive aerials, the site lay conveniently near to the R.A.F. Radio Communications School at R.A.F. Henlow, and from August W.A.A.F.s became part of the personnel.

At Bletchley Park, in September the Japanese Section, which comprised a staff of about 40, under Hugh Foss, moved the short distance from ‘Elmers’, a former school, to firstly a new building in Bletchley Park, and then later to Hut 7. Yet despite the code breaking achievements of the British, the situation could have been catastrophic when on September 11th the Germans captured a Royal Navy gunboat, aboard which documents and charts contained information that could have only been revealed by Ultra. Fortunately the Germans missed the significance, and took no action.

As further good fortune, changes to the convoy code had now eased the losses of merchant shipping, and in addition on October 30th, 1942, off Port Said H.M.S. Petard had disabled U559, commanded by Kptlt. Hans Heidtmann. This enabled the recovery of not only the four rotor Enigma but also invaluable documents, although the mission was not without cost, for two of the naval personnel tragically died in the endeavour. In continuing progress, efforts to speed up the code breaking process would now lead to the investigation of electronic valves as a means to replace the slower mechanical relays, and this was a move that would eventually found the development of the first programmable electronic computers.

By now Bletchley Park was reading some 4,000 German decrypts a day, plus a lesser number of Italian and Japanese, and from December 13th decrypted messages regarding U boat activity became available. This lead to a corresponding and noticeable reduction in the number of Allied vessels being sunk, but this was fortunately attributed by the Germans to information obtained by a spy-ring operating at the U Boat bases in Occupied France. Yet although there was no spy-ring at the U boat bases, there was a Soviet spy operating at Bletchley Park, for during the year - clad in the uniform of an army staff captain - the Glaswegian John Cairncross came to work as an editor in Hut 3, dealing with air intelligence intercepts. In fact he would then stay at Bletchley Park until the summer of 1943, when transferred to a position in MI6. Having been admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, in October, 1934, Cairncross would be taught by Anthony Blunt, who perhaps with a practised eye soon appreciated his ‘potential’ for treachery. In fact Blunt also had subversive dealings with another Cambridge graduate, Leo Long, who was employed as an officer in M114, the German section of the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Mainly he would deal with assessments of the strength and organisation of the German army, whilst subsections of the department monitored enemy intelligence. The offices were accommodated in a bomb proof basement in Central London, and here teleprinters constantly chattered out the information arriving from the Bletchley Park code breakers. This then formed the basis of the information passed by Long to Blunt, at meetings arranged in snack bars or pubs.

Apart from the Enigma traffic, the code breakers at Bletchley Park also had to contend with the signals of Hitler’s High Command which, using a machine known as the ‘Secret Writer’, or ‘Fish’, as the name applied by Bletchley Park, employed a more complex means of encipherment. The existence of the coding machine had first been revealed to G.C.&C.S. by the Secret Intelligence Service and, under a team headed by Max Newman, after an initial break made during the previous year, in December, 1942 orders were given to begin intensive research into means of breaking the code. The extremely advanced machinery necessary to deal with the problem would be subsequently manufactured, and in the methods to mechanise and automate this analysis Alan Turing became instrumental. Given Turing’s eccentric ways, perhaps it was therefore not surprisingly that the Wrens tasked to operate the apparatus would soon refer to the machine as ‘Robinson’, after the eccentric inventor, Heath Robinson.

Towards the end of 1942 the continuing decrypts of the air force Enigma disclosed that various German air force units had returned to France, and with the formation of bomber groups this anticipated the re-launch of air attacks against Britain from January, 1943. In fact the campaign would last for the first half of that year but more optimistically the decrypted intelligence also revealed the difficulties that were now beginning to affect the Luftwaffe, especially a shortage of manpower.

However, this was unfortunately a fate that would also befall the Bletchley code breakers, for on February 27th, 1943, the death occurred of Alfred Dilwyn Knox, the country’s chief cryptographer. He and his team of about 15 women occupied a brick building which, having possibly once been a coachman’s house, backed onto Elmers, and in one of their achievements in March, 1941 the team had broken a message of the Italian naval code which read ‘Today’s the day minus three.’ In subsequent decrypts a plan to ambush British convoys from Egypt to Greece was revealed, and the information from the code breakers duly allowed the Mediterranean Fleet to take the Italians by surprise, and sink three heavy cruisers and two destroyers at the Battle of Matapan.

In 1915 Alfred, the son of the Bishop of Manchester, had joined the staff of ‘Room 40’, where during World War One selected personnel at the Admiralty Old Building were engaged on the breaking of German codes. In fact they achieved great success, and even deciphered the Zimmermann telegram, which crucially brought America into the war. Alfred developed his cryptographic talents by the somewhat unorthodox technique of contemplating complex problems whilst lying in a bath, swathed in the essential swirl of ‘soap and steam’, and possibly Miss Olive Roddam, his secretary, also found the atmosphere steamy, for they were married soon after the war. When World War Two broke out, Alfred then again indulged his watery eccentricities and oblivious to everything nearly flooded the bathroom at his Bletchley lodgings! Despite Alfred’s untimely death, the code breaking at Bletchley Park continued and as his successor, Alan Turing would now shoulder the burdens. However, the pressures would be somewhat lessened when from decrypts of the U Boat traffic it was realised that the convoy code was insecure, with it then being discontinued from June, 1943.

With the ongoing need to accommodate the thousands of people now employed at Bletchley Park, already Walton Hall, Crawley Grange, Wavendon House, Gayhurst Manor, and Crawley Rectory had been requisitioned but despite the remoteness of these rural locations, most still occasionally suffered the disconcerting attention of stray enemy bombs, with one instance being that of a device which fell through a hayrick at Fenhill Farm, Wavendon, but failed to explode. Bombs would also fall in the vicinity of Woburn Abbey, where from July members of the W.R.N.S. would now be billeted. Whilst the conditions of their accommodation left much to be desired, at least the personnel could appreciate the stately grandeur, although the heritage proved less appealing at night, whenever the girls patrolled the eerie passages when detailed for fire watching duties. In fact one girl declared that she had even seen a shadowy figure pass through a window from the monk’s graveyard! As for more earthly mysteries, breaking the fundamentals of the ‘Secret Writer’ code now seemed possible using ‘Robinson’, and permission was granted to design and produce a more efficient machine at the Post Office Research Centre. With the engineering team lead by ‘Tommy’ Flowers, in the interests of speed his was the idea to employ a multitude of thyratron valves, instead of mechanical relays, and the consequent problem of reliability was solved by leaving the valves constantly switched on. Valves, however, were in short supply for as the Chairman of Radio Rentals had said, ‘the demand for our service is, of course, far beyond anything with which we can cope’, but despite all the obstacles, in 1943 Hut F at Bletchley Park became home to the world’s first electronic computer, Colossus Mark 1. Rather interestingly, apart from the code breaking capabilities the machine had the added advantage that because of the heat generated by the valves, when conditions became unbearable some of the W.R.N.S. operators stripped down to bra and briefs to continue working!

Later in the year, many personnel were transferred to ‘RA.F. Church Green’, a new camp adjoining Bletchley Park, and Ultra now assumed an even greater importance gleaning intelligence regarding Hitler’s secret ‘V’ weapon programme which, lessening the need for manned bombers, intended to wreak devastation by means of high explosive or Sarin nerve gas. However, the secret of Bletchley Park could have been compromised when on January 5th, 1944 the Abwehr captured Colonel Bertrand, the French Intelligence Chief, who, from a secret base in a remote French chateau, had furnished Bletchley Park with much intelligence, gathered mainly from line taps on the main telephone routes to Berlin. He was arrested at the Basilica Sacre Coeur during a rendezvous with an agent to collect a radio set, but fortunately he made a ‘deal’ with his captors, and escaping with his wife was eventually flown out of Occupied Territory by the British in a Lysander 3 aircraft.

In preparation for the D Day landings, in January, 1944, a programme of modernisation and expansion began at Bletchley Park, and by now two main ‘Fish’ exchanges were known to the British - one for the eastern, and one for the western front. Ten additional and improved models of Colossus were duly ordered by the Government and being ready just before D Day the first, Colossus Mark 11, enabled the ‘Jellyfish’ cipher to be read between the German Supreme Headquarters and the headquarters of the German commander in chief in the west, Von Runstedt. So began a spectacularly successful code breaking operation, which thereon drew the best talent not only from the other huts but also from the mathematical world. Indeed, information decoded by Bletchley Park proved essential in tracking the movement of German mine laying ships, and thus the Allies were able to effectively clear the Channel, and so lose only one ship of the Invasion fleet to enemy mines on D Day.

As for Alan Turing, with his invaluable contribution now having been made, he became increasingly involved with Hanslope Park, and in the late summer of 1944 he gave up his lodgings with Mrs. Ramshaw, at Shenley Brook End, and transferred to a room on the top floor of the mansion at Hanslope, later moving to a cottage in the walled kitchen garden. Via a large antenna near Eindhoven the Germans were routinely monitoring ‘scrambler’ telephone calls across the Atlantic, and at Hanslope Turing’s task was to now begin work on a speech encipherment system, appropriately known - in perhaps more ways than one - as ‘Delilah’, the deceiver of men.

Meanwhile, at Bletchley Park the urgent activities had prompted the requisition in August of Stockgrove Park as additional accommodation for the W.R.N.S., and the following month an office known as NID 12A was then set up at the Operational Intelligence Centre at the Admiralty, London, to improve co-ordination between the Admiralty and the code breakers.

In November since the civilian café was now unable to continue supplying meals for Service personnel, it was decided to open a W.R.N.S. café at Bletchley Park which, staffed by W.R.N.S. officers, cooks, and stewards, would provide meals for all the Naval personnel. Ongoing since 1941, hopefully the complaints would therefore come to an end regarding ‘a smoke nuisance’ from the chimney of a canteen belonging to ‘a Government Department’, and although there had been a temporary abatement of the trouble following informal representations to the engineer in charge of the stoking plant, nevertheless ‘the matter is being further pressed.’




The New Year now offered those youngsters completing their education various opportunities for employment, perhaps for a girl aged 14 to 16 as a drapery assistant at A. G. Cowlishaw, of Aylesbury Street, or a ‘keen youth’, aged 14 to 17, for radio servicing work, and accumulator charging, at Weatherhead’s, of 73, Bletchley Road. Meanwhile, the railway could provide clerical vacancies for several boys ‘of good education’, aged 14½ to 17½ , and the London Central Meat Co., in Bletchley Road, needed a smart youth, or lady, as an assistant.

As for those youngsters continuing their education, at the re-opening of the Bletchley Road Senior School on Tuesday, January 6th the times of assembly and dismissal had been altered ‘to assist in combating Black-out conditions’, and in the mornings assembly would now be at 9.15a.m., dismissal at 12.15p.m., with afternoon assembly at 1.45p.m. and dismissal 3.45p.m. However, regarding arrangements for the new time table, these had to be cancelled, since three of the teachers had left, or were otherwise absent. Soon new charges for the Senior School canteen would be introduced, costed at 1s 8d for the first child of a family, 1s 3d for the second, and 10d for any others, and as a further inconvenience heavy snowfalls, and the associated disorganisation of the railways and school buses, meant that for both pupils and staff, attendance would become invariably erratic during the following days. However, with the Secondary School Entrance Exam Schedules having been forwarded on January 9th, 67 pupils would still take the practice exam at 10a.m. on February 5th - despite the absence of 17 candidates - and with the actual exam undertaken on March 20th, this would mark the occasion for a school holiday except, of course, for those pupils sitting the papers!

Meanwhile, progress was ongoing at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Hall nursery school where, aged between two and three quarters and four and a half, 18 ‘fresh’ children were presently attending, whilst, elsewhere, the Bletchley Road Junior School had reopened at 9.15a.m. on Tuesday, January 6th, and apart from Miss Milsom, who was away through illness, all the staff reported for duty. With Mr. William Crisp as the headmaster, Miss Bonham would hold charge of Class 1, Mr. Walter, Class 2, Miss Wing, Class 3, Mrs. Swain, Class IV, Miss Capell, Class V, Miss Fowler, Class VI, Miss Clark, Class VII, and Mrs. Jones, Class VIII.

Proving a great success, a Reading Room at the Senior School opened on February 3rd, and apart from an educational purpose, the Bletchley Road School also provided a venue for various entertainments including, on Friday, February 6th an 8p.m. dance at the Senior Schools. Under the personal direction of Reg Heckford, in aid of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes ‘The Five Rhythmists’ provided the music but, of more intellectual pursuits, a Bletchley Brains Trust, arranged on the format of the B.B.C. programme, then occupied the platform one Tuesday evening at the Baptist Young People’s Fellowship meeting. The question master, Mr. E. Staniford, firstly gave a potted biography of each team member, and amongst the many questions were included gems such as ‘Is psychology science or Tommy-rot?’ and ‘Why is the 4.40 from Wolverton always late?’!

With the wintry weather continuing, many children were now absent through illness, as were also several teachers, and at the Bletchley Road Senior School the problem became potentially compounded when, from the Secretary of Education, the headmaster received instructions that either Miss Dorothy Robinson, or Miss Alice Townsend, the L.C.C. teachers, would be transferred to another school. Following a meeting at the Education Office, Aylesbury, on talking over the matter the proposal was then supposedly abandoned, yet on April 1st Miss Robinson, who lived at 65, Eaton Avenue, would nevertheless be transferred to the L.C.C. Junior School, with her position at the Senior School remaining unfilled.

For whatever reasons, some children found attending class a traumatic experience and, towards the end of February, one Tuesday morning Jean Ward, aged 13, left her home at 38, Saffron Street to go to school, but had not been seen since. The mystery then deepened when, the following morning, her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Bedford, with whom she had been staying, received a telegram despatched from Stony Stratford, which contained the message ‘Don't Worry. Jean.’ Subsequent sightings of Jean were reported at transport cafes in Potterspury and Towcester, and it later transpired that, unable to face attending school, she had walked to Stony Stratford and hitched a lift to Northampton station. With her destination being the home of her grandmother, in Peterborough, having only a penny in her possession she had been given the remainder of the fare by a fellow passenger on the bus, and Jean’s grandmother then finally resolved the anxieties by sending a letter, stating that the girl had arrived safe and well.

With the Education Committee seeking approval for the recent awards of the Burnham Committee, at a lengthy meeting of the Council, at the end of February teachers’ salaries became a subject of discussion. This was in respect of the war allowances for teachers, which were to date from April 1st, 1941, and although, for the Finance Committee, Mr. R. Hazell said that he was ‘morally obliged’ to accept the Burnham Award, the Committee felt that since there might be unfortunate comparisons with the war bonuses for the rest of the staff, they could not go as far back as that. He therefore recommended the date of January 1st, 1942, and with the original scheme consequently rejected by 21 votes to 33, the recommendation of the Finance Committee was accepted. Thereby, the increases would date from January 1942, being £26p.a. for men on salaries up to £262 10s, and £13p.a. on salaries exceeding that, and up to £525. As for women - it being ordained during the year that, unless they undertook teaching, they could not remain at University - the corresponding rise would be £19 10s and £10 6s. Yet towards the end of May, the Bucks County Council would then reverse the decision, and instead agree to adopt the full Burnham Award, as dated from April 1st, 1941!

Aiding the war effort, children of Bletchley Road Senior School now began a salvage drive, and the main part of the town being divided into groups, each group would appoint an ‘official collector’. Having been approved by the school parliament, the scheme was rapidly put into action by the school captain, Alan Kay, with sacks then obtained from the U.D.C. offices. Also assisting the war effort, boys aged between 14 and 17 were required as messengers in the A.R.P. Service, and, stating if they owned a cycle, or could ride a motorcycle, candidates were invited to apply to the Council Offices. The industrious pupils of the Bletchley Road Senior School were again active from Tuesday, March 17th to Thursday, March 19th when, raising over £100, at 7.15p.m. they staged a concert in the Hall. A third of the proceeds were applied for ‘Warship Week’, and the remainder would help ‘to secure educational amenities not provided for by the County authorities.’ Also in the Senior School Hall, arranged by the Parents Association, a Saturday dance then raised £23 for the Help For Russia Fund, the Modernist Dance Band from Buckingham providing their services free of charge.

Continuing until April 14th, the Easter school holiday commenced on April 1st, although shortly afterwards one of the Junior School teachers would be absent with blood poisoning. A few weeks later a further absence then occurred, although this time with official blessing, when on June 9th Miss Fowler was given leave to attend the Education Authorities conference on Russia.

Throughout the town, various entertainments helped to maintain the general morale, and with music provided by the Melody Makers Band, a dance held in the Bletchley Road Senior School Hall, on Saturday, April 11th aimed to raise money for both the Junior and Senior Schools. The staff combined to help with the refreshments, and, including a junior competition, under the auspices of the Educational Committee of the Bletchley & District Co-op, for the young and old of the town instructive pursuits were offered when, from 3p.m. to 8p.m., the Bletchley Artists Group Exhibition took place on April 24th, 25th and 26th. Opened at the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, by Mr. J. Goodwin, Chairman of the Education Committee, and President of the Society, the display contained around 150 paintings, drawings and poster work, and examples were included by Mr. L. A. Grainger-Cox, sketches by Mr. A. Perry, (who in normal employment was a ticket collector at Bletchley Station), and an interesting painting of St. Martin’s church, dated around 1813, on loan from Mr. A. Duffield. In addition, members of 456 A.T.C. Bletchley Squadron displayed detailed scale models of aircraft, and, with admission being by programme - priced 6d - the proceeds of £21 were duly applied for the local Red Cross weekly fund.

By now the ‘Registration of Boys’ and Girls’ Order 1941’ had come into force, and perhaps helped to quell such annoyances wrought by rebellious youth as the damage caused to the Pavilion, on the Albert Street football ground. Following a complete renovation by the Bletchley Youth Committee, this proved of especial frustration, and it was possibly just as well that several local residents now possessed an understanding of human psychology, gained through their completion of the first year of a three year course given by Mr. A. L. Gordon Mackay, M.A., M.Econ., M.Lit. In fact, despite having to travel each time from Oxford, he had missed only one occasion, and, ending on Thursday, April 2nd the lectures had been arranged by the Bletchley Tutorial Class, under the Workers Educational Association. Founded in 1904 by, amongst others, Albert Mansbridge, this organisation intended ‘to assist the co-ordination and expansion of the contemporary voluntary means for adult education’, and, under the direction of Mr. W. Williams, during World War Two, from August, 1941 a programme of weekly compulsory briefing sessions were held, of the Army Bureau of Current Affairs. As a welcome departure from military routine, at these servicemen were encouraged to discuss post war problems, with the lecturers, (as also booklets entitled ‘Current Affairs’), being supplied by the W.E.A.

As for nourishing the body, as opposed to the mind, at the end of March a request was refused by Bucks. Education Committee from B.U.D.C., to give up land adjoining the Senior School for allotments, and they instead decreed that the crops would be grown for use in the school canteens. Indeed, in a letter of March 31st from D.E. Cooke, the Secretary for Education for the Bucks. County Education Committee, replying to the Council’s request he emphasised that it ‘is used as an essential part of the Scheme for rural instruction in the north of the County and cannot be spared from this Scheme, without upsetting the balance very considerably.’ However, a considerable part would be used to increase the potato supply for the school canteen, and arrangements for ploughing on behalf of the school were being directly made with Mr. Johnson, the Chairman of the Council’s War-time Domestic Food Production Committee.

As the year progressed, apart from the issue on May 11th of instructions to the teachers, that each day gas mask drill should be taken immediately after prayers, the realities of war became tragically apparent when news arrived regarding several ex pupils of Bletchley Road Senior School. They, following the fall of Singapore, were now posted as missing in Malaya, and amongst the number was Gunner Geoffrey Chew, aged 22, of 21, Aylesbury Street who, having previously as his first job worked at the local Sketchley branch, had joined the Royal Artillery two years ago. He joined up with Gunner Ronald Bowler, aged 24, of 3, Manor Road, formerly a lorry driver at the London Road garage, whilst Gunner Ronald White, of 164, Simpson Road, had also joined the Royal Artillery two years ago. As for Gunner Douglas Cresswell, aged 24, of 72, Victoria Road, he enlisted in 1939, from a previous employment at the brickyard.

Of more local immediate concern was the danger of the crossing at Trees Square, in Old Bletchley. This was extensively used by about 30 children from two schools, and since a car had only a few days before knocked down a five and a half year old girl, the police were now asked to carry out point duty at midday, and also during those afternoon periods when the schools closed. Again on safety matters, the Highways Committee reported that, as a wartime measure, to help the schoolchildren the double doors erected on the boundary fence of the Social Centre swung outwards, onto the footpath to the Leon Rec. However, in fastening the doors those concerned were told that they must accept responsibility, and liability, for any accident that befell either passers by or the schoolchildren, and it was also suggested that at the end of hostilities the owners should be asked to pay ‘way leave’, of 1s p.a., for using the doors, which would be altered to swing inwards. Then, in a further measure occasioned by the wartime conditions, despite the salvage drives it was now decided to leave the cast iron main gates of the school in place, so forming a barrier to prevent the children from running into the road.

During the previous April, the schoolchildren of Bletchley Road Senior School had adopted the vessel ‘S.S. Chelwood’, not so much as a wartime measure but more as ‘a means of making textbook geography brighter and more realistic.’ The ship being presently engaged on coastal trips, during May members of the crew then wrote to the pupils describing their work, and the places they visited, and, in return, the pupils supplied knitted woollens and collected magazines and books. Amongst the crew they unsurprisingly had their own ‘heroes’, and no doubt these especially included the two gunners who received official awards for their part, the previous December, in destroying an enemy bomber. A few weeks later the captain and crew then presented the pupils with the case of a shell used in this action, and also a cup inscribed ‘To the pupils of Bletchley Road Senior School, from the crew of SS Chelwood’. Suitably termed the Chelwood Cup, this - to be competed for by the various houses of the school - would then be presented on Friday, June 19th on behalf of the ship by Mr. E. Cook, the headmaster. Also assisting members of the Forces, at Old Bletchley, St. Mary’s School raised £12 for the Overseas League Tobacco Fund by holding, one Tuesday, a social evening and competition, which included novelty games organised by the Scouts and Cubs of the Old Bletchley Group. A short musical programme had been arranged by the headmistress, Mrs. Bailey, with the community singing lead by the children.

During the Whitsun holiday, which commenced May 22nd, amongst several premises in the town both the Bletchley Road Infants School and the evacuated school, on the Bletchley Park estate, were broken into. Locks having been broken, and money and keys stolen, at one of the schools across the blackboard a thief had scrawled ‘Why don’t you leave some money in this dump?’, and the thefts were not discovered until Monday, when the teachers found themselves unable to unlock their desks. Money, collected during the previous three weeks by the children, had been emptied from a Red Cross box at the Bletchley Road Infants School, and, containing £22 10s, on Wednesday, June 3rd a handbag belonging to Miss Burnham, a mistress at the Senior School, was stolen from an unattended classroom. As an outlet for the frustrations of disaffected youth, especially for recreational evenings it was therefore perhaps just as well that the reconditioned sports ground in Albert Street was now being used by youth organisations, and pleasingly the training evenings on the field attracted a good attendance. Even Saturday dances were included amongst the activities, with a dancing class started by Miss M. Brooks, one of the officers of the Central Council of Recreative Physical Training.

At the beginning of June, with entries to be less than 500 words, the Education Committee of the Bletchley & District Co-op announced an Essay Competition on ‘The Development of the Co-operation in our District.’ A first prize of £1 1s would be awarded, with further prizes of 10s 6d for each entry published, and contributions had to be sent to the Secretary, Mrs. Caldwell, of 84, Duncombe Street, by the closing date of August 1st. Perhaps the prize winners might then care to invest their money in the National Savings Association, a mobile cinema van of which would visit the Bletchley Road Senior School on June 10th, with the pupils to be shown films ‘of topical interest’.

At the fifth annual meeting of the Bletchley Road School Parents’ Association, on Thursday, June 4th the Deputy Secretary, Mr. H. Jones, reported that with a microphone installed, every classroom had now been connected to the radio. The membership of the Association having risen since the previous year from 45 to 145, with the Junior School given £19 3s 6d, and the Senior School £37 6s 11d, Mr. W. Crisp, as the President of the Sports Association, announced a current balance of £71, and to increase this reserve by continuing the entertainments was now his stated intention. Indeed, associated with the British Puppet & Model Theatre Guild, concerts were then performed by Bletchley Road Junior School at 7.15p.m. on Monday, June 29th, Tuesday, June 30th and Thursday, July 2nd, and apart from a musical selection performed by the percussion band, a display of P.T. was also given. At the end of the entertainments, having written the plays with Miss E. Clark, to terrific applause Mr. Crisp was then presented with an electric table lamp and a bouquet of flowers, and, acknowledging this recognition, he recalled that by spending 12 years in a slum school in Birmingham, his had been the finest training possible for a teacher. As a further accolade, an appreciative visit had been made on June 30th by Miss Ford, an H.M. Inspector, and Mr. Higg, the Board of Education Inspector, and as continuing good news, the following day a school holiday took place, awarded by the Managers for the excellence of the Secondary Schools Entrance Exam results. 14 pupils had been awarded Special Places, and five qualified for fee paying places.

Following an illness, Miss Workman had now returned to her duties after a five week absence from the town, only to find that, following an inspection of the Eaton Avenue allotments by representatives of the Wartime Allotments Committee, she had been sent a letter by the Clerk of Council. This observed ‘that the bottom end of your private garden adjoining such allotments was overgrown with weeds’, and the Clerk had been directed to write ‘to ask that you could make early arrangements for this portion of your garden to be mown. If these weeds are allowed to seed considerable trouble will be caused to the nearby allotment holders.’ Suitably repentant, on July 8th - on Bucks. County Education Committee notepaper - Miss Workman duly mentioned her recent absence and, although ‘the man who does the garden for me has been ill too’, she hoped that by the end of the week the mowing would be complete.

At a meeting of the Council on July 14th Oliver Wells moved a motion which, being seconded and carried, stated ‘That having regard to the fact that in the past children in the urban district have been denied the right to higher education owing to the poverty of their parents, this Council hereby agrees to make grants in the future in cases which they deem suitable for assistance under the powers conferred by the Education Act, 1921.’ However, a stipulation would be included that the Clerk could not spend a sum exceeding the product of a penny rate. Continuing education was also the theme when the Bucks. County Education Committee advertised for a girl probationer, to generally assist with the work of the nursery class at the Spurgeon Hall. The situation would carry a salary of up to £1 a week, dependent on age, but due to a shortage of teachers in London, during the month Miss D. Robinson, specialising in dramatic art, returned to the Capital, as well as Miss Townsend. With the termination on July 17th of Miss Townsend’s position at the Bletchley Road Senior School, the vacancy was then filled on July 24th by the appointment of Wilfred Rose, who lived at Milton Keynes village.

Representing every youth organisation in the town, in the presence of 200 boys and girls Alderman J. Tarver, Chairman of the Bucks. Education Committee, had opened the Service of Youth Sports Ground on Saturday, July 11th and on the afternoon of July 30th the Bletchley Road Senior School held their annual sports on the playing field. Arranged in the four houses, the school paraded to the ground under the supervision of the teachers and, organised by the Sports Master Mr. A. Jones, and the Games Mistress, Miss E. Dove, the event proved a great success, with the finals being played the following day ‘in lovely weather.’

On the occasion of the repeated win of the Lady Leon Shield, on August 4th at Bletchley Road Senior School, Mr. S. Taylor, headmaster of the L.C.C. evacuated Senior School, presented a trophy to the two captains of Milton House. However, regarding other ‘athletic’ pursuits, these were causing some disquiet, and letters had been sent to the headmaster, and school managers, of the London schools, expressing concern about children hanging onto the iron supports of shop blinds, and rolling balls down the awnings! Yet otherwise the schoolchildren seemed industrious and well behaved and, on August 6th, to witness a performance of percussion band and puppetry, Mrs. J. Martin, an assistant mistress at Adstock Council School, paid a visit to the Bletchley Road Junior School - in fact only a few days after a similar visit by the headmistress of a school at Slough. On August 13th 45 pupils, and three teachers, from the Bletchley Road Senior School then travelled to London, to watch an open air performance in Regents Park of a Midsummer Nights Dream, and a few days later a further 21 pupils, and two teachers, would also attend the production.

The Council now considered three applications for assistance under the Education Act of 1921, although it was resolved that the matter should be considered at a future special meeting. In the meantime, to obtain information on the points variously raised in the discussion, the Clerk would communicate with the Secretary for Education, and Bucks. County Council.

On Friday, August 14th the local schools then closed for a five week holiday, but the children would still retain the use of the buildings for games and outdoor activities, and other children would help out on local farms. However, one schoolboy working at the Bletchley Road School farm suffered a rather unfortunate mishap, when he left his new coat on the wall of a pigsty. On his return, he found that the pigs had eaten it, whereupon his schoolmates pooled together to buy him another!

Hardly an experience that endeared him to animals, for whom, however, one Bletchley resident held an undoubted affection. He was the well known animal painter Mr. H. Sellen who, following the many requests received after the recent art exhibition in the Co-op Hall, had now agreed to the tutorship of the Art Class, inaugurated by the Bletchley & District Co-op Society Education Committee. Enrolment would take place in the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, at 7.15p.m. on Monday, August 17th.

In late August, as a ‘Harvest Camp School’, Bletchley Road Senior School became a temporary hostel for 50 Finchley Grammar School boys, aged between 15 and 18. ‘On loan’ to neighbouring farmers, for two weeks they cycled out each morning to farms within a five mile radius, but for 12 boys aged 12 to 14 they were deemed too young for farmwork, and were instead kept busy in the kitchen. As for the general welfare of the boys, with the assistance of local helpers five masters and a mistress were engaged arranging various games and outings, and, for those pupils who wished to attend, the Education Authority allowed the Junior School to remain open during the holiday. However, on September 11th, due to a disappointing attendance the Secretary of Education then agreed, by telephone, that it would not be necessary for all the staff to remain on duty the following week. They would still report each day, but those who were not required would be sent home. As for Miss Fowler, she had been instructed to report to the Far Bletchley school for a fortnight.

Sadly at this period a well respected former school teacher died, aged 86, at Newport Pagnell. She was Mrs. Maria Fry who, having taught at Old Bletchley Infants school, after her marriage then opened a private school in Church Street, which she continued into her old age. Longevity was also the theme when the Baptists now celebrated the Jubilee of their present church building, which proved the occasion to launch an ambitious scheme for new school premises which, to be commenced after the war, would cost an estimated £5000.

The London evacuees had arrived in Bletchley some two and a half years ago, and among the teaching staff was Mr. S. Taylor, headmaster of the Senior School who, on the very same day, had qualified for retirement! Instead he travelled to Bletchley with the school and, known to all the pupils as ‘Dad’, was, with four masters, including Mr. Jackson, who would become the Head at Mr. Taylor’s eventual retirement, still working for the pupils in their new accommodation at the Park Pavilion. Once settled at Bletchley it seemed that the boys quarrelled less than they did in London, and, assuming an air of responsibility, the older boys tended to now look after and mentor the younger ones. During school time the boys were permitted to work for 20½ days on local farms, and they were also allowed to tend the mostly communal allotments. Cultivating the ground, they sold the produce to their foster parents, and the profits were then spent on seeds and plants for the next season. Those pupils who showed an especial keenness were awarded a plot of their own and, billeted on a farm, one enterprising lad even kept rabbits, which he then sold in the market. Not surprisingly his patch was always ‘covered with green stuff’! In their endeavours the boys proved extremely ingenious, even fashioning a wheelbarrow from a broken school desk, and the rim of an old car wheel, found on a rubbish tip, whilst as for weed cutting, a long curved branch, and a rusty but well sharpened piece of metal - salvaged from the dump - sufficed as a scythe. With the machines and tools acquired through public subscription, the school also provided a shoe mending service to all the evacuees, at a cost to the children that ranged from 1s to nothing, according to the means of the parents, and 450 pairs of footwear had thus been so far repaired

For a summer holiday, many former evacuees, now working in London, had returned to Bletchley, whilst as for the residents, towards the end of September the art class of the Bletchley Co-op Society Education Committee made a good start one Tuesday, when, including several members of the Forces, under the tutorship of Mr. Sellen 23 pupils were enrolled for a seven month course. For the sum of 2s 6d, or 5s, depending on the student’s age, they were provided with drawing equipment, and pencils and paper could also be purchased ‘at cost’. Elsewhere, given by Mr. A. Gordon Mackay, M.A, M.Econ., M.Litt., from October 1st the Workers’ Educational Association then commenced the second year tutorial class in psychology which, held, at 7.30p.m. in the Senior School, in fact became so large in its previous form, that a division would need to be made, with separate lectures provided for those who had not taken the first year course.

With Miss Edith Ford, H.M.I., as the chief guest, and Mr. Tarver, J.P., chairman of the Bucks. County Education Committee, occupying the chair, including the heads of all the L.C.C. evacuated schools there were many distinguished persons present on October 20th, when the annual speech day and prize distribution was held at the Bletchley Road Senior School. Miss C. Morris, of 32, Tavistock Street, being the secretary, this was arranged by the W.E.A. Bletchley Branch, and the School would also accommodate a series of 12 lectures in economics. As for other pursuits, on Mondays, from October 26th at 8p.m. ‘Appreciation of Music’ would be held under the tutorship of Miss J. Chissell, A.R.C.M., G.R.S.M., and on the same day, economics would initially take place at 7.30p.m. With additional sessions proposed in Literature and Philosophy, classes in psychology and social reconstruction would also be forthcoming, and further information could be obtained from Miss H. Page, at the Clinic.

The schools reopened from the mid term holiday on November 4th, and, early in the month anyone with an interest in forming a Poetry Reading Society was invited to contact Margery Still, at ‘Highfields’, Manor Road. In fact regarding the spoken word, Bletchley United Christian Council then announced the visit of Professor Clement Rogers, ‘famous Hyde Park Sunday Speaker, Lecturer and Author’, to St. Martin’s Hall on Friday, November 13th at 7.30pm, for a ‘Question Time in Hyde Park’.

On the day that the headmaster of the Bletchley Road Senior School, Mr. E.C. Cook, was attending an afternoon conference at Reading, there to meet Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, via Mr. Marchant, the School Correspondent, at the Bletchley Road Junior School a telephone call was received from the Secretary for Education, instructing that, since the headmistress had been taken ill, as a temporary measure a teacher should be sent to the London Evacuated School at the Temperance Hall. Mrs. Swain was deputed to the task, but the following morning she returned with a note from the mistress in charge stating that, due to the failure of the Hall’s heating system, her duties could not be assumed until the afternoon - hopefully not an experience that caused her resignation at the end of the year.

On Tuesday, December 15th the London Senior Schools - at Bletchley Park and the Temperance Hall - combined their breaking-up party, and 83 scholars accordingly joined in a carol-singing concert. Other entertainments included the local illusionist, Bernard Brown, and amongst those present were the headmaster, Mr. Taylor, and the headmistress, Miss K. Stearns. She had originally arrived in Bletchley with the first of the evacuees in 1939 but, with the Temperance Hall School scheduled for closure from the end of the current term, during the New Year she would resume her work in London. On Wednesday, December 16th in their adopted home of St. Martin’s Hall the St. Paul’s evacuated school then presented the Nativity play ‘The Way of Bethlehem’, whilst as for the Ecclesbourne Road Infants School, accommodated in the Baptist School, they had enjoyed their Christmas celebrations on Monday week. Entertainments by Mr. Hedley - appropriately from Islington - included ventriloquism, conjuring and bubble-blowing!

Attracting a large parental attendance, an exhibition of Junior School work took place in the school hall during the afternoon of December 17th, and on Friday, December 18th a one day school took place in the Bletchley Senior School Hall, for around 300 teachers from North Bucks. There they were addressed by three well-known authorities on America, and, to assist the teachers in dealing with any questions raised on this subject by the pupils, each gave a personal account of the country, and the American way of life.



By their second performance of a nativity play in St. Martin’s Hall, the children of St. Paul’s school began the New Year having raised £4 5s 2d for the Red Cross. However, a financial loss was suffered by the pupils of the Bletchley Road Senior School when, one Friday evening, it was discovered that five roller towels had been stolen, although hopefully this caused no disruption to the medical examination of the children, by Nurse Plant, on January 21st, during which, on being found to have scabies, four children were consequently excluded . As for the other children, on January 27th £18 was initially raised from an exhibition of the toys that they had made from scrap, with the money providing funds for a rubber dinghy. This would be presented to the R.A.F., and the idea had been previously conceived some months before by Gordon Horne, of Form 1A, it being announced to the school during the Christmas holidays that a competition to make the toys would be held, with the prize winners to be awarded savings stamps. On March 12th boys and girls, and members of the Parents Association, then assembled in the Senior School hall for the presentation ceremony, and the programme began with the National Anthem, followed by Kipling’s Recessional, prayers, a rendition of ‘Fierce Raged the Tempest o’er the deep’, and a scripture reading.

Mr. Leonard, the Deputy Secretary of Education, then introduced Squadron Leaders Benyon and Moore, who were presented with a cheque for £30 by one of the boys, Fred Beech. Following Squadron Leader Benyon’s address of the assembly came the singing of ‘England’ by the choir, and Mr. W. Brown, chairman of the managers, next gave a vote of thanks, the morning events concluding with ‘Land of our birth’, by Kipling. In the afternoon Squadron Leader Benyon lectured to each form on the construction and mechanism of a rubber dinghy, and having brought with him an example of both a five person version and a smaller type, with assistance from the N.F.S. representatives from each class were duly allowed inside, the dinghies having been set afloat on the static water tank, adjacent to the school.

Mabel Edwards
After more than 30 years of teaching in Bletchley schools, Mrs. Mabel Edwards retired on Friday, July 25th, 1943, being presented with a cheque by Deidre Barker, on behalf of the children and staff of the Bletchley Road Secondary Modern school. Mrs. Edwards father had been the headmaster of a Wesleyan school in Devon, and she began training to be a teacher at the age of 13. After passing her final exams she moved to St. Albans, and came to Bletchley following her marriage to Jesse Edwards, a builder, in 1909. At the request of the authorities she returned to teaching during World War One, and having initially taught at the Bletchley Road schools she transferred to the Old Bletchley school in 1922. There she would remain for the next 20 years, until being seconded back to the Bletchley Secondary Modern School. R. Cook

Also casting afloat was Mrs. Mabel Edwards who, having taught there for 23 years, was now leaving the Church of England School at Old Bletchley. Taking with her the good wishes of the pupils and staff and, as a token of their esteem, a sum of money, she would now teach at the Bletchley Road Senior School. In fact having come to the town in 1909, following her marriage to a builder, Jesse Edward, she had taught during World War One, and could now perhaps take part in the annual Country Dance House Festival, which was held at the Bletchley Road Senior School on the afternoon on April 13th.

At the meeting of the Council on April 20th, Councillor Richardson was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Higher Education Committee, caused by the death of Councillor J. Smith, whilst on other educational matters, by now the work of child psychology was well established at the Clinic, where Dr. Dukes continued to visit once a fortnight. As for anyone who wished to read about the subject, as the County Librarian the local headmaster, Mr. William Crisp, was now the man to contact, although not between Tuesday, April 27th and Wednesday, April 28th, when the library would be closed.

Part of the classroom layout at the Bletchley Road schools, as recalled by an ex pupil. Mrs. Edwards room is seen on the left hand side. Keen on music, the arts and craftwork. many examples of her embroidery were exhibited locally, and she was also the organist and choir mistress at the Albert Street Methodist Church.

The schools would also be closed, but re-opened on May 4th when, at the Senior School, by permission of the London Midland and Scottish Railway special educational films were shown on the subjects of agriculture, the zoo, and the salvage of the battleship King George V. Building maintenance might have also been a useful topic, for rain was apt to pour through the roof of the corridor in the older part of the school, and, with the weather being very cold, the caretaker had instructions to light all the boilers. In fact the elements were proving increasingly adverse, and, coming into the school from the playground, on turning to close the door Lily Houghton, of Shenley Brook End, suffered a badly crushed finger, when the wind slammed the door shut.

‘Education after the War’ was the theme for Mr. Ron Gould J.P. when, as President of the N.U.T. Bletchley and District Association, at 7.30p.m. he spoke at a public meeting in the Senior School on Thursday, May 13th. However, education during the war was more presently on the minds of the schoolchildren for, in connection with the forthcoming school camp at Little Kimble, Mr. Hawes, the Youth Organiser, paid a morning visit to the school on May 19th. As payment for the booking fees for 133 children - 72 girls and 61 boys – the following day the headmaster then forwarded a cheque for £19 19s to the Secretary of Education, and 40 boys and 40 girls would attend the camp from June 28th until July 5th, and 32 girls and 21 boys from July 5th to the 9th.

Perhaps the authorities might also have wished that a few of the town’s residents could be sent away, for at a meeting in June of the Bletchley School Parents’ Association, it was revealed that, on Friday and Saturday evenings, gatecrashers were proving a problem at private dances. They not only broke windows to enter the hall, but also let others in by the side door, and ‘people arrived who only came for the modern dancing’, and had no interest in the Parents’ Association. It was therefore decided to hold gatherings mid-week for members, and devote the fourth Saturday to a public charity dance.

At a meeting on Thursday, June 3rd the Clerk of the Council submitted a letter from the Secretary for Education, B.C.C., stating that ‘Safety First’ Instruction was again a matter being brought before the teachers of Bletchley schools. Safety was also a concern when 47 children, from the Bletchley Road Senior School, were taken by the headmaster to visit the local waterworks on June 23rd where Mr. Bates, the engineer, lectured on the workings and purpose of the machinery and pumps. At least it proved a break from the school routine, and, as a further relief, on June 28th accompanied by four teachers the 40 boys and 40 girls arrived at Little Kimble for their school camp. Including visits to places of local interest, this was held as an open air school, with the main activities being P.T., games, outdoor geography, local history and English Drama.

At the Senior School on July 9th Miss Hall, the canteen supervisor, discussed with the headmaster the installation of a heating oven, hot plate, and other suitable equipment, and perhaps cooking skills were amongst the benefits that Katherine Bonham brought to married life, following her wedding on Saturday, July 10th. A popular mistress at Bletchley Junior School, she was the only daughter of Mr. & Mrs. E. Bonham, and the date of her marriage, at her home village of Newton Longville, in fact coincided with a White Paper which recommended that the school leaving age should again be raised, to 16.

By doing odd jobs during Bletchley’s Wings for Victory Week, local schools had managed to raise the sum of £3 10s, whilst on a more relaxing note, an afternoon Musical Festival was held in the Senior School Hall on July 21st, under the direction of Dr. S. Russell, the County Director of Music. The event featured the choirs of the Bletchley Road Senior School, Junior School, and St Paul’s evacuated school, and afterwards Dr. Russell stayed to provide a few hints on training the Senior School choir, in view of an audition the following term for the B.B.C.

The Bletchley Council schools closed the term with sports and games on Wednesday, August 1st, and Thursday, August 2nd, but for the classes of the Workers Educational Association - successfully run throughout the previous winter - these were now being re-arranged to continue during the coming winter, with courses to include Psychology, Appreciation of Music, and Philosophy.

Regarding applications for educational grants, at the Council Offices on Thursday, August 26th, at a 3.15p.m. meeting of the Educational Grants Committee those parents hoping for financial assistance, towards the cost of sending their children to Wolverton school, were interviewed, as a consequence of the children having obtained a fee paying scholarship. After discussion it was resolved that the grants would in some cases be made although, in one instance, the Clerk reported having received a parents letter withdrawing their application, on being informed by the headmaster that no vacancy would be available this year.

On Friday, October 8th Mr. E.C. Cook paid a visit to the Secretary of the Extra Mural Delegacy in Oxford, regarding classes and teachers in adult education, and this would be also the date that the Art Classes of the Bletchley Evening Institute resumed at the Bletchley Road Schools. The same day in fact that the boys of the Ecclesbourne Road L.C.C. Senior Boys’ School presented a wallet to their handicraft master, Mr. R. Michael, in appreciation of his work. Now returning to London, whilst at Bletchley he had carried out the boot-repairing scheme, started by the boys at a time when undertaking repairs proved difficult, and amongst the footwear in need of attention were perhaps ballet shoes for ‘into ballet and all that’ was Elsie Naylor, who, during the war, had come to the town after teaching for a while in Yorkshire, the county of her birth. After the war she would then continue her teaching career at Wilton Secondary School.

On October 26th the speech day and prize distribution took place at Bletchley Senior School, with the Hon. Lionel Berry as chief speaker. Recounting the school’s achievements, Mr. Cook recalled that the R.A.F. had been provided with a rubber dinghy, £629 17s 9d had been raised during Wings Week, 269 garments had been made for the Merchant Navy and R.A.F., and, in addition, each man on the ship adopted by the school had received a polo neck pullover. Wrapping up the day, in the evening the school then paid a visit to the Bletchley Park Recreational Club, for a performance of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

North Bucks Times

Earlier in the year, during March representatives from the Ministry of Works Department, and the County Architects Department, had inspected the school, regarding various matters to include the iron railings and the repair of the boundary walls, and, perhaps in consequence, on November 15th a new water meter was installed at the bottom of the main avenue. Also in full flow, on Monday, December 6th Murray Davies exercised his talents as a baritone at the Bletchley Senior School Choir Concert, held in the large hall, and with the performance including Rita Sharpe on the ‘cello, and Phyllis Spurr on the piano, the proceeds would be applied to the school welfare fund. In fact the choir had been given a B.B.C. audition, as proudly announced at Parents Day on Wednesday December 8th, when the nursery class was opened at 2.30p.m., and the infants class at 3p.m. Admission free, on Friday and Saturday, December10th and 11th, from 2p.m. – 4p.m.there would also be an exhibition of work at the Junior School Hall, with these proceeds being in aid of the Red Cross. Featuring items made both at home and school, the Bletchley Senior School then held their exhibition of craftwork on Wednesday, December 15th, 3p.m. – 4p.m. and thereby £33 was raised to benefit the Parachute Fund. However, on December 17th, during the delivery to the school of a heavy hot cabinet, no doubt Mr. E.C. Cook wished that a parachute had been attached to the door, when it fell off and injured his arm.



Accompanied by Mr. Kingsbury, who showed the children various farming implements, at the Bletchley Road Senior School on January 11th Mr. Hartley, the County Organiser for Rural Subjects and Agriculture, gave a short lecture concerning young farmers clubs, and in fact on the day that the Young Farmers’ Club began its work, on February 22nd Mr. Hartley would again pay a visit, as also the Deputy Executive Officer for the B.W.A.E.C., who lectured the members on ‘Soils and relevant Geology’. With Mr. Gainer of Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Mr. Hartley then again returned to the school on February 25th, on this occasion regarding a scheme to select a site for the carrying out of manurial experiments. This was in connection with Rothamsted and the Young Farmers’ Club, and, on the afternoon of February 29th the Young Farmers’ Club paid a visit to the school’s adopted farm at Galley Lane, where the pedigree breed of Ayrshire cattle were inspected under the guidance of Mr. Barbour who, having lectured to the members, then allowed the children to judge four young heifers and four dairy cows.

For the education of the town’s adult population, at Bletchley Road Senior School, on Wednesday, February 9th the Workers’ Education Association, Bletchley Branch, had organised a public meeting at 7.30p.m. to discuss ‘The New Education Bill’, and also during the month, hopefully with no question of strings being pulled Mr. W. Crisp, headmaster of Bletchley Junior School, was appointed as chairman of the Educational Puppetry Association.

Having earlier in the afternoon said goodbye to the children in St. Martin’s Hall, one Wednesday in February Deaconess Warman was entertained to tea by the staffs of the Bletchley evacuated schools, and, in appreciation of the children’s welfare, the presentation of a collection of books was made by the headmistress of the Ecclesbourne Road Infants’ School, Miss Eden. However, should Miss Eden harbour any desire to become a Mrs., then this would not be a problem from the 10th of March, when the Education minister, Mr. R.A. Butler, whose Act during the year would inaugurate a system of universal secondary education, lifted the ban which forbade women teachers to marry.

By now 47 young children, aged between seven and ten, were quartered at the Yeomanry Hall, where for this purpose the L.C.C. had loaned to Bucks. County Council a male teacher, who had been in Bletchley since the beginning of the evacuation. In fact since he had no assistance, his long experience of dealing with tough London boys was just as well, and his only complaint concerned the piano, which only had about ten playable notes! He had therefore started a piano fund, and perhaps the Challen walnut upright model, offered for sale ‘as new’, at the Bull Hotel, might thus be of interest. With the headmaster being Mr. W. Davies, at St. Paul’s School, currently accommodated in St. Martin’s Hall, there were three teachers and, aged from seven and a half to 14, 70 pupils, who were presently subscribing for the hire of a wireless set. As for the Baptist School Hall, this was divided into a nursery school, for children aged two to three, and an upper infants school, and with cod liver oil and orange juice taken daily by the pupils, canteen meals were being served on the premises.

An invitation for parents to learn about the forthcoming Education Act. - Bletchley Gazette

On the morning of Saturday, March 27th the girls in the team of the Bletchley Road Senior School won the honours playing in the girls netball district championship at Stony Stratford and, also as something to sing about, the Bletchley & District Co-op Educational Committee had now decided to start adult and junior choirs. In the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, on Tuesday, 28th March at a meeting at 7.30p.m. it was decided that Mr. J. Willis would be the conductor and choirmaster, with the first practice night to be held in the same venue on Monday, 24th April, at 8p.m.

On March 29th, at a 3.15p.m. ceremony at the Bletchley Road Senior School, for the purchase of a parachute a cheque for £36 15s was presented to the R.A.F. whilst, at 3.30p.m. the following afternoon, Leslie Woodgate, the B.B.C. Musical Director of the B.B.C. Education Department, dropped in to audition the school choir, with a view to future broadcasting. He would then make a report to the B.B.C. Education Department.

Despite many children now preferring to have their meals at the British Restaurant, the immediate need had arisen for a kitchen maid at the Bletchley School canteen, 9a.m. – 3p.m., Monday to Friday, although perhaps school meals regained favour at the end of the month, when the reduced prices for children’s meals at the loss making Restaurant were discontinued. In fact the Ministry of Food had sent a letter to the Highways & Works Committee on the matter, which lead to a recommendation that the price should be the same as for adults.

The headmaster, Mr. Cook, recorded ‘I should like to place on record her loyal and devoted service’ when, on securing an appointment in the Junior Department, from April 28th Mrs. E. Jones, nee Hope, finished her teaching duties at the Bletchley Road Senior School. Then, at the end of April, after teaching in Bletchley Schools for 23 years Miss A. Milsom retired, and in the Bletchley Road Junior School she was presented by the combined staffs with a silver bowl, and a handbag and electric kettle by the children. With music by the Acme Players Dance Band, on Saturday, April 29th the Parents Association held a dance in the Senior School, and here there was now an immediate need for a canteen kitchen maid to work from 8.30a.m. to 3p.m., although ‘Very, very occasionally there might be extra work, for which additional remuneration will be paid.’

On the afternoon of June 2nd Mr. Brown, the Assistant Secretary for Education, made a visit to the Bletchley Road Senior School, this being in connection with an impending visit by children from Bledlow Ridge Council School. Accompanied by their headmaster, when they duly arrived on June 5th they were then welcomed to lunch by several members of staff, and were hopefully better behaved than the two Birmingham boys, aged 13 and 12, who, playing truant and travelling to Bletchley, stole Hedley Clarke’s car from the Conservative Club on the evening of June 8th. In evidence, Mr. Clarke, of Osbourne House, Manor Road, said that having left his Austin saloon in the club forecourt at 7.20p.m., he later received a message from the police reporting that the vehicle had been found in the Social Centre car park. Due to the car being driven in low gear, the pistons had been slightly damaged, but, in his defence, the father of the younger boy attributed the escapade to a ‘high spirited mood’ following news of the Normandy landings. Yet it nevertheless seemed hardly a sporting episode, unlike that on the afternoon of June 14th when, with the shield being won by Penn House, the annual sports of the Bletchley Road Senior School took place.

On June 16th an afternoon farewell party was given for the Bledlow children, but the jovial mood was in contrast to that which prevailed on June 30th, when the air raid alert sounded at 9.03a.m. The children were marshalled to their allotted places in the corridor, and, with the all clear sounding at 9.12a.m., the Special Technical Exam had to be postponed by 15 minutes. Another alert then occurred on July 10th at 1.10p.m., and on this occasion the all clear sounded 15 minutes later.

With the schoolchildren playing all the parts, Bletchley Senior School presented ‘Merrie England’ in the Senior School Hall on July 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28 and 29th. Produced by the headmaster, Mr. E.C. Cook, all the parts were played by the schoolchildren, and for his performance as Sir Walter Raleigh, Ray Clargo achieved especial acclaim. Grounds in fact for a quiet pride, and for taking a pride in their grounds, the Junior School now advertised the need for a small lawnmower.

Presented with a cheque by the London teachers, in late August Mr. S. Taylor, headmaster of Ecclesbourne Road Senior School, retired at the age of 65. He had been due to retire in 1939, but agreed to continue when the evacuation began. As the career of one teacher so came to an end, that of another now commenced, and at the Bletchley Road Senior School Miss Celia. D. Cook began supply teaching in place of the intended appointment, who would be unable to assume the position until Monday, September 18th. Celia, as well as Geoffrey Cox, of 147, Western Road, had recently gained a B.A. degree at Oxford University, having passed the Final Honours School of Modern History. She was the daughter of the Bletchley Road Senior School headmaster, Mr. E.C. Cook, F.R.S.A., M.R.S.T., and from him regarding the Bletchley Evening Institute details of the classes, and a prospectus, could now be obtained, with the students, (following their enrolment, from 7p.m. - 9p.m. on Tuesday, 19th September, by the principal and staff), to begin their studies on Monday, 25th September. As for the results of the audition for the Senior School choir, on behalf of the Senior Education Assistant on September 28th a letter was received from Viola Huggins, of the B.B.C., Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Bristol, stating that although Mr. Woodgate had been impressed - ‘the choir sang well and pleasingly, and their words were excellent’ - according to the programme official in charge of the schools music broadcasts, John Horton, there was no place at present for this particular type of programme in the schedule. Food for thought, as were the plans for the extension of the canteen kitchen, which were discussed by the Emergency Canteen Committee at 3p.m. on September 29th, at the Bletchley Road Senior School.

Under Mr. H. Sellen, on Wednesdays, from 7.30p.m. to 9.30p.m., art classes for adults were now being held at the Bletchley schools in ‘drawing, painting and sketching from the life’. As for children, at a meeting of the Education Grants Committee, at 4p.m. on Thursday, October 5th applications for educational grants were considered, and the Committee interviewed parents regarding their applications for financial assistance. This followed the award of scholarships, with the consequent money to be applied towards the cost of sending their children to Wolverton and Leighton Buzzard. Four applications would be granted - respectively two of £8, and two of £10 - with a further grant of £8, and £10, to be made at the meeting on November 9th.

As announced by the Bletchley and District Co-op Society Educational Committee, the much requested Co-op Junior Choir would commence on Tuesdays at 6p.m. from October 10th. All children were welcome, but they would perhaps not be so keen on the public discussion held by the Educational Committee on Thursday, October 26th, regarding interest free loans for publicly built housing.

For the Bletchley Road schools canteen, on October 25th 32 forms, and 32 folding chairs, were received from the Ministry of Supply, no doubt providing extra work for the person appointed as school caretaker, a position that offered £12 10s a month, plus a war bonus of £4 2s 7d. As for the caretaker’s house, this would cost 7s 6d a week, exclusive of rates and other charges.

Reminding of the old National School, where she had assisted on occasion, Mrs. Catherine Amelia Cowlishaw died at the age of 89 during November. The widow of John Cowlishaw, who for many years had been the headmaster, for the past 13 years she had lived with her son and daughter in law at The Chalet, Aylesbury Street, and of her other children, Arthur now lived in London, and Herbert in Australia.

On November 30th, it was agreed between representatives of the Bucks. County Education Committee, the U.D.C.s of Bletchley, Newport Pagnell and Wolverton and Newport Pagnell R.D.C.s, to press for establishing a Divisional Executive Committee to cover these areas, and with the conference held at Wolverton, it seemed appropriate that Wolverton should be chosen as the administrative centre.

In the Junior School Hall, an exhibition of work was arranged by the headmaster, Mr. Crisp, from 2p.m. to 4.15p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 8th and 9th December, and, with a collection made in aid of the Red Cross, each of the 320 children had contributed at least one entry. The seven to eight year olds displayed a model farm, calendars, Christmas cards, etc., the nine to ten year olds produced a class magazine and needlework, whilst the ten to 11 year olds showed arts and crafts, needlework, embroidery, and written work.

Then, after a tea, a few days before Christmas toys, which had been made by the nursery staff, and which had adorned two Christmas trees, were distributed to the children of the London Infants School at the Baptist hall, whilst as for St. Paul’s School, they held a concert and children’s party, with games and competitions being a feature of the following day.




Under the ‘Limitation of Supplies’, Bletchley & District Co-op had just received their quota of hardware for the next six months, and perhaps in consequence an adult female shop assistant was now required for their hardware department. Various vacancies were also available at the Garden Café and Restaurant, 97, Bletchley Road, whilst at 83, Bletchley Road, the British Gas Light Co. needed a general clerk, with skills in typing, shorthand and bookkeeping.

Increasingly, many firms were being inconvenienced by the liability of their employees for military service, and, at W. O. Peake’s factory in Denbigh Road, fellow workers made a presentation on Wednesday, January 14th to a popular member of staff, Harry Bates, of 52, Church Street, who was shortly to join the Beds. & Herts. Regiment. As for those people still employed in the town, at the Quarterly Meeting of the local branch of the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, on Saturday, January 10th a request was made that Bletchley Co-op should raise the basic rate for table hands and bread bakers from 56s to 60s a week, which would bring them into line with the Wolverton rate. However, for those persons seeking a business of their own, an opportunity arose in the town when a gentlemen’s hairdressing salon, and lock-up, came up for let until the duration - ‘apply Stanley House, Bletchley’.

In their continuing need for staff, at the beginning of February a cook’s assistant, waitresses, a kitchen hand, and washer-ups were required - ‘no experience necessary’ - at the Garden Café & Restaurant, although a more tragic shortage was reported when news arrived that the former manager of the Water Eaton branch of the Bletchley Co-op, Gunner William Betts, R.A., of ‘Snaefell’, Cottingham Grove, had, since December 15th, 1941, been posted as missing. A keen member of the town’s Lawn Tennis Club, he originally enlisted in the army in October 1940, a year after his marriage.

Caused by a lack of errand boys, Bletchley householders might now have to collect their own newspapers, and also concerning paper the Blackmore Fashion Co., at the Town Hall, advertised vacancies for two or three junior girls, and two or three women, for work producing the renowned paper patterns of the company.

During the middle of the month a committee representing the principal traders in the town met on a Wednesday to form a vehicle ‘pooling scheme’, and this would then be submitted to the Ministry of Transport. Yet, since many traders were unwilling to suffer any sacrifice by which their competitors might benefit, the chance of a successful outcome seemed rather remote, and if this was the case, then the Ministry could impose a scheme of their own. Unless they employed the service of Mr. W. A. Underwood, who operated a car hire business from the White Hart Inn, those housewives living within a one mile radius of the Bletchley Food Office, at Lantern House, would thereby face the prospect of carrying their own shopping home, and, in fact this became a measure announced at a meeting of the Bletchley traders in Bletchley police station, where the District Transport Officer, Mr. Rowe, told those assembled that the time had now arrived for traders to cut down on fuel consumption. Except for the elderly and invalids, no deliveries could be made within a mile of the Food Office, and also causing concern was the availability of supplies to the several merchants in the town including R. Johnson, ‘wholesale fruit and potato merchant’, who increasingly sought sources of potatoes, white turnips, and swedes.

After nearly 70 years in business, the old established timber mills and workshops of Rowland Bros. (Timber Merchants) Ltd. had been recently purchased by one of the country’s largest timber merchants, James Latham, established in 1815. The new company would now be known as ‘Rowland Bros. (Timber Merchants): proprietors, James Latham Ltd.’, but apart from the name, an association with the previous family would also remain by the appointment of Mr. S. Rowland, formerly the managing director, as an executive director, to control, as the local representative, the staff and employees at Fenny Stratford under the direction of the head office. The company had been originally set up by the Rowland brothers in 1874, being in later years continued by their two sons, but considerable changes were made around 1937, when Mr. A. Rowland left the business, and the firm was formed into a limited company, with Mr. S. H. Rowland as managing director.

As for the transport pooling scheme, having been rejected by the Ministry of Transport a new scheme was to now be prepared, and also on matters of ‘curtailment’, from Monday, March 2nd the restriction of bread deliveries began, a situation ‘cheerfully accepted’ however by most housewives. Also having to be cheerfully accepted were the disruptions being caused to coal deliveries due to a shortage of manpower and, now serving in the army, one man who had been recently called up was a 30 year old butcher of Bletchley Road. Yet military duties did not excuse him from being summoned to Bletchley police court one Thursday in early March, for misrepresenting the weight of two geese, offered for sale above the maximum price. The summons followed a surprise visit to the shop on December 23rd by a County Council Inspector and Enforcement Officer for Bletchley Food Committee who, having noticed in the window a row of geese labelled with the weight and price, gave his name and waited until the butcher had finished dealing with his customers. The Inspector then noticed the man walk behind the row of geese - all but two of which had been plucked and drawn - and surreptitiously remove the tickets from those that had been rough plucked. When asked to explain his actions, the man replied that he could not have been thinking, but when the two geese were weighed, and the price was found to be too high, he then said he must have slipped up, and pleaded guilty. However, at least as some redemption all the other weights on further investigation were found to be correct. Some months ago, having gone into ‘war work’ the butcher had engaged a manager but, during the Christmas rush, he went back to help, a gesture that subsequently cost him a fine of £13.

Effective from March 9th, Bletchley Retail Trades Group now announced that, due to the restriction by the Ministry of War Transport on their delivery services, the delivery of goods in the Bletchley urban area and surrounding villages could only be made as meat, one delivery per week, (no motor deliveries in town), greengroceries, two deliveries per week, and bread, three deliveries per week, although special arrangements would be made for the aged and infirm.

On Thursday, March 26th all milk producers were then invited by the N.F.U. Bletchley branch to a meeting at 3p.m. at the Assembly Room of the Park Hotel, where they would ‘receive a report on the present position and to discuss same’. Again on milky matters, until the duration a dairy rounds man, ‘horse or motor’, was required at the Bletchley and District Co-op, the Bakery Dept. of which would by the end of the month be producing bread and cakes from ‘the New Government Flour’, and indeed later in the year the manager, Mr. F. Maycock, would be responsible for the loaf that gained a silver medal for household bread. The Co-op Bakery had first opened on July 16th, 1938 and although new recipes were now being prepared to meet the ‘New Requirements’, diminishing stocks of white flour made it impossible to bake anything other than the ‘National Loaf’, which became compulsory on Monday, April 6th.

Someone with extensive experience of bread baking was Mr. William Hing, the manager for many years of the Bletchley Co-op grocery in Albert Street for, during World War One, as a member of the combined expeditionary force, which had been landed to protect the Allied interests at Murmansk, his duties had included the baking of bread, for which he even received a commendation from General Ironside! Despite having now reached retirement age, Mr. Hing remained in his position because of the wartime situation, although, as detailed in the chapter ‘Keeping the Peace’, in Volume 1, had he been aware of the ‘treasure’ buried beneath the floor of his house in Bletchley Road, he might well have perhaps had second thoughts!

Blackmore Patterns were now advertising for two or three junior girls, and two or three women, for paper pattern work, and they also had the need in the Fenny Stratford area for ‘A Comfortable Home required by respectable workman’. Elsewhere, at 47, Bletchley Road, a lady hairdresser was required at ‘Dorothea’, the owner, Miss Dorothea Taylor, having begun in business at the age of 18. For two years she trained at a salon at Northampton before purchasing her own shop at Sandy, Beds., and two years later she then came to Bletchley to take over a business in Bletchley Road from Miss Sear, the first ladies hairdresser in the town.

Bletchley & District Co-op were now offering the famous Astral Model Aeroplane kits, in a range of flying scale models priced at 1s 9d, 8s 6d and 12s 6d, and it therefore seemed appropriate that a meeting to discuss the formation of a model-building club should be held in the Co-op Hall, on Monday, April 19th at 7p.m.

Sadly, the death had recently occurred at Taunton, Somerset, of Miss Charlotte Freeman who, for many years, had been cashier at the grocery shop of Mr. F. Cutler, moving with him and his wife when they left the district. As for the more unusual ‘trades’ in the town, Bletchley played host to one of the few remaining scissor grinders in the country, whose skills were now in increasing demand since a growing shortage of knives and scissors had made ‘every rusty relic worth cleaning and sharpening’. Meanwhile, a sharp lookout was being kept by Blackmore Patterns towards the end of April for ‘a good typewriter and two ladies’ cycles’, but final ties were being severed with the previously mentioned Rowland Bros. (Timber Merchants) Ltd., which was being voluntarily wound up. Creditors were to send their details to the appointed Liquidator, Hubert Baker, F.C.A., of the Bletchley firm of H. S. Baker & Co., Chartered Accountants.

His wife having died eight years ago, Fred Vaughan, licensee of the Red Lion, passed away at the end of April, aged 64. He had suffered for three years from ill health, and this proved the reason to give up the bakery business in which, for many years, he had been involved. Originating from Banbury, his parents had taken over the Bull & Butcher, and, when they died, about six years later, he went into the bakery trade at Olney. After some 20 years, because of his health he then returned to Bletchley to take the licence of the Red Lion, and was well remembered for letting out boats on the canal. He left four sons and two daughters.

Under the new management, at the beginning of May a tractor driver and mate were required to haul timber at Rowlands, whilst for ‘intelligent girls’, aged from 14, vacancies were still available at Blackmore Fashions ‘at an attractive wage’. However, for any residents perhaps living beyond their means, they could now seek assistance at the Bletchley Citizens Advice Bureau, held once a week at the Council Offices, but for residents with money to spend, their custom maintained a buoyancy of trade at the Co-op, where cash sales in the quarter ending April 11th totalled £69,192, an increase of £3804 over the previous year.

Widespread sympathies were expressed when, at the age of 93, Mrs. Louisa Meager died on Wednesday, May 27th at her home ‘The Hill’, 128, Buckingham Road. Associated with an old established craft traders family, she regularly attended St. Mary’s church, and first came to Bletchley from London 70 years ago, marrying Fred Meager, a wheelwright from a well-known Bletchley family.

With also the need for a relief barmaid for evenings and weekends, at the Park Hotel a barmaid was now required, ‘sleep in or out’, whilst alternative employment awaited a young lady, aged 14-16, for office work at Weatherheads. Presently the firm was engaged on fitting radio apparatus to American tanks, and in fact for the British war effort Bert Weatherhead was involved elsewhere on wireless work, for the Secret Service.

At the beginning of July, J.E. Wells and Sons announced that ‘To meet your post-war needs’, they had brought the two parts of their business into the same set of premises. Meanwhile, the Bletchley and District Co-op Society bakery department required women and girls, full or part time, as either assistants for confectionery production, or rounds assistants, and customers of the Co-op were now invited to ‘register at once for all your rational goods’ - ‘full dividend on all purchases’. In fact not surprisingly the regular queue for the ‘divi’ was a frequent sight in the town! Indeed, for their ‘rational goods’ many consumers must have registered for the half-year ending July 11th, for this showed an increase of over £8000 on the previous half year, and had been achieved despite 85 members of the staff having either been called up for the Forces, or for full time duties in the Civil Defence. As for men exempt from military service, job opportunities elsewhere included a driver for a three ton lorry at Rowlands, where boys and girls were required for mill work, and for a decorator work was available, nights or weekends, at 97, Bletchley Road at the Garden Café, which also needed a waitress and washer up. Job hopefuls could otherwise seek something a little different by applying for the position of ‘collector from slot machines’ at the British Gas Light Co., at 83, Bletchley Road.

On the instructions of the Trustees of the late Mrs. Ada Vaughan, Wigley & Johnson were directed to auction The Red Lion, Simpson Road, on Wednesday, July 15th at 3p.m. whilst regarding other hostelries, in early August the Foundry Arms was transferred from William Thurgood to Reg Bartram who, should he need any additional floorcovering for the premises, could opportunely obtain ‘cheap’ sawdust from across the road at the M. A. Cook brushworks.

Over a weekend at the end of July, to celebrate the Co-operative Century members of the Bletchley and District Co-operative Society produced ‘the pageant of the people’. No expense was spared, and ‘the lighting equipment, especially installed, was the equivalent of that found in a high-class theatre’. Definitely a newsworthy event, although the combined newsagents of Bletchley announced that after Monday, July 31st revised charges for daily newspaper deliveries would apply, being 2d a week.

Due to ill health, John Colgrove had now sold his butchers business. Established for over 40 years, his shop was well known in the town, and also well known was the brick making firm of Flettons Ltd. which in early August offered part-time work for women over 30 - ‘not as a means of advertising their age but essential war work’. With hours to suit, the situations provided good pay, a bonus scheme, and canteen, and those so enticed were asked to apply to the Water Eaton works. After an arduous day in the brickfields, perhaps to restore a sense of femininity successful applicants could then shortly make an appointment at the Bletchley Co-op ladies’ hairdressing salon, which was soon to re-open under new management. At Bletchley station, job opportunities awaited male and female porters, van drivers, and male shunters, and if this didn’t appeal, then for evening and Sunday duties a vacancy had arisen at Bletchley telephone exchange for a part-time male night telephonist, ‘not liable for military service’. Anyone interested was to ‘Apply head postmaster.’

By early September, a young assistant was needed at Brooklands Nursery for Ramsbotham and Co., florists and fruiterers, and Johnson & Son, Wholesale Fruiterers, now required a strong youth, or retired railwayman, to assist both on a lorry and for local deliveries. In fact ideal for carrying out local deliveries was a ‘Water-cooled three-wheel Raleigh Tradesman’s Van. Low mileage, just overhauled’, presently offered for sale by Hubert Faulkner, at Staple Lodge, and also on motoring matters, of the Kingsway Garage, Watling Street, the managing director, Mr. R. Tompkins, suffered an unfortunate accident on Thursday, September 3rd when he was shot in the arm and leg whilst out ‘light shooting’ with a companion.

On the evening of September 10th Mr. Harry Sainsbury, who for many years had been in business as a draper in the High Street, Fenny Stratford, died suddenly at Bognor Regis. He had been a keen member of the Fenny Stratford Bowls Club and another bowling enthusiast, Mr. Edgar Thomas Hill, the shoe retailer, of 33, High Street, would announce during the month that he would only be open daily from 3p.m. to 6p.m., except Wednesday mornings 9a.m. to 1p.m. Apart from war conditions, this was because of a shortage of staff, but urgent orders could still be dealt with ‘at any time’ at 1, Bletchley Road, where the normal business hours prevailed. Born in 1887, on leaving school Edgar had gone into business with his father, who ran a boot shop in the High Street, and when his father retired he then took over the concern, later extending the enterprise by opening premises in Bletchley Road. Joining the army during World War One, he served in France and Italy, and in 1919 married Dorothy Boyes, daughter of the manager at Rowland Bros.

For the convenience of their employees, plans submitted for lavatory accommodation by the Rodex Works of W.O.Peake, in Denbigh Road, and the nurseries in Brooklands Road - respectively Plan 1297 and Plan 1298 - were considered by the Council in early October, and other businesses in the town had also been caught short, by a lack of staff. Various vacancies included that for a male or female, aged under 17, and not liable for military service, at W. H. Smith, an estimating clerk, male or female, at the Sawmills & Manufacturer’s office at Rowlands, and positions for women and girls, under 18, or over 31, at Beacon Brushes. Then a little later, in early November a boy would be needed to assist at Benford’s butchers, Simpson Road, whilst Blackmore Patterns required girls and women for pattern folding and despatch work. The company could additionally offer ‘a good machine job’ for a man, exempt from service or over military age, and for the pets left at home whilst their owners were out at work, they could be assured that suitable products were available at the Bentima Co. Ltd, 19, Bletchley Road, especially ‘Karswood Dog Powders’ which, at 7d. a packet, ‘Keeps Nerves Steady’.

Owing to a shortage of labour, having reached a unanimous decision the Bletchley & District Dairymen’s Association would from Sunday, November 1st only deliver milk to their customers on alternate days. Consumers were therefore advised to take a two days supply of milk, and perhaps this could be stored in the several Pyrex products now available from the Bletchley & District Co-op Hardware Dept., who opportunely advised that ‘Glassware is always useful as a Christmas Gift.’

Emphasised by the presentation of a petition, by now the residents of Osborne Street were complaining about excessive machinery noise at the factory of Messrs. J. Tetley & Co., a firm which had recently transferred their operations from the dangers of the East End of London. By the recommendation of the Highways Committee, the Surveyor would discuss the matter with the factory manager, but a far greater commotion - since the firm was partly engaged on Government contracts - was caused on Wednesday, November 4th when a large fire at the James Root & Sons brushworks, in Tavistock Street, destroyed the main building, a great deal of machinery, and large stocks of brushes. Indeed, the eventual damage would amount to £20,000. With a timing somewhat bizarre, the fire had broken out about 7.15a.m., just after the firewatchers had left, but thankfully before the workers arrived, and seemed consequent to the lighting of the furnace by the engine man, Mr. Emanual Isaacs. The blaze began in flammable material lying nearby, and although he tried to put out the blaze, in a short while the engine room was alight. Being called immediately, the Bletchley Fire Section arrived within a minute or so but with their resources proving inadequate, other fire brigades then had to be summoned from within a radius of 20 miles. The police formed a barrier at the top of Tavistock Street to keep the many spectators at a distance, and by laying about two and a half miles of hose, water had to be pumped from nearby gravel pits, since the supply from the street hydrant proved insufficient. Yet even so, when the Divisional Officer, Mr. A. Reading, arrived to take charge, the three-storey building adjoining the engine room had become a burning mass, and the collapse of the roof showered bricks, slates, and mortar onto the firemen, whose efforts to tackle the root of the blaze were consequently hindered. Compounding the crisis, two floors of the main shop fell in, and, with machines tumbling through the floors and snapping beams, it soon became apparent that the main building was completely engulfed. Attention then turned to heading off the flames both from the newly built section, and an old storehouse, and fortunately each was eventually saved. At one stage, since a metal chimney close to the L.M.S. railway line seemed in danger of falling, the railway company was informed of the potential hazard, but although within the hour the fire would be brought under control, not until midday were the flames finally quenched. Workers looked on as Mr. Alfred Root, a partner in the firm, examined the damage with Mr. G. Garrett, the Chief Engineer, and Mr. J. Thom, the Manager, whilst having been on holiday, Mr. Ernest Root, the other partner in the business, returned later during the day. On Thursday the workers then ventured back into the premises, to help clear the mess, and with the wreckage having been cleared by Monday, with some of the plant and machinery salvaged the girls were back at work in the undamaged buildings. Soon plans were in hand to reconstruct the burnt out premises, and by equipping several small adjoining buildings the workers were able to carry out their jobs. In a well deserved praise of his workforce, Mr. E. Root said that the workers ‘had toiled like Trojans’, taking down heavy plant at risk to themselves, and ‘I have never seen a more willing body of workers.’ Yet despite all the damage and chaos, the swift installation of power meters and new cables, by the Northampton Electric Light Company, allowed brush manufacture to return to 85% of normal production within a month. No doubt effective measures were soon put in place to prevent a reoccurrence, in fact pursuant to those already deemed necessary by the legislation passed in 1895, by which the Surveyor was instructed to discover if conditions at the brush factory complied with the new orders regarding overcrowding, ‘sanitary conveniences’ and fire.

Thankfully there had been nothing fishy about the cause of the brushworks blaze, but for Bletchley’s fish supplies, these were now the worst since the new control had commenced, at least according to a principal fishmonger of the town who, having one Tuesday morning received 200lb of fish, sold the lot in 50 minutes, and then had to close for the week!



As the year began, opportunities for local employment were being offered by several firms including, in the High Street, Kingsway Garage, who required a boy aged between 14 and 16, and a youth, ‘able to drive’. A. Benford, the butchers, needed a youth aged 15 to 16, and the Park Hotel needed the skills of an odd job man, possibly a pensioner, and also a barmaid and relief barmaid. Females could also apply to be waitresses, on Friday and Saturday evenings, 7p.m. – 10.30p.m., at the Conservative Club, or else ‘For Important Work’ as brush workers at M. A. Cook, or Beacon Brushes. As for travelling to interviews, Bill Underwood offered his car hire service from the White Hart Inn, and in order to look one’s best there was always Sketchley Dye Works, at 23, Bletchley Road, or the ‘Beaucaire’, stain, crease removal service, available at Bletchley & District Co-op, with the additional benefit that it ‘helps rationing’.

In February, at a Tuesday meeting at the Council Offices, with Mr. Oliver Wells in the chair the opening of a social club was agreed by representatives from Bletchley firms and organisations, the objective being to primarily provide a general entertainment for workers. One room would be especially set aside for rest purposes, and Miss Bezzant, Welfare Officer for the Ministry of Information, said that having seen the achievements in other districts, she fully realised a similar need for Bletchley. A full-time warden would be appointed to organise the activities of the club, and, with the facilities open all day and every day for the benefit of shift workers, the Ministry of Labour were prepared to release the Temperance Hall in George Street as a clubroom. Mr H. Jones was subsequently appointed as Secretary of the Committee which, operating until the opening of the centre, would then be replaced by the formation of a council and their elected committee.

Perhaps helping to boost wartime morale, at The Wine & Spirit Stores, in Bletchley Road, Ernest Staniford had now applied for a licence for the retail sale - for consumption off the premises - of spirits, beer and cider. The business having been established for 40 years, the applicant had possessed a Wholesale Excise Licence for 28 years, but his request was opposed by A. Gammage, the owner of premises in Park Street, and by Miss Gammage, who worked in the post office, she being the holder of an off licence in Park Street. The police also made formal objections and although Mr. Staniford had applied for a similar request on three of four occasions, the last being in 1938, despite approval by the Justices, the Confirming Committee at Aylesbury threw the application out.

In spite of the war, and the rationing restrictions, the Co-op enjoyed a healthy trade, and could now offer supplies of ‘Utility’ furniture. However, the end of February saw the end for Thomas’s Bazaar, at 59, Aylesbury Street, and with the closure of the shop, for their loyal support during the past 12 years Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Thomas expressed their due appreciation to customers. Within a few weeks, not least because the situation lay adjacent to their men and boys outfitting department, J.E. Wells and Son then removed their footwear department to the premises, offering ‘Good Service, Good Selection, Good Value.’

Another Bletchley business shortly to seek new premises was Ramsbotham & Co., florists and seedsmen, in Bletchley Road, for in early March, at about 10.30p.m. one Friday night soldiers raised the alarm on discovering a fire in the back room. The blaze had burnt through the intervening wall and, following an urgent phone call by a member of the Home Guard, Bletchley N.F.S. swiftly arrived and put out the blaze within 30 minutes. Fortunately Mr. Vasey, who lived above the shop, had not been at home and despite the loss of the shop, by courtesy of Mr. A. Pollard the company was soon back in business at 39, Bletchley Road. From his father, Mr. J. Ramsbotham had taken over the business in the 1920s, and since 1935 he had been a member of the Royal Observer Corps, the local outpost of which, with access through the farmyard, was in a field behind the Manor Road farm. In fact in 1944 Mr. Ramsbotham would then become the chief observer whilst as for his other activities, on the death of Mr. T. Coles, the chairman since the formation, he then became chairman of the Conservative Club, and remained as such for several years after the war. On eventually relinquishing the position, he would be presented with a silver tankard, the role being next assumed by Gordon Wilkinson.

Plans having recently been approved for rebuilding part of the factory, at the end of the month James Root, the brush manufacturers of Tavistock Street, required two full or part-time office clerks, ‘must be able to use a typewriter’, but sadly this was at a time when at the age of 68 the death occurred, at 22, Bletchley Road, of the keen cricket player Joe Stevens, who had been the manager of the Bletchley Co-op Dairy.

April brought the offer of free sawdust from the brushworks of M. A. Cook - ‘bring your own bags’ - and for a youth, work was now available in shop duties and deliveries at H. W. Bonner, ‘The Central Stores’. Meanwhile, at Blackmore Patterns the need had arisen for a print compositor, full or part time, with this supposedly being an ‘Ideal post for disabled or retired man for work of easy character and where highest qualifications are not essential.’ Despite the restrictions on private motoring, Haynes and Goodman, of 6, High Street, were still keen to purchase ‘good, modern cars’, and in common with most of the local traders Bletchley Co-op then advised customers of their Easter closure, from Friday, April 23rd until Monday, 26th April, although the confectionery department would remain open on Saturday morning.

During the month, on a Wednesday morning a mysterious fire destroyed three buildings, and their contents, owned by Norman Green. They lay at the rear of his Bletchley Road premises, and having at around 8.10a.m. noticed some rubbish and straw alight in the yard, Mr. S. Osbourne, of 14, Bletchley Road, tried to drag the burning debris away, until the heat proved too intense. He then ran to the shop of Smith & Sons to telephone the N.F.S., and although they arrived within five minutes, to be shortly joined by the N.F.S. pump from Buckingham, the outbuildings were destroyed, and not until 10.30a.m. would the blaze be finally quelled. Some having been purchased for customers, a large quantity of furniture perished in the fire and also a Daimler truck and two cars but despite the upset of the loss Mr. Green, who had only purchased the premises a few weeks before, said with understandable relief, ‘Thank goodness nobody was injured.’ Hopefully also relieved was E.A. Matthews (late G. Matthews and Son) who having been established for 100 years now offered their undertaking service - ‘funerals any distance’ - from The Bridge Garage, 13, Railway Terrace, and 64, High Street.

Towards the end of the month The Dairy, 19, Bletchley Road, required a part-time bookkeeper, and, with Mrs. G. Clarke having recovered from illness, it was business as usual at the General Store in Aylesbury Street. However, she was soon obliged to deny rumours, ‘circulated from a certain quarter’, suggesting that she intended to sell the business and since other statements had also been made, if these continued then legal action would be taken.

Full or part-time employment awaited a man, or youth, for both warehouse work and assisting the van salesman at Johnson & Son, potato merchants, and, also for work of national importance, Pacey & Co., Rodex Works, had the need for a part time shorthand typist. Presently on offer at the Garden Café, perhaps the Lion duplicating machine, complete with a box of stencils and Stylo pen, plus two pads, might also have been of interest.

In early May Mr. Ben Johnson was buried in Bletchley cemetery. Aged 79, he originally hailed from Water Stratford and until leaving to live in London ten years ago, had worked for the prominent local businessman, Hedley Clarke. Also prominent on the commercial scene was the well known Hubert Faulkner, ‘a captain in H.M. Forces’, who, stating himself and Evelyn Faulkner, both of Staple Lodge, to be the directors, now registered Staple Lodge Holdings Ltd. with a nominal capital of £3000.

Aged 14 to 16, youths with an interest in radio were required for Government work at Weatherheads, of 73, Bletchley Road, who announced that ‘Our Service Department is now engaged upon work of National Importance’- in fact fitting radio apparatus to tanks. This unsurprisingly left little time for civilian repairs, but customers could be assured of a more complete service at the Bletchley Co-op Bakery Dept. for, in a competition open to the South of England, not only had the manager, Mr. F. Maycock, won 1st prize for a 2lb. loaf, but, as an additional bonus, Mr. N. Odell, the foreman confectioner, had gained second prize for a Madeira cake and sponge.

Arriving at Bletchley at an early age, after working as a carpenter and builder, being also a member of the old volunteer fire brigade, Mr. Thomas Hedges found employment with Rowland Brothers. His death, aged 90, sadly occurred in the middle of June, and the town also said farewell to Mrs. Rosetta Brace, of 36, High Street, who died at the age of 79. A native of Pattishall, Northants., coming to Bletchley over 50 years ago she married Mr. T. Brace four years later and, firstly in the shop later occupied by Weatherheads, and then in that of Bushell and Thurlow, for 30 years they ran a grocery and dairy business in Bletchley Road. On their retirement in 1928 they then moved to the house adjoining the High Street schools, with Mr. Brace running a catering business.

By a letter to the Council dated June 26th, the Bletchley Fish Co. stated their intention to carry on an existing fish frying business, lately carried on by Mr. H. Court. The Council raised no objection and, in other considerations, on Thursday, July 6th at a meeting of the Highways and Works Committee, at the Council Offices Plan 1309 was submitted for an overhead cable. This would run from the existing main at the rear of Beacon Brushes to the premises of Rowland Bros. where, by Plan 1311, the construction of a bandmill shed and gantry was now proposed. During the month approval would duly be given, and also in July came the election of Captain Mells, the technical director of Flettons Ltd., as a member of the National Brick Advisory Council. Already a member of the Bletchley Urban District Council, he was perhaps therefore well qualified to advise at the Council meeting on Tuesday, August 10th when, for Fortescue Bros., Plan 1313, on the proposed construction of a garage workshop at the rear of the High Street garage, fronting Victoria Road, was considered, and also a proposal by the Industrial Magneto Co. to proceed with the erection of factory premises in Denbigh Road. After discussion, it was then resolved that if the latter materialised, the Council would instruct the Surveyor to lay the necessary sewer and water main, but this would be on condition that the company paid half the cost of the sewer to the Council and, with the water to be supplied by meter, agreed to guarantee payment of the water charges each half year, of an amount not less than 50% of the total cost of providing and laying the water main.

On Thursday, October 7th at the Conservative Club the firm of Wallace A. Foll conducted the sale, by auction, of ‘the important and extensive corner Block of Business Premises’ at 59, Aylesbury Street. At low rentals totalling £117 p.a., these were currently let to Messrs. Wells & Son, Outfitters, and The Empire Meat Co., and in a commercially astute transaction, Messrs. J.E. Wells and Sons purchased the property for £1,600. (The business was later sold to Charles Mares, of Luton, in 1953). As for other property transactions, Mr. H. Weatherhead, of Bletchley Road, now bought Tudor House in Western Road for the sum of £340.

At a meeting of the Highways and Works Committee on Thursday, November 4th Plan 1316 was considered for the extension of the J. Root and Son factory, and the month also witnessed the need for a boy, between the hours of 8a.m. and 5.30p.m., ‘to make himself generally useful’ at the Garden Café, where he ‘must be fond of gardening’. Should chimney sweeping also be amongst his duties, then ‘Instant Soot Destroyer, clean your chimney for only 6d’, might enhance his career prospects, available from Pacey, the ironmonger, in Aylesbury Street.

At the end of November one Sunday night Mr. Walter Warren, proprietor of the print business that bore his name, died at 18, Bletchley Road, aged 73. His father being a builder and undertaker of Denmark Street, when orphaned at the age of 17 Walter built up ‘a useful business’ by selling newspapers and periodicals, and when his older brother, Charles, left Bletchley to work at Watford, Walter and his brother Arthur, a printer, launched the Fenny Stratford Times. Responsible for most of the reporting, they subsequently ran the newspaper until the buildings were destroyed by fire, and when purchased by another company the newspaper then became the North Bucks Times. As for Walter and his brother, their next venture would be a printing business carried on in Park Street. This was later transferred to 18, Bletchley Road, and on Arthur’s death, Walter then continued the business with his son.



On January 1st, Bletchley Printers was formed as a limited company and, at a cost of £2 13s 6d, they would soon be responsible for printing the registration cards, although perhaps no business could be expected from the The Kandy Stores which, according to the proprietor, C. Cater, ‘needs no advertising’. However, in a local advert he wished to thank all his customers for their support. Elsewhere there was a need, for the duration of the war, for a Bakery Branch manager at the Co-op, ‘Knowledge of rationing procedures required’, and the Co-op could now also supply various colours of oil bound water paint, ‘renowned make’, in 6lb. tins at 5s. As for Fortescue Bros., of Aylesbury Street, they gave notice that, unless they were claimed within 14 days, cycles left with them prior to January 1st for repairs, or storage, would be sold to defray expenses.

At M. A. Cook & Sons vacancies for males and females were available for ‘Work of National Importance’ and, shortly to advertise a need for ‘records for salvage’, also engaged on work of national importance was Weatherheads, two former employees of which, Ron Pearson, and John Oliffe, had an amazing coincidence when they met in a Glasgow street. Now being members of the R.A.F., they discovered that not only were they both taking the same course, but they were also billeted at the same house!

Raising £4 10s for Red Cross funds, towards the end of the month toys, made by Mrs. Battams, were sold by Mrs. Hawkins of Castle Wool Stores, and at the beginning of February, to learn coffee roasting a young man was required at Joseph Tetley & Co., 38, Osborne Street – ‘Apply Mr. Baker’. Elsewhere, at Water Eaton, ‘Smiths, Provender Millers’, needed a lorry driver, and the end of the month provided an opportunity for a lady bookkeeper to gain employment, full or part-time, at Bentima Dairy, 19, Bletchley Road. However, for Hedley Clarke, whose wartime service would be involved with the Royal Observer Corps., owing to the present heavy pressures of his wartime work, and the effects of a recent illness, he now resigned, having managed the Bletchley Labour Exchange since 1912. Educated at the Board School, Bow Brickhill, at the age of seven he had gone to work on a farm, and later became an errand boy for James Berwick, the draper, of Aylesbury Street. Next serving an apprenticeship with Braggins shops at Bedford, after a couple of years he then started his own business in 1902 at 39-41, Bletchley Road, as a draper, but two years later, on the death of Mr. Alderman, was appointed as the sub-postmaster at Bletchley Road post office, and also the manager of the local labour exchange, under the Board of Trade. In 1914 he then gave up the drapery business and, serving two terms with B.U.D.C., became a founder member of the Bletchley Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Freemasons. Including the Bletchley Horticultural Society, he became secretary of many societies, and as a prolific land and property developer, once owned the sites on which the Flettons and L.B.C. brickworks would eventually stand.

Bletchley Gazette

In early March came a recommendation that the plans should be approved for extending the lavatories at the Roots brush factory and, additionally, at the rear of Mr. O. Tramontini’s premises at 97, Bletchley Road. Additions to the Garden Café had also been approved, and should the work involve electrical wiring, then Williamson, 51, Bletchley Road, was ‘at your service for everything electrical’. Also during March, youths in need of a wage could earn some dough on the bread production line at the Co-op Bakery, and might thereby save up to buy one of the modern cars that at 6, High Street, Haynes & Goodman were currently purchasing for cash. On more earthy matters, on ration cards people could obtain seeds, manure, peat etc. from William Brinkler, Bridge Granaries, and there they could also purchase hay, straw, rabbit meal etc.

Tenders from the Bletchley Co-op were now accepted to supply the British Restaurant with provisions and greengrocery. Mr. Gurney would provide the TB tested milk, at 3s per gallon less 10%, Mr J. Colgrove the meat, at Ministry of Food maximum prices less 10%, and, to help to maximise the custom, a request had been made by the Bletchley Co-op Women’s Guild for the Council to place a board at Bletchley railway bridge, and also in Albert Street, directing the way to the Restaurant.

The following month, opportunities for youth employment would include positions as railway clerks for boys of good education, aged between 14 and 17, and also a vacancy for a smart lad, aged 14 to 16, at the London Central Meat Co. in Bletchley Road - ‘Good wages and prospects.’ Many firms were now predominantly engaged on work ‘of national importance’, and, at the Tuesday meeting of the Council, on April 18th on behalf of the Industrial Magneto Co. the Surveyor submitted an application for an extension of the sewer, and water main, along Denbigh Road. In connection with the proposed factory development, this would be for approximately 500 hundred yards, and it was agreed that approval would be granted subject to the developers making a non returnable cash payment of £250 to the Council, as half the estimated cost of providing and laying the sewer. Also, in respect of the water supplied either by meter, or on the rateable value, that the developers guaranteed an annual payment to the Council of not less than £40, exclusive of meter rental charges.

The British Restaurant.
Providing 'off the ration' meals to anyone, with the equipment provided by the Ministry of Food 'Communal Feeding Centres' had first been established during the Blitz in the autumn of 1940. Due to a suggestion by Winston Churchill the name was later changed to British Restaurants. Of the several suppliers in the town, the Co-op would provide some of the provisions and greengrocery.

On Tuesday, May 2nd the fire brigade was called to a blaze at the Co-op premises in Albert Street. The cause had been a paraffin pump, but despite this disruption during the middle of the month in the National Competition for bread came the award of a silver medal to the Bletchley & District Co-op Bakery, and also seeking an award was Phyllis, the wife of Frank Howard, who, trading in Aylesbury Street as Phyllis Cooper, ladies hairdresser, claimed £8 6d from a printer at The Studio, Park Hill, Carshalton. Her order for cards had been promised for delivery in February, but although despatched, the consignment was suffering a delay through ‘war conditions’.

War conditions were also causing a problem for Rowland Bros. who, now being engaged on war work, and requiring more room at their premises, consequently invited people to come and take away free sawdust, providing they brought their own bags. Not of course -since ‘New ones are expensive’ - in handbags for which, together with leather goods, a repair service was offered at 28, Napier Street by Mr. Freeman who, should maintenance be required on his machinery, could always approach Mr. Davis, who repaired and overhauled sewing machines at 114, Buckingham Road. Perhaps his services were also of interest to the lady at Flat 103A, Bletchley Road, (‘sidesteps to entrance’), who from discarded coats, costumes etc, with ‘customers own material’ offered a dressmaking and alterations service.

For the proposed Industrial Magneto Co. factory, on July 28th, regarding the provision and laying of the water and sewage main in Denbigh Road, at a special meeting of the Council the Surveyor said that in view of the difficulty of finding competitive tenders, he had obtained a price from William Press and Sons. They were presently at work in the urban area, and, due to the urgency of laying the main, he would therefore engage the firm before he left for his new appointment .

Important news came towards the end of July, when the combined newsagents of Bletchley announced that due to wartime conditions, and a shortage of labour, from Monday, 31st July they would charge 2d per week for newspaper delivery. There would soon also be a temporary shortage of labour in the town’s butchery trade when, due to ill health, Mr. John Colgrove retired from the family business. His successor would be Fred Todd, of Chandos, Crescent Rise, Luton, to whom Mr. Colgrove recommended his customers, thanking them for their loyal support during the 34 years that he had been in business. In fact following the tradition of his father and grandfather, he had been connected with the Bletchley butchery trade for over 40 years, and his brothers being respectively a butcher, butcher/farmer, and farmer, John had come to Bletchley from London, to work as a butcher’s boy for David Edwards. Later he worked at Banbury and Stratford upon Avon, but then returned to manage two declining businesses in Wolverton. Having made both these profitable, he next started at 9, Victoria Road, and shortly afterwards married Mildred Marlow, of Silverstone. With trade flourishing, at 23, Victoria Road he duly developed a wholesale business, and in this he would receive much help from Sid Marks, whom he employed for over 20 years. During World War One, and the present war, he acted with Hugh Sipthorpe as a Government grader, and, in other activities, at the request of the Ratepayers’ Association, he contested the Fenny Stratford Ward of the Urban District. Despite the failure of his first attempt, he was elected a year later with a good majority and held the position for 15 years, serving for three years as chairman, and also vice-chairman. Whilst chairman of the Recreation Ground Committee, the children’s amusements were installed, and during his service as chairman of the Cemetery Committee, a public convenience and mortuary were built in George Street. As for other interests, for 38 years he acted as a local preacher to the Methodist church.

In early August, the Council considered Plan 1332, for covering the loading space in the Osborne Street factory of Tetley and Co., and, in late August, someone in need of a cup of tea - or something stronger - was William Cox, a Co-op baker’s roundsman of 152, Water Eaton Road, who, when he called at a house in Botolph Claydon, had been bitten on the thigh by a black Scottie dog. In fact this was not his first painful encounter with the pooch, and the lady owner was ordered to keep the animal under control. She was also fined 14s 6d, in the aftermath of which no doubt rover was hardly left feeling as pleased as a butcher’s dog. Yet on the subject of butchers, Mr. Tookey, of Bletchley Road, now required a full time lad, as did Mr. F. Todd who, having taken over Colgrove’s business in Victoria Road, further needed a young lady to act as a cashier. For another long established business in the town it was then time to pull down the shutters when, aged 88, Bletchley’s oldest trader, Mr. Reuben Brett, died in September, leaving a widow, a son, and two daughters. Living since 1878 at his drapers shop in Aylesbury Street, he had been in the outfitting trade for 64 years, of which 61 had been on his own account. Born in Beachampton, he learned his trade at Wellingborough, and moved to Bletchley 64 years ago to work for Mr. White. He then took over the business three years later. Achieving renown in his younger days for being the best ice skater in the district, he was also adept at riding a penny-farthing.

With apprehensions of winter, Mr. A. Holliman, painter and decorator, of 17, Tavistock Street, now advertised that after October he would seek ‘Inside Work for preference’, but perhaps such stipulations could not be applied by Mr. W.J. King of 43, Saffron Street, who had purchased the business of the J.J. Window Cleaning Co., and ‘aims to give complete satisfaction.’ Obtaining complete satisfaction was also the aim of the Bletchley Co-op Society when, in the County Court, they claimed possession of 29, Bletchley Road, and £7 12s mesne profits, against William Vick, a boot repairer. Having been employed in this capacity by the Co-op, on Friday, May 5th he gave notice to quit, and was consequently told to vacate the house, which he had rented at 8s a week. On his own accord, he was now working in Cheltenham but in the absence of any alternative, his wife was still living at the Bletchley house, where their furniture remained. In a subsequent letter to the Court he explained the position, and asked for an extension of time, but since the Co-op needed the house for their newly employed boot repairer, who was presently living in lodgings, this seemed unlikely. However, at Bletchley County Court a final extension of notice for one week would be granted on Tuesday, October 24th.

In early October, for the candidate chosen at the British Gas Light Company an Essential Works Order would apply for the position of clerk/typist - ‘accustomed to figures and general office work’ - and hopefuls were asked to apply in their own handwriting. However, if unsuccessful they could always seek employment with Mr. Todd as a butcher’s cutter, or else at the Garden Café where, from 9.30a.m. to 2.30p.m., a cook was required for plain cooking, as also an evening cook from 5p.m. to 10p.m.

As complying with the byelaws, on Thursday, October 5th plans were approved at the Highways and Works Committee meeting regarding the factory premises of the Industrial Magneto Co. Ltd. The firm had asked that the proposed sewer in Denbigh Road should be extended by approximately 80 yards, and this was duly agreed on condition that they contributed half the cost.

A boy was now required for battery charging and stock room work at Weatherheads but Peter Corden, the son of Mr. & Mrs. A. B. Corden, of Victoria Road, had greater ambitions, for during the month he passed the chemist and druggist qualifying examination of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and could now set up as a chemist. In fact his father, ‘Jimmy’, had begun a chemist’s business in Victoria Road in 1922, and, when aged 21, during 1944 Peter would also start work in the shop. However, he was then called to the army, and would just finish his basic training when the war came to an end. Serving with the Oxon. and Bucks. Regiment, he left military service in 1948, and then commencing in business as a chemist, continued as such until 1988. He died in 1995.

Fredrick Henry, ‘London Smart Cut’ tailor for both sexes, was now resident at 5, Bletchley Road. He could therefore personally attend to old and new customers, who would also be welcomed by the Co-op hardware department which, by early November, had announced the arrival of their quota of toys. Announcing the availability of Christmas cards, A.J. Souster welcomed the placing of orders at 23, Windsor Street but it would be a need for sympathy cards that arose when Mr. Arthur Pollard, ironmonger, of 113, Bletchley Road, died at the age of 59 on the evening of Monday, May 7th. A member of the St. Martin’s Lodge of Freemasons, and a keen bowls enthusiast, belonging to both the Conservative and Town Clubs, he was a native of Bletchley, and after employment in the L.M.S. offices at Euston, he would then be engaged in the ironmongery trade for 23 years. Having been wounded on active service, in order to help in the continued running of the business one of his sons, Ron, was now to be discharged from the army, whilst another son, Peter, who was serving in India, would return home shortly on compassionate leave.

Closing the year, a boy was now needed to work in the stock room at Bletchley Printers, and, aged 14 to 15, a girl was required in the Boot Repair department of the Co-op. As for anyone seeking part time employment, a position as office cleaner was available at Flettons, Water Eaton, but for Mapleys, at 11, Bletchley Road, it was closing time for their catering section, which would cease trading from December 22nd.




With food rationing continuing to bite, at least the year began with some encouraging news - 100 tons of good quality swedes were available for sale at Sycamore Farm - and perhaps they might have appealed to R. Johnson, wholesale fruit and potato merchants, who were currently in the market for not only swedes but also potatoes and white turnips.

The year would also fortunately bring the increased export of dried foods from the United States, whilst, as for meat supplies, these were steadily enhanced by the Bletchley Fur and Feather Club. Formed three months ago, this now held its first show in the Market Exchange, at the Park Hotel, and, affiliated to the domestic rabbit section of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Club had already sold several rabbits to a local butcher.

For providing allotments in the urban area, it was now agreed that with a) and b) as the priority, the following areas would be requisitioned as and when necessary; a) between the schools in Bletchley Road, b) below Buckingham Road and Newton Road council houses, c) land belonging to the Allotment Association off Eaton Avenue, d) the area in Victoria Road owned by Mr. J. Colgrove, e) land in Tavistock Street owned by Mr. Perry, f) land in Water Eaton owned by Mr. Felce.

Then on Tuesday, 10th February, acting on behalf of the County Agricultural Organisation, Mr. P. Brown, the County Horticultural Adviser, explained in great detail the objects of a circular, issued by the County Agricultural Committee on January 14th. In consequence, it was resolved to set up a Local Wartime Domestic Food Production Committee in Bletchley which, with Councillor Coles as the local nomination to serve on the County Committee, would deal with this matter. With W. Johnson as chairman, the Council representatives on the local committee would be councillors F. Bates, T. Coles, H. Dimmock, J. Goodwin, W. Kirby, and J. Thurlow, and the chairman of the Bletchley Fur and Feather Society, Mr. H. Souster, would also be co-opted. They would work with the Allotment Association as well as other organisations, and not before time it seemed, since some of the Brooklands Road allotments had still not been taken, and many council house gardens were in a disgraceful state. Therefore householders, towards becoming self sufficient, would not only be urged to make full use of their allotments and gardens, but to also employ such measures as feeding small livestock with kitchen waste, and a suggestion was even made that a pig club should be set up, on the principle of Mr. Shirley’s existing example at Woughton.

When the year’s ploughing season was complete, it was hoped that in the U.K., compared to the total before the war there would be around six million additional acres under cultivation and, towards this intention, on February 18th at the Bletchley Road Senior School a piece of the playing field was ploughed up for gardening purposes by the B.W.A.E.C. However, for anyone with more extensive ambitions, on the outskirts of Water Eaton the freehold smallholding known as the Poultry Farm, Stoke Hammond, might be of interest. Comprising 28 acres, this was currently let at £61p.a., and by the direction of the personal representatives of the late Mrs. F. Weatherhead, and Mr. E. Weatherhead, would be auctioned at the Park Hotel on Wednesday, February 25th at 4p.m, along with 2, Tavistock Street, let at £40 6s p.a. In fact the smallholding was duly sold for £1,075 to Mr. Valentin, of Stoke House, and perhaps he might then seek the help of the girls from the Womens Land Army organisation, which had now set out to raise £100,000 through public subscriptions for a recently formed Benevolent Fund.

At the Park Hotel, on Thursday, February 19th a decision was taken at the annual meeting of the Bletchley market stock show’s committee to not only add four classes to the schedules, but to also increase the prize money. With Major L. Marler (President) occupying the chair, Mr. A. Missenden, of Leighton Buzzard, had offered a competition cup for the best dairy heifer, or best pen of sheep, etc. whilst a suggestion that a cup should be given at the horse show was made by Mr. W. Clarkson, who offered to provide a suitable example. Both cups were accepted with thanks, and it was then agreed to award the farmers’ cup to the best beast in the store stock show. As for related activities, in view of a decision to repair the dairy cattle shed of the market, galvanised iron had now been obtained, and resurfacing of the market yard would also commence within a few weeks, with straw - vendors being invited to bring their own - to be used as a floor covering on show days.

March began with the need for a gardener at Bletchley Rectory for 16 hours a week, and also on the subject of ones daily bread, most Bletchley housewives had now ‘cheerfully accepted’ the curtailment of bread deliveries, which began on Monday, March 2nd. After inspection, during the month the Council then obtained by the owners’ verbal agreement the various sites to be used as wartime allotments, and for members of the Bletchley Allotments Association - there now being some 17½ million allotment holders in the country - they came to benefit from the supply of packets of vegetable seeds which, with a typical assortment including bean, pea, cabbage, onion, radish, turnip, lettuce, carrot, and beet seeds, had been sent from the British War Relief Society of America. As for a British contribution, described in a Documentary Newsletter as ‘excellent. A model instructional film’, during the year a production entitled ‘Saving Your Own Seeds’ would be directed by the Australian born Margaret Thomson who during the war, whilst working at the Realist Film Unit - which had been set up by Basil Wright in 1937, and was the most important documentary film unit outside the G.P.O. Film Unit - would be associated with many horticultural and agricultural productions. Intended for a wartime audience, these included ‘Making a Compost Heap, (1942), ‘Clamping Potatoes’, ‘Hedging’, (1942), and ‘Clean Milk’, (1943), and after the war she would continue her involvement in the film industry, including much work with children.

For those who wished to rent and cultivate a plot of land as an allotment, (ten poles or more), in connection with Wartime Domestic Food Production, applications to B.U.D.C. were invited from Bletchley residents, and hopefuls were to ‘Send to either the Clerk of the Council or Mr. Kirby, 6 Brooklands Road, by Monday, March 16th.’ As for other produce, at a 6p.m. meeting of the Wartime Domestic Food Production Committee, held at the Council Offices on Wednesday, March 11th, Mr. Wilfred Shirley, answering many questions, gave ‘very detailed information’ regarding the formation and running of a pig club, and in consequence, to be monitored by the Committee, it was decided to start ‘The Bletchley Pig Club’ - ‘Bacon supplies may be restricted later on - make sure of yours now’. Via an advert in the local press, applications to the Clerk of the Council, (he being the Hon. Sec.), would be invited for membership, with veterinary advice, collective insurance, the means to obtain foodstuffs, and veterinary advice to all be amongst the benefits conferred. At suitable locations, bins for the collection of pig food were to be placed, notwithstanding the fact that due to an increased salvage collection, and shortage of staff, the weekly refuse collections had now been abandoned, and replaced by a fortnightly visit.

Amongst several Ministry of Information films, ‘Wartime agriculture in Scotland’ was shown at the Conservative Club on Thursday, March 12th, whilst for agriculture in Bletchley, in response to an enquiry from the Clerk of the Council, on March 14th the County Advisor in Horticulture, of the B.C.C. County Agricultural Committee, wrote regarding the procedure for obtaining artificial fertiliser containing potash. For each ten pole allotment, each member was entitled to a maximum of 42lbs. of compound fertiliser containing 5% of potash, and, having collected the orders, the Secretary of the Allotment Association would then place the total requirement with merchants, who were allowed to sell without a permit.

On the wider scene, during the year for the production of sugar beet it was hoped to nationally provide 405,000 acres, this being the maximum extent with which the existing factories could cope, and on March 18th, regarding the general state of British agriculture an ‘interesting and informative’ debate took place in the House of Commons where Mr. R. Hudson, the Minister of Agriculture, said ‘We may have to tighten our belts a good deal more this year, but we can do it, and will do it, cheerfully.’ ‘It is only sober truth that the harvest of 1942 may well be a critical factor in the future history, not only of this country, but of the world.’

Prophetic words, that well reflected the crisis in food production, and on March 19th the Clerk of the Council wrote to the brewers Hopcraft and Norris, at The Brewery, Brackley, saying that since Mr. Gammage, the tenant of the New Inn, had raised no objection, they hoped that permission would be confirmed for the 1.17 acres of land at the back of the inn to be used for allotments.

Additional land was also needed elsewhere, and the chairman of the Bletchley Wartime Domestic Food Production Committee, Mr. W. Johnson, of The Lindens, Bletchley Road, would shortly announce that pursuant to the earlier survey, a recommendation would now be made to requisition those areas adjoining the Bletchley Road schools, between Buckingham Road and Newton Road council houses, off Eaton Avenue, in Victoria Road, Tavistock Street and Water Eaton.

Then, presented one Thursday evening to B.U.D.C., the first report of the Bletchley Wartime Domestic Food Committee contained a comprehensive list of the vacant land that was now to be commandeered throughout the urban district for wartime allotments, and in fact following an appeal by the Committee, by the end of the month over 100 applications for allotments would be received under the ‘Grow More Food’ campaign, with the Council to plough the land for cultivation. It was therefore just as well that the hardware department of the Bletchley & District Co-op were presently stocking utensils from the ‘Unity’ range of garden tools, and, as an incentive for yield, in April the Committee would be asked to consider offering prizes for the best kept and productive allotment of the year.

The membership of the local Fur & Feather Club presently numbered around 50 but unless they were a part of this community, Bletchley poultry keepers might soon be unable to obtain food for their birds, since the Club had been formed to group all keepers of poultry and rabbits together, to so enable the best means of food production. The Council were also playing their role in food production, and confirmed in a letter of March 23rd that they would bear the cost of ploughing and disc harrowing those areas of land taken over for allotments at the rear of the New Inn, off Eaton Avenue (owned by the Bletchley and District Allotment Association), off Bletchley Road (owned by Mr. H. Tranfield), off Church Green Road (owned by Mrs. Boyce), off North Street (owned by Mr. H. Clarke), and off Tavistock Street (owned by Mr. Perry).

The Bletchley market bi-monthly show and sale of dairy cattle, and the annual spring show and sale of store stock, took place on Thursday, March 26th. In fact this was a date coincidental with that of an invitation by the N.F.U. Bletchley branch for all milk producers to attend a 3p.m. meeting in the Assembly Room of the Park Hotel, there ‘To receive a report on the present position and to discuss same’, and it seemed therefore appropriate that for the duration of the war Bletchley Co-op was now advertising for a dairy rounds man, ‘horse or motor’. The Co-op also presently had new recipes prepared ‘to meet New Requirements’, and by the end of March the Bakery Dept. would be producing bread and cakes from ‘the New Government Flour’.

Ever present was the danger that the enemy might drop incendiaries, to set fire to crops, and to minimise this risk farmers sited their haystacks as far apart as possible, ploughing furrows in between to act as fire breaks. ‘Matchless’ was the codeword which would warn of an incendiary attack, and the potential for disaster was very real, since the national stocks of white flour had been increasingly diminished. Indeed, the ‘National Loaf’ became compulsory on Monday, April 6th but for the potential to vary their diet, for many Bletchley people the Easter holiday provided an opportunity to begin the cultivation of their new allotments. The deadline for applications had been extended, and with the new ground ploughed up, some 44 acres, (about 430 plots), were now controlled by the Bletchley & District Allotments Association, in fact taking advantage of the Land Facilities Act which, as a wartime measure, made possible the requisition of land which would have otherwise been rapidly bought up by speculators and builders.

John Goodwin being President, William Kirby, Treasurer, and Joseph Gibbons, Secretary, with many railway workers attending the foundation meeting the Bletchley and District Allotments Association had origins from March, 1920, and the first piece of land was rented the following year in Brooklands Road. Soon several acres in Fenny Stratford and Old Bletchley were also taken, making a total of 26 acres, and on this a lease of 14 years was secured. With the only purchased piece of land being that of the nine acres of Eaton Avenue, in 1925, at the end of the period the project had proved so successful that, excepting those in Denbigh Road, all the allotments in the district were taken over, and, providing a further 160 plots, another ten acres to the local holding had now been added by the Bletchley War Emergency Food Committee. Selected, ploughed, harrowed, pegged out and allocated, this land extended over nine different parts of the town, including the site of the proposed swimming pool and a large part of Central Gardens, although for the latter a reminder of the original use would be made during August, with a payment of £5 9s 10d to Ramsbothams for supplying the Gardens with flowers!

Whilst the Council seemed to be in control of their agricultural situation, for the local land developer Hedley J. Clarke, of Bletchley Road, to remind him of his obligations the Ampthill magistrates had to impose a fine of £20, for not ploughing up six acres at Harlington. Hardly a ground breaking example to set the boys of the evacuated London school who, now housed in the Bletchley Park Pavilion, were during school time allowed to do 20½ days’ work on local farms and also cultivate allotments, most of which were communal. They then sold the produce to their foster parents, and the profits were spent on seeds and plants for the coming season.

If the boys seemed keen, then for some adults it all appeared to be too much, and in a letter of April 9th Jack Castle, of 116, Victoria Road, said that his allotment in Water Eaton Road was too far, especially ‘as I have pigs and poultry to look after, after I have done work.’ As for Mr. L. Unsworth, of 3, Rhondda Crescent, he was allegedly doing unspeakable things at his North Street allotment, and the Clerk had to write that because he had been reported for disposing of rubbish into the adjoining stream, would he please stop, ‘to prevent trouble arising in the future.’

By a circular letter of April 15th from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the secretary informed B.U.D.C. that by the Minister he was instructed to say that a good job had so far been done in acquiring allotments. However, due to hostile developments in the Far East more were needed because of the losses to convoys, and he suggested taking over the gardens of unoccupied houses. Additionally, should cultivated areas be damaged by straying cattle etc. the Councils were to make immediate and strong representations to the owners of such animals, with any difficulties reported to the W.A.E.C. ‘who possess certain powers under the Defence Regulations for taking effective action in such cases.’

So far the allotments in the town were situated at Church Green Road, Newton Road, Central Gardens, the New Inn, Tavistock Street, Tavistock Street (Perry, Deighton), Bletchley Road, Manor Road, the Staple Hall Estate, Eaton Avenue and - Hedley Clarke having allowed the Council the triangle of land without the need for requisition - North Street, and despite the national need for salvage, should such a measure prove detrimental to an allotment, no railings were to be taken,.

On Thursday, April 16th a request from Bletchley Council to use land near the Bletchley Road Senior School for allotments went before Bucks Education Committee, who recommended, however, that it should be used instead to grow crops for the school canteens. Indeed, the pupils were already tending allotments in the school grounds and, as no doubt a welcome excuse to escape from lessons, with the added incentive of a small wage they were also encouraged to help out during school hours on local farms, riding to and from their work in a trailer pulled by the farmer’s tractor. In fact nationwide, as an alternative to horses tractors were becoming increasingly essential for agricultural efficiency, with the 7,000 now in state ownership being hired out to farmers.

In a letter of April 24th Mr. H. Baker, a director of Salmons and Sons (Coachbuilders) Ltd., of Newport Pagnell, wrote to the Clerk regarding land at Staple Hall. Referring to the plot of land taken over by the Council for allotments, he now confirmed that he had sold part of this plot to the Ministry of Transport, and his solicitor was preparing the Contract of Sale. He would therefore be obliged to know the amount of rent payable to Mr. H. Faulkner - the tenancy due to expire on November 30th - and to also be given an assurance that the land would be vacated and handed over 6 months after the end of the war.

Having already written to the Council on April 3rd that ‘my ground situated on the edge of the road is a happy hunting ground for children and dogs’, in a letter of April 26th Mr. W. Purcell, of 26, Leon Avenue, informed the Clerk that twice this week trespassers - ‘schoolboys’ - had been driven from his holding by ‘other allotmenteers’, and he was therefore rather concerned as to when the fencing would be done. The Clerk was also concerned about matters of fencing, and wrote to Mr. D. Deighton of 65, Tavistock Street regarding complaints from holders on the Tavistock plot that their allotments were being damaged and overrun by his hens, housed at the eastern end of the site. ‘You will recollect that when the chairman of the Allotments Committee and myself interviewed you on the site prior to the land being taken over for allotment purposes an understanding was arrived at with you that providing we did not take over the land now used for your poultry run you would fence off the allotments from such poultry run.’ Also regarding poultry matters, the Bletchley Fur and Feather Club would now receive the monies, trophies, etc., of the Fur Fanciers Society, which, as decided at a meeting at the Park Hotel, on Friday, April 28th would be dissolved. Mr. C. Orchard had made the suggestion to the ten members present, and so came to an end an existence which had first begun in January, 1943, although the Club became inactive after only some 6 months.

At Bletchley market, on Thursday, May 4th the B.W.A.E.C. demonstration van, complete with the tractor and machinery maintenance exhibit, arrived. The object was to make farmers aware of ways to lessen their repair bills, and towards this intention the Committee’s tractor instructors were present to advise on individual problems.

Should it be possible to hold the annual show this year, during May from the County Council the Bletchley Livestock Improvement Society was to receive a grant of £15 towards the prize fund, whilst on Wednesday, May 20th trade proved fast and buyers numerous at the Bletchley Market’s annual show and sale of horses where, including carthorses, with about 100 animals offered, and nearly every horse sold, good prices were realised.

Following his previous concerns, in a letter of May 27th the Clerk of the Council wrote to Mr. G. Belayse Smith, Deputy Executive Officer of B.W.A.E.C., Aylesbury, saying that netting was needed to keep fowls off the allotments. A quantity 80 yards by 6 feet would suffice, and ‘If a Licence for this could be granted I would have the matter attended to at once.’ In due reply, on June 8th not only was a permit for barbed wire and wire netting forwarded but also ‘instructions as to an application for rubber boots’ and additionally - in triplicate - form T.C. 3/8/1, for an application to obtain wooden stakes. Consequently, in a letter of June 12th the Clerk then asked the firm of W.J. Cooper, of Phoenix Works, Newport Pagnell, if they could supply, as per Permit No. 2202, wire netting which ‘is urgently required as fowls are scratching up certain of our Allotments’, and in reply to a telephone enquiry of the 17th, on June 22nd Rowland Bros. quoted a lump sum price of £11 12s 6d for 250 5 foot pointed Chestnut stakes, approximately 3inches in diameter, in half round or quartered.

Admission 6d, children 3d, in aid of the Red Cross on Saturday, June 27th at 12.30p.m. the Bletchley Fur & Feather Club held a fine display of high quality rabbits at Bletchley market; ‘Please patronise the good cause and help the Club, which is helping to increase the meat supplies of the district.’ Enquiries could be made to the Secretary, W. Kirk, at 10, Albert Street but enquiries were still on going with regard to fencing and, advising others of the same, on July 6th the Clerk wrote to Mr. F. Palmer, at Gasworks House, High Street, regretting the lack of wire netting to keep fowls off his allocated plot in Tavistock Street. The netting had been on order for some time, and would be put up as soon as it became available.

Also on July 6th, following an inspection of the wartime allotments by representatives of the Allotment Committee Mr. C. Pilcher, of 97, Duncombe Street, was advised by letter that his allotment in Central Gardens was in an ‘uncultivated state’. As for Mr. D. Atkins of ‘Bowreen’, North Street, his allotment was in a weedy condition and in further admonishments, since his grass field adjoining the allotments had not been mown, Mr. D. Deighton of ‘Sunningdale’, Tavistock Street, was asked to have this done as soon as possible.

Not everyone received such cautions with good humour and on July 7th Mr. C. Caine, of 6 Napier Street, replied that ‘after several attempts to clear these weeds, I have given up hope of doing so and again, if the land had been turned over properly in the first place and the hedge that adjoins my plot had been attended to, no complaint would have been necessary.’ ‘In my opinion, this letter is just a sheer waste of valuable paper and stamp.’ On the same date Mr. Pulley, of 67, Freemans Cottages, Buckingham Road, also committed his dissatisfactions to paper and wrote; ‘I beg to differ to your statement’, pointing out that perhaps they were unaware that he only rented no. 2 plot, and had given up no. 1 plot during the first week of allocation - ‘I could not cultivate 20 poles of such heavy ground owing to leg injuries received during military service. I was discharged from the army on March 2nd 1942.’

Throughout the country, every type of machinery was being used to speed up drainage work and whereas in July, 1940 the Ministry of Agriculture had no excavators, now there were 250. Indeed, this was just as well since with many thousands of miles of ditching ‘not doing its job’, tens of thousands of otherwise productive acres were waterlogged, and ‘so farmers, landowners and County Agricultural Committees must make it their watchword, “To fight to the last ditch.”’ Accordingly, on July 29th Mr. I. Pearce, of Bletchley Leys Farm, was recommended for a priority ditching scheme, and in further measures at the end of the month the Wartime Food Production Committee sent letters to several allotment holders, asking them to give up their plots if they were unable to cope due to long hours etc. Affecting the neighbouring plots, weeds were going to seed, and with 5 of the 7 unused plots in the Newton Road block in a bad condition, difficulty was also being experienced on the Tavistock Street allotments.

During the month, the Council had approved Plan 1294 for a pig sty, ‘as a wartime measure’, at the home of Mrs. Taylor in Newton Road, but with the stipulation there should be ‘No sanitary nuisance arising as the result of keeping pigs in the proposed building’. Then, on Saturday, August 15th The Bletchley & District Juvenile Fur & Feather Club held an open Juvenile Rabbit Show (members 3d, non-members 6d), whilst for other juveniles, they had enjoyed their own reward the previous day when the local schools closed for five weeks holiday. However, with games and outdoor activities taking place the buildings would still remain open, or children could otherwise help out on local farms. In fact the Bletchley Road Senior School became a temporary home for 50 Finchley Grammar School boys, aged between 15 and 18, who, using the School as a temporary hostel, would throughout two weeks be on loan to neighbouring farmers, cycling out each morning to farms within a five-mile radius. In fact the farmers seemed well pleased with their effort, and as an education for Bletchley housewives, in late August they received advice from experts of the Bucks County Council Rural Domestic Economy Department, at an information bureau set up in the Bletchley Co-op. With Miss Leach, Miss Mackenzie and Mrs. Loughton in attendance, ways to preserve with ‘Camden tablets’ were explained, as well as such matters as bottling and pulping fruit without sugar.

Due to an outbreak of foot and mouth at Bow Brickhill, there was no stock market at Bletchley on Thursday, August 20th and on Monday officials of the Ministry of Agriculture opened an office at the Swan Hotel, where farmers could obtain the licences necessary to move their cattle. The annual sheep fair was accordingly postponed, and with another outbreak discovered the possibility arose that Bletchley market might not reopen until September 24th. This seemed hardly a bed of roses although for Mr. W. Beckett, of 29, Albert Street, matters smelled a little sweeter when he took four 1st prizes at the National Rose Society’s autumn rose show on Friday, September 18th. A railway worker, Mr. Beckett had first begun exhibiting at the show in 1922, and gained his first success in 1927.

Mr. W. Beckett, a local railway worker of 29, Albert Street, achived great success with his hobby of growing roses, and since 1922 had won many awards, including almost 100 fist prizes.
North Bucks Times.

By permission of the Local Education Authority, on the afternoons of Monday, September 28th and Tuesday, September 29th 12 boys of the Bletchley Road Senior School were engaged to assist Mr. Benford with potato picking, a task then repeated with Mr. Bowden on Thursday and Friday, October 1st and 2nd. Then continuing the trend, inclusive from October 5th to 9th 45 boys helped with potato picking on the farm of Mr. Shirley at Woughton, and Captain Fitzgerald at Walton, whilst on October 8th and 9th a further 10 boys assisted Mr. White of Wavendon.

As a welcome relief for the farming community, with the reopening of Bletchley market the annual show and sale of sheep, lambs and rams had taken place on Wednesday, October 7th and for the benefit of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, the Bletchley Branch of the N.F.U. arranged a Farmers’ Gift Sale at the Bletchley market at 1.30p.m. on Thursday, October 15th. Opened by the Rt. Hon. Lord Cadman, this aimed to raise a minimum of £1,000 and in fact the amount would total £1,054 7s 6d, a cheque being then posted to the Red Cross Fund. As for the Bletchley & District Dairymen’s Association, they now decided unanimously to deliver milk to customers on alternate days, from Sunday, November 1st, and in consequence customers were advised to take enough milk for two days.

On October 22nd the Clerk wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture at Africa House, Kingsway, London, W.C.2 requesting for display around the various allotment sites 36 copies of a poster worded ‘Warning. For stealing 3lb. onions from an allotment a man was sentenced to one months hard labour at Wimbledon Petty Sessional Court on September 12th 1942. Guard Your Plots to Stop Thieving.’ This no doubt would be of especial significance to Mr. W. Purcell of 26, Leon Avenue who, regarding his allotment in Brooklands Road, informed the Clerk of the Council that ‘I have been compelled to communicate with the Police in connection with the loss of produce - onions especially.’ Other allotment holders had also been losing produce, chiefly onions, and Mr. Purcell asked if arrangements could be made for the police to keep an eye on the plots until the fencing was complete. Perhaps one solution might have been to approach the experimental agriculture unit set up by the Ministry of Food in Bedfordshire, for amongst their triumphs was the growing of an onion so large and heavy that a garden wheelbarrow was needed to move it!

However, such matters would no longer concern Mr. R. Pratt of 2, Tattenhoe Road, who in a letter of October 25th wrote to the Clerk saying that he would have to give up Plot 27, Newton Road, since ‘with working long hours this winter and other duties’ he could not undertake the proper cultivation. In due course, in early December Mr. G. Knight of 37, Newton Road would then agree to take over the plot whilst as for Mr. White, of 4, Tattenhoe Road, he also expressed a wish to give up his plot - no. 26 in Newton Road - informing the Clerk by a letter of November 4th that the ‘tremendous work to make it profitable, would not repay the cost of seeds alone, it was definitely an ill-selected piece of ground for allotments.’

In early November the well known local builder, Mr. H. Faulkner, who now ‘works for a Government department’, (and thereby acquired the title ‘Captain’), advertised for 50-150 acres of agricultural land near Bletchley, with or without houses and buildings, and being advised to dispense with ‘flowery descriptions of potential building ground’, prospective suppliers were to contact him with the relevant details at Staple Lodge.

At 12.30p.m. an auction of horses, turnouts, harness, etc. took place at Bletchley Market on Wednesday, November 18th and regarding the Council’s request for posters, having obtained a quantity from the Ministry of Agriculture, on November 26th the Clerk wrote to Mr. Kirby requesting that these should be displayed in prominent positions on the war allotment sites. If stakes and boards were needed, then the account should be sent to him.

With stock supplied by local farmers, the Bletchley Market Shows Committee annual sale and show of dairy cattle and bulls took place on Friday, November 27th. Finding their travels rewarded by a quality that was pleasingly high, buyers came from a wide area including Essex, Derbyshire and Sussex, and also pleasingly high was the quality of the 1351 girls now in employment and training throughout the county with the Womens Land Army.

For the council vacancy for the Bletchley ward, Thomas Richardson, of ‘The Homestead’, Buckingham Road, would now be appointed by a unanimous vote, whilst Councillor Johnson would fill the vacancy for the Bletchley Council’s representative on the B.W.A.E.C., caused by the recent death of Councillor T. Coles. In his early career, Mr. Coles had been a gardener at Holne Chase, but later working for Brigadier Whiteley, would then move to Grange Lodge with his wife Ellen, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. Aldwinkle, of Duncombe Street. Aged 68, tragically Mrs. Coles would die in Northampton hospital during October, 1946, having, outside her home at 178, Buckingham Road, slipped on the verge and fractured her thigh, when trying to prevent a dog from running into the road.

At the beginning of December a slaughterman’s licence was granted to Richard Stuart, of 30, Windsor Street, but for other meat supplies, these were somewhat less abundant, and in fact the fish situation was the worst since the beginning of the new control, somewhat ironic since fish and chips were amongst the few meals not to be rationed during the war. However, fruit supplies seemed rather more plentiful and in the middle of the month J. V. Hill, Fruiterer, of 51 High Street sought for a fruit round a good, reliable pony for a lady to harness and drive. The agricultural matters for the year then appropriately concluded with the Bletchley & District Farmers’ Union A.G.M., which was held at the Conservative Club on Monday, December 21st at 7.30p.m.



In April 1938, a decision had been taken that due to the break up of the Bletchley Park estate, this would no longer accommodate the Bletchley Horticultural Show which, with smaller horticultural events having been held even before then, had been a feature since 1909. Nevertheless, the Society still retained a large reserve of £1,500, and perhaps how to spend this amount could have been one of the questions posed at a market gardening and glasshouse ‘Brains Trust’, held at the Conservative Club on Monday, January 18th at 2.30p.m. For the first question, ‘Are parsnips worth growing?’ the answer stated that they would be an excellent standby if brussels sprouts failed, and for anyone contemplating such cultivation it seemed rather opportune that a greenhouse would soon be for sale - 49 feet x 12 feet, complete with heating installation - at Weatherheads, 73 Bletchley Road. The nearest offer to £35 would secure, although the purchaser was required to arrange the dismantling and removal.

For the Womens Land Army, by the ‘New Standard Conditions of Employment’ a weeks leave would be granted during the year, plus full pay if sick, and also during the month it was announced that on Thursday, January 21st there was to be a sale at Bletchley Market to include the more unusual items of a 1935 Rover Saloon and a milk float. Formed of paving slabs, also unusual was an ‘ingenious’ cycle park provided for patrons of the British Restaurant which, replete with a ‘modern hygienic kitchen and modern equipment’, presently had the need for an assistant cook, at a wage of £3. A general assistant was also required, at £1 12s 6d per week, as also a Cook Supervisor trainee, with this position to become available on the termination of the contract of the present holder who, due to a previous commitment, ‘leaves before Easter.’ Applicants were to contact the Cook Supervisor at the Council Offices. The rent of the Restaurant, £150, plus rates, would now be paid by the Ministry of Food, and the public were advised that with the premises open from 3.30p.m. – 6p.m. every day, tea was priced at 11/2d a cup, and a plate of bread, butter, cakes, etc. 2d. As for the waste from the Restaurant, weekly approximating to one bin of plate waste, potato parings and greenstuffs, this could be purchased as pigswill, and prospective buyers were advised that - properly boiled before use - this would need to be removed from the premises at least twice a week.

In February, at the Tuesday meeting of the Bletchley Market Shows Committee the possibility of Bletchley becoming a store as well as a fat beast market was discussed, and to include store stock rearing, two new classes would be added to the schedule of the spring show and sale. Good prices were then realised at the bi-monthly show and sale, with Mr. Harry Brazier in the dairy cow class paying £52 for the first prize beast, exhibited by Mr. R. Price of the appropriately named Cow Common Farm, at Water Eaton. However, improvements proposed for the sale yard of the Market were being held up by a lack of supplies, making it presently impossible to resurface the whole of the area.

According to the recruitment poster the Women's Land Army offered 'a health, happy job', but it was reassuring to know that in the event of illness full pay would now be received
North Bucks Times

In 1s 3d packets, from both Brinkler, Bridge Granaries, and Janes, 41, Aylesbury Street, Karswood Poultry Spice could now be obtained, perhaps of interest to the membership of the Bletchley & District Fur & Feather Club, which would hold a Table Show of Rabbits at the Park Hotel on Saturday, March 6th - ‘Cash with entries to F. Westfield, 5 Clifford Avenue’. One Saturday in February, at their first show in the Market Exchange the 40 members of the Bletchley Fur Fanciers Society staged 105 entries, and it was therefore perhaps just as well that rabbit hutches, and rabbits, could be purchased at 23, Windsor Street from Mr. H. Souster, who, having recently retired from the railway, nevertheless kept himself busy by not only rearing rabbits and raising hens, but by also attending his 30 pole garden and allotment. His parents, grandparents and great grandparents had lived in the town all their lives, and having been born the youngest of 5 children in 1875, on leaving the High Street schools at the age of 12 he began work, at 5s a week, by carrying water from the well in the grounds of the Albert Street chapel to the Bletchley Road Creamery. The water would be used for cooling, and even more so in the wartime austerity milk as well as bread was now playing an essential role in the national diet. In fact at the Conservative Club Rooms on Wednesday, March 10th the Bucks War Agricultural Executive Committee held a ‘Ley Farming and Milk Production Brains Trust’, and the findings possibly proved of interest to The Dairy, at 19, Bletchley Road, where a part-time bookkeeper was presently required. As for bread, at the Holborn Restaurant the Rt. Hon. Lord Woolton had recently presented to representatives of the Bletchley & District Co-op the medal won by their entry in the national bread making competition, whilst for anyone partial to eggs, at Church Green Poultry Farm, Miss C. Roads could currently offer day-old chicks for sale, ‘hatching March 31st.’

Regarding the land taken over in Tavistock Street for wartime allotments, on March 16th Messrs. Deighton, Perry and Perry wrote to the Clerk of the Council claiming compensation, although it would be nearly a year before they received a reply stating that under the Compensation (Defence) Act 1939, the amount payable would be £3 15s, as advised by the District Valuer. Potatoes at ‘maximum growers prices’ were presently required by Johnson & Son, potato merchants and registered wholesalers, and they also required a full or part-time man or youth to assist the van salesman, and carry out warehouse work.

During the year, since the national seed supply had been severely depleted, the United States donated to the National Allotment Society 90 tons of assorted seed varieties. In fact this locally proved quite opportune, for the scarcity had been hardly helped by the recent fire at the premises of Ramsbotham & Co., florists and seedsmen, although by courtesy of Mr. A. Pollard at 39, Bletchley Road, they were now open again for customers. Nevertheless, Mr. A. Laird wanted to give up Plot 29, Newton Road, from March 25th and this would be also the date that regarding Plot 3 at Central Gardens, Mr. H. Grace expressed the same intention, as also the occupier of 62, Water Eaton Road regarding Plot 11, Eaton Avenue.

Deciding to send the interest of their Thrift Club to the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, towards the end of March customers of the White Hart Inn duly forwarded £7 for parcels for P.O.W.s but Mrs. V. Herring had meanwhile escaped from Bletchley, and returned to her hotel in Dawlish. With considerable expertise in large scale catering in Bournemouth, both in private hotels and municipal canteens, Mrs. E. Wigley had now therefore assumed the post of cook supervisor at the British Restaurant, which was proving so popular that customers were having to queue.

Regarding the provision on June 11th of a site suitable as a demonstration allotment, on April 20th at the Council meeting Councillor Johnson submitted a letter from the County Adviser in Horticulture. In consequence, by courtesy of the ‘Grow more food’ campaign of the Bucks. Wartime Domestic Food Production Committee, the County Demonstration van was scheduled to visit the town, and the Clerk of the Council would be tasked to obtain, adjacent to the Bletchley Road schools, a portion of the vacant land, which perhaps might benefit from ‘Abavit’ Mercurial Seed Dressing’ - ‘essential to reduce losses by disease’ - which was now available from J. Shirley and Son for seed dressing. From 14, Park Street, Mr. Nash now wrote to the Clerk asking if he could rent the 10 pole No. 3 Plot near the Studio. He understood that Mr. Munn had given up the allotment but after making enquiries, by a letter of April 26th the Clerk reported that he had no knowledge of this, and in fact the rent had been paid by Mr. Munn on March 25th. However, a plot would become available at the Brooklands Road site, since the present tenant was leaving the district.

Having been seriously ill, on 26th April Mr. Kirby wrote to inform the Clerk that he was forbidden by his doctor to do any heavy work, and heavy labour was also proving a problem for Mr. F. Ebborn of 9, Napier Street who, the following day, asked permission for Mr. Allan, of 32, Napier Street, to take over his allotment, since ‘it is more than I can manage.’ In fact perhaps similar circumstances were also the reason for the letter of April 30th from Mr. Baker of 5, Rhondda Crescent, who now wished to give up his plot, no. 6, at Staple Hall.

During the B.B.C.’s ‘Country Serenade’, on the evening of Saturday, May 1st a short account of the role performed in feeding the nation by the farmers of North Bucks. was given by one of their number, Mr. Wilfred Shirley, and how Mr. Perry was helping to feed the nation formed the content of a letter written on April 21st by Mr. W. Johnson. Stating that since Mr. Perry had freely given land in Manor Road for allotments, he considered that the Council should deal with the fencing, and suggested that Mr. Kirby be asked to inspect the site, and advise on whatever measures seemed necessary to make the area stockproof. By a letter of May 3rd Mr. Bates, the Surveyor, then wrote to the Clerk saying that although the present fence - of wide gauge wire netting, set on large poles - was light and flimsy, if maintained it should be adequate to keep out sheep, but for the exclusion of cattle a replacement would need to be made, comprising 88 yards of barbed wire fencing and strong posts.

Rabbits were also a cause of allotments damage, but they were somewhat redeemed through being a welcome and ‘off the ration’ source of meat, and indeed rabbits featured prominently on Saturday, May 15th when the Bletchley & District Fur & Feather Club held an ‘Open Pen Show of Rabbits’ in the Market Exchange. As for their unpenned brethren, despite the ‘No grazing’ stipulation, they were no doubt taking full advantage of the 2 acres of mowing grass now for sale in the Rectory paddock, next to the churchyard, at Old Bletchley, whilst for prospective buyers, a timely opportunity arose to purchase suitable implements and machinery at a sale held at Bletchley Market on Thursday, May 27th, with viewing available in the adjoining field.

15 hostels were now providing accommodation for the 1,572 Land Army girls employed in the county, and as one of this number Miss Gabrielle Wheeler, the daughter of the Fenny Stratford vicar, came first in her district in the Preliminary Milk Contests, held under the auspices of the B.W.A.E.C., at Great Brickhill. She had been a member of the Land Army since the beginning of the war, and when employed on the Galley Lane farm of Mr. Barbour she met a cousin of Mrs. Barbour, Thomas Borland, the son of John Borland of Castlehill, Gelston, Castle Douglas, Kikcudbrightshire. With romance developing, the couple would then be married in May of the following year, she being given away by her brother, Captain Michael Wheeler. Towards the end of May, Bletchley Farmers’ Union accepted at a Friday meeting an offer of part-time farmwork. This was following a report by the Secretary, Mr. F. Hodson, who whilst unable to give full details, said that regarding part time voluntary labour he was now in negotiation with a gentleman representing a large body of workers. Around 40 would be available for local farms, and in view of a need for the coming season the Union was to also invite applications from non-skilled workers. In a letter of May 31st the Clerk informed Mr. Kirby that Mr. Bates had been asked to arrange an inspection of the fence in Manor Road, referred to by Mr. Herring, and wishing Mr. Kirby a speedy recovery from his recent illness, the Clerk included the hope ‘that you will still be able to give general supervision of our wartime allotments and collect the rents.’The Bletchley Show & Sale of Horses attracted buyers from all over the region - including London, Bicester and Banbury - and to wartime work the horses seemed especially well suited, since none of the 135 animals were much perturbed when a very low flying aircraft roared overhead. The Council had now been asked by the Bucks. War Agricultural Committee for the use of a site for a fruit preservation advice stall which, from June to September, would visit Bletchley each month. During the previous year the Co-op had lent indoor premises but now outdoor were deemed more suitable, and as an ideal location Mr. Oliver Wells suggested a situation in front of the Albert Street A.R.P. shelter. Meanwhile, regarding the allotment-working exhibition, following the request made by the County Horticultural Advisor it was hoped that as well as the ground near the Clinic in Bletchley Road, demonstrations could also be arranged in the allotments at Water Eaton and Napier Street - these perhaps being of interest to the local Land Army girls, over 1,000 of whom, working in Bucks., would attend a Saturday Women’s Land Army rally and demonstration held at Walton Court Farm, Aylesbury.

Regarding his 10 pole allotment - No. 1 Central Gardens - by a letter of June 6th Mr. W. Stephenson of 93, Western Road, said that on reaching agreement with another person to take over this part he had previously written to the Clerk of the Council expressing a wish to relinquish half of the plot. However, he had since mowed and dug the 5 poles, and with this presently set with green vegetables he now wanted to resume the tenancy! On June 11th the ‘Horticultural Demonstration van’ parked at the front of the Senior Schools at 7.30p.m. Concerning means to increase food production, an expert was on hand to provide practical advice and demonstrations, and as if in anticipation plans for a vegetable store and larders at the school premises, High Street, had been approved a few days earlier, for submission to the County Planning Officer, under Town Planning, for the Ministry of Works. Forward planning then seemed the theme when Brinkler, Bridge Granaries, offered turkey chicks for sale, ‘with or without hen’, and for anyone in need of extra money for Christmas, cooks full or part-time, as well as canteen assistants were urgently required - no experience necessary - in Bletchley canteens; ‘Apply at once to the Ministry of Labour & Service at 43 Bletchley Road.’ In fact for those children with green ration books, perhaps it seemed that Christmas had arrived early when in June they were granted priority for a new delivery of oranges. Causing long queues to form outside the Bletchley greengrocery shops, the surplus was made available to an enthusiastic public, but regarding her allotment, No.5 at Tavistock Street, Dorothy King, of 28, Tavistock Street, was less than enthusiastic, writing to the Clerk on June 20th that although she was lead to believe that the land had been prepared, instead she found ‘it has never been worked at all, and I couldn’t possibly manage it by myself.’

In aid of the Red Cross, at the Council Offices a meeting was arranged to consider holding a horticultural and rabbit show at 7.30p.m. on Thursday, July 1st, and on the same day people in Bletchley and district could visit the Information Bureau outside the Studio, for advice on fruit and garden preservation in the winter. Very few questions were asked about jam making but especial interest was shown in the preservation of tomatoes, and frugal housewives were perhaps encouraged to even greater economies when from mid July, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Food the price of a child’s meal at the British Restaurant would be increased from 5d to 6d, possibly helping to offset the £5 0s 7d recently spent on tokens from Reliance Nameplates Ltd. Yet in testimony of the professional standards upheld at the premises, following a recent exercise the Surveyor submitted to the Council a letter from the Home Guard conveying appreciation for the efficient service in providing ‘an excellent meal’ for the Irish Guards. However, the response was less gushing from Mr. G. Goodwin, when his application for a water supply from the Council’s main to Dropshort Farm was not entertained. From Home Farm, Great Brickhill, Mr. Herring wrote to the Clerk of the Council on July 5th saying that the fence dividing his field on the Manor Farm from the allotment gardens in Manor Road was in a bad state, ‘and I am afraid my cattle will be getting through.’ He understood that on purchasing the piece the present owners had agreed to erect a good stockproof fence but since this had not been done ‘Can anything be done about it now please.’ Something also had to be done during August at the Land Army hostel, where due to illness a temporary cook was required at a salary of £2 15s. Yet elsewhere conditions appeared healthier when one Saturday a ‘great effort’ was made in Bletchley Market field for the town’s Red Cross Agricultural Fund. Events included not only horticultural, fur and feather and baby shows but also children’s sports, a boxing tournament and tug-‘o-war. With an invitation to all market growers, at the Tavistock nurseries the Horticultural Sub-Committee of the Bucks. War Agricultural Executive Committee arranged a demonstration at 6.30p.m. on Wednesday, 4th August. This was held by kind permission of Mr D. Deighton who had founded the nurseries some 15 years ago. Now they comprised ½ acre of greenhouses with lettuce and tomatoes, 1,320 square feet of frames for propagation and marrows, and 1/10 acre of outside land for salads, marrows and tomatoes, and assisted by occasional help, all of this was attended by only two regular men. As for women, by now there were 87,000 Land Army girls employed throughout the country but during August the Government decided that further recruitment would be banned, since the W.L.A. was proving a more popular choice than the Forces.

With the proposed London to Holyhead Trunk Road Fenny Stratford By-Pass now postponed, concerning the development west of Simpson Road, (the B488), in a letter of September 9th the Clerk sent to the County Surveyor, Mr. E. Winfield, a copy of an agreement signed by each allotment holder. On the whole of the site there were 19 plot holders, and with each paying 7s 6d p.a. it seemed that about a third of the site had been acquired by the Ministry of War Transport, the land having originally been in the occupation of Mr. H. Faulkner of Staple Lodge. He had allowed the Council to use the land for wartime allotments free of rent, and it seemed that no demand had been received from the intervening owner, Mr. H. Baker, from the date when Mr. Faulkner ceased to be the occupier of the land, until the acquisition by the Ministry of War Transport. Of an acreage of a greater extent, the day after the 8th annual show of sheep and lambs, and the annual sheep fair at Bletchley Market, Tattenhoe Hall Farm was sold with vacant possession on Wednesday, September 9th at the Conservative Club. On the same day the Bletchley District Fur & Feather Club All England young stock rabbit show took place which, attracting over 400 entries from all over the country, raised about £10 for Red Cross funds. Also on the same day, enclosing a letter received from Mr. Tompkins, of Elm Farm, the Clerk of the Council wrote to Mr. Kirby regarding weeds on the vacant plots in Newton Road, and asked if he could arrange for these to be cleared. The following day Mr. W. Johnson then wrote to the Clerk about the allotment gardens in Manor Road, having been informed by Mr. Herring that the fence bounding the area was still not stockproof and ‘something must be done’. In fact something would be done, for on September 11th explaining the situation the Clerk wrote to the Supplies Officer of the B.W.A.E.C. at County Hall, Aylesbury, requesting a permit for two rolls of barbed wire. However, the Supplies Officer then replied that he was unable to comply, and suggested that the farmer made an application for the wire. Otherwise, without a permit 160 yards of 4 feet 6inch Chestnut pale fencing could be purchased, and this, if possible, should be used. In fact Mr. Johnson had advised that ‘Two strands of barbed wire will not keep out sheep and I suggest that we buy the necessary posts and Chestnut pale fencing,’ and on September 17th the Clerk duly wrote to Mr. Herring at Home Farm, Great Brickhill, saying that if he purchased approximately 20 stakes and sufficient barbed wire to fix two strands, the Council would reimburse him if, as was his duty, he undertook the work. Yet the matter would be raised again in October, when by a letter of the 22nd the Clerk wrote to Mr. Herring asking him to make the hedge stockproof by obtaining 1½ rolls of barbed wire and approximately 20 stakes. This would provide a fence of approximately 4 or 5 strands of wire with the cost, if purchased from Mr. Cooper at Newport Pagnell, priced at 20s per 220 yards roll. Meanwhile, crop damage to the allotments continued, being on one occasion reported to Mr. Kirby by Mr. E. Freeman of 39, Eaton Avenue, who wrote in a letter to the Council that ‘at this moment a person has just been in to tell me there is a cow straying all across them.’

At a meeting of the Council on September 14th a letter dated September 11th was submitted by the Clerk from the Food Executive Officer, stating that Mr. S. Wheeldon had resigned as a member of the Bletchley Urban Food Control Committee and Mr. Hubert Aldridge, of 33 Cottingham Grove, had therefore been recommended as his replacement, a suggestion to which the Council agreed. Since a single rat could eat 1 cwt. of food in a year, for good reason the rodents were known as ‘Hitler’s helpers’, and, attended by officers of the North Bucks. Local Authorities, a conference had been recently held regarding the Rat and Mouse Destruction - Infestation Order. As required by the Department, the Surveyor would now prepare and submit to the Ministry of Food the Preliminary Report on any major infestations in the urban area, and also during the month farmers were urgently advised to deposit their Fertiliser Permits with their merchants, and take delivery as soon as possible. As for applications for threshing, it was directed under the ‘Agricultural Contractors (Registration and Control) Order 1940. Executive Committees’, that each threshing contractor could only operate in specific parishes, and for Bletchley south of the Watling Street, this would be J. Price, Cow Common Farm, Water Eaton, CHECK FROM SHED COPY IF NORTH HAS BEEN DELETED with applications to be made to the B.W.A.E.C., 87, High Street, Newport Pagnell. The national emphasis was naturally on food production but as a welcome distraction for anyone hoping to ornament their garden, half a ton of rockery stone was now for sale at Weatherheads, 73, Bletchley Road, and also rather substantial was the amount received in donations for the Bletchley Forces Gift Fund including, as a result of a bowls evening, £16 from Bletchley Town Bowls Club, and £9 4s collected by three local firms. ‘Wartime Cookery’ would be one of the courses when the Bletchley Evening Institute reopened on Monday, 4th October, and wartime cookery was a speciality of the British Restaurant which, having now been open for nine months, was returning a small profit, even though the daily allowance of meat amounted to only 1d per person. For the benefit of the many regular customers Mrs. E. Wigley, the cook/supervisor, managed to provide between 800 and 1,000 ‘tasty meals’ every week and although gas was the prime means of cooking and heating, the cooking range could be converted to coal burning if necessary. Customers also had the benefit of a wireless for which, by the agreement of the Performing Right Society Ltd., a fee of £4 14s 6d was annually payable, charged to the Restaurant account. Under the presidency of Major Marler, at Bletchley Market on Monday, 25th October the Bletchley Market Stock Shows Committee held the first show and sale of ‘Attested & Tuberculin Tested Dairy Cattle’, and, with the sum of £1,970 so far collected, for the Agricultural Red Cross Fund Bletchley farmers were well within reach of the £2,000 target for the year. With many gifts donated, Brigadier General Gambier Parry opened the sale, and he and Lt. Col. Lord Sandhurst would both purchase a pedigree Ayrshire calf which, given by Mr. R. Barbour of Great Brickhill, was bought and sold many times. Towards the end of the month, with 172 entries the Bletchley & District Fur & Feather Club held a successful show in the Park Hotel one Saturday, and during the three months ended September 30th the membership of the club, which now totalled 150, had sold 114 young does for breeding, and supplied local butchers with 440 rabbits. Pigs and poultry were also an important part of the meat supplies, and as animal feed dried food waste was now available from Wm. Brinkler, Bridge Granaries. Apples, pears and onions might also have proved suitable although these were now more urgently required ‘at full growers’ prices’ by Johnson & Son, Wholesale Fruiterers.

By now, throughout the county there were 1,995 girls employed in the Womens Land Army but in November it was stated that unless before the end of the month they surrendered 50% of their civilian clothing coupons, then 300 might be dismissed. However, for those girls completing four years of service, to smarten their attire they could receive the special Scarlet Armlet award which bore a crown, the letters W.L.A., and four green diamonds. In a letter of December 1st to the District Valuer, in respect of the land now being used as wartime allotments in Simpson Road the Clerk noted the 364 day tenancy suggested by the Ministry - the object being to keep the tenancy outside the Agricultural Holdings Act! However, the consequent possibility arose that the Council tenants might have to vacate the land for one day a year, and if so he was therefore perplexed as to how the arrangement could work, since the holders were in constant occupation. By a letter to the Council of December 21st - ref. TRL 11/3/1/8/1 - the Ministry of War Transport, at Leamington Spa, officially confirmed that regarding the London to Holyhead Trunk Road Fenny Stratford By-Pass, concerning Plot 1 the Minister, due to the present state of emergency, ‘has decided to defer the carrying out of this road improvement’, and it was understood from the District Valuer that the Council was therefore prepared to accept a tenancy of the land on the following terms;

1/ Payment to the Ministry of £1 6s 0d p.a. per 364 days, exclusive of rates, for the purpose of letting as allotments.

2/ Either side could terminate the agreement by giving notice of one month in writing.

3/ No sub letting would be allowed.

4/ The land would be kept clean and tidy, and free from weeds.

5/ The Council would be required to pay rates and all other outgoings, except tithes and land tax.

6/ No compensation to be payable by the Ministry for disturbance, loss of crops, or otherwise, when they retook possession.

7/ The Agricultural Holdings Act would not apply to this tenancy.



Under the auspices of the Bucks. War Agricultural Executive Committee, at 7.30p.m. at the Conservative Club as the first of a fortnightly series for glasshouse growers, a lecture on Soil Sterilisation was given on Tuesday, January 4th by B. Randall, the Horticultural Officer to Bedfordshire W.A.E.C. Then on Thursday, January 6th at a meeting of the Highways and Works Committee the Clerk produced correspondence from the Ministry of War Transport, as the new owners of the wartime allotments off Staple Hall Road, setting out the terms by which they would accept the Council as tenants. The meeting decided to recommend acceptance of the conditions as outlined in the Ministry letter dated December 21st, 1943, whilst at a meeting of the Public Health Committee, on the same day the Water Engineer submitted a letter dated December 30th, 1943 from the B.W.A.E.C. regarding a supply being laid on to Railway Farm, Buckingham Road. After discussion, it was then recommended that the Council should provide the facility, by either an extension from the supply to Windmill Farm, or else by an extension of the existing mains.

Throughout the war, vigorous encouragement for the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was made by the Government, and the Home Office even broadcast a play, ‘Digging for Victory’, which concluded with those unforgettable lines, ‘So back to the land - and if you are able, Contribute a sprout to the national table.’ Hardly less memorable was the Dig for Victory anthem, which aroused spade wielding passion with the opening lines ‘Dig! Dig! Dig! And your muscles will grow big.’ In a continuation of the theme, at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday, January 11th all glasshouse growers were invited to a demonstration of steam soil sterilisation at Brooklands Nursery whilst the Council, having by a letter of January 12th now accepted the terms for tenancy of the Staple Hall land (originally intended for the Fenny Stratford by pass), invited applications from ratepayers for the tenancy of a parcel of ground on the north side of Buckingham Road - at a point 50 yards to the west of the Tattenhoe Lane turning. Comprising around 500 square yards, this was to be let free of charge for the first two years as an allotment, but for those with more extensive ambitions, a public meeting, with two films shown, was held at 7.30p.m. at Bletchley Senior School on January 17th, the purpose being to form a young farmers club. The invitation was extended to parents and all young people up to the age of 21, and addressing the assembly, Mr. J. Hotchkiss, the Chief Organiser of the Clubs, said the intention was ‘to interest the urban population in rural farming life.’ The movement had been in existence for over 21 years, and there had been a centre in Bletchley before the war.

At 7p.m. at the Conservative Club in the second of the series of lectures, on Tuesday, 18th January the topic was ‘Glasshouse cropping in relation to the horticultural cropping order 1943.’ However, in a letter of January 21st Mr. Kirby, of 6, Brooklands Road, was more concerned with chickens, writing to the Clerk that fowls belonging to Mrs. W. Gammage, of the New Inn, were straying onto the wartime allotments at the back of the property, and before the spring planting they would need to be penned, and not be allowed to roam ‘out of control.’ Yet out of control would be the trailer of a B.W.A.E.C. van one Monday morning towards the end of the month which, when the connecting pin snapped, careered onto the pavement, caught the wheels of a pram, and ended up amongst the boots and shoes of Messrs. Wells and Sons shop in Aylesbury Street. Fortunately the occupant of the pram, 15 month old Terence Goodman, of 21, Manor Road, escaped with only bruises.

At the Cow Common Farm of Mr. R. Price, Water Eaton, a farm labourer was now required to undertake milking and general farm work, a house being provided nearby, and on Thursday, February 10th local beekeepers were invited to buzz along to Bletchley Senior School to watch at 7.15p.m. a film made by East Barnet Bee Keepers’ Association. Later in the month, honeys of the Women’s Land Army, or two youths, were then needed to assist both on a milk round and on a farm, and applicants were asked to apply to Gurney, Sycamore Farm, Water Eaton. However, for ladies preferring an indoor occupation, they could apply for the position of a bookkeeper, full or part time, at the Bentima Dairy, 19, Bletchley Road.

Despite the invaluable work being performed by the W.L.A., it had now been decided to exclude the personnel from all post war benefits, a reward that would have been due recompense for an interrupted career. The Government reasoned that since the organisation had been an auxiliary to industry, unrest might be created amongst factory workers but in countering this Lady Denman argued that the Land Girls had been ‘an army in Government issue clothing’, and on the strength of this conviction she resigned in protest on February 16th.

The Ministry of Fuel and Power had now instructed Divisional Petroleum Officers to give sympathetic consideration to those farmers wishing to travel by car - when no other means of transport was available - to and from demonstrations organised by County War Agricultural Executive Committees, that of which in Bucks. held another of the local lectures on Tuesday, February 29th, when Mr. J. Duggan spoke on ‘tomato growing in unsuitable houses.’ In fact his talk coincided with the Women’s Land Army Week, held in Buckinghamshire from February 27th until March 4th, and the event aimed to raise £5,000 for their Benevolent Fund. In fact the total would amount to £3,907 14s 2d, with £26 13s 6d being collected in the town one Saturday in March during the Women’s Land Army flag day, (organised by Lady Bonsor), for which Mr. A.G. Cowlishaw had kindly allowed the use of his shop as a depot.

The application from Mrs. B. Whiteley to be registered as a Milk Producer was approved at a meeting on Thursday, March 9th, as was also the request from Mr. W. Golding for a Slaughterman’s Licence. For those persons interested in increasing food production from allotments and gardens, as well as by the collective purchase of seeds, manures etc., Councillor Johnson then raised the question of calling a public meeting, and in consequence instructions would be issued for the Clerk to contact the Secretary of the local Allotment Association. After consultation with Councillors Wells and Johnson, if necessary the public meeting would then be arranged, although this would be of little interest to Mr. Read of 71, Buckingham Road who, on September 24th, 1943, had written to give notice that ‘owing to domestic reasons’ he wished to relinquish his wartime allotment at Newton Road. As for Mrs. Boyce of The Hatch, 111, Church Green Road, in early March she wrote to the Council stating that the rent was 12 months overdue on her paddock. Adjoining the road, this was now being used as allotments and since this years rent was also overdue she would be greatly obliged to receive a cheque for both, to enable her to then pay her rates. In fact if she did not hear by next Tuesday she would write to the Chairman of the Council. However, on March 11th the Clerk regretting the delay replied that some while ago the Council had offered to pay her a rent of £3 an acre, but since this had not proved acceptable the matter was then referred to the District Valuer at High Wycombe, who would arrange an inspection. Probably due to a shortage of staff, his comments were still awaited, but endeavours would be made to hasten the report. On matters rather more straightforward, by a letter to the Council of March 27th, Mr. G. Goodwin, of Dropshort Farm, offered a rent of £4 10s p.a. for the Bathing Place field and this would be subsequently accepted, as long as he kept the weeds down.

In a letter of March 28th the Clerk of the Council wrote to Mr. F. Tompkins of Elm Farm, 143, Buckingham Road, stating that to fulfil the two years rent, owed for land taken over for wartime allotments in Newton Road, at the next meeting of the Council he would draw a cheque for £15 to cover - at £3 an acre - the two years ending 31st instant. A cheque would also be issued to W. Gammage for £6, as two years rent for land taken over for the same purpose at the rear of the New Inn.

On Thursday, March 30th, the Clerk of the Council wrote to Mr. H. Perry, of Messrs. Deighton, Perry and Perry - c/o ‘Ashwyn’, Bletchley Road - asking him to confirm acceptance of £3 15s, as the settlement for all claims on the land taken for wartime allotments in Tavistock Street. On the same day, in consequence of the discussions earlier in the year, at the Council Offices Mr. W. Johnson, the representative on the Bucks. Wartime Food Production Committee, held a public meeting ‘to consider ways and means of increasing the production of domestic food from allotments and gardens’, and a suggestion was made that allotment holders could grow more winter greens and storable roots - and not too many potatoes. In fact every allotment holder in Bletchley would be urged to investigate their plots for eelworm, for if the land was so affected then this would prove another reason not to cultivate potatoes. No doubt such information would be of use to girls of the Womens Land Army, 1,818 of whom were now in training and employment throughout the county, and as witness to the increased cultivation, onions, of which there had previously been a severe shortage, were now once again in ready supply. Regarding the land for allotments taken over in Manor Road, the Council was now prepared to pay £2 2s, and in due course by a letter of April 4th Mr. Perry agreed with the figure for Tavistock Street but required £3 for Manor Road, whereupon the Clerk replied that since the extent was approximately 0.7 acres, only £2 2s would be paid! On April 16th Mr. H. Underwood wrote to Mr. Kirby stating that having moved to 5, Wood Street, New Bradwell, ‘it will be necessary for me to cease renting No. 13 Plot - Western Road. Rather rough luck after so much work on it last year.’ However, by his reply of the 19th Mr. Kirby seemed already aware of the situation, and ‘I found that you had moved from Bletchley when I called for the rent of the plot which was due to be paid on the 25th March’! In fact the outstanding amount was 3s 9d, for which he ‘shall be grateful for receipt.’ The topic being the ‘Control of Agriculture during War & Peace’, on Monday, May 1st the Bletchley Branch of the Farmers’ Union held an open meeting at 7.30p.m. at the Conservative Club, and on Thursday, May 18th at Bletchley market the fourth collective sale of farm implements and machinery, ploughs, binders, and tractors took place. On farms, tractors were now the prime means of motive power but horses were still very much in evidence, not least when many local riders competed in the gymkhana at 1.30p.m. on Whit Monday, staged for the Bletchley N.F.U. Agricultural Red Cross Fund by permission of Mr. W. Gurney at Sycamore Farm, Water Eaton. Then again on horsey matters, the following Wednesday many buyers were attracted from all over the country to the Bletchley Market’s annual horse show, held in Wigley & Johnson’s yard. Also attracting a good attendance would be a Joint Advisory Bureau held in the Studio car park on Thursday, June 29th. In the evening the van was then in attendance at Water Eaton, and as one of the exhibits a sample of preserved blackberries, bottled in 1937, was displayed. Since Miss B. Huntingford of 86, Newton Road had made a recent complaint about the state of one of the wartime allotments, which adjoined her garden, it was therefore perhaps rather opportune that the tending of gardens was amongst the several topics of the visit, which also included the care of pigs, poultry, goats, rabbits, and fruit preservation. However, somewhat beyond preservation was a wayfarer who, witnessed by several passers by, around 10 o’clock one Sunday in early July after asking for a light for his cigarette dropped down dead on the Watling Street, near Dropshort Farm. Investigations would subsequently reveal his identity to be Samuel Taylor, aged 66, of Carrington House, an L.C.C. lodging house, London, SE8.

On the allotment alongside Brooklands Road, on July 10th regarding Plot 10 Mr. W. Purcell, of Leon Avenue, wrote to the Clerk complaining that ‘systematic stealing of my carrots is going on’, and since other plotholders had been similarly affected, he asked for representations to be made to the police. On July 12th the Clerk then made the necessary request to Supt. Bryant at the police station, although he would soon have other matters on his mind when, in response to the Council’s enquiry as to whether she wished to sell her paddock, and at what price, Mrs. Boyce replied on July 15th that ‘I do not think I could part it from the house, which I shall hope to dispose of before very long.’ Yet despite the District Valuer having recommended in May the sum of £2 15s as the amount for the rent, a few days later the Clerk confirmed the payment as £3 5s p.a., and of the amount due to the preceding March 31st a cheque would be sent next month, as also, to claim compensation for iron gates, a form, a copy of which would then have to be sent to the Ministry of Works. Mrs. Boyce occupied The Hatch, in Church Green Road, and nearby was situated Bengal Farm, where Mr. H. Kemp, although keeping only 12 cows was now very pleased that he had sold much more milk this winter than last. Yet not so pleased was Mr. Mansfield, of Tattenhoe Hall Farm, whose black Scotch sheepdog, ‘Spot’, had recently gone missing. B.W.A.E.C. now issued an important notice recommending that for casual labour farmers should take out insurance ‘against liability under the Workmens’ Compensation Act or at Common Law’, and also for the benefit of farmers, at a special meeting on Monday, July 10th, the Bletchley Branch of the N.F.U. set a lead to the rest of the county by agreeing to double subscriptions. This was intended to obtain a greatly increased service from the Union, and also towards obtaining a better service, in early August in the House of Commons the Hon. Lionel Berry asked the Minister of Agriculture if he was satisfied not only with the arrangements in the Bletchley area for repairing tractors, but for also shoeing horses. On being told that virtually the only service now available was that provided by two Italian prisoners, the Minister duly agreed to make enquiries. Meanwhile, regarding a further 10 years on those allotments in Shenley Road, near the Eight Bells, and in Napier Street and Water Eaton Road, Mr. R. Sherwood, the Clerk of the Council, presented Sir Everard Duncombe with the lease for signature.

At the Bletchley Park Sports Ground, in aid of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund on Saturday, August 19th Field Marshall Sir Phillip Chetwode, chairman of the Executive Committee of the British Red Cross, performed the opening ceremony of the Bletchley Show in the horticultural tent, and the 3,500 spectators seemed well satisfied with the many events, which included not only a horticultural show, but also a fur and feather show, gymkhana, baby show, and two bands. At a special meeting of the Council a deputation from the Horticultural Society was introduced on Tuesday, September 19th by Councillor Dimmock, chairman of the Society’s Executive Committee, and Mr. Hedley Clarke, the secretary to the Society, then outlined the history of the movement. He stressed that for many years the Society had the use of Bletchley Park as a showground but with this now being unavailable, his wish would be for the Society to restart their show immediately after the European war. They would therefore need another site, and his suggestion was a portion of Manor Farm east of the Ouzel, with the part west of the river being suitable for the Council’s post war development. The day before the Young Farmers Club social evening, which was held at The Barn, a Farmers’ Gift Sale, organised by the Bletchley branch of the N.F.U., took place at Bletchley Market on Thursday, October 12th. Opened at 2p.m. by Brigadier General Gambier Parry, proceeds were for the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, and also at the Market on the following day of the some 250 animals entered in Wigley and Johnson’s Show and Sale of Dairy Cattle and Store Stock, most found new owners. At the Market Exchange, no doubt at the members show of the Bletchley and District Fur and Feather Club the 146 entries also found new homes, probably with a local butcher. In November, B.W.A.E.C. were paid £1 8s 3d for pest control but hopefully there would be no pests at the party held one Saturday in November, honouring those girls of the Women’s Land Army who had qualified for the four year service Scarlet Armlets. In the Bletchley Senior School hall, Lady Denman, D.B.E., Honorary Director of the Women’s Land Army, gave due praise and advice to the girls who, for social relief, would be entertained on occasion by E.N.S.A. artistes, with local troops also being invited to attend. Not so entertaining however was the compulsory fire watching - with no time off allowed - that they were compelled to endure, although excepting ‘lights out’ within the hostels little enforced discipline was applied, and each girl was allowed one late pass a week.

The premises of A. Benfords, the butchers in Simpson Road. On leaving Bedford Modern School, at the age of 16 in 1900 Mr. Benford took over the business, (which had then been established for 66 years), on the death of his namesake father. For some 45 years Thomas Dimmock would be employed at the shop, having come to Bletchley as a child from Wing. He retired in 1938 and died, aged 79, at his home of 7, Denmark Street, in 1946. As for Mr. Benford, twice married he died in 1966 at the age of 82 and his son, also named Alfred, then continued the shop until it closed in recent years. Thereupon using the original shop front and fittings the premises were recreated at Milton Keynes Museum. - J. Taylor

As an excuse for youthful agricultural workers to let their hair down, the Young Farmers’ Christmas Ball took place in the Senior School hall on Friday, 22nd December from 8p.m. until 1a.m. The Rhythm Aces provided the music although the mood was tempered by the recent news of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease which, causing the cancellation of all markets within a 15 mile radius, had been reported at the premises of Mr. A. Benford, in Simpson Road. A Restriction Order was placed on the movement of cattle within a 15 mile radius, and within two miles of Bletchley no movement of cattle, sheep, or pigs could be made without a special licence issued by the Ministry of Agriculture Foot and Mouth Disease Office, located at the police station. As for movement outside the two mile zone, but within 15 miles, this could not be made without a police licence.




Under National Service (No. 2) Act, from January any male civilian aged between 18 and 51 could be ordered to join the Home Guard, and attend up to 48 hours of training, or guard duty, a month. The penalty for non compliance was a month in jail or a £10 fine, and once enrolled recruits could not leave until the age of 65, although for existing volunteers they were given until February 16th to decide if they wished to remain as a member. As a precaution against air raids, Bletchley had been allotted 400 Morrison shelters but by January only 150 had been issued, and if unclaimed the remainder would be returned to Government stores, for transfer elsewhere. Persons eligible were those insurable under the National Health Insurance, living in the urban area, excluding Simpson, Water Eaton and Far Bletchley, and those who earned less than £350 per annum, with an addition of £50 for each child of school age, in excess of two. As a final encouragement B.U.D.C. then posted ‘an important notice’, stating that ‘The Ministry of Home Security has fixed February 28th as the last day for applications for Morrison table shelters.’ The A.R.P. Officer now raised the question of installing one additional ‘in’, and one additional ‘out’, telephone at, or near, the Report Centre for the purpose of Civil Defence. This would be authorised forthwith whilst amongst the other precautions to deal with air raids, boys aged 14-18 were asked to become messengers in the A.R.P. Service and applicants, stating whether they owned a cycle, for which they would be paid an allowance, or could ride a motorcycle, were to contact the Council Offices where, in the Surveyor’s Department, a capable clerk was currently required - ‘shorthand and typing preferred’ - and also a clerk in the A.R.P. Department. Defended as far as possible by the available troops, embracing Fenny Stratford station, the Council Offices, and the Bletchley Road schools, the main area for Civil Defence had now been established as extending from the telephone exchange in Aylesbury Street to the Clinic, and protection would thereby be afforded to the local feeding, hospital, and communication arrangements. In the defence of the nation, all age groups were expected to play their role and by a recent decision of the Government boys and girls who were British citizens, ‘not less than 16 and under 18 years of age’, would need to register, with boys aged between 17 and 18 on Saturday, January 31st being the initial category.

Against the threats of invasion, the formation of the Home Guard had created a national defence, and for those young recruits who wished to join the ‘2nd Bucks Battalion Bletchley Coy, Junior Platoon’ they were to write, stating their name, age and address, to H. Parker, at 30, Saffron Street. However, for the parents of Pte. Harry Davis, of 114, Buckingham Road, in summoning him for Home Guard duties the authorities made a tragic mistake, since four months ago he had been posted missing in Malaya.

For defending the local district, the Far Bletchley Platoon of the Home Guard covered from The Three Bridges, Water Eaton Road, to Rickley Lane, the Beacon Brushes contingent from Home Farm, Denbigh Road, to the White Hart bridge, Bletchley Platoon the Police Station and Observer Posts, and the Civil Defence Platoon, amongst other duties, the Report Centre. The Bletchley Park Platoon, who practised on a rifle range in the woods, held responsibility from Rickley Lane to Home Farm railway bridge, and the L.M.S. Railway Platoon appropriately guarded railway property. Fenny Stratford Platoon would protect the area from the White Hart bridge to the canal bridge on the Watling Street, and the Water Eaton Platoon from the canal bridge to the ‘three bridges’, their ‘Keep’ being at The Chestnuts, Water Eaton.

Emphasising the need for such measures, a public meeting - ‘Smash Fascism!!!’ - was then held at 7.30p.m. in the Co-op Hall on Friday, February 13th and in the Bletchley Road Senior School Hall on Sunday, February 22nd, organised by Lt. C. Pilcher and conducted by A. Brooks, a Grand Brass Band Concert of stirring marches and other musical selections was given by the F Coy. 2nd Bucks Battalion Home Guard. Proceeds were for Lady Churchill’s Aid to Russia Fund - which would raise £8 million - and as an interesting local association the wife of Mr. Albert Hurst, who ran a general engineering business in the town, had before her marriage been lady’s maid to Miss Clementine Hozier, before she became Lady Churchill.

Also helping the Russians, since August 1941 munitions convoys had begun to leave for the northerly Soviet ports of Archangel and Murmansk, and also on a Soviet theme, with the speaker being E. Keeling, the South Midlands secretary of the Communist Party, a public meeting took place at the Studio on Sunday, March 1st at 7.30p.m. Organised by the Ministry of Information, the speaker, Sir Arthur Wellert, K.B.E., Regional Officer for the Ministry, gave his views on ‘The Wider War’ and including a discussion on anti-invasion techniques, a while later a Belgian general, as President of the Belgian Chamber in London, spoke to Bletchley Civil Defence workers and Home Guard on the German invasion. Being a continued possibility, Invasion was also the topic at a meeting on Thursday, March 5th of the A.R.P. Committee in the Council Offices where, by a letter dated February 24th, General Blount asked permission to use - ‘in case of necessity’ - the Council Chamber as a local defence battle headquarters. This was agreed, and also agreed was a resolution that the Council should raise no objection if any Civil Defence personnel wished to join the Home Guard. However, the A.R.P. officer was now raising objections to the considerable damage being caused to the sandbags piled up in the streets, and since their repair was a waste of time and labour, if the situation did not improve they would be removed. Yet in the event of an air raid the sandbags would be essential to extinguish incendiary bombs, and although there were no such perils on the night of March 2nd, a good view of a full moon eclipse had enlightened the monotony for firewatchers and other civil defence workers. The lunar surface was wholly covered by 12.30a.m., and also about to be eclipsed was the career of Captain Brooks, of the Bletchley Fire Brigade, the Brigade having now been transferred to the National Fire Service. Resident at 9, George Street, although he was offered an appointment in another district he declined for personal reasons, but despite resigning his position as a full-time officer, he agreed to remain part time. He then returned to his former job in the Surveyor’s Office of the Council which, since the Brigade no longer came under the Council’s jurisdiction, would no longer pay an annual subscription to the National Fire Association.

In place of Captain Brooks, for seven months Section Leader S. Blake now accepted the role, with Section Leader Ronald Culley and Leading Fireman V. Cook next assuming the responsibility. As for the volunteer members of the Brigade, although when the N.F.S. took over they were offered the opportunity to resign, in testimony to his leadership they instead decided to continue as part-time workers under their old chief, Mr. Brooks, who had been a fireman since 1914. Having served as engineer under Chief Officers W. Clarke and Frank Howard, he had then become Brigade Captain in 1933, at a time when the steam fire engine was replaced by a new motor engine.

Under the new fire fighting arrangements, despite a Council payment, (the sum of £83 being authorised in August), to the Finance Officer for the N.F.S. at the Home Office, identified by a letter the Bletchley Brigade under the new organisation became only a ‘section’, headed by a section leader, and the section formed part of a ‘district’, with the command organised on military lines from the top. With the N.F.S. thus becoming responsible for the maintenance of the fire hydrants, they consequently asked the Council, as ‘Water Undertakers’, to repair and renew such hydrants as were faulty, and although this was done there had been a slight delay, due to procuring the appropriate order from the Fire Force Commander.

At the formation of the N.F.S. in 1941, Betty Cuthbert, who in 1938 had been the 23rd woman to join the A.F.S., became Chief Woman Fire Officer for England and Wales. The daughter of a stockbroker, she was born in Calcutta on January 20th, 1904 and when she was a child the family returned to England, and made their home at Sidmouth. Having in 1928 married John Cuthbert, a naval officer and later an Admiral, she died aged 101.

Throughout Bletchley, all manner of premises were required to comply with the A.R.P. regulations, and as just one example the consequent expense incurred at St. Martin’s church would amount to £10. Meanwhile, with the Council recording a due appreciation of his excellent work, Mr. W. Brown now resigned as the A.R.P. First Aid Commandant since, aged well over 70, he said it was time for a younger man to take over the role.

In late March, 1942, at an expense of £11,225 15s Bucks. County Council authorised the purchase of uniforms for Civil Defence personnel, first aid parties, rescue parties, and decontamination squads. In August, those for Bletchley were then delivered and as seen in this photo, taken at the back of the Park Hotel, those for the Wardens consisted of battledress and berets. - Mr. Bowler

At the Council Offices, at a 2.30p.m. meeting of the Local Defence Committee on Friday, March 13th the Chairman, Councillor Flack, stressed ‘that until invasion does occur the local defence committee has no executive power. Only when the town is isolated through blitz or invasion can the Committee assume such power and then it cannot override any other authority such as Police or Military.’ In fact the Military would only take control when the local committee felt that matters were getting out of hand but since this seemed an unsatisfactory situation, it was resolved that representations should be made to the appropriate authority, asking that consent be given to the Military Commander to take control immediately upon a state of isolation, through blitz or invasion. For the police, the meeting included Supt. Bryant and Inspector How. Captain Fitzgerald represented the special police, and General Blount was the Senior Military Representative. Considered at the meeting was the proposal to appoint a small executive committee to function under the conditions of blitz or invasion, since a large committee ‘would be useless and possibly ineffective under such conditions’, and it was duly agreed to form this committee which, consisting of the chairman, General Blount, the Superintendent of Police, plus the A.R.P. Officer and Clerk, would during the pre invasion period cover all minor matters, such as arranging lectures, considering circulars received, and imparting information to the present and larger committee.

By now, with a payment for chinstraps of £3 2s 4d authorised to the Dunlop Rubber Co., uniforms, at a total cost of £207, had been ordered for the A.R.P. Wardens - 74 male personnel and 11 women - and amounting to an expense of £11,225 15s, at the end of March Bucks. County Council then approved the provision of uniforms for Civil Defence services, first aid parties, rescue parties and decontamination squads. In fact much amusement was caused by the presence in the Council Chamber of a full size tailor’s dummy, resplendently dressed in one of the uniforms, complete with an eyeglass!

In a letter of March 21st to the Council from 66, West Cliff Road, Bournemouth, the secretary of the Ministry of Home Security (Grants), wrote regarding Home Security circular No. 60/1942 Fire Prevention (Business Premises) (No. 2) Order. 1941, ‘Advances in respect of the payment of subsistence allowances to occupiers of premises to which the Order applies’, and stated by his communication that ‘I am directed by the Minister of Home Security to refer to Home Security Circular No. 22/1942 dated the 5th February, 1942, and to enclose one copy of form F.S.A. 42/1 and three copies of Form F.S.A. 42/2 to enable your Authority to make quarterly applications for payments on account of reimbursable expenditure to be incurred during the financial year 1942/43.’ As for other expenditures, by the year ended March 31st £105 18s had been paid in subsistence allowances by the Council to Fire Guard personnel.

On the evening of April 21st, a meeting took place to consider the formation of a Home Guard Cadet Corps, with amongst those present Mr. E.C. Cook, Mr. W. Leonard, and Sir Everard Duncombe. Soon there would be 50 members, and with the H.Q. founded at The Chestnuts, Water Eaton, the boys, aged from 14 to 17, came under the command of Mr. H. Parker, of 30, Saffron Street. Meetings were held on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, with the intention being to prepare the boys for membership of the 2nd Bucks Battalion Home Guard.

By the end of April not only was the fire-watching scheme for the town still incomplete but much controversy had also been caused by the system of payment for the subsistence allowance. Enrolled firewatchers came under the control of the local authority, and received nothing unless they were able to get home for a meal, or were posted outside their own warden’s area. Yet among business premises, which were governed by a different body, at one location which had a roster of three people, two of these received subsistence at a rate of 3s a night, whilst the other received no remuneration. The two in receipt of the payments were trades people living within a few yards of the premises but the third man, receiving no recompense, lived a mile away! Not surprisingly the matter was referred to the A.R.P. Committee, and although the Fire Prevention Officer then drew up a scheme to remove some of these anomalies, having discussed the situation the A.R.P. Committee decided to defer any final decision, since new regulations were shortly to be introduced by the Home Office. Also on financial matters, until further notice the National Savings Movement selling centre, at the Conservative Club, would now open from April 27th between 7.30p.m. and 9.30p.m. each Monday instead of Saturday, and encouraged by such posters as ‘Lend to Defend the Right to be Free’, during the war over a quarter of a million savings groups would be created, with each centred around a collector who made a weekly round of the members.

At the end of April the siren at the Council Offices was satisfactorily tested but so as to not cause panic, the All Clear signal had been sounded first. Yet nevertheless, in their anxiety many people took cover, and with the signal only distantly heard in one factory, the workers all immediately took to the shelter. Indeed, with the resumption of the German bombing effective sirens were a continued priority, as also was the vigilance of the Fire Guards.

Yet some people seemed to have little concern for their responsibilities and when on Friday, May 8th between 12.45a.m. and 3.30a.m. the Fire Prevention Officer visited all the business premises Fire Guard Posts, he found them fully manned and operational with the exception of No. 5 Post which, shared with the Wardens, was obliged to open at 10p.m. However, when he made his visit at 1.30a.m. he found only one Fire Guard on duty and, when questioned, the man said that because he had been to the pictures ‘and stayed late’, he had not reported until 10.30p.m. Issuing a caution, the Fire Prevention Officer then realised that the other two Fire Guards were missing, despite having signed the book as arriving at 10p.m. Even more mysterious, they had also signed as having departed, respectively at 6.30a.m. and 6.03a.m. Pursuing his enquiries, later in the morning the Fire Prevention Officer then discovered that the two men had not put in an appearance at all that night, and being empowered to engage legal assistance, on behalf of the Council he would therefore take proceedings as an example to others, with the penalty to be left to the court.

Asking householders to contact the Surveyor at the Council Offices, for one week from Wednesday, May 13th the Council decided to reopen the issue of Morrison shelters but apart from air raids, invasion was still an ongoing threat and marching 10 miles before ‘going into action’, posing as invaders the local Home Guard platoons ‘attacked’ Bletchley one Saturday night. Indeed, they succeeded in taking the Council Offices early on Sunday morning, and as ‘sharp fighting’ broke out ambulances sped to the scene of ‘aerial bombings’ which included not only high explosives dropped outside Mr. A. Stevens’ house in Simpson, but also an enemy bomber crashing in Duncombe Street, and a conflagration at the Church Schools. As reports of the incidents came through, demolition squads then went into action, and first aid men dressed the wounds of ‘casualties’ in the glare of an ‘incendiary’ fire. With all sections of the Civil Defence taking part, the exercise involved some 200 personnel, and members of the A.T.C. acted as the casualties.

With gas attacks perceived as a very real threat, The Ministry of Home Security issued a chart warning of the gases that might be used, and their effects. The top of pillar boxes were coated with a special paint, which changed colour in the presence of gas.

Despite this graphic scenario, only a few people heeded the Prime Minister’s warning on Monday, May 11th to carry gas masks, and those who did ‘stood out like lamp posts in the desert’. However, realising the serious nature of the situation B.U.D.C. displayed posters warning citizens to have their gas masks tested, and the A.R.P. centre at the Council Offices was soon besieged by local children anxious to have their respirators fixed. As for the adults, Mr. A. Bates, the A.R.P. officer, announced that unless there had been negligence, any local air raid warden would repair or replace masks free of charge and at the rear of the Council Offices, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 28th, 29th and 30th the gas chamber was made available from 4p.m. – 5p.m., and 8p.m. – 9p.m., for testing the respirators of the general public. Everyone was urged to go through the chamber, where harmless tear gas would be used, with children aged under 14 to be accompanied by parents or teachers. At a meeting in the Council Offices on Friday, May 15th Mr. W. Stanley was elected Head Warden for Posts 2 & 3. He would replace Mr. E. T. Ray, who had now resigned due to his Home Guard responsibilities, and also due to the pressure of other duties, as the Hon. Secretary the Clerk of the Council, Mr. R. Sherwood, had for several months been unable to work on the Spitfire Fund, which would unfortunately be closed within the next two or three weeks. Yet the financial position was rather more optimistic for the Bletchley Savings Groups which, during the past six months, had saved £18,000 in small sums, representing an average of 5s per week from each group member. In fact the success of the National Savings Scheme in Bletchley was such that the Bournemouth Committee would seek advice as to how to achieve these impressive results!

Acting as messengers, by the end of May the Bletchley Army Cadet Force had been affiliated to the Home Guard and with the training scheme accordingly under way, now promoted to Captain, the C.O., Mr. H. Parker, was taking the 60 or so cadets through a course of signalling, map reading, stalking, and other outdoor activities. At 1p.m. a test of the air raid sirens took place on Wednesday, June 3rd and of associated matters the following day at 7.30p.m. a meeting of the A.R.P. Committee was held at the Council Offices where Colonel Byam-Grounds, Area Controller, and Supt. Bryant, acting for the Chief Constable, were interviewed regarding the suggested appointment of a whole time A.R.P. Officer. He would act as deputy to, and be subject to the supervision and control of, Mr. Bates, and as a result of the discussion a recommendation was made that at a salary of £300p.a. the position should be advertised by the Council, dependent upon obtaining an appropriate grant from the Government. A list of posts, which had been inspected and checked for equipment, was then submitted for approval with those in question being;

Bletchley Road No. 1 Block Post Studio Cinema
No. 2/3 Block Post 45, Bletchley Road
No. 4 Block Post Co-op Stores
Aylesbury Street No. 6 Block Post Cowlishaw’s premises
No. 7 Block Post Brantoms premises
High Street No. 8 Block Post County Cinema
Victoria Road No. 10 Block Post Electricity Offices

At the request of the Factory Inspector, the Northampton Fire Prevention Officer had now made an inspection of Premier Press, Buckingham Road, and explained to the General Manager the requirements of the Fire Prevention Order. With the Factory Inspector having asked for the Council to become the appropriate authority for the works, after discussion this was agreed, and at a meeting of June 9th, at the request of the Ministry of War Transport the Council, as the appropriate authority, then assumed responsibility under the Order for the Y.M.C.A. canteen, and Wymans bookstall, at Bletchley station.

In Osborne Street, on the morning of Sunday, June 14th an A.R.P. exercise was held, and with tear gas providing added realism persons likely to be within the area were advised to have their respirators available. As the latest of the several schemes devised by the Bletchley A.R.P. Sub-Controller, Mr. A. Bates, to bring the town’s Civil Defence to a high state of efficiency, the exercise had in fact been ‘sprung’ as a test, and when the local A.R.P. warden arrived for his normal duty, he was therefore a little surprised to find the junction of Osborne Street, Oliver Road, and Clifford Avenue, made impassable by ‘bomb craters’, with the factory ‘ablaze’, services damaged, and a profusion of casualties. A messenger was hurriedly despatched to the Report Centre, and in a short while the Incident Officer arrived followed by a demolition squad, first aid team, and firemen. Gas, incendiary and high explosive ‘bombs’ being detonated at the Tetley’s factory, A.R.P. workers, firemen, and stretcher bearers, were sent into action wearing gasmasks and protective clothing, and with firemen then climbing to the rescue of the men trapped on the roof, casualties were lowered over the side to the road, and conveyed to the ambulances by the first aid men.

Through a police loudspeaker, a running commentary was given to the A.R.P. wardens watching the demonstration which, lasting about an hour, gave a dramatic portrayal of what the town might expect. It was therefore especially disappointing that during the month two men were each fined £3 for booking off early from fire watching duties, and in view of this indiscipline perhaps it was just as well that at a salary of £300p.a. the appointment was proposed of a full-time A.R.P. officer for the town. He would act as deputy to the Sub-Controller, Mr. A. Bates, whose duties were becoming increasingly onerous since despite being the Council’s Surveyor, he was also Sanitary Inspector and Water Engineer. Yet despite the urgency, even by the end of July the position remained unfilled, as none of the candidates had proved suitable. As for other measures of local defence, to the Bletchley branch of the W.V.S. at the end of the month Mrs. Robarts, the County Assistant Organiser, gave the first of a series of five lectures on the subject of Civil Defence, including the role of the organisation in the event of an invasion.

A letter of June 25th was received from Sir Arthur Willert, Regional Information Officer, stating that the Ministry of Information had prepared a scheme to establish Emergency Information Officers. For the appointment to B.U.D.C. he thereby proposed Captain W. Mells, who for the role of Deputy Information Officers duly proposed Councillor E. Callaway, of ‘Belmont’, Buckingham Road, and Mr. A. Cook, of Manor Road, although it would not be until a meeting of the Council on August 11th that they would gain formal approval.

The A.R.P. Officer had now received correspondence from H.M. Inspector of Factories, Northampton, relative to ‘Factories Fire Watching’, and it was agreed that for the premises of Beacon Brushes, M.A. Cook and Sons, J. Root and Son, Rowland Bros., Flettons Ltd., Valentin Ord and Nagle Ltd., and J. Tetley, the Council should be recommended as the appropriate authority under the Fire Prevention (Business Premises) Order. Yet this would be only on the understanding that the Council accepted no responsibility for any part of the payment for subsistence allowances, or any other payments, made to business premise fire watchers in any of these factories. However, the Council would be recommended to accept liability for the payment of any local authority fire watchers who might be drafted in to support the original staff, and the titles of A.R.P. District Sub Controller, and Fire Prevention Officer to the Council, would be added to the Schedule, under the Enrolment Notice of Persons authorised to sign and issue ‘posting to duty’ notices, under the Civil Defence (Compulsory Enrolment) Order 1941.

At a meeting on July 14th it was resolved that the suggested appointment of a deputy A.R.P. Officer should be adjourned for the time being, and in other measures regarding Civil Defence, at a cost of £7 liquid chlorine had now been purchased from the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. As for other matters, since Central Gardens would be of an insufficient size B.U.D.C. had now decided to hold three band concerts in the Leon Recreation Ground where, with the hired use of Col. Whiteley’s portable bandstand, on Sunday, July 26th, from 7.30p.m. - 9p.m. a concert with free admission would be given by the band of the 2nd Bucks Battalion, Home Guard, conducted by Mr. A. Bates. The band would then also perform an afternoon concert on United Nations Sunday, during the course of which day the Prime Minister’s message was read by Mr. Bates, Chairman of the Council, to a crowd of some 1,500 people. In the town, houses and public buildings were colourfully bedecked with the flags of many Allied nations, and in fact it seemed that flags were a prevailing theme for the month, for the Council received a request from the Lord Mayor of London to arrange a local Flag Day, and House-to-House Collection, in connection with the Empire Air Raid Distress Fund on Tuesday, July 28th. With Miss Scobie organising the event, £76 17s 9p would be raised, including £2 3s 9d from the Spurgeon Baptist church and £1 9s 3d from the Freeman Memorial. It was also a flag day for Mr. C. Flack of ‘Wessenden’, Buckingham Road, for he had now been made a J.P. A member of the U.D.C. since 1926, he became Chairman of the Council in 1933, and amongst other offices was presently Chairman of the A.R.P. Committee and the local Emergency Committee.

By now Stamford and Sons had been paid £1 6s 8d for the garage used for the A.R.P. car, and at a 6.30p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee, on Tuesday, August 6th it was reported that the Civil Defence Personnel uniforms had been delivered. These would be issued in a few days - battledress and berets for Wardens and Messengers, battledress, berets, greatcoats, boots and anklets for the First Aid Parties - and also available were shoulder flashes and chevrons. In the event of a gas attack, in order to augment the public cleansing stations with private facilities cards bearing the words ‘Contaminated persons may wash here’ were now being distributed by the Wardens, and householders having a non mains supply of water were asked to display a notice, enabling anyone who had been sprayed with gas to receive swift attention. Yet despite the on going peril of air raids the public were no longer required to carry respirators, not least because rubber was precious, and children had been misusing those issued to them. Nevertheless, Wardens on duty would still carry their respirators, and people travelling away from home were advised to do likewise.

At the Bletchley Road Senior School, on August 13th the Bletchley Urban District Fire Prevention Officer called on the headmaster, Mr. E.C. Cook, to discuss the Fire Watching scheme, and in further measures, including lectures given by Fireman R. Culley on Friday, August 14th Fire Guard Group Leaders began intensive training at Bletchley fire station. On the morning of the following Sunday, from 10.30a.m. in the area of Wardens Post 3 incidents involving practice bombs then provided ‘a lively time’ for the Fire Wardens, and this would be the first occasion where the Civil Defence workers had attended in full uniform. Quickly reaching the ‘incidents’, police and fire services were able to give valuable help and in the event of an actual air raid, as a means to lessen the potential hazard of fire the A.R.P. Committee duly received a statement ruling on fire precautions, and the clearance of lofts and attics. Wardens would examine lofts in the district, with the Council’s Fire Prevention Officer given authority to act if these were not cleared.

Employing Form P.U.2 Civil Defence Act 1939: Part V: Section 39 - ‘Grants towards the approved expenses of a capital nature incurred by public utility undertakers on approved measures taken to secure the due functioning of their undertaking in the event of hostile attack’ - with the work now complete, B.U.D.C. submitted a claim for making a 3 inch diameter connection from their water mains to that of the Bucks. Water Board. Thereby an A.R.P. and fire link would be provided for the supply of about 50,000 gallons in either direction, at the boundary of the Urban District with the parish of Newton Longville in the Winslow Rural Area. The two water authorities duly agreed to share the costs, and with £60 18s 3d being the portion to be borne by B.U.D.C., in November the Council paid an amount to Bucks Water Board, with Arthur Bates then signing off the claim form on January 8th, 1943. Concluding the proceedings, in February, 1943 a memo from the Ministry of Health in Whitehall would then state that the sum of £30 9s 1d was to be paid into the Barclays Bank account of B.U.D.C. ‘at an early date’, the payment actually being made on February 18th, 1943.

Representatives from neighbouring units of local army detachments, police, Civil Defence, A.O.C., Army Cadet Force, and the Home Guard, were able to witness the effect of various types of bombs one Sunday, when as the setting for a demonstration a disused quarry at Brickhill was used by N.C.O.s of Bletchley Company Home Guard. Over 1,000 spectators attended the event, and the Home Guard also attracted a large assembly when the 2nd Battalion Home Guard Band performed a concert in Leon Rec. on Sunday, August 23rd.

On Sunday, August 30th staged between two sections of the Bletchley Army Cadets at Great Brickhill, a mock battle gave a first practical demonstration of the tactical principles they were studying, but although Lt. H. Harlock and his section defended their ground, they proved unable to hold off the attackers, lead by Under Officer D. Cook. A military incident more disturbing then occurred on Wednesday, August 26th when, whilst being questioned at Bletchley Station about a military travel warrant, a man wearing a navy blue suit suddenly slipped away from Mr. W. Roff, the ticket collector, and dodging between travellers and railwaymen scaled the wall surrounding Bletchley Park. Police were immediately called but could find no trace of him.

Only three weeks behind a Welsh town, Bletchley now had the honour of becoming the second town in Britain where every street had joined a National Savings Group. This was announced at the Saturday finale of the ‘Stay at Home Entertainments’ in St. Martin’s Hall, and since May, 1941, Bletchley had not only saved £¼ million, but was also half way through the ‘Tanks for Attack’ campaign. As a 50% increase upon the amount saved between July and September the previous year, this target of £30,000 would be a sum sufficient to purchase four medium, or ‘Matilda’ tanks, bearing the name ‘Bletchley’. Three savings groups would have their names inscribed on each tank, and in fact the ten week campaign would conclude with an increase of almost 100% on the corresponding period the previous year. This then enabled the adoption of eight Matilda tanks which, as the most heavily armoured tank in service during the early part of the war, was a type destined to play a key role in major land battles throughout the El Alamein campaign. Those contributed by Bletchley would bear the names of the 24 most successful of the districts 94 savings groups, and 14 of these had already been picked. However, fund raising had been less successful for the Spitfire Fund, the closure of which would result in a cheque for £750 being sent to the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

On September 19th, except for those who were pregnant, or had children under the age of 14 living with them at home, it became compulsory for women aged between 20 and 45 to participate in fire watching at their places of work. During the month the Clerk of the Council then reported that the registration of women for fire watching duties would become the responsibility of the Council, and on October 9th the Fire Prevention Officer called on the headmaster at the Bletchley Road Senior School to discuss the involvement of women in such duties. Regarding the ‘Defence (General) Regulations 1939’, B.U.D.C. then posted a notice worded; ‘Registration for Fire Prevention Duties under the Civil Defence Duties (Compulsory Enrolment) Order 1942. Men born on or between 21st September 1882 and 20th September 1924, and women born on or between 21st September 1897 and 20th September 1922. The order applies to anyone resident in the Bletchley Urban District on 19th September with a few exceptions. Applications are to be made in person on Saturday, October 4th and Sunday, October 11th between 9.30am and 6pm at the junior department, Bletchley Road Council Schools. Exemptions include members of the Forces, Home Guard, police and medical practitioners.’ As for anyone unable to attend for Registration on the given dates, they were to apply at the Council Offices’ Fire Prevention Department between Monday and Friday, October 19-23rd between the hours of 10-12, mornings, and 2-3.30, afternoons.

At the end of October, from persons not liable for military service applications were invited for the position of assistant Local Fuel Overseer which, at £250 p.a., was to be a temporary post for no longer than two years, unless extended by a Council resolution. As a fuel, coal remained a primary source as also was timber, a commodity with which the Home Guard platoons from Water Eaton and Bletchley became well acquainted when orders were received to comb a wood, as part of a Saturday night exercise. Dispersing over a wide area, they duly made their way to a specific location and advanced by moonlight, before bedding down for the night. On Sunday they then arrived home for breakfast and the well deserved praise of their C.O., Lt/Gen. H. Blount, who assessed that the new recruits ‘were excellent.’

On November 9th the Clerk of the Council informed the Grants Section of the Ministry of Home Security, at 10, Fleet Street, London, that of the £105 18s expended by the Council on subsistence allowances paid to Fire Guard personnel, only £100 had been received. He would therefore be glad to have the balance, but in a reply of November 21st the Ministry said that this would be held by the District Auditor, pending an examination of the Council’s accounts.

However, at least for Mrs. Cattle, the clerk in the billeting office, the month brought the sound of jingling pennies when her wages were increased from 40s to 45s a week, and the sound of the church bells on Sunday, November 15th put new heart into the mothers, wives, and children, of the men battling in Libya. On the Studio car park including police, A.R.P., Fire Guards, N.F.S., and A.T.C., at 2.30p.m. a Civil Defence parade took place, which was then lead by the R.A.F. band from Cardington to a 3p.m. service at St. Mary’s. As for the Home Guard, 50 battalions had been competing in the Queen Mary competition over the past few weeks, and a team chosen from the 12th Bucks. Battalion - all Bletchley personnel, excepting a man from Leighton Buzzard - not only won the competition but were also runners-up for the shield. As for another success, held on December 5th at the request of the Council a Prisoner of War Flag Day would raise the liberating sum of £165 12s 7¼d, having been arranged by Miss Scobie, following her skill in organising the Empire Air Raid Distress Fund flag day.

During the year, for use by Liaison Officers of the N.F.S., police and Home Guard, two further telephones had been installed in the Council Chamber, with another ‘In’ telephone placed in the Report Centre. Also on matters of communication, at a rate of 2s 6d per month cycle allowances had now been granted to those messengers providing bicycles on constant readiness, but only ‘providing the messenger owns his cycle and has permission from his parents to use it at all times’. Such were the measures deemed necessary to counter the threat of continuing air raids, and throughout the year, as a result of the 204 night inspections warnings had been issued to 151 Fire Guards, with legal proceedings pursued in two instances. As previously mentioned, the defendants were each fined £3 plus costs, and no doubt became more conscientious thereon.

In a soon to be erected hut, fire guards would shortly receive training to deal with incendiary bombs and in the event of an air raid, to deal with the problem of unexploded bombs a new directive had been issued since November 22nd; ‘Southern Regional Circular No. 279/1942; UXB Reporting – Revised Procedure.’ This had been advised by the Bucks. County Council A.R.P. Dept. to the Area Sub Controllers, A.R.P. Officers, Bomb Reconnaissance Wardens and Bomb Recognition Officers, and Bomb Reconnaissance Wardens would firstly send reports direct to County Control, repeating the message to the District Report Centre immediately afterwards.

With estimates to be submitted for Regional approval, A.R.P. Officers were to provide the Report Centres with a set of three red flags, but ‘if red cloth is unobtainable, a small stick with a square piece of plywood painted red would suffice to mark the spot.’ Pursuant to this, on December 7th Mr. A. Bates, the A.R.P. District Sub Controller, then wrote to Colonel M. Clarke, D.S.O., at the A.R.P. Department, County Offices, Aylesbury, saying that as Surveyor to the Council he was already in possession of a number of red flags, used for highway purposes. Since these might be suitable for indicating the position of U.X.B.s, he therefore proposed to make them available on loan to the A.R.P. Dept. as necessary, and in order to comply with the Regional requirements - that estimates should be submitted - he stated a figure of 1d per flag per day as the cost to hire. Taking up this idea, in a memo of the following day Colonel Clarke then replied that for the ‘Reporting and Marking of Sites of U.X.B.s’, the County Surveyor had now confirmed that red flags could be loaned as required.



At ‘The Sned’, (No. 5 Post), in Buckingham Road, the Wardens of Nos. 5 & 6 Posts held their New Year party, whilst for Nos. 2 & 3 Posts, their parties took place at the Social Centre, commencing with a whist drive. At the Conservative Club, on Tuesday, January 26th at 7.30p.m. a whist drive in aid of ‘Mrs. Churchill’s Aid to Russia Fund’ was held, and, arranged by the Billeting Officer, Mr. Jones, to aid measures for Civil Defence several films were shown to members of the Forces, and war workers, one Sunday evening. During the interval Mr. F. Bates, the chairman of B.U.D.C., then announced a donation of over £25 to the Red Cross, and £8 8s to the Cinematograph Society.

In January came the approval of Plan 1300, for erecting a hut in Church Street for the N.F.S., and further good news arrived with confirmation that Bletchley A.R.P. workers, who for nearly four years had provided much voluntary work, were now to receive a 3s subsidence allowance for each night of duty and, with the cost to be recovered from the Government, this would bring them into line with the county services and firewatchers. Suitably enthused, A.R.P. members, together with other personnel of the local defence, then almost filled the Studio one Sunday to watch several ‘useful’ M.O.I. films, dealing with matters to include fire fighting and incendiary bombs, the practice examples of which were supplied to the local Civil Defence by C.T. Brock and Co. Ltd. As for real enemy bombs, those which did not explode were to be reported to No. 22 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers, at Moor Hall Camp, Harlow, Essex, this being the unit responsible for the county, although later in the year it would be directed that such incidents should be reported by telephone to the H.Q. of No. 6 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers, at Manton Camp, Marlborough. In fact with the H.Q. at Reading, No. 4 Bomb Disposal Group would be responsible for Buckinghamshire, but No. 6 was the Company to deal with operationally.

Shortly after a meeting of the A.R.P. Committee on February 4th, the Council adopted a recommendation concerning the appointment of an ‘honorary part time woman assistant Fire Guard Staff Officer’, ‘to deal with matters of a special character affecting women fire-guards’, and to act in this capacity Mrs. G. White, of 10 Watling Terrace, was duly chosen. Then, at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday, February 9th Plan 1302 for a Home Guard rifle range near the Bull Hotel was submitted by the Surveyor, and it was agreed that this should be passed to the County Planning Officer, for approval under town planning. Also for the Home Guard, the Yeomanry Hall had now been placed at their disposal but despite the theft in the past of Home Guard clothing and equipment, the premises would also occasionally accommodate other activities, notwithstanding the considerable damage that had sometimes been caused.

By the end of February, the town’s fire watching schemes were complete. Nearly all the parties, both business and residential, were currently operating, and Fire Guards in business premises were now paid a subsistence allowance, although this did still not apply to the residential parties. Much training was being undertaken, and, as qualified instructors, both the Fire Prevention Officer, Mr. W. Warner, and his newly qualified lady assistant were giving lectures and demonstrations several evenings a week, enhanced by the recent erection of two incendiary bomb huts at the Refuse Destructor site, where practice bombs could be used for smoke drill.

In the B.B.C. ‘National Savings’ news bulletin, it was announced one Sunday evening that Bletchley Urban District Council had now adopted a scheme to pay the subsistence allowance of part time Civil Defence workers directly into their National Savings accounts. In fact within the district a number of fire watchers drew their allowances in savings stamps, and encouraged by the slogan ‘Fight in the Streets. Belong to your Savings Group’, already nearly a quarter of the population were members of local savings groups. Created in 1916, during World War Two the National Savings movement now again played a vital role raising finance to fund the war effort, and it had been during the autumn of 1939 that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Kingsley Wood, launched a campaign with the slogan ‘Lend to Defend the Right to be Free’. Now as a further incentive the ‘Squander Bug’ would be introduced, ‘a large leering insect pockmarked with swastikas,’ which caused a ‘fatal itch to buy for buying’s sake - the symptom of shopper’s disease’ - and suitably persuaded, apart from buying certificates, people could also have regular deductions made from their pay.

In early March, representing the cost of a squadron of Spitfires, a target of £60,000 was set at a well attended Tuesday meeting of the Bletchley Wings for Victory Week Committee, and a subsequent joint meeting of the Publicity Committee of ‘Wings for Victory’ Week, and the Bletchley Service of Youth Committee, decided to arrange a combined Service of Youth parade and display, to be held during the ‘Week’ from June 12th to 19th.

As for the ‘United Aid to China Fund’, on Saturday, March 27th the B.U.D. Flag Day raised £131 16s 4d, and in fact during March of the following year the Chairman of the Council, Mr. Oliver Wells, and the secretary of the Bletchley Aid to China Fund, Mrs. Olive Moser, would attend a reception at the Mansion House, London, given by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, this being the third such meeting in support of the effort for China.

For the further raising of funds, a competition contributed £1 13s for the Red Cross during a party given, one Saturday during early April, by the wardens of No. 4 Post. Held in the Park Hotel Assembly Room, the event was attended by about 50 wardens and friends and elsewhere, at a social gathering held appropriately in the Social Centre, through games and competitions prizes were awarded in the form of Savings Stamps. £8 was thereby raised for the Red Cross, and P.O.W. Fund, with the event having been organised by B Company of the Railway Home Guard, commanded by Walter Smith. Born at Padbury, Walter had come to Bletchley at the age of six, and on leaving school found employment in the railway telegraph office. Commissioned during World War One in the Middlesex Regiment, he later became a ticket collector at Willesden and there he lived for several years before returning to Bletchley, and employment as a ticket collector at Euston. Presently he was the first chairman of the railway rifle club as well as being the commander of Bletchley B Company, which suffered a sad loss with the death of Sergeant Major Leonard Holson, aged 48, of 2, Railway Terrace. A native of Stony Stratford, having arrived at Bletchley in 1939 as an L.M.S. blacksmith, he joined the Home Guard in 1940, and his military funeral was held towards the end of April.

During the three months ending March 31st although not due to enemy action the N.F.S. had been called out to ten fires in the Bletchley and surrounding area, and at the Council Offices at a 6p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee, on Wednesday, April 21st the Deputy Regional Commissioner, and the Regional Fire Prevention Officer, then discussed with members of the Committee the proposals outlined in the Ministry of Home Security circular H.S. 63/43 dated April 9th. This regarded the reorganisation and administration of the Fire Guard as a separate organisation from the Wardens Service, and after considerable discussion the general consensus would be that ‘a) the Fire Guard service would be separate from the Wardens Service b) The A.R.P. Officer would be the Chief Executive Officer for the service and the Fire Prevention Officer would be under his control and direction c) the necessary scheme to be prepared in accordance with paragraph 40 of circular H.S. 63/64 and be submitted to the Committee in due course for formal approval and transmission to the Regional Commissioner.’

Pursuant to this, at the Council Offices on Thursday, May 6th at the 7.30p.m. A.R.P. Committee meeting it was resolved that Mr. Bates, the A.R.P. Officer, should be responsible for the staffing and general office arrangements, with Mr. Warner as an officer of his department. In accordance with paragraph 3, Mr. Warner - styled as Fire Prevention Officer - would now be entitled Fire Guard Officer, with responsibility for the general fire prevention organisation, and Mrs. K. White, at present styled as the Honorary Assistant Fire Guard Staff Officer would be known as the Honorary Assistant Fire Guard Officer, in accordance with paragraph 27. After discussion it was then agreed ‘that such portion of the Scheme as now presented’ should be passed to the Regional Fire Officer for consideration, prior to final approval by the Regional Commissioner. As for another communication on home security, regarding circular No. 83/1943 - ‘Fire Prevention (Business Premises) Orders. Advances in respect of the payment of subsistence allowances’ - in a letter dated May 13th from the Ministry of Home Security (Grants), of 10, Fleet Street, London, EC4, five copies of Form FSA 43 were enclosed, by which the Council could submit their returns of reimbursable expenditure; a) in the quarter ended March 31st 1943 and b) in each of the four quarters of the financial year 1943/1944.

One Sunday in May, a march took place by the 12th Bucks. Battalion Home Guard commemorating the third anniversary of the Corps. With Lt. Col. J. Micklem, D.S.O., M.C., as their C.O., they formed up on the Bletchley Park cricket field at 3.30p.m. and with the armoury including heavy machine guns, mortars and propelling guns, led by the Pipe Band of the Irish Guards, in a parade a mile long they then marched through Bletchley. On the Studio steps Col. W. Selby Lowndes, of Whaddon, took the salute, and afterwards at the Pavilion Ground a demonstration of drill was given by a squad of Irish Guardsmen, with the Band of the Irish Guards in attendance.

A letter, dated April 20th, had now been received by the Surveyor from the County Surveyor asking if the new Rescue Service based at Bletchley could have, at a rent payable by the County Council of 15s a week, half the use of the new buildings in the Council yard. With the Council to provide wash basins and showers, and also a cooking stove and gas ring, this was then agreed.

Bletchley had now accepted a challenge from Buckingham Borough Council to raise, on a percentage basis, a larger sum per head of the population during Wings for Victory Week, and in an encouraging start subscriptions amounted to £2,300 on the first day, when Air Chief Marshall Robert Brooke Popham, taking the salute on the steps of the Council Offices, officially opened the week in Leon Rec. Here, including the W.R.N.S., Army, A.T.S., Home Guard, Army Cadet Force, R.A.F., W.A.A.F., A.T.C., police, A.R.P., Red Cross, N.F.S., St. John’s Nurses, a parade assembled under the command of General H. Blount D.S.O., with the Air Chief Marshall then speaking afterwards from the official platform. By the end of the Week £83,168, (an amount in excess of the target figure), had been reached, with the total duly announced to the waiting crowd outside the Council Offices.

Regarding the proposed new Rescue Depot and store shed, towards the end of May a revised plan, number 1308, was considered, and for the construction of the new buildings in the Council Yard the tender from Mr. W.J. Elliott, of £855 12s, would be accepted. On June 11th it was then announced that the provisions of the Army Pensions Warrant would now apply to all Home Guards and their dependents, as was the case for the Regular Army, and also on monetary matters, the mile of pennies run by Mr. Pilcher and the men of No. 4 Platoon Home Guard produced £64 1s d for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund.

The exchange of plaques between Bletchley and the ship adopted by the town was made one Monday evening at the end of July, with that from the townspeople being received by the Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Keyes, from Mr. Collins, Chairman of the local National Savings Committee. Aviation matters were also in evidence, and amongst the R.A.F. exhibitions held in various parts of the town was included a Spitfire on display in the Studio car park, together with a gun turret and aero engines. However, in view of past experience, as a precaution against souvenir hunters all the exhibits were under guard whilst elsewhere, equipment and photographs of the Bletchley men and women now serving in the Forces were on display in the Temperance Hall.

At an approximate cost of £235 an order had been recently placed for Civil Defence greatcoats, and at the 7.30p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee at the Council Offices, on Thursday, August 5th the Fire Guard Officer reported on the current progress regarding the new Fire Guard plan. The Regional Commissioner had proposed August 31st as the date this would become operational, and although the Fire Guard Officer thought the timescale rather optimistic it was in fact by mid August that Bletchley became a prescribed area under the scheme, with good progress being made concerning the new plans. Training of the sector captains, messenger clerks, and messengers, was ongoing, party leaders were being instructed in their new duties, and with code signs to be affixed to indicate these positions, the sector and assembly points had all been chosen. Indeed, it was hoped to have the scheme completely in order by August 31st, and perhaps as an appropriate preparation certain excitement was caused one Wednesday night, when the N.F.S. were summoned to a small fire at the woodwork at the Barn. Fortunately, little damage was done.

Organised and conducted by Mr. J. Warner, the Bletchley Fire Prevention Officer, demonstrations of the new fire fighting scheme now began throughout the town, it being explained that the fire prevention plan no longer came under the Civil Defence Services, but was linked by a definite organisation to the N.F.S., who would only receive fire reports from the fire watchers sector points. One sector point and three subsidiary points were set up in each area, and on alert the fire watching parties would turn out on patrol, with messages sent to the sector point regarding their strength. Should incendiaries start a blaze near one of the points, then that party would immediately tackle the fire and send a message to the sector point requesting further personnel, with parties from other points also diverted to the danger area. If the fire spread, more parties would be sent and if the blaze got out of control, the fire watching parties would despatch a messenger to call out the N.F.S.

For the purpose of storing ammunition, concerning permission for the Home Guard to erect a shed at the rear of their premises, at a meeting on September 9th a letter dated September 6th from Valentin Ord and Nagle was submitted by the Clerk of the Council to the Highways and Works Committee. Consent was duly given, subject to approval by the Police Authority.

In a letter of September 9th, Mr. I. Kleinman asked the Council if a cup that he had presented could be competed for as a trophy within the urban area by the various street Fire Guard Sectors. The Council duly agreed, and in the post war years the trophy would then be made available for any other competition considered appropriate.

One Saturday in early September, the Bletchley Service of Youth staged the parade and display for Wings for Victory week, which had been previously cancelled due to bad weather. Marshalled on Leon Rec. by Mr. E. Callaway, the parade, including Army Cadets, the A.T.C., the B.B. band, Life Boys and Girls Life Brigade, Scouts, Cubs, Rangers, Guides, St. John Ambulance Nursing Cadets, and the Red Cross Youth Detachment, marched to the Service of Youth ground in Albert Street, and there they were inspected by Mr. W. Leonard, Bucks. Deputy Secretary for Education. A display then followed, and with bridge building, country dancing, and first-aid amongst the features, perhaps the latter was now of increased interest to the Home Guard who, from September 25th, would if disabled in the course of their duties be able, whilst they remained members of the organisation, to claim a disability pension.

Within the urban area, it was now hoped to put the new Fire Guard Plan into operation on September 30th but it would not be until the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, October 7th that, stating that the street fire guard plan was now being gradually introduced, was the report by the Fire Guard Officer submitted. Supplementary to this, a regulation was then to take effect at the end of the month designed to bring into the scheme women who were aged 20 since last October, and men from 18 to 63 years of age who had not yet been registered. Also to be included were any men or women of the prescribed age who had arrived in the area during the last 12 months, as well as certain classes of ‘Aliens’, who had hitherto been exempt. In fact perhaps to cope with these potential new recruits Mr. W. Grainger-Cox would soon be busily painting steel helmets, for which he received £11 14s, with a further sum of £5 6s 7d paid a few weeks later for more helmets, and also notice boards.

Primarily, the Fire Guard scheme had been introduced to deal with the threat of incendiary bombs, the experience of the ‘Blitz’ having proved that where these fell onto unattended buildings, the initially small fires soon developed into a raging inferno. However, no less of a menace were ‘Butterfly’ bombs. Their effect was tragically emphasised when one exploded on being picked up by a local schoolboy, who lost several fingers in the blast, and not surprisingly on October 5th to warn the public of the danger Mr. A. Bates wrote to Colonel Clarke, at Aylesbury, asking for another eight copies of a Butterfly bomb poster. During a raid, small anti personnel bombs might also be dropped, and with six copies of the ‘Small Anti-Personnel Bombs’ pamphlet having been issued in August to B.U.D.C., the danger of these devices was stated in the National Fire Service Training Instruction No. 6, which stated ‘In recent raids on this country the enemy has made extensive use of 4lb anti-personnel bombs which have been dropped in considerable numbers at the same time as incendiary bombs and high explosives.’

Advising the Area Sub Controllers and A.R.P. Officers of the German tactics, in a secret memo Colonel Clarke duly wrote that whilst as a container for 10 small parachute flares the Germans now sometimes used incendiary bomb container type F, they had also recently used a similar container with the markings ‘500 BODEN 6 SD. 2’, instead of the usual ‘A.B.B. 500’, and specimens so marked had been found to contain nine parachute flares and six small anti personnel bombs, of the 4lb. type (SD2). This information was now to be passed to the Wardens Organisations, and, in accordance with the threat, on October 16th a memo for the eventual attention of Area Sub Controllers and A.R.P. Officers was sent to police superintendents, from the Chief Constable’s Office at Aylesbury. This regarded ‘Unexploded Anti-Personnel Bombs. Revised Arrangements for warning the Public and for searching Urban and Rural Areas’, and included the directions to ‘Consult with the Sub-Controllers concerned with your Division, Home Guard Commanders, National Fire Service representatives, and arrange for a trial search for Anti-Personnel Bombs, by day and night, in a Rural and Urban District within your jurisdiction.’ ‘Obtain a supply of sticks about 5 feet in length to be used as markers for U.X.A.P.B.s. These sticks need to be split at the top and a piece of tin painted Red or White, inserted, the other end of the stick should be sharpened.’ U.X.A.P.B. stood for unexploded anti personnel bomb, but if no prefix was given, then A.P.B. referred to an armour piercing bomb.

At the end of October, at a social evening held in St. Martin’s Hall a trophy, for the street which during Wings for Victory week had made the greatest percentage increase on its target, was presented by Sq/Ldr Freeman to Mrs Kirk. of Cambridge Street, and at the same event the President of the local branch of the National Savings Movement, Mr. C. Collins, received the Buckingham Challenge Cup.

The supplementary register under the Fire Guard order was now to be prepared in the town, the purpose being to complete the list of men in the district aged between 18 and 31, and women aged between 20 and 25, who were eligible for duty. One Saturday between 10a.m. and 5.30p.m., or Sunday, between 10a.m. and 3p.m., apart from certain categories all newcomers to the district were then required to attend at Bletchley Junior school, and with around 200 registrations 92 were at once enrolled, and posted to duties either on business premises or with street parties, which were presently under strength. Fire guards on business premises would continue to perform nightly duty on a rota basis but street parties needed only to turn out for an ‘Alert’.

Various sums towards the end of November were sent by Bletchley Civil Defence services to several charities, including £18 13s 6d to the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund. Also towards raising funds, ‘A’ Company 12th Bucks. Battalion Home Guard, No. 2 Platoon Rifle Club held a whist drive on Wednesday, December 1st at 7.45p.m. and with entry priced at 1s, admission was encouraged by the incentive of ‘Good Prizes’! During the middle of the month, one Thursday Fire Guards in Bletchley then took part in a competition at St. Martin’s Hall, for cash prizes presented by Mr. A. Cowlishaw. Of the seven teams competing in the stirrup pump competition, No. 7 team proved victorious, (No. 4 team being runners up), and also being competed for was the Kleinman Cup. For this, with Mr. A. Bates, A.R.P. Sub Controller, assuming the role of guest quizmaster, four teams competed in a ‘Fire Guard Quiz’, and based on the new Fire Guard plan the questions had been appropriately prepared by the Fire Guard Officer, Mr. Warner. The cup was duly presented by Mr. C. Flack, and from now on a similar competition would be held quarterly.

At the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, December 9th a report from the Fire Guard Officer was submitted by the A.R.P. Officer, regarding the necessary supplementary registration, personnel training, and fire watching, of business premises, and concerning the latter, a meeting of the occupants of premises in Groups 2/3 and 4 had recently been held. These groups covered the area of Bletchley Road from Bedford Street to the railway bridge, and for submission to the Council a resolution would be passed ‘That in the opinion of the Traders present and having regard to the fact that the neighbourhood had, so far, escaped bombing the Order should be relaxed in respect of that part of the town, east of the railway line’. As for claims made during the year for expenditure reimbursable under the Fire Prevention (Business Premises) Orders, those for the quarter ending June 30th amounted to £286 10s, to September 30th £491 0s 6d, and to December 30th £155 15s 6d.



With the grant of cost of living bonuses, in accordance with Ministry of Home Security circular No. 156/42 as from January 1st the Fire Guard Officer gained 7s 6d per week, the male workmen 2s per week war bonus, and the clerk in the Fuel Overseer’s office an extra 5s per week.

During January and February, repairs to civilian respirators were to be undertaken free of charge, if they were taken between 4p.m. and 5p.m. Monday to Friday to the Council Offices, where it seemed that the clock was also in need of repair, since due to a mechanical fault it had started to keep very strange time.

At a meeting of the A.R.P. Committee on Thursday, February 3rd it was resolved that regarding the Street Fire Guard Scheme the occupiers of premises where Sector Points had been established would be paid the annual sum of £1 to cover the cost of lighting and heating such Points when used during periods of alert. As for other home comforts, at a cost of 15s darts for the A.R.P. personnel would be purchased from T.W. Bailey, and from H. Keys supplies of sugar and tea would amount to £1 18s 7d.

On Sunday, February 4th Mr. T. Atthews, who had been appointed leader of the Rescue and Demolition Squad earlier in the war, was in the Council yard with a number of Civil Defence personnel, and the two full time vehicles, when a report was received at 11.35 hours to ‘stand by’. An L.M.S. passenger train was on fire at Chelmscott, and instructing the second party to collect another rescue team, he and his crew arrived on the scene at 11.47 hours, and ‘at once got busy to assist with the injured all they could.’ With two railway coaches on fire, ambulances from Bletchley, including that from Bletchley Park, were in attendance, and in the aftermath of the incident high commendations would be paid to the efforts of the emergency teams. Emergency teams would also be needed should the town ever be subject to a gas bomb attack, and conducted by Inspector W. How, at 7.30p.m. every Friday from March 10th the British Red Cross Society, Bletchley Senior Detachment, would give an anti-gas lecture at the Clinic. In due course, all the members successfully passed the test, with Sergeant A. Bartlett as the examiner.

On March 16th Mr. Arthur Bates, the A.R.P. District Controller, wrote to Colonel Clarke at the A.R.P. Department, County Offices, Aylesbury, saying that he had received a request ‘from a Government Department’ at Bletchley for a supply of Butterfly bomb posters, and he would be obliged if he could have another two dozen. However, in a reply of Tuesday, March 21st the Colonel said that he had received information from the Regional Officer, stating that Captain Hudson had arranged for the Government Department. to receive the supplies direct from London. Apart from posters, other means were employed to inform the public of such related matters, and on the day of the Colonel’s reply the Mobile Film Unit of the Ministry of Information showed official war films at the Community Centre, ‘admission free’, at 7.30p.m. At 2.30p.m., for the British Women’s Red Cross on Tuesday, May 16th at the Conservative Club the Unit would then again visit the town to show films, and for his series of Fire Guard lectures, also in May payment to Mr. W. Grainger Cox would be made of £5 3s 6d. No doubt a welcome amount, but a sum somewhat greater was the aim for Salute the Soldier Week, June 10th to June 17th, with a target of £75,000 adopted towards the end of March at a public meeting, held one Thursday in the Bletchley Council Chamber.

On March 30th the B.U.D.C. Fire Guards held their second quarterly inter section cup competition at which, with a series of quiz events staged at the Yeomanry Hall, the Water Eaton Sector proved victorious. Also included were a series of stirrup pump team contests, and in aid of the N.F.S. Benevolent Fund the Bletchley Fireguards organised a dance at the Yeomanry Hall on Friday, May 12th, from 8p.m.-12p.m. By now the uniform payments of subsistence allowances to Fire Guards at business premises had come into effect, and these would be 3s, 4s 6d, or 6s, according to the period of duty laid down in the 1941 order. This had initially caused some anomalies, and the new payments would now ensure that the same rates were applied nationwide.

It being hoped to place an indicator in each street, one Wednesday at the end of the month the street group secretaries met in the Conservative Club to complete the arrangements for Salute the Soldier Week. Their intention was to raise £15,000 as the cost of a Churchill tank, whilst as for other armaments, on Saturday, June 10th a Royal Artillery Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew were included in a ceremonial march at 2.30p.m., for a Salute the Soldier parade. Taking part were a detachment of the U.S. Army together with the Civil Defence, contingents of H.M. Forces, and the bands of the 55th Tank Regiment, the Royal Armoured Corps, A.T.C. and B.B., and with the salute taken at 3.15p.m. at the Council Offices, Major-General L. Hill, O.B.E. performed the opening ceremony at 3.45p.m. in Leon Rec. Throughout the ‘Week’ various events were staged, culminating in a ‘function’ on Saturday afternoon that consisted of a fancy dress parade for children, (which attracted over 150 entries), and a Caledonian Market, organised by the Women’s Entertainment Committee. Assembled on Leon Rec., the parade then proceeded on a tour of the town, to the accompaniment of loudspeaker music and also comedy, provided by Mr. A. Duffield and Miss L. Millard, dressed as Old Mother Riley and Kitty. An unusual and additional inclusion was the ‘outstanding’ and lifelike portrayal of General Montgomery by Mr. Baker, of Old Bletchley.

As eventually indicated on the board outside the Council Offices, the total raised during the week would amount to £79,035, contributions having not least been made by the auctioning of an invitation to attend the opening of the Bletchley to Bedford railway line, in November, 1846, and also the first ticket to be issued. Both had been presented by Sir Everard Duncombe. Before a large crowd, the amount was duly announced from the balcony of the Council Offices by Mr. Charles Collins who, apart from his association with the savings movement, from July 1st would become secretary of the Conservative Club, on the resignation, due to ill health, of Mr. A.C. Marshall. Indeed, having taken a practical role in converting the premises from use as a school, Mr. Marshall had fulfilled the role since the inception of the Club in June 1932, when Mr. John Wilson became the steward. A native of Yorkshire, Mr. Wilson had previously been steward at the Conservative Club in Bradford, and he would remain in Bletchley until around 1938, then retiring to St. Austell, Cornwall, where he would sadly die, aged 71, on November 1st, 1944.

In early June practice incendiary bombs were purchased from C.T. Brock and Co. for £6 15s 6d, and also in early June, one Saturday the ceremonial opening of the new H.Q. for B Company (Bletchley) 12th Bucks Battalion Home Guard took place. The event was conducted in two parts, with firstly the Officer Commanding, Major A. Leonard, recounting the story of the Home Guard, interspersed with extracts from poems read by Sergeant N. Lewtas, and illustrated by the entry of small groups. Then came a demonstration of weapons, accompanied by a running commentary and a display of drill. In the second part, Band Sergeant P. Smith of the A.T.C. sounded the ‘Officers Call’ from the top of a nearby building, and the officers duly proceeded to meet the O.C., with the exercise intended to portray how a building suitable as an H.Q. could be found in unfamiliar territory. This was perhaps also a skill perfected by a local cat, who had now set up home in the Council Offices! Whilst attempts were made to find the owner, ‘In the meanwhile the cat is being entertained as an honoured guest.’

During August, Mr. W. Golding unfortunately had his bicycle stolen whilst fire watching - (at the police station!) - and with such opportunities for blatant thieving, perhaps it was just as well that the A.R.P. wardens’ subsistence allowances would from now on be paid quarterly by cheque. As for associated financial concerns, in June Fortescue’s garage had received £1 6s for servicing the A.R.P. motorbike, and in July F. Field was paid £4 2s 6d, as the rent for the A.R.P. petrol pump.

At the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, August 10th, with the resignation from September 1st of Mr. Bates as the A.R.P. Officer, until the appointment of a successor Councillor Flack would be asked to supervise the A.R.P. activities. However, at least these were now beginning to lessen for at the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, September 7th the Clerk submitted a circular letter, dated September 6th, from the Regional Commissioner’s Office, Reading, which stated that it had now been agreed that with a full relaxation to be allowed both day and night in this area, as from mid-day Tuesday, September 12th the compulsory Fire Guard duties would not be required, and the Fire Guard plan would cease operation. From September 11th all compulsory Home Guard parades also ceased, and during the middle of the month more than two million members of the Home Guard were affected by the Government decision to put their work on a voluntary basis. A.R.P. duties would still continue for the meanwhile, but the blackout was replaced by a ‘dim out’ on September 17th, appropriately the date that at the Park Hotel, Civil Defence personnel gathered to present a token gift to Mr. Arthur Bates, in appreciation of his work as the A.R.P. District Sub Controller. In the presence of lady members of the Clinic, representatives from each wardens post, and the decontamination squads, Mr. C. Flack, the Chief Warden, then gave a speech of thanks, and referred to the excellent work carried out by Mr. Bates during the last seven years.

It being hoped ‘that the public will respond with the same generosity as last year’, it was now announced that Mrs. Churchill’s Aid to Russia Fund Flag Day would be held on Tuesday, October 17th but of more immediate events, from 8p.m. until midnight, a Grand Dance in aid of the N.F.S. Welfare Fund was held in the Senior School hall on Friday, October 6th. The Rhythm Aces provided the music for dancing, and it was also an occasion for dancing when it was announced that, except in specific areas, fire watching would soon be suspended. Chaired by Mr. C. Flack, the Chief Warden, at the A.R.P Committee meeting on Thursday, November 9th the acting A.R.P. Sub Controller then reported on the relaxation in Civil Defence duties which, to operate from Monday, November 13th, included the reduction of Civil Defence hours to 12 a month. Nevertheless, Staniford and Son were still being paid £2 for garaging the A.R.P. vehicles.

A contingent of the local fire service passing the Lantern Cafe, Bletchley Road, during a parade in 1944. After a visit by the Queen, Bletchley Road was renamed Queensway in 1966.

At the rear of the Bull Hotel, from the end of October the miniature rifle range of No. 2/4 Platoon Home Guard Rifle Club had been open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7.30p.m. until 9.30p.m., and the Committee now invited applications to the Honorary Secretary, Mr. J. Thurlow, at 59, Victoria Road, for membership from those men who were interested in .22 shooting. However, for many people perhaps their interests were turning more towards the prospect of peace, and organised by the Bletchley and District Co-operative Educational Committee, on Thursday, November 16th ‘How We can Win the Peace’ was the subject of a public meeting held at 7.45p.m. at the Co-op Hall; ‘Come and bring a friend’. In fact the speaker was the renowned Gordon Schafer, ‘the brilliant political and industrial correspondent’ of the Reynold News, a Sunday newspaper owned by the Co-operative Movement.

On Sunday, December 3rd came the standing down of the 12th Bucks. Battalion (Bletchley & District) Home Guard. En route for the Studio, at 10.50a.m. the parade, comprising all the Home Guard of the Bletchley and Winslow areas, left Bletchley Park, and at 11a.m. outside the main building of the Co-op the salute was taken by Lord Cottesloe, Lord Lieutenant of Bucks. At the Studio, the Rev. R. Beasley (Dunton), a captain in the Home Guard, then conducted a service, after which Lord Cottesloe and Major H. Morton, the second in command, addressed the assembly, with the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. J. Micklem, D.S.O., M.C., sending a message of thanks for their support and enthusiasm.

Yet the skills of the Home Guard would still be retained for A Company (Bletchley) Home Guard held a meeting on Tuesday, 5th December to discuss the formation of a rifle club, to be known as The Bletchley Home Guard Rifle & Social Club. Lt/Gen. H. Blount, D.S.O. being the President, 2nd/Lt. A. Dovey, of 29, Brooklands Road, became secretary and Lt. E. Ray, of Oxford House, treasurer. Open to all the Home Guard in Bletchley, past and present, annual membership would cost 2s 6d whilst as for Mr. J. Smithie, at the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, December 7th he offered to take over the duty of the A.R.P. Sub Controller, and this was agreed. The year then came to a close with welcome news for Major A.C. Leonard, of B Company, Bletchley Home Guard, for he was now informed of his elevation to ‘an Additional Member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire',’ in recognition of his service with the organisation.

On Sunday, December 3rd, 1944, the standing down took place of the 12th Bucks. Battalion (Bletchley & District) Home Guard, and in these two photographs members of the local Home Guard are pictured outside the Bletchley Park Pavilion. B.C.H.I.

Fenny Stratford Home Guard: Shooting Contest. Outside the Pavilion at Bletchley Park
1. George Walker 2. Bill Walker or Matthews 3. Mr. W. Read 4. Mr. Felce 5. Yorkie        
6. Charlie Henson 7. Mr. H. Jenken 8. Don Freeman 9. Less Dolling 10. Bill Gates 11. Charlie Salmon 12. Mr. Tebbet 13. Ernie Rogers 14. Hector Grace
15. Eddie Rogers 16. Percy Tees 17. Mr. Vigor 18. Mr. Thurlow 19. Mr. Pilcher 20. Harry French 21. Evans Winterburn    




Few toys had been available as Christmas presents but since traders had been saving them up, lots of chocolates and sweets were in the shops and some children even complained of eating too many! As for the adults, the quota of hardware for the next six months had now received by Bletchley & District Co-op under the series of ‘Limitation of Supplies’ orders, the first of which had been introduced in 1940 restricting a variety of goods to include pottery, glass, and cutlery. Of other forms of hardware, these began locally disappearing on Monday, January 22nd when in Duncombe Street, using acetylene cutters Government contractors began to remove house railings and front gates for salvage. There was also a need for waste paper collection, and during the month at a meeting of the Council it was decided that a special effort should be made. With a view to obtaining their assistance, the Surveyor would be instructed to contact the local youth organisation, and perhaps the waste of paper had been a problem at the Council Offices where, on January 13th, the payment of £63 15s 4d to the Harding Typewriter Service for rebuilding two typewriters was authorised.

With water rationing a continued priority, and soap being rationed from February 9th, (one tablet, or 3oz every 4 weeks), during the month the population was urged to take fewer baths - each using no more than five inches of water - for ‘Do you know that if we put 3 inches less water in our bath, many thousands of tons of coal will be saved for war production in a year’. In fact as an interesting way to meet the neighbours, people were even encouraged to share a bath! With so many evacuees in the town, the water consumption had increased by around 50% since 1939 and due to the consequent lack of pressure, with the mains scraped and recoated a balancing tank was erected in Buckingham Road. As for petrol, as a means to reduce consumption a committee representing the principal traders of Bletchley met on Wednesday, February 11th to form a ‘pooling scheme’, (the details of which are told in the chapter ‘Business as Usual’), and the Bletchley Retail Trades Group would subsequently announce that from March 9th the delivery of goods in the Bletchley urban area - and surrounding villages - could only be made at the rate of meat, one delivery per week, (no motor deliveries in town), greengroceries, two deliveries per week, and bread, three deliveries per week. Even coal deliveries were being retarded, due unsurprisingly to a shortage of men. A shortage of wood was also an increasing concern, and in March came the formation of the Timber Corps, for which the Land Army girls could volunteer. They would then be sent to one of the major forests of the country for a month of training, before postings to scour forests for the selection of trees.

Since 1941, salvage to the value of £646 had now been collected by the Council but the increased salvage collections meant that because of the shortage of staff the weekly refuse collection had been abandoned, would instead be undertaken fortnightly.

Due to rationing, during their formative years some children grew up having never seen an orange although more optimistically supplies were now blossoming in Bletchley, with a fresh delivery available in the local shops at the end of the month. For children in possession of the green ration book, a supply would be initially reserved at a rate of 1lb. per head for five days but ‘Retailers are required to record the sale by cancelling coupon 35 in the grid at the foot of page 15 of the supplementary ration book R.B.9 with a mark which cannot be erased’. However, ration coupons were not required for the ‘wholesome meals’ now being provided by ‘British Restaurants’, which were becoming nationally established under the organisation of the Women’s Voluntary Civil Defence Service. Usually known as the W.V.S., the organisation, with the informal support of the Government, had been founded by Lady Reading in the 1930s as ‘a maid-of-all work to the established authorities’, and playing a vital role in the billeting and reception of evacuees, the members also received training in first aid, fire fighting and A.R.P.

That a British Restaurant should be established in the town was urged towards the end of April by Mr. A. Campbell, of 62, Eaton Avenue, who by passing a petition from door to door along two streets had collected 411 signatures. However, the proposals for a British Restaurant had first been discussed the previous December, the Social Centre being suggested as a possible situation, but since the premises had been unavailable at the time, the use of the Lantern House instead came under consideration. However, this was duly dismissed as unsuitable, and at a 7.30p.m. meeting of the Highways and Works Committee in the Council Offices, on Thursday, April 9th the Surveyor then submitted Plan 1291, for a new building to accommodate the Restaurant.

Appealing for an indefinite postponement, the Council now hoped to defer the call up of Bletchley’s four refuse collectors, and subsequent to having recently submitted an urgent representation to the Government, at a Council meeting on May 7th the Surveyor reported that a final deferment had been obtained until next July 1st. After then the men would become liable to military service, although he would still try to arrange an indefinite extension.

Including the many arising from rationing, local problems were being dealt with by the Bletchley Citizens Advice Bureau, held once a week at the Council Offices. The Council, subject to approval by the Ministry of Health, had agreed to grant £5 towards the administration expenses of the Bureau, and the volume of enquiries no doubt increased following a rush for new clothes and personal ration books on Monday, May 18th, when long queues kept staff at the Food Office busy throughout the day.

All householders consuming less than two tons of coal and coke annually, ‘obtained in quantities not exceeding 1cwt at a time’, were now to be no longer exempt from the registration for supplies, and instead from June 1st would need to write to the local Fuel Overseer giving their name, address, and the merchant with whom they wished to register. On June 3rd the Government then announced the take over of all the coal mines whilst as for associated changes, supplanting the Mines Department of the Board of Trade, during the month the Ministry of Fuel and Power came into being, although the rationing of gas and electric was not to be imposed. Instead, during the summer a long publicity campaign would urge the population to use less fuel with, for the conservation of gas, such slogans to be employed as the rather memorable ‘go easy with the geyser’!

The Council had now approved plans for a British Restaurant, and from ‘responsible contractors’ in early June tenders would be invited to construct the building in brick, with a concrete floor, structural steel roof principals, and asbestos cement roofing. Plans could be obtained from the architect, Mr. A. Bates, M. Inst, M. & Cg. E., at the Council Offices and with the tenders to be received by June 16th, when these were duly opened that of W.J. Elliott, for £2,275 19s 2d, was accepted, the others being from C.G. Claydon, at £2,269 8s 3d, and Gee, Walker and Slater, at £2,750. Born at North Crawley in 1891, William James Elliott had come to Bletchley just before the outbreak of World War One and in 1926 began his building business, which would be purchased on his retirement in 1954 by Peter Mason.

In mid June, for the purpose of salvage collection the town was divided into sections of 30 to 50 houses, with each section under the charge of a ‘Salvage Steward’. Acting as a go-between for householders and the Council, they would advise on the type of scrap necessary, and householders were asked to keep a salvage bag for paper, cardboard, string, rags and rubber, with bottles and jam jars to be left by the side of the dustbin. Bones would be separately placed, since it was acknowledged that ‘Handling bones is not a pleasant job, but appreciation of the useful chemicals they contain should override other feelings.’

Compounded by the call up of skilled men to the Forces, the shortage of paper was particularly acute, with new supplies now being made from home grown straw. Understandably the production of new books was curtailed although in March the Ministry of Supply - codenamed ‘Plysu’ during the war - had agreed to release 250 tons for books of national importance. As a means to ease the situation, (especially since the paper became yellow and thin after being recycled a number of times), as part of a national campaign on Saturday, June 20th a two week ‘Salvage Drive’ then began, with the first of a ‘Mile of Books’ laid outside the Council Offices by Mr. F. Bates, Chairman of B.U.D.C. This was appropriately a volume of accounts from the Council Offices and aboard the Council lorry, equipped with a loudspeaker Scouts and members of the Boys’ Brigade, including a bugle band, then toured the streets. Handed informative circulars as they came to the door, householders were regaled through the loudspeaker with an amplified ‘pep talk’, and uniformed members of the Boys’ Brigade and Scouts could be approached for details. With the slogan ‘Listen for the Salvage Lorry’, the target for salvage was 20 tons, and it was therefore just as well that in May the Council had authorised the payment of £47 12s 6d to W.R. Pashley Ltd. for a salvage trailer. On the morning of June 25th Miss Thomas, the County Organiser, then called at the Bletchley Road Senior School with posters to be displayed in connection with the Bucks. County Salvage Scheme, and perhaps having served their purpose, on the 29th Mr. Leonard, Deputy Secretary for Education, then called to take them away!

As the mile of books continued to creep along Bletchley Road, many rare and unusual volumes were discovered, including not only an example of Nicholas Culpeper’s ‘Herbs & the Family’ but also, of especial interest to a music dealer, copies of an expensive piece of music. Having waited several months for a reprint, he understandably became apoplectic to now find at least two in the line, with his frustration hardly dampened by the Government decree that no books could be removed from the collections. In fact the salvaged paper - books, magazines etc. - would be eventually taken to the salvage dump near North Street, and at the close of the campaign the intended target of 20 tons had been more than doubled, including 9½ tons of iron, a ton of tins, 17cwt. non-ferrous metals, a ton of rags, 5cwt. of string, 9cwt. of rubber, and 13¾cwt. of bones. This commendably placed Bletchley third in the Bucks. Salvage Drive, with Newport Pagnell as the winner, and Wing R.D. in second place. Due to a shortage of acetylene equipment, wrought iron would be collected later, although as a barrier against children running into the road, the cast iron gates of the school were to be exempt from this fate. As for other premises in Bletchley Road, certain railings were also to be left intact, because of the low parapet walls and the associated potential for accidents.

Youth organisations, including the Boy's Brigade and Boy Scouts, played a vital role in many towns collecting salvage for the war effort. - War Illustrated.

During June came the introduction of dried eggs in tins, with people allowed one tin - equivalent to 12 eggs - every eight weeks. Also during the year, it was decided that children would receive an additional 10 clothing coupons, and in record time during June the new ration books were issued. By Wednesday, June 17th most people had received theirs and in fact by Saturday week the Food Office had the books ready which, despite their depleted staff, were then despatched via the G.P.O.

With Mr. W.J. Elliott as the builder, during the first week of July at the back of the Council Offices work began on the British Restaurant. Local bricks were used for convenience in the construction but due to a Government ban on ceilings, a new type of tubular roof truss, to simplify cleaning, would span the 63 feet square building, the completion of which was scheduled for the Autumn. With warmth throughout the winter months provided by six overhead gas heaters, cooking would be also by means of gas although coal burning ranges were included for use during an emergency. The kitchen featured all the latest labour saving devices, and perhaps the sale of kitchen utensils was partly responsible for the vibrant trade at the Bletchley Co-op Society which, for the year ended July 11th, returned an increase of over £8,000 on the previous six months. This was despite the introduction during July of the rationing of sweets, the monthly issue of which became an event of great importance for children, who on Sunday mornings would form a long queue outside the shops of Jack Parriss, in Victoria Road, and the Kandy Store, in Bletchley Road. Stored loose in a multitude of glass bottles, the sweets would be carefully weighed into portions and exchanged for coupons. Favourites included sherbet dabs, lemonade powder, and liquorice sticks, and if lots of small sweets were purchased and counted into a daily quota, it might be possible to eke out their consumption, although even so the monthly ration rarely extended to more than a week! If toffees were unwrapped and put in an old Elastoplast tin, they would eventually coagulate into a bar and if taken to school, by covertly opening the desk lid every so often a quick bite could be taken. However, should the teachers catch a glimpse they would ‘go bananas’, and confiscate the tin until the end of the lesson! Also with disapproval they viewed the practice of throwing at the ceiling the sharp nibbed school pens, of the type that had to be dipped into desk mounted inkwells, the refilling of which was the responsibility of those children favoured as ‘ink monitors’.

A letter dated August 10th was now received from the Food Executive Officer suggesting that since Mr. J. Hicks had left the district - and therefore the Bletchley Urban Food Control Committee - Mr. Allen, of Rugby House, Church Green Road, should be appointed to the vacancy. At a meeting of the Council, this was duly agreed the following day, and perhaps amongst Mr. Allen’s first concerns was the preservation of fruit, one of the featured topics when the Co-op invited interested persons to an information bureau on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 20th, 21st and 22nd - ‘County Council Rural Domestic Economy Staff will be in attendance.’

During mid September, concerns were raised as to why some railings and chains in the town had been removed and not others. As well as the gates at Bletchley Park, railings in Manor Road, around the police station, the Baptist church, and in Buckingham Road had all been allowed to remain but not those at Water Eaton Road and Grove Road, and within 10 minutes of one fence being removed, children had overrun an orchard!

With economies in the use of fuel becoming increasingly essential, in a novel reminder the Assistant Divisional Coal Officer now asked the Council to have a fuel slogan printed on the next half years rate demand notes. His wisdom was duly adopted, and ratepayers were hopefully assured that the Council was spending their money wisely when as one of several amounts during the year, the sum of £250 was paid to H. Hartley and Co. Ltd., for roofing at the British Restaurant. Despite some difficulty in obtaining many of the fittings, during mid September the Surveyor then reported that the British Restaurant should soon be complete, and the Minister of Food, Lord Woolton, would be asked to perform the opening. Covering most of the Urban Council yard, within the building was accommodated a large cold room and also a dining hall able, at tables of four, to seat 80 people. At 1s each, about 240 midday meals could be served daily, and at a paydesk at the kitchen entrance customers purchased a ticket which, when presented at the counter, entitled them to a meal. With no waitresses employed, patrons would help themselves and then take their dishes back to a hatch, and in fact the only staff were a cook/manageress - who at a wage of £3 15s per week had yet to be appointed - and a few kitchen helpers.

By a notice from B.U.D.C., during August, September, and October, in one period householders were not to ‘acquire more coal than will raise their stock to 1½ tons, and must not order more than 1 ton.’ In addition, coke or anthracite could not be ordered to bring the total over three tons, except under licence from the Local Fuel Overseer, for whom at a salary of £250 p.a. an assistant, not liable for military service, was now being sought. Unless extended by a resolution of the Council, the temporary post would be for not more than two years, and in measures to conserve the available fuel supplies people were being urged to share their fires with neighbours.

Adequate clothing was also essential to keep warm, and from fashions created by leading designers the Board of Trade duly selected a range that manufacturers were asked to consider for mass production. These ‘Utility’ clothes were then first shown to the press in September, 1942, and had to made from specified Utility fabrics, labelled with the Utility mark. For the conservation of raw materials, Utility furniture would also be introduced, and following the London preview in October 1942, an exhibition then toured the country. The furniture was only available to ‘priority’ classes in possession of a permit, and these were only issued to people who had been bombed out, or, with some concessions, newly weds setting up their first home. Each item required a certain number of units, and this was in addition to the purchase price, under Government control.

At a meeting of the Council on October 13th recommendations were made regarding those people to be appointed to the Bletchley Food Control Committee, to serve during 1943. In consequence the consumer representatives would be Mrs. A. Bolton, 23, Brooklands Road, Mrs. L. Butler, ‘Sedgler’, Osborne Street, Mrs. C. Mercer, 19, Brooklands Road, Mr. J. Allen, ‘Rugby House’, Church Green Road, Mr. E. Callaway, 143, Bletchley Road, Mr. E. Cook, ‘Draycott’, Church Walk, Mr. H. Dimmock, 1, Bedford Street, Mr. O. Wells, 54, Albert Street, Mr. S. Wheeldon, 8, The Grove, and Mr. J. Wickes, 18, Leon Avenue. As for the trade representatives, they would be Mr. W. Billingham, 29a, Bletchley Road, Mr. J. Colgrove, 23, Victoria Road, Mr. J. Bushell, 39, High Street, Mr. E. Holdom, Model Farm, Little Brickhill, and Mr. C. Stevens, Vicarage Road.

At the end of March, the milk allowance had been set at three pints a week but during the month a reduction to two and a half pints took place, and due to a shortage of labour in fact the Bletchley & District Dairymen’s Association unanimously decided to only deliver their customers milk on alternate days, from Sunday, November 1st. Consumers were therefore advised to take sufficient for two days but for one housewife, of Church Green Road, for obtaining milk between September 3rd and 22nd from a trader with whom she was not registered, a fine would be imposed at the end of October at Bletchley Police Court. As a means to circumvent fraud, people were only allowed to register with one trader but having discontinued her original supplier, when the Food Office refused her request to transfer to another, she had gone ahead anyway!

On Wednesday, November 4th at 137, Bletchley Road, under the chairmanship of the Reverend C. Wheeler, at the meeting of the Bletchley War Relief Fund Committee the Clothing Sub-Committee reported that with the parents having paid £1 and £3 6s 1d towards the cost, £7 1s 6d had been spent on boots, and £10 8s 1d on clothing. From the profits on the programmes sold in August and September, the manager of the Studio sent £3 7s 7d and the monies, as always, were allocated to the special medical needs of the evacuated children.

In mid November ‘a good all-round cook’, a washer-up, and canteen assistants were needed at the British Restaurant, and applicants were asked to contact Mrs V. Herring, the Supervisor, who, with experience of running a private hotel before the war, had received recent training at the Reading Ministry of Food Depot. Prior to the official opening of the Restaurant, to be forwarded before Tuesday, December 1st the Council now invited tenders for the supply of milk, wholesale groceries, meat, greengrocery, bread and fish, although due to a new control the latter would prove in short supply. At a meeting on December 3rd the Clerk then announced that during the day the tenders submitted by the Bletchley and District Co-op, The London Central Meat Co. Ltd., C. Stevens, J. Colgrove, and T.C. Waine, had been opened by the Chairman of the Council, and of these the Council were recommended to accept at 10% discount that of J. Colgrove and T.C. Waine for meat, bread at 10% discount from C. Stevens, and greengroceries, groceries and milk from the Co-op at 7½% discount.

On Monday, December 21st the British Restaurant was then opened by Major J. Gales, Divisional Food Officer, Southern Division, and following the formal ceremony a company of leading townspeople sat down to ‘an excellent meal’ of roast beef, potatoes, greens and sweets. When Major Gales afterwards asked if anyone was still hungry, the resounding answer was ‘No’, and thus satisfied he then presented to Mr. Goodwin, on behalf of the Co-op, one of the 20 medals awarded in the recent bread competition.

Excepting Sundays, the British Restaurant would be open daily to the public between 11a.m. and 2p.m., and 3.30p.m. and 6p.m., with teas served on and after 3p.m., Monday, December 21st and lunches from 12 noon on and after Tuesday, December 22nd. However, the festive spirit was then rather marred by the theft on Christmas Eve of a roller towel from the men’s lavatory.

With the close of the year it was now confirmed that the salvage drives had been extremely effective, and with the townspeople being warmly commended for their efforts the collections included 123½ tons of paper, 4½ tons of bones, 3¾ tons of rags, 3¼ tons of rubber, and 3¼ tons of iron, as well as aluminium, brass, copper, lead, bottles, jam jars, string and carpets.



For Bletchley householders, factories and shops, the year began with a ‘Special Notice’; ‘Turn your waste paper into cash; drop a postcard to North Bucks Waste Paper Co., 128 Buckingham Road, ‘cash on the spot’, although regarding books for salvage, concern was now being expressed at the potential loss of old and valuable volumes, which could be of use to the Services and public libraries. In fact on Thursday, January 7th at a meeting of the Highways and Works Committee the Surveyor submitted a circular letter from the Ministry of Supply regarding the setting up of a ‘Scrutiny Sub Committee’, and a reply that the matter was receiving attention would duly be sent.

Mr. H. Elmer, of 33, Mill Road, was now appointed as a trustee of the Water Eaton Coal Charity, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Councillor J. Smith, and a notice from B.U.D.C. then pronounced that in accordance with a ‘Ministry of Fuel and Power Announcement’, coal supplies to any contracted premises during January, February, and March could not, excepting 15cwt., be made without a licence from the Local Fuel Overseer. Similar restrictions would also apply to the supply of coke.

By a letter dated January 11th the Ministry of Fuel and Power stated that regarding the Fuel and Lighting Registration and Distribution Order 42, although the Statements of Account of Expenditure for the recent period had been received and certified by the District Auditor, no claims had been forthcoming for the period April 1st, 1941 to March 31st, 1942. No payment could be made until the proper claim forms had been completed, and ‘After completion, in accordance with the amended instructions enclosed with Mines Department circular letter of 27th January, 1940, and Circular L.F.O. /119d/-31-8-1942 - they should be forwarded to the Regional Coal Officer for certification’.

As a means to supplement the rations, many people were now keeping poultry in backyards and gardens, (although not cockerels, since they might wake up shift workers), and by surrendering the household egg ration, as a welcome addition to household scraps it was possible to obtain a supply of poultry feed. However, for anyone keeping more than 20 hens, they could only retain a proportion of the eggs, with the rest, (at least officially), having to be taken to the Food Office, where the market price would be paid. During the early month, on the recommendation of Mr. Barnes the Bletchley & District Fur & Feather Club would be wound up, and in their finale the Club staged one Saturday the largest show in their history, which attracted people from all over the country. With a total of 170 rabbits on view, the best was judged to be a Chinchilla Rex, which was hopefully not destined to supplement the meat ration. Yet despite the closure of the Club, two new and separate clubs were to be formed, the Fur Fanciers’ Society and the Bletchley & District Fur & Feather Domestic Club, and between the two would be equally shared the funds of the old club, amounting to £5 5s 4d. In early February the first members table show of the new Bletchley Fur Fanciers Society then took place at the Market Exchange, especially lent for the occasion by Mr. and Mrs. Conquest, and the club now having 40 members, as animal enthusiasts they might be interested in the forthcoming L.M.S. Salvage Film Show which, to be shown on Sunday, May 2nd, at St. Martin’s Hall, would feature ‘Coloured Zoo Films’ as well as ‘Dustbin Parade’.

From March, preserves, syrup, and treacle were rationed at 8oz per month whilst in a Council statement for the year ending March 31st, the remuneration paid to persons administering matters of fuel and lighting included a lump sum of £11 12s to Mrs. M. Saunderson, for assisting for ‘odd periods’ in the carrying out of general fuel control work, as well as 34 hours of overtime at 2s an hour for the preparing and completion of Forms F.R.1. In fact for this duty, amongst others Mrs. G. Lovett was paid for 14 hours, J. Muscutt 22 hours, Mrs. O. Moser 10 hours, and Mrs. E. Orchard 23 hours.

However, concern was expressed in May that no monies the previous year had been paid to ‘deserving persons in the parishes of Fenny Stratford and Simpson’ from the Sarah Bristow’s Charity, to which the Council had appointed four trustees. With the interest to be disbursed on a 3% investment in bread, meat etc, long ago Sarah had left £657 10s 8d to trustees, and although an explanation for the recent lapse was now to be sought, in fact not until the end of the year would Hedley Clarke confirm the issue of tickets to all the entitled persons, by a letter dated December 14th

During the previous year, £460 had been raised for the relief of the Bletchley rates by salvage collections, which included 123½ tons of paper, 4½ tons of bones, 3¾ tons of rags, 3¼ tons of rubber, and 3¼ tons of iron. Aluminium, brass, copper, lead, bottles, jam jars, string, and carpets had also been retrieved, and with the collected amount of iron railings totalling 91 tons 5½ cwt., a report from the Ministry of Works now stated which iron railings and gates should be taken, although the Surveyor was asked to declare any instance where the removal would prove a detriment to farms. With the continuing importance of salvage collection, it was decided at a Council meeting on Tuesday, May 11th that from premises where trade refuse contained no salvage the charge for collections would be increased to £2 per lorry load, and £1 per cart load, and perhaps a proportion of this revenue would then provide the £3 13s 6d needed to purchase a clinkering poker from the New Destructor Co. Ltd.

In the Spring, the first Utility clothes became available, and opportunely the year also saw the introduction of an informative booklet ‘Make Do and Mend’, of a national campaign that featured the ever ingenious Mrs. Sew and Sew, ‘to help you get the last possible ounce of wear out of all your clothes and household things.’ No doubt this proved of great interest to those Bletchley residents who at one visit could now obtain from The Creamery, Bletchley Road, their clothing book and food ration book - bound together ‘but detachable’ - and for those persons with surnames beginning A - C, these would be available from Monday, May 31st to Friday, June 4th, D - F from Monday, June 7th to Wednesday, June 9th, and G on Friday, June 11th. A new I.D. card would also be available for persons aged over 16 but the take-up of the new books proved rather slow, and with a quarter remaining unclaimed the Food Office was less than busy, despite the possession of a valid ration book being essential when a new supply of oranges arrived in the town. Priority was given to those children issued with green ration books, whilst of other matters, having been a summer concession since 1942, from June the ration for preserves, syrup, and treacle could be taken as sugar

A drastic reduction in the petrol ration caused the Bletchley & District Car Hirers’ Association to charge from July 1st 3s in the town for station runs, and 1s per mile outside of the area. In further restrictions, during July, August, September, and October no supplies of coal to controlled premises could be obtained, unless acquired from the merchant with whom the premises were registered, and except by licence, over the four months total supplies of house and kitchen coal could not exceed 25cwt. For individual consumers, their stock was not to be raised above two tons and in fact in measures to increase the output of coal, a system of dual control was agreed for mines whereby, although remaining the property of the owners, the operation came under a ‘Ministry of Fuel and Power’, under Gwilym Lloyd George. At the end of the year the ‘Bevin Boy Scheme’ would then come into existence, named after Ernest Bevin who, in 1940, had joined the coalition Government as Minister of Labour and National Service. By the scheme, chosen by ballot one in 10 of the men called up for military service were directed to work in the mines, but this was unsurprisingly regarded as an unpopular fate by many of those selected.

As for the Bletchley Fuel Allotment Charity, by a letter to the Council dated August 23rd the Secretary suggested that due to the vacancy recently caused by the death of Mr. T. Coles, Miss Edith Sinfield of ‘Wayfarers’, Buckingham Road, should be appointed, and at the next Council meeting the representatives of the Bletchley Ward would be asked to approve her nomination.

In a letter of October 19th, regarding the claim submitted by the Clerk of the Council for £129 2s 9d, as the repayment of those expenses between April 1st, 1942 and March 31st, 1943, the Assistant Regional Coal Officer for Bucks., Arthur Lansdowne, wrote saying that this had now been received by him ‘as Officer for the County, for my approval.’ In fact having been incorrectly addressed, it had been returned from the Regional Office at Reading. However, the Clerk would now need to amend the form, since ‘You have not covered Section (D) giving the total number of rateable premises in the district. You have also failed to enter the name, address and description of the person to whom the payment of the Claim is to be made.’ The Clerk promptly sent the amended form the next day!

From October, in consequence of a change of ownership persons registered for milk with Mr. T. Talbott of Meadows Farm, Shenley Road, would have their registration transferred automatically to the new proprietor, The Bentima Co. Ltd., 19, Bletchley Road, unless, before October 23rd, they applied at the Food Office to be supplied by another trader. As for holders of the ration documents ‘RB2 and RB4’, they would soon be able to obtain oranges, with the RB2 entitlement being 2lb. and the RB4, 1lb. After five days, the retailer would then be able to sell without restriction.



In mid January, the Ministry of Fuel and Power announced that with coal being needed for military use, it would be necessary to reduce supplies of house coal. The maximum supply of house and kitchen coal to any domestic, or other controlled premises, would be four cwt., and persons whose stock was more than one ton would be prohibited from taking any more. If available, small anthracite and Welsh dry steam coal, or manufactured fuels, could be obtained to a maximum of 10 cwt. during the month, but this was provided the total stock did not exceed 30 cwt.

By a letter to the Council dated March 7th the Bletchley Women’s Co-op Guild asked if suitable notice boards could be erected near Bletchley Road railway bridge, and Albert Street, directing people to the British Restaurant, and consequent enquiries would be made by the Surveyor regarding the suitability of available sites. In fact despite having commenced the financial year with a loss of £46 13s 4d, by March 31st the British Restaurant had accumulated a surplus of £60 12s 3d, and with tenders for the provision of supplies for the period 1/4/44 to 31/3/45 having now been received, those accepted would be; Bletchley and District Co-op, groceries and greengroceries, at the current retail price less 7½%, and bread at the present retail price less 10%, W.H. Gurney, T.B. treated milk, at 3s a gallon less 10%, and J. Colgrove, milk, at the Ministry of Food maximum price less 10½%. As for fish, these would be supplied by W. Muscutt.

Also during March, at the Council Chambers of the Council Offices the means of increasing domestic food production, from gardens and allotments, would be considered at a public meeting on Wartime Food Production, held by B.U.D.C. at 7.30p.m. on Thursday 30th, and as a further means of food supply, a show of rabbits by the Bletchley Fur & Feather Society took place one Saturday in the Bletchley market pens. Hopefully the transactions were less suspect than those of the licensee of the Denbigh Hall Inn, who during early April for making false statements under the Food Rationing Order was fined £30 by Bletchley magistrates. Concerning a confectionery business carried on at his premises, on December 15th, 1943 on being checked at the Food Office his declaration that an envelope contained 6,304 points was found to be deficient by 3,359 points, and this was not the first discrepancy discovered.

Fuel restrictions were still being enforced, and for the period May 1st to June 30th no domestic and other controlled premises could be supplied with an aggregate of more than 10 cwt. of house coal, kitchen coal, and ‘coalite’. As for small anthracite and Welsh dry steam coal, coke, and manufactured fuels other than ‘coalite’, an aggregate maximum of one ton could be supplied, and no restrictions would apply to large anthracite or coke breeze.

Available from The Creamery, Bletchley Road, the distribution of new ration books began in May, with from May 22nd to 26th, May 30th and 31st the hours being Monday to Friday 9a.m. to 12.30p.m., 2p.m. to 5p.m., and Saturday 9a.m. to 12 noon, and then in June from the 1st to 10th. The new issue was simpler and only slightly different to the old, and, excepting milk, everyone was required to re-register for all their commodities. Now the name and address of the retailer had been brought from the back to the front of the book, to face the commodity pages, and there were only two instead of four ‘point’ pages. As for the 1944/5 clothing book, this was bound inside the food book, and not being valid until August 1st, would need to be detached and kept safely. In fact by early June, over 66% of the Bletchley ration books had been claimed, although one Saturday morning some people went to the Food Office not realising that it was the custom in Government offices for the staff to include the Saturday morning before any Bank Holiday as a holiday.

A Joint Advisory Bureau on fruit preserving, gardens, and the care of pigs, poultry, goats, and rabbits was held in the Studio car park on Thursday, 29th June but also in need of advice seemed Frank Cook, fruiterer, of 73, Aylesbury Street who, one Thursday in July, was summoned at Bletchley Police Court on four charges of obtaining, in four ration periods, more than the maximum quantity of points rationed goods. This duly lead to an £8 4s fine, £1 with £1 1s advocate’s fee for each of the four cases. As for customers registered for their meat and egg supplies with John Colgrove, of 23, Victoria Road, due to a change of ownership their registration would be automatically transferred to the new proprietor, Mr. A. Panter, unless an application for an alternative supplier was made at the Food Office before August 12th.

27,500 books and magazines had been collected as a result of the recent book drive, and during August the Council launched an appeal for scrap although tins, light scrap iron, and rubber were not required, the need having now declined. However, food remained an essential priority, with W. Muscutt being paid 12s 10d in early September for fish supplies to the British Restaurant. No doubt very good news for the resident cat which, after a mysterious disappearance, had now returned.

At the end of September, if anyone had any gripes about the bread ration they had only to look in the shop window of W.J. Turner’s newsagents to realise how well off they were for, brought home by a repatriated P.O.W., there was displayed an example of a German loaf. Exhibited in aid of Red Cross funds, this raised £2 19s as donations in the first collection tin, and the practically black texture of the loaf, which was composed mostly of potato, would certainly have not impressed Mr. W. Mattinson, of Old Bletchley, who in October took the place of Mr. John Colgrove on the Food Control Committee, when the reappointments were made for another year.

In October, plans for a coal barn at 4, Eaton Avenue were approved for Mr. Cobb, although during the three months from November, 1944, to January, 1945, no controlled premises could be supplied, except by licence from the Local Coal Overseer, with more than 15cwt. of house and kitchen coal, and stocks at any premises were not to exceed one ton.

The provision of coal as an emergency fuel had been made at the British Restaurant, but trade now seemed less than brisk, due perhaps to a combination of there being fewer contractors’ workmen in the town, less troops, and the departure of many evacuees. Unfortunately a lot of knives, spoons, towels, etc. had also departed through pilfering, and although the Restaurant would remain open, should these thefts continue then the Ministry of Food might well consider closure, especially since they, as opposed to the ratepayers, were deemed responsible for the loss. In fact in October the Clerk of the Council would discuss the position with Miss Boddy, the Ministry of Food Restaurant Supervisor, at Reading, and regarding alternative options, at the Council meeting on Tuesday, December 12th the Clerk gave a report on his discussions with both the Y.M.C.A. authorities and the Ministry of Food, concerning the possible transfer of the British Restaurant building to the Y.M.C.A. This would be for the employment of the premises as a canteen in connection with Service personnel stationed in the urban area, and at a nominal rent of £50, the tenancy would be for 12 months, subject to three months notice either side, with the premises to be closed at 10p.m. each night, The Y.M.C.A. would be responsible for the payment of rates and taxes, and the entrance was to be via the lane from Victoria Road, with the Council to erect suitable fencing to separate the building from the rest of the Council yard.

Yet although the long time future of the Restaurant was still far from certain, more optimistically the season of goodwill now approached, and with the Co-op having received their quota of toys for Christmas, these could be presently viewed in the hardware department.




At the first Council meeting of the New Year the Clerk of the Council submitted a letter dated January 7th from Mr. Jones, the Billeting Officer, reporting the difficulty of obtaining voluntary billets for those war workers transferred to the town. Many householders had told him that until compelled to do so they would not take in anyone, and it was therefore decided that the Council’s decision of August 7th, 1941, should be reaffirmed, whereby in cases where a voluntary agreement was not forthcoming, compulsory billeting should be effected. The Billeting Officer would undertake this immediately, but for the meanwhile only with regard to those households without a billetee, and where sufficient space was available.

Yet compulsory billeting would be hardly applicable to Mr. Herbert Sellen, the well known Canadian portrayer of animal life, who some four years before had travelled from Toronto to visit his daughter, Mrs. Phyllis Fryer of 59, Eaton Avenue. However, with the outbreak of war he was unable to return to Canada, and apart from spending many pleasant hours riding around the town on his racing cycle, whilst staying in Bletchley he also painted several portraits in London, eventually publishing a series of illustrated animal tales. Born in London, after being apprenticed to a firm of wood engravers he later studied art in Germany and Switzerland, and then went to Canada where, as in America, his fine illustrations of wild life became well known. His daughter was also a capable artist and sculptor, and presently on a visit from his home in Canada, another member of the family, Cyril Sellen, ranked amongst the most prominent of Canadian artists.

One Wednesday in early January the usual meeting of the Bletchley Emergency War Relief Fund took place at 137, Bletchley Road, where the Clothing Committee reported that with parents whenever possible paying a proportion of the cost, £7 19s 2d had been expended on boots and clothing. As for the Rest Room - a brick building next to the Methodist Hut in Bletchley Road - from 2p.m. to 6p.m. this was still open for the benefit of evacuees, and on January 14th, for possible use as an Emergency Feeding and Rest Shelter Miss Joy, an inspector from the Ministry of Health, carried out an afternoon examination of the Bletchley Road Senior School.

A well known Canadian artist and illustrator, Herbert Sellen was on a visit to his daughter, Mrs. Phyllis Fryer, at 59, Eaton Avenue, when the war broke out, and being unable to return to his Canadian home he would then stay at his daughter's address. In fact there he died, aged 86, in 1962. During the war he ran several art classes in Bletchley, and also provided artwork for the local newspapers. However, his reputation achieved a much wider renown, and the illustrations for 'The Story of Little Greedy' - 'a salutary tale for the younger generation' - are just one example of his artistic talents.
Also to become a talented artist was Herbert's Granddaughter. Kathleen, who, in 1947, briefly became a film artist when, whilst on a trip to Maidenhead, she and a friend stopped to watch the shooting of an outdoor scene for a Just William film. They asked if they could take part and were given the job of extras, standing at a garden gate and pointing at William, as he sprinted past! - J. Taylor.

With only 10 children still remaining at Ropley House, the Clerk of the Council raised the question of closing the premises, pending a return to the owners. A suggestion was then made that due to the altered circumstance those children with special needs should be transferred to a similar house, with billets to be found for the rest, and although the Regional Officer of the Ministry of Health was accordingly approached, in a reply dated January 30th the Ministry explained that since the premises were to be retained for the Government Evacuation Scheme, they could not authorise a closure.

The emergency feeding and rest centres for Bletchley had now been established as the Methodist Hut and Temperance Hall, and should these need to be reopened, on a four hour basis from 7a.m. until a rota would operate for the many volunteers. On call volunteers would also be needed for night duty, and persons interested were to contact Miss Biggs at the Methodist Hut during any afternoon, or otherwise give their names to Mrs. Haywood, at 24, George Street, for duty at the Temperance Hall, or Mrs. Taylor, at 41, Eaton Avenue, for duty at the Methodist Hut.

During February came the contradiction of a rumour that all evacuee children were to be removed from the town, and it therefore proved somewhat unfortunate that on the night of March 4th/5th the billeting office was broken into, with £6 9s 2d stolen from the cash box in the cabinet. The money comprised billeting refunds, (£3 6s), payments by ‘evacuee children working’, (12s 6d), collections made on behalf of Middlesex C.C., (£2 1s), and petty cash, including stamps, (9s 8d), and in view of the incident, from now on the box would be kept every evening in the Council’s strong room.

By a letter to Mr. F. Bates, Chairman of the Council, concerns were expressed by the Chairman of the L.C.C. about the ‘drifting back’ of evacuees from reception areas. Nevertheless, appreciation was expressed of the work achieved by both the reception authorities and the billeting officers, and although efforts were recommended to keep the children in the countryside, for Bletchley this became potentially more difficult following a conference at Reading between the Chairman and Clerk of the Council, officers of the Ministry of Health and a representative of Bletchley Park. This resolved that for the Bletchley Park staff, the Bletchley Park authorities would now institute compulsory billeting whilst as for the working accommodation of such personnel, at the Council meeting on Thursday, March 5th, Plan 1289 was presented, being a sketched lay-out of the hutments to be built on land adjoining Bletchley Park. Yet Council approval was a mere formality, ‘in view of the fact that as such hutments are to be erected for a Government Department the Council has no jurisdiction in this matter.’

For many evacuees to the town the Grand Union canal was a source of great fascination. However, it could also be a source of great danger and on Friday, April 3rd 1942, near Hammond's Bridge Frank Tootell, who, with his brother, Billy, was billeted at 19, Church Street, fell into the water whilst playing with friends and drowned. - K . Norman

Over the Easter holiday, the cinemas, tennis courts, and putting green were well attended, and during the earlier week children going home from school, and evacuees returning for a vacation in London, swelled the number of passengers using the railway, although due to the policy of granting priority to goods trains, the tracks remained otherwise quiet.

However, for one evacuee who stayed in the town, tragedy struck on Friday, April 3rd when whilst playing on the canal bank, he fell into midstream near Hammond’s Bridge. He was seven year old Frank Tootell who, with his brother, Billy, had been billeted for the past 2½ years at the home of Mrs. Adelaide Linden, of 19, Church Street. The boys had been playing with other children near the canal when they met 10 year old Nancy Quinn, of 54, Aylesbury Street, and they all then walked along the towpath towards the bridge. Nancy had told Frank not to play with a stick by the water, and therefore since the boys had a dog with them, on hearing a splash she initially thought that the animal had fallen in. Then Nancy suddenly realised that Frank had fallen in, and Billy immediately raced along the path to a woman, who quickly told a soldier of the predicament. Meanwhile Nancy ran to the other bank and despite the water being rough, used a stick to pull Frank to the canal side. She then held his head above water until, with two of his colleagues, Private Richard Griffiths arrived, but although he urgently tried to give artificial respiration, the boy was already dead. Following an inquest, the funeral took place on Monday, with the service held in the Salvation Army hall.

At the Council Offices, during a 7.30p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee on Thursday, April 9th the Clerk reported that one of the Ropley House staff had now returned home, and it was decided to leave the position vacant until a decision had been made regarding the future use of the premises. In fact, no doubt lamented by Mr. J. Bushell, who supplied the groceries, and Mr. C. Tookey, who supplied the meat, despite the earlier uncertainties a letter dated April 9th from the Senior Regional Officer of the Ministry of Health now stated that, following urgent representations, the Ministry had agreed a transfer of the premises to the War Office, with the Ministry having agreed to remove the unbilletable children at Ropley House to another home. Therefore the Clerk had been in communication with the Clerk of Wing R.D.C. regarding the children’s’ accommodation at The Chestnuts, Wing. Eventually vacated in November, 1946, this presently stood empty, and with an inventory at Ropley House having been taken of all the stock to be stored elsewhere, it was proposed to give the staff a weeks notice, as soon as it became known when the children could be moved. In fact the move would be underway by mid April, and this would be a period coincidental with the need in the town for a ‘co-ordinating billeting officer for war workers’ who, having the provision of office accommodation, would need to own and maintain a car. With the position paying £250 p.a., (rising after six months probation to £300), applicants were invited to contact Mr. R. Sherwood, at the Council Offices.

At a meeting of B.U.D.C., sitting as The Lodging Restriction Appeals Committee,. on Tuesday, April 14th two appeals were heard regarding the refusal of the Billeting Officer to grant lodging certificates. Mrs. W. Kilvington of 5, Oliver Road, claimed in respect of Mr. O. Bradbury, and Mrs. E. Hartup, of 22, Albert Street, claimed in respect of Mrs. F. Jones. That neither person was coming to the town on work of national importance, or were relatives of the occupiers, formed the grounds for refusal but with only Mrs. Kilvington appearing before the Committee, both appeals were subsequently disallowed. However, at the Council meeting on Tuesday, April 21st the Clerk said that from information supplied by the Billeting Officer he understood Mrs. Jones was still in the area, since Mr. Tremontini, the proprietor of the café where she hoped to work, had recommended her defiance of the Council order. In light of this the facts would be reported to the Ministry of Health, with a view to the occupier being prosecuted.

Dated April 30th, by a letter from the Ministry of Health Regional Office it was now proposed to build a ‘Maycrete’ hut 72 feet long and 18¾ feet wide, to not only hold the necessary equipment for a number of Rest Centres in the vicinity, but to also provide homeless people with additional temporary rest and shelter, in case of ‘extreme emergency.’ Nominally, the site was on land connected with the Council school, although this would be subject to the approval of the Surveyor.

At a meeting of the A.R.P. Committee, the Clerk reported on Thursday, May 7th that all the staff and children had been removed from Ropley House, and with the furniture and bedding sent by rail to Kew, the crockery and household utensils to Reading, and the provisions sold back to Mr. J. Bushell, the vacation of the premises had taken place on May 4th, with the Military Authorities assuming possession the next day.

At the Council meeting on May 7th, the billeting tribunal, set up by the then Chairman of the Council in 1939, to deal with appeals against billeted evacuees by householders, was reviewed by the Clerk. He pointed out that composed of Mrs. S. Brown, and Councillors Smith, and O. Wells, the tribunal was no longer suitable for dealing with the present class of billeted persons, and under the Closed Area Order the duty of the Council was now to appoint such billeting officers as may be required, and to also form any Appeals Tribunal necessary. In fact a considerable number of appeals had been lodged against the billeting proposals, and since these would need to be dealt with by a new committee it was decided that the Council should indeed be recommended to appoint a new Appeals Tribunal, ‘and formulate some basis upon which the committee could work and act.’ At a special meeting of the Council, on Tuesday, May 19th with the Council members to form three separate Tribunals, of four members each, (together with one lady member), it was therefore resolved to appoint a billeting tribunal, and meeting as required in rotation, Mrs. Milne, Mrs. Rumbelow, and Mrs. Hack would be amongst those asked to serve. Only in properties where one or more bedrooms were vacant were billets to be sought, and a female billetee was to be chosen where the husband was on night work!

As being ‘very necessary’, at Bletchley Park it was recommended that for any of the workmen ‘not suitable’ for billeting, the building contractors should provide adequate hostel facilities, and this accommodation would also act as a ‘clearing house’ for those batches of workmen sent from time to time into the district. The Ministry of Labour would be consulted on the matter, and regarding the hostels in Church Green Road, on July 9th at a meeting at the Council Offices of the Highways and Works Committee although Plan 1293 was submitted concerning the drainage system for the ‘Government Communications Headquarters’, Bletchley Park, the proposal was not approved, since the Surveyor considered that the intended four inch private foul sewer, to connect the whole of the initial scheme of billets - for 300 persons - to the Council’s sewerage system was insufficient. This was not least in view of the comparatively flat gradient of the land through which it would be laid, and he had taken up the matter with the Ministry of Works and Buildings. However, although their engineer duly agreed to install a six inch pipe, on examination it was found that a four inch pipe had already been laid and covered, and the Surveyor therefore received instructions to notify the Ministry of Works and Buildings of the Council’s decision, making it clear that should the Ministry secure a legal right to connect to their sewerage system, then this would be at the protest of the Council.

On Tuesday, July 14th, sitting at the Council Offices as The Lodging Restriction Appeals Committee, against the refusal of the Billeting Officer to grant lodging certificates B.U.D.C. heard appeals from J. Miles of 166, Water Eaton Road, in respect of Florence Fowler and three children, J. Baker of ‘Manchester House’, Bletchley Road, in respect of Mrs. J. Taylor and her son, and Mr. E. Cripps of The Gable House, Simpson Road, in respect of his granddaughter, Evelyn Wiles. In each situation, that the people were not coming to the town on work of national importance had been the grounds of the refusal but after consideration, although subject to certain conditions the Committee decided to allow the appeals. Regarding Mrs. Fowler, they deemed it would not be possible to billet war workers since every other day the wife of the occupant had to be away from home to attend sick relatives, whilst as for Mrs. Taylor, only if she took up work of national importance in the area would the appeal be granted, and should her husband’s employment cause him to leave the town, then he would have to make arrangements for his family to be transferred to another reception area. Regarding the appeal by Evelyn Wiles, this was granted because the room that she occupied could only be approached through the other bedroom in the house, and therefore it would not be possible to billet any persons in this room.

Nationally, requests to the Ministry of Health for the simplification of the billeting bureaucracy had been made, and measures were accordingly taken to decrease the amount of detail necessary when local authorities submitted their claims for emergency services, albeit ‘other than the Emergency Hospital Scheme and payment for premises taken for casualty purposes’, approved for reimbursement by the Department ‘out of Exchequer moneys.’ Consequently, on July 21st by circular 2665 from the Ministry of Health at Blackpool, regarding the Government Evacuation Scheme - ‘Refugees from Enemy Attack’, ‘Other Emergency Services’ - local authorities were directed to refer to circular 2531, which announced the future adoption of one ‘omnibus’ form of claim. As for the year ended March 31st, the form A.G.1001 41/42 had now been prepared, and with two copies sent to B.U.D.C., these when complete were to be held for examination by the District Auditor.

North Bucks Times

In connection with the Government’s Stay at Home Holiday Scheme, at the end of July the Council began planning arrangements for the public free outdoor entertainments, which would take place in Leon Rec. on various dates during August. Residents were asked to ‘Consult the posters at the entrance to the Recreation Ground for particulars of dates and types of entertainment’, and in consequence, on Thursday, August 6th Vera Stapleton’s Dance Band performed with local artists from 7.30p.m. In the company of various artists, Ron Pearson’s Blue Rhythm Band then played from 7.15p.m. on Saturday, August 8th, and again featuring Vera Stapleton’s Dance Band, arranged and compered by Lorna Webster a concert by local artists took place, on Wednesday, August 12th. As for future attractions, these would include concerts, marionettes, Punch & Judy shows, and dances, and should the weather prove unfavourable, then the activities were to be held in St. Martin’s Hall.

With Councillor Sid Maycock as an ‘excellent entertainments manager’, the ‘Stay at Home Holidays’ proved a great success, and in fact a Sunday programme of music held in Leon Rec. by the R.A.F. (Cranfield) Band attracted a crowd of over 2000. Entertainments in the later month then included at 7p.m. on Wednesday, August 26th Charles Wreford, (of B.B.C. ‘Pig & Whistle’ fame), in ‘Granfers Gaieties’, by courtesy of Bletchley & District Co-op Society Education Committee, Mr. Ernest Elliott’s popular marionettes, and, with contributions from Rowland and Laddie Doggett, a ‘Hidden Talent Show’. In St. Martin’s Hall, featuring Vera Stapleton’s Band ‘and guest artists’ the programme then concluded with a Grand Finale, and, on Sunday, August 30th, also a United Service in Leon Rec, arranged by Bletchley United Christian Council, with massed choirs from local churches and ‘no collection’. In fact the Stay at Home schedule had showcased a wealth of local talent, and when at the last event Mr. F. A. Bates, Chairman of B.U.D.C., revealed his talent for singing, the performance earned him an ovation.

Under the chairmanship of the Reverend C. Wheeler, at the beginning of September the Relief Committee of the Bletchley Emergency War Relief Fund met at 137, Bletchley Road, whilst as for the Clothing Sub-Committee, they now held monthly meetings to make or alter garments for evacuated persons in need. Possibly also in need was Mrs. Cattle, for shortly she would successfully seek an increase in her wage from 40s a week to 45s, from November 7th. She was employed as a clerk in the billeting office, and billeting matters would now include the argument of Mr. Bodsworth, of 33, Albert Street, that due to a defective roof his available room was unsuitable for accommodation. This, however, met with a measure of official scepticism, and would be therefore referred to the Surveyor, with a view to the owner carrying out repairs. When these were complete, the Billeting Officer was then to place one or two persons at the address.

Elsewhere, Mrs. Stephens, of 19, Leon Avenue, had now gone away for four or five weeks, and in consequence a man billeted at the house had imported his wife and family to look after him! It was therefore decided that when Mrs. Stephens returned, the previous billeting situation would resume, including the re-accommodation at the house of the other members of the Bletchley Park staff, who had been temporarily removed during Mrs. Stephen’s absence.

Only on condition that the necessary bedding was provided did Mrs. Adnitt, at 78, Western Road, agree to accept two male billetees, whilst for Mr. W.J. Brown, of 23, Bedford Street, his appeal was allowed because the voluntary public duties being carried out by his wife meant that she was away from the house most days of the week. The appeal of Mrs. Green, of 22, George Street, was also allowed, subject to her providing an employer’s certificate confirming her work of national importance, but matters were not so accommodating for Mr. J. Colgrove. Without permission from the Council, he had let 9, Woodbine Terrace and in consequence was given seven days to remove the present occupants. Failing this, the Billeting Officer would report to the Council, with a view to the instigation of proceedings.

The billeting of 2, Denmark Street, would now become the focus of a prolonged dispute when on Tuesday, September 15th at a meeting of the Lodging Restriction Appeals Committee the appeal by the owner, Mr. J. Garner, against the refusal to allow Mr. F. Moseley to occupy the premises was heard at the Council Offices. Both men attended, as well as Mr. Moseley’s solicitor, Mr. Ernest Marchant, but after considerable discussion, the appeal was refused. However, it was then revealed that both the Regional Commissioner and the Ministry of War Transport had requested that the Ministry of Health should instruct the Council to release the premises for Mr. Moseley, and if the existing requisition was not withdrawn then, for the property to be re-requisitioned, arrangements were to be made between him, as the prospective tenant, and Mr. Garner.

Nevertheless the saga continued, with angry scenes on Wednesday, 16th September when Mr. G. Gaylor was informed by a letter received that morning from the Clerk of the Council that ‘having been let to a railwayman’, the house that he was to occupy had by the decision of the Committee been derequisitioned the previous night. A factory worker, Mr. Gaylor had already moved from London and was awaiting the arrival of his family, and the predicament was further compounded since having let his London home, he had already transferred some of the furniture to Bletchley, intending to move in on Friday. Therefore, in view of the Committee’s decision Mr. Gaylor and his fellow factory workers felt understandably aggrieved, and having swiftly organised a rota of five persons at a time to picket the house, and so prevent the removal of the furniture, they then crowded into the Council Offices to demand an assurance from Mr. R. Sherwood, the Clerk, that Mr. Gaylor would not be moved until alternative accommodation had been arranged. In the afternoon, following a meeting with both the Chairman of B.U.D.C. Public Health Committee, and a local labour leader, the men then abandoned their picketing and the ‘battle’ between railwaymen and factory workers, for possession of the property, ended in a truce! The railwaymen’s nominee would now take possession of 2, Denmark Street, and Mr. Gaylor and his family would move into 18, Oxford Street, being allowed to rent the house for at least six months. This decision then more or less appeased the factory workers, and with at least for the meantime the situation seemingly settled, perhaps Mr. Gaylor and his family could now add a few homely touches with the ‘Utility’ range of furniture, currently being introduced throughout the country. However, a long term occupation of the premises seemed somewhat in doubt, for the property belonged to Bletchley Baptist Church, and was being presently kept vacant for the new Baptist minister. In fact before the war, in Bletchley Road the Baptist church had owned a large house which was used as a manse, (the plans for which had been originally approved in June, 1898), but in 1938, or 1939, with the arrival of a bachelor minister they then sold the property for £700, and in early 1942 bought 18, Oxford Street.

At the Council meeting on October 13th the publication of information regarding the lodging restrictions order was considered, and reporting that he had been in communication with the Ministry of Health, as to how best to bring the terms of the order to the attention of the townspeople, the Clerk said that the Ministry of Information had advised against placing adverts in the local press. As an alternative, the Ministry had forwarded an example of a poster used in other areas, and the Council would arrange for a number of copies to be made, for distribution throughout the urban area.

With 83 scholars joining in a carol singing concert, in late December the evacuated London Senior Schools, currently accommodated at Bletchley Park and the Temperance Hall, combined their breaking up party, and amongst those present was Mr. Taylor, the headmaster, and Miss K. Stearns, the headmistress. Having originally arrived in Bletchley with the first evacuees during 1939, Miss Stearns was to resume her work in London in the New Year, and from the end of this term the Temperance Hall School would then be closed.



Regarding the Bletchley Emergency War Relief Fund, 137, Bletchley Road was still the venue for the sewing ladies of the Clothing Sub-Committee, and with gifts of clothing most welcome the Committee had now spent £5 16s 8d on clothing, and £7 10s 9d on boots and shoes, the parents having repaid £3 10s 6d and £1 14s respectively. As for the financial year 1942/1943, in a Statement of Expenditure regarding the ‘expenditure on measures taken for the transference, accommodation and maintenance of persons (other than overseas war refugees) evacuated, transferred or rendered homeless by enemy action’, the salaries and wages of those staff and helpers specifically engaged totalled £1,277 5s 5d, including a funeral grant of £10. The travelling expenses of the Co-ordinating Billeting Officer amounted to £34 17s 1d but towards the end of January the travelling days came to an end for William Hall, when at the age of 75 he died at 23, Manor Road. A Londoner, he had sought relief in Bletchley from the Blitz, having previously been a supervisor in the London docks.

At a special meeting of B.U.D.C., held at 7.30p.m. on Friday, May 21st, with those present being Mr. T. Williams, Deputy Senior Regional Officer, Ministry of Health, Mr. G. Peacock, Regional Billeting Officer, Ministry of Health, Mr. Rowntree, Ministry of Information, Reading, Mr. H. Griffiths, Billeting Officer Bletchley Park, and Mr. H. Jones, Billeting Officer to the Council, the Clerk reported on the present position of billeting in the urban area. In the near future, for building work at Bletchley Park large numbers of transferred war workers would be sent into the area, and since these would be followed by additional civil servants, he said that the Billeting Officers of both the Council and Bletchley Park were - due to the attitude of certain householders, who consistently refused to take anyone - now meeting difficulty in obtaining accommodation in the town. It was therefore resolved that in respect of those houses without a billete, a personal canvas would be taken, but only once an appeal had been advertised in the local press. Measures would then be consequently taken to ensure that no house in the urban area remained without at least one billetee, and only in cases of extreme hardship would exemption be granted. Regarding borderline cases, the Billeting Officers would be advised by a committee of the Council Chairman and a representative from each ward, and with meetings of the Tribunal to be called in those cases where, following the canvas, the occupiers still refused to comply, perhaps in anticipation an ‘Intelligent youth’ was now required for the billeting office.

Many of the new arrivals at Bletchley would be employed at Bletchley Park, and the associated Recreational Committee now called the attention of the Council to the educational and social facilities provided for their members. A need had arisen for larger premises, to be ideally open all day, but although the Committee offered to co-operate with the Council on this matter, the Council whilst sympathetic to the proposal remained doubtful if building would be allowed. They knew of no suitable premises in Bletchley but as Mr. F. Bates pointed out, with the award of a large grant, a community centre was to be opened in the Temperance Hall, George Street, and this might meet the requirement.

At the Council Offices on Thursday, June 3rd, at the 7.30p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee the Clerk reported on a ruling by the Regional Billeting Officer, that in instances where an occupier wished to have family relatives in their homes, but the accommodation was already taken by a transferred war worker, or civil servant, then such cases would need to be heard by the billeting tribunal. However, the Clerk had replied that this was not a ruling he could recommend for adoption by the Council which, in accordance with the terms of the current Closing Order, would be thereby advised to allow all occupiers the right to accommodate their relatives, even if this meant billetees having to be removed. His action was duly approved, whilst as for matters causing less dispute, the A.R.P. Officer was then authorised to engage a suitable clerical assistant for the Fire Guard, and also a part time A.R.P. storekeeper.

After the considerable discussion of a report, submitted by the Advisory Committee appointed to deal with billeting matters, at the Council meeting on June 8th it was decided that the time had now arrived for action to be taken against those persons continually refusing to accept a billetee into their home. In respect of 14 individual cases, the Billeting Officer was instructed to prepare statements, and these would then be forwarded to the Ministry of Health, Regional Office, Reading, for consideration by the Department’s Legal Officers, with the option of court proceedings where necessary.

During July, at a meeting of the Committee of the Bletchley Emergency War Relief Fund, in a further report on progress the Clothing Sub-Committee announced that £10 2s 4d had now been spent on boots, shoes and repairs, less £4 17s 3d paid by the parents. The Medical Needs Section had a balance in hand of £8 17s 3d, and with no further requirement for the Rest Room, anything deemed unnecessary would either be given away or sold.

At a meeting at the Council Offices of the Lodging Restriction Appeals Committee, on Tuesday, July 6th appeals were heard against the refusal to grant lodging certificates for the occupation of unfurnished accommodation. Concerning 37, Victoria Road, as the owner Mr. Evans appealed against a decision refusing permission for Mr. O. Berry to occupy the premises, and the Clerk then said that following the request of the Ministry of Health he had provisionally requisitioned these premises for Mr. Livesay, his wife Bella, and two teenage children, Ronnie and Doris. In a field on Rose’s Farm, Grove Way, they presently occupied a full size railway coach, complete with corridor and compartments, and this provided a fully converted accommodation which even included a coal burning range! Supporting the family’s intended tenancy, a letter was submitted from the North Bucks. Probation Officer but the Committee eventually decided, after considerable discussion, that the appeal of Mr. Evans should be allowed, and a certificate of consent would be issued. The Clerk was duly instructed to derequisition the property, but strong representations would be made to the Ministry of Health, for permission to erect suitable prefabricated buildings in the urban area for not only Mr. Livesay and his family, but also two other families living in similar unsatisfactory conditions. As for the case regarding ‘Cliftonville’, Water Eaton, as the occupant Mrs. Clifton, stalwart of the local W.I., appealed against the refusal to lodge Corporal Cashmore, his wife and child, at the address but although the refusal was confirmed, four weeks temporary lodging would be allowed for them to find alternative accommodation outside the urban area. Hardly an illuminating outcome, especially since Mrs. Clifton had been instrumental in introducing electric lighting to the Water Eaton community.

Against the refusal for Mrs. W. Horsfall and her child to be lodged at 49, Saffron Street, Mr. A.C. Short had decided not to appeal but according to the Billeting Officer, whatever the decision of the Committee it was Mrs. Horsfall’s intent to remain in the house, and a letter would be written to Mr. Short stating that unless Mrs. Horsfall and her child vacated the premises, proceedings would be taken.

On account of her health, at the 7p.m. meeting at the Council Offices of the Billeting Tribunal, on Wednesday, July 14th Mrs. Stevens, of 19, Leon Avenue, appealed for five Bletchley Park billetees to be removed from her house as a temporary measure. In support of her claim she submitted a medical certificate but the Bletchley Park Billeting Officer asked for the case to be considered by the Tribunal, since on previous occasions due to her wish to go away on holidays he had been obliged to remove billetees from the house. Having heard representations from Mrs. Stevens and the Billeting Officer it was then decided that the billetees should be removed, but upon Mrs. Stevens recovery the Bletchley Park Billeting Officer would be empowered to place such number of billetees in the house ‘as necessary and proper’. As for Mr. Barlow, the occupant of 24, Church Green Road, this case was considered due to some dispute having arisen between himself and the Billeting Department of Bletchley Park. However, the situation could be resolved amicably, and the Bletchley Park Billeting Officer would then arrange for a suitable billetee to be placed in the house.

Unfortunately, in some quarters injustice was perceived to abound regarding the question of billeting in Bletchley, and such discontent would be the cause of Deaconess Warman’s resignation from not only from her position as Welfare Officer, but also from her many voluntary offices, including the Community Centre Committee and the Citizens Advice Bureau. After eight years of welfare work in London, she had first come to Bletchley in September 1939 with the initial batch of child evacuees from the Capital, and at the request of the Council was made Welfare Officer in 1941. Since September 1939 she had lived with Mrs. Croney at 137, Bletchley Road, and practically without a break they had accommodated two, and sometimes three, billetes until some two months ago when, on account of Mrs. Croney’s health, the billetes were removed. Later, the ladies then agreed to again take billetes and although told on several occasions that the new arrivals were due, since none were forthcoming they eventually agreed to instead take the new Methodist minister, Mr. G. Leslie Holdsworth. Confirmation in writing from the local billeting office was duly obtained but for no apparent reason about a week later the permission was then withdrawn, and at a meeting of the Lodging Restrictions Appeals Committee, held at 7p.m. on Thursday ,August 26th, an appeal was disallowed. Remarking that ‘The atmosphere of the Tribunal was horrible - we were treated like a couple of criminals’, the Deaconess considered that overall there was much injustice, and with this being ‘only one of many cases’ the trouble seemed to arise because there were virtually two billeting authorities ‘and they do not seem to work in accord.’

Under the chairmanship of the Reverend C. Wheeler, as a result of her dissatisfaction the committee of the B.E.W.R.F. then duly met, and reluctantly receiving her resignation as secretary, took care to place on record that ‘it is with profound regret that we hear of the unjust treatment regarding billeting, which has necessitated the resignation of Deaconess Warman and Mrs. Croney.’ The Deaconess then presented the final report and accounts of the Rest Room, and with the equipment sold, and the sum of £5 11s 6d paid to the Treasurer, those items lent by the Methodist church were returned with thanks. As for her other appointments, at a meeting of the A.R.P. Committee on Thursday, September 9th the Clerk submitted a letter dated August 26th, whereby resigning from her appointment from August 27th as Welfare Officer, in lieu of one weeks notice the Deaconess enclosed a cheque for £4. Only after heated argument, by six votes to four her resignation was accepted and with the cheque to be returned, ‘to dispose of in any way she desires’, the intention was expressed of arranging a special meeting to reopen the matter. Four councillors duly sent in the necessary requisitions, and with the facts of the case to be sent to the Minister of Health, on Wednesday, September 15th at 137, Bletchley Road a special meeting of the committee then took place at 8p.m., to elect a new secretary.

Passions had indeed been running high, as perhaps they had also during an incident at the end of September, which caused the Chief Billeting Officer ‘for a Government department, whose business took him to many parts of Bedfordshire’, to be fined £5 at Bedford Divisional Court, (with 2s 3d costs), for ‘not effecting reasonable economy in the use of petrol.’ Seen at 12.30a.m. on July 26th displaying no lights on his vehicle, he was also fined £2 for being found with a woman in a stationary car in West End Road, Stags den, and when questioned by a police officer as to what he was up to, he explained that he was a Billeting Officer returning from Bedford to Bletchley. Then asked why he should be a mile from the main road, he replied ‘Well, I just came down here. You know me, don’t you officer.’ As for the young lady, on leave from a Government department she had accepted his offer of a lift home, having attended a dance.

At the Lodging Restriction Appeals Committee meeting, held at the Council Offices on Wednesday, October 5th, Mrs. T. Hurst, of 104, Water Eaton Road, appealed in respect of Mrs. E. Brooks. After considering statements by the occupier and the Billeting Officer it was then resolved to grant the lodging, but only subject to Mrs. Brooks providing a verbal undertaking that if her husband left the billet, in connection with his employment at Bletchley Park, she would also vacate the house, and to this she duly agreed. Mrs. E. Wheeler, of 55, Water Eaton Road, also appealed, regarding Mr. and Mrs. W. Tew, who were presently accommodated at 21, Duncombe Street. Following statements by her daughter and son in law, as well as by the Billeting Officer, since Mr. and Mrs. Tew would look after Mrs. Wheeler, now aged 80, it was agreed to permit the appeal but for Mr. H.J. Alderman, of 126, Water Eaton Road, a decision would be deferred regarding his appeal in respect of Mr. and Mrs. Hepher and their child. This was to allow Councillor Bates to discuss the matter with the occupier, the intention being to if possible replace the Hephers with Mr. and Mrs. Wright and family, who in crowded circumstances were now living in the urban area. In other cases, Mrs. E. Timpson, of 27, Saffron Street, successfully appealed in respect of Major W. Sharpe and his wife and child, at present living at 112, Water Eaton Road, and Mr. A. Errington appeared before the Committee regarding the application made for his wife and son to be housed at 17, Western Road. Presently they were accommodated at 15, Grange Road, but in a progression of the matter, having obtained the promise of accommodation Mr. Errington then asked the Committee if it might be possible to grant consent for himself, his wife and son, to be accommodated with Mrs. Higgs at 100, Newton Road. Consent was granted.

Dissatisfaction with the billeting allowances paid to Bletchley householders was one Tuesday evening expressed at a December meeting of B.U.D.C., as a consequence of a letter from the Borough of Carmarthen, seeking support for a resolution to raise Government concern at the ‘meagre and inadequate’ billeting allowances for evacuees. This was in fact an issue that had caused many difficulties, and Mr. E. Callaway remarked that with the award of a cost of living bonus to Civil Servants, the Council should now press for an increase on the guinea a week received by householders. In fact since this sum had remained unchanged from the beginning of the war, the need seemed especially due.

One Monday during early December Deaconess Warman was presented with a cheque in the Vicarage Room, where she and Mrs. Croney were entertained to tea by the Committee of the B.E.W.R.F. The Reverend Wheeler being absent through illness, Mr. A. Duffield presided, and not surprisingly concerns were voiced regarding the recent billeting tribulations suffered by the Deaconess. However, with her resignation accepted, at the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, December 9th at 7.30p.m. the Clerk then reported on the discussions that had taken place between himself, a representative of the Ministry of Health Regional Office, the Chairman of the Council, the Chairman of the Committee, and himself, regarding the person to replace her as Welfare Worker, and it was decided, subject to the control of the Chief Billeting Officer, to appoint Mrs. Benjamin. Applicable from December 11th, approval for the pay of the position to be increased from £2 to £2 10s per week was now being made to the Ministry of Health, and the Billeting Officer had also applied for a salary increase which, duly approved by a letter dated December 21st from the Senior Regional Officer, Ministry of Health, would be raised from £300 to £320 p.a.



In January, a rise in the billeting allowance was still being pursued, and in a resolution sent to the Minister of Health it was urged that - to include two meals a day - the 21s paid to civil servants since the beginning of the war should be increased.

One Wednesday in February, the staffs of the Bletchley evacuated schools entertained Deaconess Warman to tea, and in appreciation of the role that she had played in the welfare of the children, the gift of a collection of books was presented by Miss Eden, the headmistress of the Ecclesbourne Road Infants’ School.

With the balance handed to the Bletchley War Emergency Relief Fund, the Evacuated Children’s Comforts and Entertainments Fund, which had originally commenced in 1939 to provide ‘treats’, and replace clothing, had now closed. Therefore, it might have been thought that the question of evacuation was becoming a lessened priority, especially when no objections were raised at a meeting of the Council, on Tuesday, May 9th, to correspondence from the Regional Office of the Ministry of Health, which asked if the Council had any observations on the proposed transfer of Mr. Horton, the Co-ordinating Billeting Officer, to the Oxford area. However, there would soon be a change of opinion, for on May 19th for the Emergency Feeding Centre a delivery to the Bletchley Road Senior School was made of 6½ tons of food, comprising 52 cases of evaporated milk, 80 cases of sugar, 300 tins of biscuits, 16 cases of soup, 8 cases of tea, 128 cases of corned beef, 12 cases of margarine, and 32 cases of canned beans. Permission was then given for Miss Williams, the Youth Organiser, to take 200 blankets and six mattresses, and such precautions had again become very necessary, for with the Government’s knowledge of the German V weapon campaign, a large scale evacuation of vulnerable populations was now being considered.

An allusion to the secret weapons being developed by the Nazis had been contained in Hans Meyer’s anonymous ‘Oslo Report’, sent to the British Naval Attache in Oslo in 1939, and of the projects mentioned, the V1 (Vergeltungswaffe) FZG-76 flying bomb became known to the Government as early as 1943. This was due to the decrypts of information by Bletchley Park, and the analysis, undertaken by Dr. R.V. Jones and others, of reports transmitted by specialised German signals companies stationed on the Baltic coast, and indeed the reference FZG76, as the codeword for the project, was often contained in the data.

German wireless messages decoded at Bletchley Park confirmed that the enemy were developing the secret V weapons. During the war Bletchley Park was known as Station X, but the original Station X was accommodated in the water tower, seen as the castellated building in this photo. The story of the secret wireless war, involving Bletchley Park and various centres in the surrounding countryside, is told in the book 'Bletchley Park Secret Sisters' and also in the DVD entitled 'The Secret Wireless War', available from Grindelwald Productions. J. Taylor

Development of the weapon, which carried a 1,874lb. explosive warhead, had begun at Peenemunde in June, 1942, and with 35,000 of the flying bombs eventually being made, mass production commenced in March, 1944. On June 13th the first to fall on English soil exploded at Grove Road, Bethnal Green, destroying the railway bridge, and leaving 266 people homeless, and tragically the incident was compounded by the fact that in May of the previous year, 178 people had been killed in an accident at the Bethnal Green air raid shelter. More of the weapons were launched over the next few days, and on June 16th Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary, and Minister of Home Security, without revealing their destructive capability announced that the country was under attack by pilot less planes. After D Day, despite the destruction by the advancing Allies of the railways which carried them to the launch sites, 9,251 V1s were fired at England, and of the 5,000 that fell on the South East, 2,563 reached London, although 4,621 were destroyed before they could reach their targets. In fact one means to destroy a flying bomb was for a fighter to fly alongside and by positioning a wingtip under one of the wings of the weapon, flip it off balance, so throwing the guidance system out of control. The newly introduced British jet, the Gloster Meteor, could achieve the speed necessary to keep up with a V1, and in fact in the development of jet engines Glenys Rowe, who the following year would marry a British pilot, Second Lieutenant William Stevenson, whose parents lived at 109, Bletchley Road, had worked as a draughtswoman on the new form of propulsion with Air Commodore Frank Whittle .

From the Observer Corps hut in Hammonds Field, (near the canal), over the Bletchley area only one V1 would be tracked and although the weapon exploded near Northampton, the explosion of several others would be seen by members of the post whilst on duty. However, the town would soon become intimately acquainted with the consequence of the rocket campaign when on July 3rd the evacuation of children from London began. Detailing the local measures to be taken, at the A.R.P. Committee meeting on Thursday, July 6th the Clerk of Bletchley District Urban Council reported the arrival from the London area of a number of persons seeking accommodation in the town, and it had therefore proved welcome that during a Council meeting on Tuesday, June 8th he had announced having received Circular 67/44 from the Ministry of Health, notifying an increase, to begin from July 1st, in the present allowance for the billeting of unaccompanied children. As to whether an increase in the billeting rate regarding Civil Servants in the area would apply, he would communicate with the Ministry.

For the temporary accommodation of the displaced persons, having been closed from the previous role from Sunday, July 2nd the Community Centre in the Temperance Hall, George Street, was made available. In fact the Hall had been loaned to the Ministry of Labour as a community centre by another Ministry, who had originally requisitioned the premises for evacuation work, and since this was now once again the purpose, it seemed unlikely that the building would return to the more recent use. With a local Advisory Committee, the Centre was administered from Aylesbury by the Public Assistance Committee, and based at 45, Bletchley Road, Muriel Manlove was the Centre Organiser for the Bletchley Urban District. She was now called in to supply helpers to the staff, who would be under the direction of the full time supervisor, Mrs. Breeze, and also responding to the emergency were the W.V.S. who, under the charge of Mrs. Taylor, were now running the Methodist Centre, in Bletchley Road, as additional accommodation. With a consequent shortage of helpers, an appeal was made for Bletchley housewives to become volunteers, and interested persons were asked to apply to Mrs. Warren at 20, Cambridge Street, or Mrs. Fennell, at 14, Oxford Street.

V Weapons in flight. VI (Left) and V2 (Right),
From the Observer Corps hut, in Hammonds Field, over the Bletchley area fortunately only one 'flying bomb' was tracked. The weapon exploded near Northampton, and another VI would explode near the perimeter of the aerodrome at Cranfield. A V2 rocket caused much damage and loss of life when it fell on Luton, and one person from Bletchley would also have first hand experience of a V2 rocket attack. He was Henry Fuller who, having been a steward at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, left in 1931 for London, to become caretaker of the Whitfield Memorial Church. When this was struck by a V2 he was extremely fortunate to survive

One Sunday towards the end of July, a small party of artists then went to the Community Centre to entertain the London evacuees, and although there was a piano on the premises, it was alleged that since permission to use the instrument was refused, from Stoke Hammond they had to borrow a piano from the R.A.F., ‘who came flying to the rescue’. Also the use of the telephone had been supposedly disallowed, despite a number of ‘desperate cases’ having reportedly arisen. Hardly overjoyed by these allegations, Mr. Mort, the Warden at the Community Centre, was then unsurprisingly swift to respond; ‘What is all this baa-ing of sheep and bleating of lambs?’ The telephone, he explained, was the property of the Community Centre and subject to Post Office regulations, and although a delay in reaching an agreement regarding the use had resulted in some ‘interference’ for 36 hours, even then the interests of the evacuees were safeguarded. Incoming calls could be taken, whilst as for outgoing calls, there was a public call box about 100 yards away. In respect of the piano, this was the property of the Ministry of Labour and despite Mr. Mort and the Committee being held responsible, ‘no one, at any time, has applied for its use for concerts either to me or anyone else’, and if anyone could disprove this, ‘I’ll buy him a piano.’ As for the plight of the evacuees, having himself experienced the effects of a V1 the previous week, his comment regarding the artists complaints could hardly have been more disparaging; ‘It is easy to provide one hours cheap entertainment per week and be absolutely impervious to the fact that for the other 6 days and 23 hours evacuees are herded like cattle with inadequate supplies of gas and water.’ Nevertheless, conditions at the Centre were clean and efficient and with the men’s quarters situated in the old games hut, as well as the hospital bay, and medical depot., by mid August from a one day peak of 51, 19 ‘happy’ evacuees were being accommodated, with Mrs. Hayward in charge.

V2 Rocket
With the sum of £20 5s forwarded to the Finance Officer at the Home Office, table shelters were again being sold in the town, and the dangers of aerial attack would soon be significantly increased with the introduction of the V2 rockets. Planned as early as 1936, these posed a far greater threat than the V1, and following the first successful flight on October 3rd, 1942, production began at Peenemunde. After a heavy Allied bombing attack, in August, 1943 operations were then moved to an underground factory at Nordhausen in the Harz Mountains, with labour supplied from the Mittelbau concentration camp, which lay a few miles away. Travelling 50 miles into space at speeds of up to 3,600 m.p.h., apart from evacuation no countermeasures could be employed against the rocket, and although two were unsuccessfully fired against Paris on September 6th, two days later operations against England began with just before 6.45p.m. enormous damage caused in Staveley Road, Chiswick, by a V2 explosion which, creating a crater 40 feet wide, and 10 feet deep, could be heard all over London. As the rocket’s designer, Werner Von Braun, would remark, ‘The rocket worked perfectly, except that it landed on the wrong planet.’ Three people were killed, 10 were seriously injured, and 10 slightly injured, and with seven houses demolished, five houses beyond repair, and damage caused to 600 houses within a radius of 600 yards, a rumour soon took hold that an exploding gas main had been the cause. Thus denying news of their success to the Germans, this was an explanation not discouraged by the authorities, and not until November 10th would Churchill admit the truth in the House of Commons.

Locally, causing much damage and several fatalities a V2 would fall in the Borough of Luton but one Bletchley person to experience the reality of a V2 explosion was Henry Fuller, a founder member of Bletchley Conservative Club, who having been a steward at the Bletchley Road Methodist church, left in 1931 to become caretaker of the Whitfield Memorial church in London. When the church was struck by a V2, he fortunately survived and after the war returned to Bletchley in 1949 to live for three years with his son, Ken, at Tudor House, Western Road. Between June, 1944 and March, 1945, 27 flying bombs and two long range rockets would fall on Buckinghamshire, and throughout the country 1,054 of the rockets had fallen by the close of the V2 campaign, on March 27th, 1945.

In view of the crisis, in Bletchley billeting matters were not surprisingly still proving a concern, and at the meeting of the Lodging Restriction Appeals Committee on Tuesday, November 14th, with Mr. G. Peacock, the Regional Billeting Officer, in attendance an appeal was heard regarding the request from Mr. C. Hounsham, of The Villa, Skew Bridge, to remove Mrs. Stevens and her family, on the grounds that his wife suffered a nervous debility. With a medical certificate being produced, it was stated that the accommodation was needed for the occupant’s sister and possibly his son, a soldier who having been wounded in Italy, was now awaiting repatriation. On considering the situation, the Committee duly decided that Mrs. Stevens should vacate the property by December 1st, with the Regional Billeting Officer tasked to try and find an alternative billet in the surrounding area, or in the Banbury district. An appeal was also presented concerning a permit being refused for Mrs. A. Haynes, of 29, Tavistock Street, regarding E. and V. Loveday. After hearing statements by the occupier, the Billeting Officer, and the Bletchley Park Billeting Officer, it was then decided that lodging consent should be granted, and the Bletchley Park Billeting Officer would endeavour to obtain alternative billets for their personnel at 87, Eaton Avenue, from which Mrs. Loveday was moving. As for Mrs. R. Circuit, of Barnard Castle, regarding her wish to take over the tenancy of 58, Duncombe Street, in consequence of statements by her father permission was granted by the Billeting Officer, but only subject to her father providing an assurance that soon after taking the tenancy, she would be willing to accept billetees.

With the continuing menace of the German V weapons, the possibility of further billetees seemed increasingly likely, and since the first evacuees had arrived at Bletchley in the early stage of the war from Islington, it was especially ironic that on Boxing Day a V2 exploded near the Prince of Wales pub in Islington. The premises were packed with post Christmas revellers, and 68 people were killed and hundreds injured. In fact Bletchley was still host for approximately 226 evacuated schoolchildren, and for their Christmas entertainment a Council meeting on Tuesday, November 14th had decided to grant 1s a head from the general rate fund, the Finance Committee having recommended that a grant be made of £11 6s.




Then earning 6s a week, at the age of 15 Mr. H. Souster, of 23, Windsor Street, had begun his railway career as a cleaner, and having now completed 50 years, 8 months, and 21 days of service, at the beginning of the year he retired. A driver for the past 30 years, he had been a fireman for the previous 15 years, and a railway farewell was also said to the former Head Controller at Bletchley L.M.S., Mr. George Clifton of ‘Cliftonville’, Water Eaton, who died aged 71. A native of Hombey, Northamptonshire, he had served on the railway for 43½ years, being for 32 of these a supervisor with both the L.N.W.R and the L.M.S. and as a position he maintained until his retirement 11 years ago, at the opening of the Bletchley Control Office he was then made Head Controller, having previously been a traffic inspector at Bletchley. A keen gardener, following retirement he and his wife travelled to California to stay with their son Lawrence, the managing director of the California Milk Haulage Company, and there they remained for most of 1935. As a sergeant in the Special Constabulary, during World War One Mr. Clifton had been responsible for the capture of two Germans making their way to Ireland, whilst as for the achievements of his wife, for the past five years she had been president of the Water Eaton W.I. Positive achievements had also been in order at a recent meeting of the Bletchley L.M.S. Station Sick Fund which, having opened the previous Easter, now had a membership of 71. Presiding, Traffic Inspector Mr. W. Wilson was thus able to announce a most favourable financial balance.

With the introduction of petrol rationing, bicycles became an increasingly essential means of transport but for Charles Dickens, of 5, Council Houses, Great Brickhill, whilst a fine of 10s no doubt proved an inconvenience - having been imposed for riding without a rear light at 7.50a.m., on January 7th - this was no doubt a sum he could well afford, considering his share of the proceeds from a recent find of ‘treasure’, discovered during work carried out at a house in Bletchley Road. As for his explanation of the cycling offence, he said that the battery ‘had been alright’ when he left home.

Cycles had been a popular form of transport for many years, as locally evidenced by a letter sent to the Council in August,1897, by the Cyclists Touring Club of 49, Victoria Street, Westminster, London. This made aware the damage caused to pneumatic tyres by thorns left on the highway during the upkeep and trimming of hedges, and the Council agreed to address the problem. Hopefully this was still now their priority, not least since Mr. Herbert Sellen, the well-known Canadian portrayer of animal life, had become a familiar figure riding around the town on his racing bike. Having arrived from Toronto about four years ago to visit his daughter, Mrs. Phyllis Fryer of 59, Eaton Avenue, unable to return when the war broke out he continued to stay at the house, where he would die, aged 86, in 1962.

For most children, new bicycles remained a luxury although it was possible to retrieve an old frame from a local dump, buy the necessary components from Sewell’s shop, in Church Street, and then build an adequate machine. Such was the method employed by one boy evacuated to Bletchley who, whilst cycling past a rabbit shoot at Great Brickhill, on being given one of the rabbits then dangled it from the handlebars and made his way home. Unfortunately, whilst riding down the steep hill he was thrown off his bike when the ears of the rabbit became entangled in the front wheel, and sustaining severe injuries and fractures the lad was rushed to Dr. Carter, in Fenny Stratford. Despite the cycle having not been the cause of the accident, his mother nevertheless then bought him a new bike from Sewell’s, for the budget busting sum of £5! A contingent of Americans were now working at Bletchley Park, and billeted at The Manor, Little Brickhill, they would often cycle en masse to the County Cinema, parking their bikes outside. However, since this caused an inconvenient obstruction, the girlfriend of one of the personnel then arranged an alternative location in the garden of the family home, across the road, but this quite perplexed her grandmother, to whom the Americanised English spoken by the riders seemed a foreign language!

At the annual meeting of the L.M.S. Railwaymen’s Institute, the treasurer and secretary, Mr. John Vaughan, presented a report which revealed £184 11s 9½d as the total of receipts, and £158 5s 6d as that of expenses, whilst regarding organisations now affiliated to the Institute, these included the Locomotive Self-Help Fund, and the Locomotive Mutual Improvement technical classes. Also towards the end of January, on the three island platforms of Bletchley Station the installation of goods lifts began, and since for several years railwaymen had been agitating for these safety measures, no doubt they were welcomed by Inspector C. Holmes although after three years at Bletchley, he was now to be moved to Leeds. With his place to be taken by Mr. A. Barlow, of Blackburn, the presentation of an inscribed silver cigarette case by the Signal and Telegraph staff marked his departure.

Towards the end of the month, at the age of 90 Mrs. Sarah Jane Sinfield died at ‘Wayfarers’, Buckingham Road, the home of her daughter, Miss E. Sinfield. Being a member of the Tanter’s family, from Wolverton, her father was amongst the first of the L.N.W.R. engine drivers, and also on railway matters in the following month as well as a change of address for the N.U.R., which would now be that of Mr. H. Goldsworth at 43, Albert Street, the offer of £6 for six perches of land by the L.M.S. on the refuse destructor site, for the construction of a new loop on the Cambridge branch line, was agreed.

As for those employed by the railway, whilst working as a goods guard on a train between Bletchley and Boxmoor, the Urban District councillor, Sid Maycock, of 32, Victoria Road, unfortunately injured his back when by a sudden jerk of the locomotive he was thrown rearwards onto a projection of the brake. A subsequent X ray revealed a fracture in two small bones, and he then had to take a month off to recover.

At Bletchley station, on Sunday, March 1st in the coach of a train that arrived at 10.20a.m.from Northampton a six-month old baby boy was found abandoned. Attempts to trace a woman seen hurrying away from the train at Northampton Castle station were then made, and in due course a 36 year old canteen worker of Raeburn Road, Northampton, was charged at Northampton Police Court, where she pleaded guilty to having abandoned the child. Parting four years ago from her farm labourer husband, the woman had been living with a soldier - the child’s father - at Kettering. The man had now gone abroad, and when the woman left her lodgings on March 1st since permission for the child to be kept at the house was refused by the landlady, she returned without the baby. Both her employers and the N.S.P.C.C. would be amongst those to offer her subsequent help.

In the later year another disturbing incident occurred when the body of a newborn baby was found, wrapped in a mackintosh, on a first class compartment carriage at Bletchley station. The train had been shunted into a cleaning shed, and a woman cleaner, of 124, Western Road, made the discovery when her brush rustled some paper beneath a corner seat. Following this experience, perhaps a change of employment might have seemed tempting, for in March the L.M.S. Railway advertised for women porters at Bletchley Station. However, this was the scene of another horrific tragedy one Sunday morning, when outside the Y.M.C.A. canteen a 56 year old man who, in the aftermath of a nervous breakdown had been staying, since January 18th, with his brother, the rector of Simpson, threw himself in front of an express train.

The basic ration of petrol was now abolished, and private motorists could only apply for a supply if this was essential for reasons of health or work. As well as a personal ration certain users, including farmers, were also allowed to claim a commercial supply but with this dyed red, the police were empowered to impose a heavy fine should the fuel be used for other purpose. Nevertheless, since the dye could be illegally removed without any great difficulty, not least by pouring the petrol through a gas mask filter, despite the penalties a flourishing trade on the black market began, although this was not a practice in which Mr. W.A. Underwood would indulge. Operating a vehicle hire service from the White Hart Inn, amongst his contracts was that to collect and return the schoolchildren from locations such as the Denbigh cottages. These were not covered by the regular coaches, and for this the schoolchildren were no doubt very thankful, since by Mr. Underwood’s service they were now being conveyed in a vintage Rolls Royce!

After 41 years in the Bletchley post office, during early June Mr. Joseph Hicks was appointed Head Postmaster at Carnforth, Lancashire. Born in London, he came to Bletchley at the age of four and began with the Post Office as an ‘unpaid learner’, when the mail for the Fenny Stratford end of the town, and the surrounding villages, was pushed on a truck to the Aylesbury Street post office for distribution. A stalwart of the Freeman Memorial church, at the age of 12 he was asked on one occasion to play the organ when the organist failed to arrive, but he only agreed if he could choose the hymns! He then remained as the organist for 44 years! Of his other local involvements, including a position as chairman of the housing committee, he served in the 1920s as a member of the Council for six years, and at the end of his working life would then retire to Sanderstead, in Surrey.

At the request of the Ministry of War Transport, responsibility, as the appropriate authority for the Y.M.C.A. canteen, and also Wyman’s Bookstall, at Bletchley station, was now accepted by the Council. This was necessary under the Fire Prevention Order, and with army vehicles presently forming a large percentage of the local traffic, great consternation was caused on Tuesday, June 30th when fire, and possibly worse, became a dramatic possibility when a live shell dropped off a lorry at The Crossroads.

During July, with driving for ‘pleasure’ banned the Ministry of Supply asked car owners to hand in their worn tyres and tubes. Apart from the roads, canals also proved an additional and economic means of conveying freight although sometimes the barges could be subject to rather unorthodox handling, as evidenced by an episode which occurred on July 2nd when, encouraged by the cheers of fellow bargees from the canal side pub, two men deliberately rammed their barge, ‘Leopard’, straight through the lock gates at Fenny Stratford! The men consequently appeared at Bletchley police court ‘for suffering a boat to strike a lock and leaving the lock gates open’ but the mate, who earned £8 4s 6d per journey, and was held responsible for the incident, pleaded not guilty. He said he had been asleep at the time, and the steersman, trying to minimise his own role, pleaded guilty to only striking the gates. Nevertheless, both men were fined.

With petrol rationing in force, and the railways overburdened with military traffic, during the war barges played an important role in conveying the nation's freight. However, the means of negotiating the locks could be sometimes rather unorthodox, such as the occasion on July 2nd, 1942, when, to cheers from the on looking bargees at the neighbouring pub, two men deliberately rammed their barge, 'Leopard', through the lock gates at Fenny Stratford. Both men were fined.

By instructions issued at a Council meeting on July 9th, the Fire Prevention Officer was to contact the L.M.S. District Controller, and ensure that not only were railway employees properly rostered for fire watching duties but, to eliminate the possibility of prosecution for non attendance, also issued with appropriate certificates, to exempt them from Council fire watching. Via a meeting of B.U.D.C., associated measures were duly taken towards the end of July by both the Council and Rail Company and with railway employment of constant importance, in early August the need arose at Bletchley Station for additional male and female porters, and also male shunters. Van drivers were also required, whilst as for those employed by the G.P.O., towards the end of the month for driving without an accident they were presented with their awards in the G.P.O. sorting office. Introduced by Mr. Wilf Underlin, the Head Postmaster, Mr. Oliver Wells made the presentation of the Oak Leaf Bar to the Gold Medal to seven drivers, for 13 consecutive years without an accident, whilst for 10 years of accident free driving, Mr. A. Hancox received the Gold Medal. However, it was rather unfortunate that a few weeks later, early one Wednesday morning when swerving to avoid a cyclist a post office van would hit the new fence under Bletchley Road Railway Bridge. Fortunately no one was injured. B.U.D.C. now advertised for a driver, male or female, for a two ton Bedford lorry, but probably excluded from applying was the driver of a lorry stacked with building machinery who, on Monday, August 10th, tried to pass under the railway bridge in Bletchley Road. Too late he realised that his load was too high, and it took quite a while to extricate the vehicle!

With an office on Platform 8, during the year Mavis Dyson would begin work at Bletchley station as a telephone operator and train announcer, and for announcing the arrival of trains a microphone and amplifier had by mid September been installed on Platforms 4 and 5. If this proved a success, the loudspeakers would then remain as a permanent fixture. The need had arisen due to the increased number of passengers since the outbreak of the war, and this was an influx which from October became heightened when the suspension of all long distance bus and coach travel was announced by the bus companies. In fact the impact of the additional rail users was quite literally felt by railway ticket collector, William Roff, of 44, Napier Street, when, following an incident with two members of the R.A.F., he ended up in hospital. Mr. Roff had begun his working life on the Leon Estate, but left during his teens for employment on the railway, eventually becoming a goods guard. A keen sportsman, whilst playing football an accident then lead to the loss of his left leg, and in 1931 he transferred to the ticket barrier. There, in the course of his working day he would meet many rail passengers of renown, including George Bernard Shaw who always greeted him with the comment, ‘What, you here again!’

Towards the end of October, the death sadly occurred at 12, Railway Terrace, of Bill Tarbox, aged 66. A native of Steeple Claydon, he had come to Bletchley at the age of five, and 50 years ago began work on the railway, being mainly employed as a horse shunter. He also tended the Station garden, (having on one occasion cautioned the Prince of Wales, for taking one of his prize blooms!), and in other pursuits he was a bandsman with the Salvation Army.

In order to stimulate the national drive for salvage, the L.M.S. Railway Company had now produced a mobile salvage exhibition which, presently covering 10,000 miles over the L.M.S. system, at the end of November on coming to Bletchley was accommodated in a small siding flanking the station entrance. In fact this situation was not far removed from the Bletchley Railway Servants Coffee Tavern Co. where, one Tuesday evening towards the close of the year, the half yearly meeting of shareholders was held. The Chairman, Mr. W. Brown, presented a cheque for £25 to Mr. J. Fennell, who having been the Secretary since 1890, had even before then been associated with the Coffee Tavern as their auditor, with the business during the early years being conducted in a hut at the side of the station approach. At his own request, Mr. Fennell had now decided to resign in August, and he would then be replaced by Mr. A. Picton, of the Motive Power Dept.



With military traffic now predominant on the roads, extra care was especially needed by pedestrians and cyclists, as tragically emphasised when Edward Wells, aged 55, a signalman of 9, Grange Road, suffered fatal injuries whilst returning from work on his cycle. As the last of a convoy of seven, an R.A.F. utility car, driven by a Polish serviceman, had been travelling along Buckingham Road when the cyclist suddenly held out his right hand, swerved, and made towards the offside of the road. The car, being on the Bletchley side, some 50 - 100 yards of the turn to Grange Road, was almost on top of him when he made the manoeuvre and in fact quite apart from the three deaths from ‘other violent causes’, and one suicide, during the year there would be four fatal road accidents, as opposed to none in 1942, and one in 1941.

Petrol rationing now being in force, Bill Underwood’s car hire service, at the White Hart Inn, continued to provide a means of motor transport whilst for those still having the use of a vehicle, during the last 12 months customers at the Cowley & Wilson garage had already donated over £20 to the Red Cross, in exchange for air in their tyres. Amongst the essential users of petrol was unsurprisingly the Government Communications Headquarters at Bletchley Park for which, in early March, the Clerk submitted an application for a petrol storage licence, in respect of a new tank which had recently been installed. However, for public transport and private vehicles supplies of petrol were of course much less copious. Nevertheless with plans for post war housing in preparation, it was realised that to encourage an adequate transport service, all new estates in the town should essentially be constructed ‘so that “circular” routes can be operated by public transport companies and if monopoly companies are permitted profit must not be the only standard of service.’

The need in Denbigh Road for a speed restriction was now discussed at a Tuesday meeting of B.U.D.C., correspondence being produced from the Bletchley Trades & Labour Council, and a Bletchley firm, requesting removal of the 30m.p.h. speed limit post to a position 100 yards west of the Rodex works, so reducing the danger to those people employed on eight hour shifts. It was then suggested that the Ministry of War Transport should be asked to move the post, and in other measures - subject to approval by the Ministry - during the month a ‘Major Road Ahead’ sign would be erected in Church Green Road, at the junction with Buckingham Road.

Needing two cranes to remove the wreckage, emphasising the perils of wartime, on the evening of Good Friday at Fenny Stratford crossroads a collision occurred between a heavy six wheel motor lorry and trailer, travelling south along the main road, and a military coach, travelling along Aylesbury Street. The lorry overturned, and smashing into the front of the Swan Hotel careered through to the counter of the bar. The driver and mate escaped serious injury, but several people had to be taken to Luton hospital. Meanwhile, as a means to obviate other road dangers, elsewhere in the town the County Surveyor was asked to provide at a suitable point at Trees Square a pedestrian crossing and beacons, and to also arrange for the Bus Company to transfer their bus stop from Buckingham Road to Newton Road.

At an 8p.m. meeting of the Council, on May 11th the question of fencing near the under bridge of the Bedford branch railway line was considered, and from the L.M.S. Railway Engineers Department, the Clerk submitted correspondence relating to an ‘unclimable’ fence which the Council, in accordance with the agreement concerning the footway through the bridge, was required to provide. It seemed that the Railway Company were prepared to provide and erect the necessary fence if the Council paid the estimated cost of £111, and this was agreed. As for fiscal matters regarding the roads, the Surveyor had been in correspondence with the Army authorities about damage caused to the local highways during recent manoeuvres. The Army would duly pay £97 as compensation to the Council, who were perhaps also seeking compensation from certain cyclists, whose ‘stunt’ riding was attracting attention at the recreation ground at Old Bletchley. Following a letter from Mr. F. Saunders, of 100, Church Green Road, officers of the Council were to now prepare a report, with a view to dealing with the complaint.

For railway passengers, there was refreshing news with the lately advertised position of an assistant manageress at the Coffee Tavern, Bletchley station, and there was even better news for Mrs. W. Blackburn, of Woburn Sands, when she learned that she had been awarded the B.E.M., in recognition for being the instigator and honorary organiser of the Bletchley station Y.M.C.A.

In August, the order was granted to make a 30 m.p.h. speed limit in Denbigh Road, between the Staple Hall Road junction and a point 340 yards to the N.W., yet even so it was subsequently noted that lorries and cars ‘still bowl along at anything up to fifty or sixty miles an hour. Perhaps some of our keen Specials could be detailed.’ They could certainly have been detailed some while before when, at around noon on July 20th, Henry Collins, the Bletchley stationmaster, noticed a number of men crossing the main railway line from Platform 5 to Platform 7. Arriving on the Manchester train, the group were making for the Cambridge train and when two railway officials tried to intervene, only one of the party turned back. Poking him in the ribs, one of the others then became abusive to Mr. Collins, who saying that he would call the police, went to his office and was just about to pick up the phone when the man flung the door open and sent him sprawling.

Fortunately such incidents proved infrequent, perhaps just as well since they might otherwise have deterred those persons now seeking spare time employment at the station - weekdays only - as goods porters.

For the benefit of villagers in Willen, Great and Little Woolstone, Woughton, and Simpson, during November negotiations were completed for running a bus service between Newport Pagnell and Bletchley. Concerns had been initially raised by the Reverend A. Berry, who said that whilst villagers had to walk miles to fetch their groceries, some transport vehicles were bowling past without any passengers. However, returning from the Park Hotel the United Counties buses would only run on Fridays, leaving Newport Pagnell at 1.40p.m. and 4.30p.m., and by the end of the month the official stopping places had been determined as service 36, Bletchley to Buckingham, etc., Graces shop, Council Offices, Conservative Club, Park Hotel, and the Eight Bells, (ie. 50 yards on the Buckingham side of the Shoulder of Mutton, and Tattenhoe Lane), Service 37, Stony Stratford to Stoke Hammond. Stag Bridge, St. Martin’s church, Council Offices, Conservative Club, Park Hotel, and Service 48, Bletchley to Leighton Buzzard, Goldings shop, Council Offices, Conservative Club, Park Hotel, Eight Bells, Co-op Newton Road, Lillock House, Crescent, and the brickyard. It was then suggested that the 48 service should also include a stop at Grange Road or, so as to be able to call at the schools, be routed via Church Green Road. Not however perhaps on the Thursday morning at the end of the month when, at the corner of Buckingham Road and Church Green Road, bread and flour was strewn all over the road following a collision between an Army lorry and a Co-op bread van. Apart from Army lorries and bread vans, Council vehicles were also classed as essential transport, and for the road fund licences in December the payment was authorised of £95 to Bucks. County Council.



As a cut above the rest, the most popular shaving razor of the time was the Eclipse, featuring ‘an automatically centred blade’, ‘magnetic pick-up’, and ‘micrometre adjustment,’ and in aid of the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund the Northampton railwaymen’s ‘razor blade’ week, held during January, had received about 2,000 blades from Bletchley, with Mr. T. Haynes, a foreman at the Goods Depot, Bletchley Station, having contributed 812. Perhaps hardly surprising, since he had been saving his used blades for some 20 years! Fortunately, it had not been necessary to shave the benefit payments of the Bletchley Station Sick Fund, which by a decision one Sunday in late February of the A.G.M. - where the officers were also elected - were to be increased from 10s to 12s per week.

Railway matters were also evident towards the end of the month when, one Saturday, a wagon caught fire near Denbigh Bridge. Indeed such incidents caused an unwelcome delay, for the build up to D Day meant that the use of the railways was increasingly important, with rail travel for ordinary passengers actively discouraged; ‘At this most important time, Needless travel is a crime’. However, definitely not needless was the transfer to Bletchley from the North of some 100 men - firemen, and guards, including Royal Engineers - a move which was accomplished in 10 days. The task of organising their sleeping and feeding arrangements had fallen to Assistant District Locomotive Superintendent Charles Read, and Running Shed Foreman Frank Bebbington, and the ‘billeting train’, which comprised the hostel, consisted of a kitchen car, dining coach, recreational coach, three sleeping coaches, and six camping coaches. With her husband now on military service in Italy, Mrs. Dora Whitfield of Westbury, Simpson Road, had been in charge of the hostel since the opening in March and despite her lack of previous experience, having formerly been a Bletchley engineering shed worker, she was making a great success of a difficult job. As for the staff, six cooks and two mess room attendants worked a system of three eight hour shifts, and in a week 1,564 hot meals, 758 breakfasts, 416 subsidiary meals, 379 teas, and 6,200 beverages might be served. In fact ‘Any kind of meal at any time on request is the abiding rule at ‘Bebbington Place.’

For local travel, a New Hudson Tandem bicycle, offered for sale at £20 at the Chequers Inn, might possibly have been of interest to those boys of good education, aged between 14 and 17, who could now apply for the position of railway clerks. However, with the increased Army traffic on the roads cyclists needed to take even greater care, as evidenced by the experience of Mr. H. Souster, of 23, Windsor Street, who on Wednesday, May 6th collided with an Army lorry trailer just on the station side of the Bletchley Road railway bridge, and was taken to Northampton hospital with serious injuries.

Towards the end of June, staff of the Bletchley L.M.S. Railway Goods Dept. presented a barometer to Mr. J. Clark. Until recently the chief accounts clerk, he would shortly move to a new role as chief accounts clerk of the goods department at Northampton but for Sam King, of 3, Walker Street, Warrington, at the beginning of July his career would come to a fatal end when, early one Wednesday morning, at Fenny Stratford crossroads his lorry collided with a car turning out of Simpson Road. Later in the month, two 18 year-old London boys found themselves in custody at Dudley for not only the alleged theft of a lorry, but also abandoning at Dudley a car stolen from The Grange, Bletchley. The vehicle belonged to Mrs. J. Whiteley, and perhaps she might then have been temporarily glad of the voluntary car pool, recently organised by Mrs. Charles Cooke.

Before retiring at the age of 60, for 40 years William Sinfield, of 13, Windsor Street, had been employed at Bletchley post office but on Wednesday, July 19th he sadly died aged 75. His father being head shepherd to the Duke of Bedford, William was born in Aspley Guise, and previous to his employment at Bletchley, he had worked for the post office at the headquarters in London, and then Lincoln, where, in 1891, he married Amy Winterborne, of Isleworth. Their union would subsequently produce a son and five daughters. A keen cyclist, he visited most parts of the country, and after retirement became until 1942 secretary of the Workingmen’s Club. A few weeks later, one of his Bletchley postal colleagues then also died. He was Charles Garner, who began his postal career at Olney in 1891, and after appointments at Buckingham, Watford, and Hitchin, on December 30th, 1896 came to Bletchley. There he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 1918, and in 1925 then moved to the position of Postmaster elsewhere, before spending his retirement in Reading.

Since the opening four years ago, a profit of nearly £8,000 had now been made by the Bletchley station Y.M.C.A. canteen, and for assisting those overseas canteens which were operating at a loss, a significant sum had been sent to the Y.M.C.A. headquarters. Having retired to the Woburn Sands district in 1939, Mr. W. Blackburn had been chairman since the beginning of the canteen on April 20th, 1940 and with his wife as the organiser, in evidence of the canteen’s popularity, during the four years to May 1944, 150,000 gallons of tea, 120 tons of potatoes, 65 tons of bread, and 10 tons of sausage meat had been served although when the canteen had first opened doubts were expressed as to whether even the gas bill could be paid! However, the premises raised a profit of £564 in the first six months and, with the reserve funds now standing at £604, the total profits amounted to £7,888 12s 6d.

At the Central Garage, Fred Field now required 8h.p. to 12h.p. cars. He also had several for sale, including a Hillman Minx described as ‘A very attractive car in sound condition’, which was more than could be said for an Army lorry left standing, one Monday in late August, on the pull-in at Fenny Stratford station. Suddenly careering across the road, the vehicle hit the wall and railings of the police station when the brake slipped, and the brakes were now possibly off for the starting of a local bus service, a proposal that had been considered by B.U.D.C. in September. In fact the Highways Committee had received a letter from the Wilbert Motor and Engineering Co. Ltd. of London who, being about to take over the Central Garage in Bletchley, expressed an interest in commencing a bus service in the district. It was duly decided to recommend that the Council should support any application by the firm to the Traffic Commissioners.

On Thursday, September 7th at the Highways and Works Committee meeting the Clerk reported that following a discussion with the District Auditor, he had been allowed the use of the County Council petrol pump facilities in Denbigh Road, for the dispensing and storage of petrol. Pending the possible installation after the war of a pump in the Council yard, as a wartime measure this arrangement was then approved, in place of presently hiring a petrol pump at Central Garage, and towards the end of the year, at the Council meeting on Tuesday, December 12th Mr. Smithie would be nominated for the position of Petroleum Officer to the Council, to carry out the duties as prescribed by the Petroleum Consolidation Act 1928.


LENGTH 71' 6"

In the later stages of the war the importance of barges, as a means of conveying freight, was emphasised when work on the canals became a directed occupation. At the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne may be seen 'Sculptor', an example of a wartime barge which served as a fire boat with the London Fire Service.
- J. Taylor.

Despite being ‘not the most heavenly spot on earth’, at least Bletchley station at the end of September held the promise of job opportunities. Vacancies were available for three assistant cooks and three canteen attendants, and these being positions for which ‘railway employees’ privileges etc.’ would apply, applicants were to hotfoot their way to the District Controller’s office. Also on the subject of hot feet, as an L.M.S. blacksmith in the engine sheds Mr. Bill King, of 24, Cambridge Street, had now been shoeing the Bletchley station goods horses for 38 years but of more sedentary skills, boys of good education, aged between 16 and 17, were now required at the Bletchley Control Office. Adults with previous clerical experience, ‘not eligible for military service’, would also be considered on a temporary basis but for Mr. Sidney Gray, of Tattenhoe Lane, having been employed for several years as a guard on the railway, after an illness he had now secured the permanent position of station announcer. Accommodated in a ‘hideout’ on the central platforms, from memory he called out the arrival and departures of the trains - ‘I have it down in a book, but I don’t often open that’ - and by a system of controls in front of the microphone, he could speak through any one or more of the six groups of loudspeakers, of which there were 72.

Throughout the war the railways, to the detriment of their maintenance, were vital as a means of transporting freight but also important were the barges, which operated day and night. In fact during the year, the Ministry of War Transport issued an appeal for volunteers to join a training scheme for work on the canals, and in due course such duties became a directed occupation.

One Wednesday afternoon in early November, at a crowded ceremony held in the Conservative Club, gifts for their voluntary service at the Y.M.C.A. canteen were presented to Mr. H. Leigh Bennett, Mr. Blackburn (M.B.E.), and his wife, the unfortunate ill health of whom had compelled her resignation. In fact she had been specifically told by her doctor that he would not be responsible for the consequence if she continued to work at her energetic pace. Since the opening of the canteen, Mr. Blackburn had acted as Chairman, Mrs. Blackburn as Organiser and Mr. Leigh Bennett as Secretary, and with the many helpers in attendance, after a buffet tea the Reverend Lloyd Milne presided over the formal part of the proceedings. The presentation of an alarm clock to Mr. & Mrs. Blackburn, a handbag to Mrs. Blackburn, and a wallet to Mr. Leigh Bennett was made by Mrs. J. Whiteley, with mention appreciatively made that on the first day of the canteen, takings had amounted to about £2. Now they were around £40. Never once in the 4½ years of operation had the canteen closed and with the helpers working four hour shifts, the number of volunteers enabled them to cope with one shift a week. In fact the renown of the canteen was such that even in the far flung reaches of the country Forces personnel spoke warmly of their railway experience at Bletchley, a reputation enhanced by Mr. Blackburn’s resolve that ‘they had never adopted the easy and slothful method of mixing tea, sugar and milk all together in the urns.’ Indeed, ‘the surest way to send a man to a public house, was to give him a poor cup of tea.’ A decision for a salaried manager to now run the canteen had been taken, and in consequence during the month Mr. F. Harwood would take charge. In fact having long wished to become involved in the war effort he came from Durban, and despite the sale of his hotel his wife and eight year old son continued to remain in South Africa, where he had lived for some 24 years.

Mr. & Mrs. Blackburn. - Bletchley Gazette

Apart from the Y.M.C.A. canteen, at the station there was also the provision of the L.M.S. Refreshment Rooms, where a ‘strong boy’ was required, as well as a girl aged 16 to 17 to train as a waitress. In addition, the L.M.S. staff canteen had now been open since the last week in October although without ceremony since in the words of the manageress, Miss Marden, ‘I hate publicity. Our job is to serve the men, and we didn’t want any fuss about it. That is why we did not have an official opening.’ Despite being a newcomer to Bletchley Miss Marden had considerable experience of canteen work, and with also the option of grills, light snacks, and teas, always available were hot two course meals costing 1s 1d, fetched from the counter by the customer. With A. Johnson as the secretary, the enterprise was run for railwaymen only on a non profit basis by the railway company, and in Station Approach accommodation was provided by a new building designed by the L.M.S. Architects Department. The main room being able to seat 76, the premises also had the provision of a kitchen, pantry, and store, and with the facility constructed to a standard pattern, throughout the L.M.S. system similar canteens were being built at other important centres.

For local travel, available at the end of November from Melville, Shenley Road, was a 1939 Standard Tourer. With 15,900 miles on the clock, at £200 perhaps this was a bargain, and ending the year on motoring matters at a Brains Trust at the recently re-opened Community Centre was posed an interesting Christmas conundrum, ‘Why are car engines at the front, when the drive is from the back wheels.’




Due to a shortage of timber, furniture manufacture was now reduced to 22 articles, based on a standardisation to produce the greatest economy of materials. This was in keeping with the principle of ‘Utility’ and with Sir Gordon Russell being the chairman of the Utility design panel, at fixed maximum prices each item, in three standard designs, bore the ‘Utility mark’ CC41.

Arrears of housing rents now stood at £49 9s 6d, of which £24 12s was made up of the sums owed from tenants who paid either fortnightly, or else were regularly paying off some amount each week from their insubstantial debt. However, for two residents in Buckingham Road they respectively owed £12 6s 9d and £12 10s 9d, and since repeated applications had been to no avail, further efforts would now be made.

With the sale of the building firm Messrs. G. French and Son, at the premises on Wednesday, January 7th, as well as building and plumbing tools Wigley & Johnson also disposed of equipment to include a mortising machine, 60 scaffold planks, seven ladders, three carpenters’ benches, and a mortising machine etc. and also in the process of disposal were railings and front gates taken by Government contractors from many houses in the town, beginning with those in Duncombe Street on Monday, January 22nd.

On Thursday, February 19th, at a 7p.m. meeting held in the Council Offices by the Public Health Committee, discussions took place with Councillor Smith concerning certain allegations made by him at the last Council meeting. These were with regard to Council houses, and despite not having inspected Mrs. James house at 155, Buckingham Road, or in fact any of the other houses in the same road, his allegations, which were based solely on hearsay, included that some of the properties were in a shocking state, with water seeping through the roughcast. He further alleged that at 9, Grange Road there was a defective door panel, and in unanimous agreement the Committee therefore decided that the Council should be informed if no specific complaints, other than routine matters, had been made by tenants, except in respect of Mrs. James where, prior to Mr. Smith’s statement, certain external repairs had been carried out. The Surveyor would make an inspection, and at the next meeting then report on ‘the efficacy of the repairs’ carried out to Mrs. James house and also the condition of the back door at 9, Grange Road, a matter about which the tenant had made no complaint. In due course it would then be revealed that the door was actually an additional door, fixed in another position - without Council permission - by a tenant at some previous date, and the Council therefore concluded ‘That Councillor Smith’s general allegations that certain council houses were in a shocking condition has no foundation in fact.’ Moreover, although an overspend on the repair fund had caused the District Auditor to impose a surcharge on the Council and the Public Health Committee, the Committee expressed themselves satisfied that the house repairs fund had been used ‘in a manner calculated to preserve the property in a reasonable state of repair and for the benefit of the tenants in general.’

Conditions of housing maintenance in the town therefore seemed favourable for the many evacuees, whose increasing numbers had caused a rise in water consumption by around 50% since 1939. This unsurprisingly lead to a lack of pressure and with the mains consequently scraped and recoated, in Buckingham Road a balancing tank was erected, which partly accounted for the recent rates increase of 6s in the pound, with waterworks repairs and maintenance as a contributory factor.

The year would witness 86 male births and 65 female, with an additional one of each gender born illegitimately, and this compared to the previous year of 69 males and 65 females, with one male and two females born out of wedlock, and in 1939 59 males and 48 females, with two illegitimate boys and three illegitimate girls. That there should now be some control imposed nationally on the use of land for housing was advised during the year by the Uthwatt Report which, potentially placing a limit on building, would hardly help the local situation, especially since with the population of the town presently around 11,000, this was anticipated to shortly increase with an influx of war workers. Compounding the predicament, at a meeting of the Public Health Committee on Thursday, April 9th the Council then decided that due to the long waiting list and the infrequency of vacations, they would entertain no further claims for Council accommodation. News of a departing tenant always attracted a crowd of applicants but there had not been a vacancy for two years and of people seeking accommodation - the list of which currently stood at 250 - half of this number were living in rooms. The demolition of a longstanding cottage next to Home Farm, (139, Buckingham Road), in Old Bletchley, would only add to the acute shortage of housing although for anyone sufficiently affluent, Greens, the furnishers, of 16, Bletchley Road, could presently offer, with vacant possession, a modern five bedroom house, ‘electric and gas.’

Of recent improvements in the town, the dangers posed by a stretch of road near the Bletchley Road railway bridge were now reduced by an extension of the fence on the south side, and during April the numbering and re-numbering of several hundred houses was undertaken, the need having partly arisen because with many houses presently unnumbered, an unacceptable amount of mail was being brought back, due to the confusion caused to the many temporarily employed postal staff. By the end of the month the renumbering was almost complete, although Mr. Smith thought it unnecessary to number Vicarage Road, since with only 12 houses on the developed side, building was unlikely to occur on the other. The policy being to number outwards from the postal centre, 457 houses had so far been renumbered, and to curtail any further postal chaos, a few months later, at a meeting on November 10th the Surveyor would discuss the renaming of Park Road with both the owner, Mr. H. Faulkner, and the Bletchley Park authorities. Misidentification had often occurred with Park Street, and Park Road would therefore be retitled Wilton Avenue.

During May attention was drawn to the dangerous crossing at Trees Square, Old Bletchley, used extensively by about 30 children from two schools. Only a few days before, a 5½ year old girl had been knocked down by a car, and now the police would be asked to carry out point duty at midday and also during those afternoon periods when the schools closed. As for other matters of safety, the Highways Committee pointed out that the double doors erected on the boundary fence of the Social Centre swung outwards onto the footpath to Leon Rec, as a wartime measure to help schoolchildren. However, it was then suggested that the owners should be asked to pay way leave of 1s p.a. for using the doors, which would be duly altered to swing inwards once hostilities came to an end.

The Council Surveyor, Mr. A. Bates, now reported that during work on the eight inch trunk water main a breakdown in the apparatus on Thursday, May 14th had lead during the night to a reduced pressure, and for the service to be maintained all of the water was therefore passed through the old five inch mains, used for many years prior to the installation of the iron filtration system. Pumping through the narrowed piping unsurprisingly stirred up a considerable amount of iron deposit but normal service was eventually restored on Friday noon, although the discolouration continued for several hours.

On Wednesday, July 15th on the instructions of the Trustees of the late Mrs. Ada Vaughan, The Red Lion, Simpson Road, was sold by Wigley & Johnson at an auction at 3p.m., as were also, abutting the towpath, a pair of freehold cottages known as Lock View and Pine View, plus the range of adjoining buildings. The cottages were sold for £600 to Mr. W. Fortescue and produced £36 8s p.a. from being let to ‘good tenants’, a category into which it unfortunately seemed that the M.P. tenanting a house in Water Eaton Road could not be classed. With the garden now a mass of weeds, this property had been unoccupied for several months and on the matter being raised at a Tuesday meeting of B.U.D.C., following a recommendation that the property, as with all the other unoccupied premises, should be requisitioned for billeting, and not be used as an alleged ‘funk hole’ from the bombing, the house was eventually let. Definitely not for use as a funk hole was the garden shed for Mr. P. Brooks, of 31, Napier Street which, as Plan 1295, was approved at the Council Offices at the Highways and Works Committee meeting on Thursday, August 6th. Yet the specifications would still need to conform with the Council’s standard plan of garden sheds, and be erected not less than 10 feet from the house

At the Council meeting on August 11th it was resolved that, being part of the General Rate Fund Balance of the Council, the sum of £5,000 should be invested in 3% Savings Bonds, with the Treasurer authorised and instructed to effect such an investment on behalf of the Council. As for the payment of Council employees, during the month the Council interviewed the Area Officer of N.U.P.E. regarding the Union’s application for not only a wage increase, but also for alterations in the conditions of employment. After considerable discussion, pending the supply of further information by the Area Officer to the Surveyor on the various points raised, it was then resolved to adjourn the matter.

Military vehicles now formed much of the local traffic, and on Friday, August 28th five year old Mavis Smith, of 26, High Street, was taken to hospital when knocked down by an Army car near her home. In fact specifically to prevent children from running into the road, some of the railings had been left in place in the town, but the removal of those deemed unnecessary had begun on June 8th and gates, omitted from the original schedule, were now also to be included. However, concerns were then raised during September as to why some railings and chains had been taken and not others. The gates at Bletchley Park still remained, and the railings in Manor Road, around the police station, and the Baptist church, but not those from Water Eaton Road and Grove Road and indeed, within 10 minutes of the removal of one fence, children had overrun an orchard and scaled the trees! More trouble on high was then discovered on the morning of Friday, November 6th when at the Bletchley Road post office, with a block of eight chimneys on the roof beginning to break up the danger zone was roped off. Yet barriers seemed hardly to trouble certain Council house tenants at Old Bletchley, whose gardens backed on to the recreation ground. They had been making entrances through the hedges and fences, and in consequence would now be required to accept terms similar to those imposed by the Council regarding the Leon recreation ground.

As an experiment, 18 Council houses, built in 1939, now had the provision of hot water, and it was found that no significant increase in the cost of maintenance was caused. Hot or not, the quality of the water, sterilised by chlorine, remained high, and had been frequently analysed by arrangement with the County Borough of Northampton. However, due to the call up of staff they had now discontinued the work, which instead would be carried out by the Pathological Laboratories at Oxford. Hardly Council money down the drain, and putting a lid on the year, in December the sum of £24 15s was authorised as payment for manhole covers and frames, supplied by J. Needham and Sons Ltd.



In January, the portion of Windsor Street running east from Oliver Road and the cul de sac, recently built by Mr. W. J. Elliott, was named Sandringham Place, and elsewhere, at a meeting in February of the Highways and Works Committee the question of purchasing land at the junction of Bletchley Road and Leon Avenue was considered. After much discussion, it was then decided that Councillors Bates and Johnson, plus the Clerk and the Surveyor, should be appointed to negotiate with Mr. H. Tranfield to buy the land, and with the price not to exceed £900, and the Council to pay the conveyancing costs, the sum proved acceptable. Presently the land was in use as allotments, and Mr. Tranfield would retain possession of the sheds on the site.

Regarding a meeting to be held on January 27th in London, the Royal Sanitary Institute had now sent a circular to the Council on the subject of ‘Healthy Housing’. The meeting would consider the matter of post war housing, and with the invitation accepted, it was proposed that the Chairman of the Council, and the Surveyor, should attend. Also on the subject of future housing, despite there being no indications as to the end of the war, in February it was nevertheless agreed to move, at the next meeting of the Council, the appointment of a small committee to consider both the post-war development of Bletchley, and the employment of ex-servicemen. Indeed, as one Councillor would remark; ‘The Housing problem will be a first and foremost one to solve. It will be much more acute than at the end of the last war and every preparation should be made to prevent avoidable delay in providing Bletchley’s need.’ In fact the previous year a Home Intelligence Survey on ‘Public Feeling on Postwar Reconstruction’ found that ‘In all classes of the community, unemployment is thought to be the outstanding post-war problem. It is, indeed, more than a problem, it is a personal and individual fear’ and as a means to address this concern, the Beveridge Report had been produced at the end of 1942. Actually a report on ‘Social Insurance and Allied Services’ by a committee of over 20 Civil Servants, the principles had been laid down and drafted by the 62 year old William Beveridge, who during his earlier career had been responsible for the introduction of Labour Exchanges. He became Director of the London School of Economics between 1919 and 1937, and of his present ambition this was described as ‘a plan for social security to abolish physical want by ensuring for all citizens at all times a subsistence income and the means of meeting exceptional expenditure at birth, marriage and death.’ Flat rate contributions would provide the finance, providing a flat rate of payment irrespective of income.

At a meeting of the Public Health Committee on Thursday, February 4th, the Clerk had brought forward the question of housing arrears owed by the tenants of the Council properties at 155 and 167, Buckingham Road, and in respect of the latter, an instruction to take proceedings was received by Messrs. Walton and Ray. Should the debt not be paid by the 27th of the month, they were also to take action for the recovery of the rent due from the other property, and perhaps the occupant might benefit from a visit to the Citizens Advice Bureau, where the secretary had now written to the Council stating that their grant, made in 1942, was exhausted. A recommendation that the Council should provide a further grant of £5 would then be made.

At the end of the financial year £12 had been paid in compensation to householders, £53 18s 5d concerning premises requisitioned for war workers, and £22 18s 8d for repairs to requisitioned properties. As for repairs to the highways, with there now being a shortage of men the Surveyor recommended the purchase of a petrol driven road drill, the payment for which was duly authorised at an approximate cost of £120. In fact with the tool being obtained from Warsop Petrol Drill and Tools Ltd., the actual cost, authorised in April, would be £115 18s 10d whilst regarding the wages of the workmen, agreement had now been reached with the Secretary of N.U.P.E concerning the rates. Subsequently these would be put into operation, and for the grading of workmen, by a letter dated February 15th from ‘the Secretary of the South Midland Division of the Provincial Council, the Joint Industrial Council for Local Authorities Non-Trading Services, Manual Workers’, it was stated that for the purpose of Essential Works (General Provisions Order), the Joint Council had decided that now being the time for all districts in the Division to be graded, Bletchley would be placed in Grade III, a measure to which no objection was raised by the Council.

With a soldier’s pay being hardly substantial, the Government had introduced War Service Grants, for which a serviceman became eligible if after paying rent, rates, etc. the amount left a week totalled less than 36s. However, if a husband was promoted, then his increase in salary was usually deducted from the grant. In view of the lowly finance, shopkeepers were reluctant to allow credit facilities for service families, who would also find themselves looked upon with disfavour when attempting to rent rooms. In fact regarding the shortage of housing, this would seemingly remain an immediate problem for dated March 4th, by circular 2778 from the Ministry of Health, the Minister expressed himself aware of the problem but, excepting a few agriculture cottages, ‘regrets that he can hold out no hope of new house building at present. But it is clear that the need for houses is already substantial, and the Minister is anxious that Local Authorities should now begin to formulate plans so as to be in a position to make a quick start immediately conditions permit, whether during or after the war.’ By a letter to the Council dated March 29th, in consequent arrangements Mr. Frederick Felce, of 34, Park Street, said ‘With reference per our talk about ground situated in Manor Road Water Eaton I am prepared to sell the Whole for the sum of two thousand pounds. £2000.0.0.’, but the Surveyor, Mr. Bates, in a report during the month for B.U.D.C. on post war housing and land acquisition would muse that ‘The core of Bletchley should be developed before the outlying parts are considered. This would automatically make Bletchley Road the town centre.’ With the Watling Street area to accommodate a light industrial use, except for the frontage the west of Drayton Road would be brick land, or agricultural, whilst for houses it would, he said, be necessary to visualise a type ‘with refrigerator, possibly an electric or gas heated clothes drying cupboard, communal garage space, ample barns, hot water, built in fitments particularly in bedrooms and scullery, gas and electric cooking and parlour type fireplaces’, the cost of each house being estimated at not less than £1,000. Sites under consideration included the west side of North Street, for partial but immediate development of approximately 100 houses, and about the same number on the Co-op Sports Ground, although ‘allowing 8 acres of this site for open space and 2 acres for allotments and development about 6 acres’, for about 100 houses.

No doubt these ambitions would have met with the approval of a longstanding, previous Council Surveyor, Major John Chadwick, who, on the last Friday of March, died at his home ‘The Carronades’, aged 78. In his early career he had been articled to the late John Allsopp, who practised extensively amongst public authorities as a consulting engineer, and having privately practised in Petersfield, Hampshire, John came to Bletchley in 1895, when appointed as Surveyor to Fenny Stratford Urban District Council. For the selection, a special meeting of the Council had been convened on September 11th with a shortlist made of three candidates; a gentleman from Paignton, George Trevena, of Taunton, and John Chadwick, of Petersfield. They were asked to attend a meeting with the Council - who would pay the 3rd class rail fare of the two unsuccessful candidates - and on September 18th the three were duly interviewed. All the committee, with the exception of one member, voted for Mr. Chadwick but the terms of his contract allowed him to continue his private practice in Cornwall and Devon. On arriving in Bletchley, he was subsequently responsible for building the newer portions of the town, and these included the houses in Bedford Street and Oxford Street, which were then practically the only dwellings between the Park Hotel and The Elms. He would also be responsible for the design of the Council Offices and the Bletchley Road Schools, and in other activities was appointed to investigate a water supply for the town. Before his arrival, the only source was from Great Brickhill, water being pumped into a reservoir and fed by gravity through Little Brickhill to Fenny Stratford, Bletchley and Simpson but on his advice, the Council then sought a new supply at Sand House. Despite the unsuccessful initial results, he insisted that a deeper well should be sunk, whereupon an adequate supply was then obtained. He also designed and laid out a much needed sewerage and sewage disposal scheme, for previous to this the sewage had been collected by night soil carts, which he often accompanied to ensure that the work was being performed correctly! A keen Freemason, for many years he was a member of the St. Martin’s Lodge, and became Worshipful Master in 1901. With the outbreak of World War One, he then joined the Territorial Army in France, and was second in command of the battalion of the Oxford and Bucks. Light Infantry, in the service of which his son, Lieutenant Douglas Chadwick, was tragically killed in 1916. It was therefore appropriate that he would design the war memorial at St. Mary’s church. During his career he would become a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a Member of the Institute of Municipal and County Engineers, a Fellow of the Geological Society, and a Member of the Royal Sanitary Institute, and he remained as local Surveyor until resigning in 1935. However, the Council decided to retain his services as consulting engineer for certain special schemes, and these included a proposed swimming pool, the planning for which he received instructions to proceed with in 1935. Yet after several delays, the Council then abandoned the project but a while later, with the prospect of a Government grant, they decided to proceed again, but now with the new Surveyor appointed as architect. Major Chadwick claimed damages in respect of the old contract and after considerable negotiations the matter was settled at the last minute out of court, the Council agreeing to pay him a sum of £850. Leaving a widow, following his death he was buried in the Old Bletchley churchyard in the grave occupied by the bodies of his children, Douglas, and his only daughter, Mrs. Joan Adam, born in 1900, who died in 1936. In 1950, in memory of her husband and two children his widow, Nellie (d 1951), would give to St. Martin’s church a new pulpit, dedicated in August that year by the Lord Bishop of Buckingham.

By now the tenant of 155, Buckingham Road had paid off the rent arrears. However, for 167, Buckingham Road, with the husband being in the Forces the Council’s solicitors were instructed to serve the occupant with a notice to quit, and to prevent this becoming their eventuality, householders would now have to exercise a greater financial caution for, with the water supply for the previous year having exceeded the estimate by £190, in March the Council approved a general rate of 6s in the pound for the forthcoming half year. Yet more optimistically, regarding the other services there had been a welcome saving in the estimates of nearly £500.

Featuring the Rhythm Aces Dance Band, on Friday, April 2nd the Post Office staff dance was held at the Senior School hall and, as a long serving member of the staff, by command of the King the Overseer at Bletchley Post Office, Mr. W. Oliffe, was presented with the Imperial Service Medal by Mr. Underlin, the Bletchley Head Postmaster. Having joined the Post Office at Bletchley in November 1899, in order to obtain a permanent position Mr. Oliffe had early on completed two years as an ‘unpaid learner’ and despite now being of retirement age, he had instead volunteered to stay on for the rest of the war. As for those presently tasked to deliver the post, their duties would be somewhat eased following the request by the residents of Wilton Avenue for a street name plate, to prevent any confusion that might arise from the recent renaming. However, they would be required to bear the cost themselves!

Regarding the post war programme of ‘Housing of the Working Classes’, Circular 2802, dated April 7th from the Ministry of Health in London, was sent to the local housing authorities and County Councils, and relating to those sites selected for the building of new houses, the content concerned the arrangements to be made for local consultation on agricultural considerations, ‘and to inform you that proposals to purchase sites should be referred through the County War Agricultural Executive Committee concerned to the Rural Land Utilization Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The Rural Land Utilization Officer will inform the local authority of any objections or comments from the agricultural standpoint.’

Concerning other matters, for the proposed lecture hall to be built near Bletchley Park, at a meeting of the Highways and Works Committee on April 8th the Surveyor submitted the necessary plan from the Ministry of Works regarding drainage. The plan for the range of store buildings in the Council yard was also considered, and both plans would then be passed to the County Planning Officer, for approval under town planning. As for commercial activities, the month would witness the firm of Wigley & Johnson being instructed by Mrs. Ellen Cowley to sell 20, Bletchley Road as ‘freehold, with garden and garage’, but, as detailed in ‘Business as Usual’, one Wednesday morning a disposal more tragic occurred when three buildings owned by Norman Green were destroyed, as well as the contents, by a fire at the rear of his premises in Bletchley Road.

B.U.D.C. now approved a scheme to build a minimum of 100 working class homes in the first year of the Government’s post-war programme and - to cover the first and subsequent years of the programme - the Surveyor would be asked to prepare a plan of suitable building sites. He was also to investigate the number of houses that could be erected, whilst of more immediate matters the problem of a leaking hydrant at the end of Clifford Avenue needed addressing, especially since for at least six weeks water had been forced through the surface of Water Eaton Road!

Since blackout conditions now prevailed throughout the town, it was fortunate that at 18, Aylesbury Street a spectacular chimney blaze at Mrs. Garrett’s house had occurred during daylight. Caused by a pan of fat tipped over the grate, the blaze was quickly extinguished by the N.F.S. As for street lighting, at the meeting on April 13th the Council now considered the reintroduction of ‘starlight lighting’ in the town, and decided that - should the present conditions prevail - the idea should be put into operation when double summertime expired. In the meantime the Surveyor was to prepare and submit a report on possibly extending the starlighting area, and with the Northampton Electric Light Co. quoting a price in due course, if this was approved by the Ministry of Home Security the Council would then install 59 lighting points with 25w bulbs at £1 16s per lamp p.a., plus an initial cost of £1 5s each per lamp for reflectors.

Being also the Sanitary Inspector, perhaps not surprisingly in view of his many responsibilities the Surveyor had now applied for a salary increase, although his request would be referred to a meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

At the Council meeting on April 20th with thanks expressed to the retiring Chairman, Councillor Bates, Councillor Oliver Wells would now take the position. The various committees were then appointed, and it was agreed that from now on the ordinary meetings of the Council would be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 8p.m., to be preceded by that of the Finance and General Purposes Committee at 7p.m. As for the Highways and Works, A.R.P., and Public Health meetings, they would convene on the Thursday prior to the Council meeting at 7.p.m., 7.30p.m., and 8p.m. respectively but the meetings of the Rates and Valuation Committee would only be held as and when required.

The Council’s application to take possession of 167, Buckingham Road had been granted at a meeting of the Justices on April 15th, and now serving in the Forces the tenant, Mr. H. Jessop, was ordered to give up the property at a date not earlier than 21 days, or later than 30 days, from the date of the Court. However, the Clerk now produced a letter from Mrs. Jessop asking that if she gave an undertaking to pay off the arrears by weekly instalments, she be granted the tenancy. This was not, however, agreed, and it would now be left to the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Clerk to decide on a new tenant. Thus with the matter resolved, on the discussions held recently by him with representatives of the Ministry of Works and Planning, the Water Engineer then reported on the additional trunk main to carry an adequate water supply to Bletchley Park. With the intention approved, further consideration would be given when any definite proposals were put forward by ‘the Government Department concerned.’

At the Highways and Works Committee meeting on May 6th, regarding land in Buckingham Road that had been fenced in by the late Mr. T. Coles the Clerk reported on the opinion given by the solicitors Messrs. Walton and Ray. The Executors of the Estate, or Mrs. Coles, would in consequence be notified that the fence should be removed, and if they did not comply then the Council would arrange for this to be done. Also needing something to be done was the dangerous situation faced by pedestrians crossing the road at Trees Square, Old Bletchley, where, at 8.45p.m. on Tuesday, May 11th, members of the Council, and a representative of the police, would meet to consider a solution.

For the proposed R.A.F. camp adjoining Bletchley Park, because the Ministry of Works had submitted their plans after the letting of the contract, the Council had thereby been denied an opportunity to make any representations, specifically as to how the scheme would integrate with the Council intentions for future town planning. A strong letter of protest would therefore be sent to the Department concerned but more amicable was the correspondence received from the War Department Lands Branch regarding their proposal to requisition, from Rickley Lane to Shenley Road, a further 15 acres of land for extensions to Bletchley Park. They asked if the Council had any observations to offer, and a reply would be sent stating that no comments were applicable, except to recommend that the War Department should consult with the Surveyor on the matters of sewage disposal and water supply.

A letter from Mrs. Jessop, of 167, Buckingham Road, was considered at the Public Health Committee meeting on Thursday, May 6th, in which she asked the Council to review their previous decision, and grant her the tenancy of the house. After much discussion it was finally agreed that she could have the tenancy from the coming weekend but if at any time the rent became more than one week in arrears, then, for the purpose of re-letting the property, the Council would apply to the Justices for possession of the premises. The Committee then discussed the proposals of the Ministry of Works to lay a new trunk main from the Sandhouse Waterworks to Bletchley parish, as a means of providing an adequate water supply water to both Bletchley Park, and the proposed R.A.F. camp. If the mains was of eight inch diameter, the Council agreed to contribute towards the cost, and an application to the Ministry of Health would be consequently made for sanction to raise a loan of £4,250 as the amount required a) for the Council’s financial contribution and b) the charges in connection with raising the loan. However, the grant was to only be made if a suitable agreement was drawn up between the parties concerned, ensuring that the main when complete - and meeting the requirements of the Water Engineer - would be handed over to the Council free from all restrictions and costs, and become a part of their water undertaking. In fact the Ministry of Works would then shortly agree, without an additional charge beyond the original sum, to provide a 10 inch mains instead of eight inches, and in view of the manual labour required no doubt the Council workmen were more than pleased when, in a letter dated May 5th, N.U.P.E. notified an increase from 15s 6d to 17s 6d a week in the war bonus paid to male employees. With a corresponding rise for female employees, this would take effect from the second full pay week in May.

On May 25th the Post War Development Committee met at 7p.m. to consider the report prepared by the Surveyor, and during the meeting after suitable discussions it was agreed that the officers should be instructed to begin negotiations for the five sites considered the most appropriate, and the most central, for housing purposes. Also considered were the proposed constructions to be undertaken by the Ministry of Works in connection with the extension of Bletchley Park, and the Council would be recommended to press the Department to submit their proposals, such that the new facilities, designed for a temporary use, might be incorporated into the proposed estates, especially as regarding roads, sewers and water mains. Throughout the evening no doubt the Surveyor was in a more affable mood than usual, since his request for an increase in salary had now been approved, and the Clerk would also receive a rise with, respectively on May 12th, 1943 and May 12th, 1944, both men to be granted an extra £100, payable by two increments of £50.

Towards the end of May the quote was received from the Northampton Electric Light Co. for the reinstitution of starlight lighting in Bletchley and, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Home Security, this would be accepted, as per the previously agreed plan regarding the lighting points and cost.

With a scheme to build, in the first year after the war, 100 houses - to be increased later in the year to 150 - the report of the Post War Development Committee had now been adopted and sent to the Ministry of Health and of more mundane affairs, following an on site meeting the County Surveyor was to be asked to provide a pedestrian crossing, and beacons, at a suitable point at Trees Square. Arrangements were also to be made with the bus company about transferring their bus stop from Buckingham Road to Newton Road but in a letter dated June 17th the United Counties Omnibus Co. Ltd. then stated that following representations they had duly moved the stopping place. The Superintendent of Police was also in the process of moving stopping places, for by a letter dated June 23rd it now being forbidden to park vehicles in the near vicinity, and drivers would be directed to the Oliver Road car park.

On June 29th the Chairman of the Council, together with Mr. Flack, the Clerk, and the Surveyor, attended a conference in London on the Greater London Plan which, according to Professor Abercrombie, had arisen because London was now too big, and there was a consequent need to extend some 50 miles from the Capital. As for extending the facilities of the Council, for the range of buildings to be constructed in the Council yard it was now proposed to accept the tender of W.J. Elliott of £855 17s, and at a meeting of the Post War Development Committee on July 6th a sketch plan of the several sites suggested for housing purposes was considered. Towards ascertaining the price of the five separate plots negotiations would now begin, and until the outcome was known, the number of houses to be included in the first year of the Council building programme would be left in abeyance. As for the existing houses, 163, Buckingham Road was causing concern, and at the Public Health Committee meeting on Thursday, July 8th the condition of the premises was discussed, it being resolved to ask the occupier to meet the Chairman of the Council, the Chairman of the Committee, and the Medical Officer of Health with a view to improving the present living conditions. Also with a view to improving living conditions, additions were now being proposed to Messrs. Robert and Cos. Hostel in the High Street.

During June, notice was received to divert a footpath in Bletchley Park leading to Denbigh Road, and in the continuance of such needs on July 3rd the Ministry of War Transport had sent a letter and a copy of a plan from the War Department showing a road and a footpath that they wished to have closed. These would otherwise provide access across the site of the new R.A.F. camp, and in following developments on July 13th the Ministry of War Transport Roads Department Eastern Division sent not only another letter, ref. 242/3, dated July 13th, but also a plan from the War Department showing in red a road, and a footpath - ie. Rickley Lane and the footpath to Shenley Road - which were to be ‘stopped up’ under Defence Regulation 16. However, since it seemed somewhat unusual to submit footpath diversions to the Quarter Sessions for approval, the Council decided they ‘should know more about the matter.’

On the application of N.U.P.E., during the month a new scheme of overtime for employees came into operation. Having previously been paid on the basis of the peacetime wage, this would now include the war wage but for Alfred Lord, of 35, Denmark Street, he had another payment in mind when on July 9th he wrote to the Council informing them of the necessary cost to provide him with an artificial limb, following his recent accident. As for another accident, the knocking down of a vent shaft in Duncombe Street would, if there were sufficient grounds, result in proceedings being taken against the driver, and from July 15th proceedings would also be taken against errant drivers in Denbigh Road, between Staple Hall Road junction and a point 340 yards to the north west, where a 30m.p.h. speed limit had now been imposed.

At the General Post Office, one Friday morning in August the Postal Inspector at Bletchley post office, Mr. F.A. Bates, was presented with the Imperial Service Medal by the Postmaster, Mr. Underlin, who paid tribute to Mr. Bates’ long career. He had first begun as a telegraph messenger, and also of a long career - although not with the Post Office - was Councillor Maycock, who was now renting 20, Bedford Street on a weekly tenancy of 13s 6d. However, comprising two living rooms and three bedrooms, towards the end of August the property was then sold to Mr. R. Newring, of London, for £510.

In a letter of September 6th, in respect of the water mains in Wilton Avenue the local developer, Mr. H. Faulkner, asked for a return of an £85 deposit, to which, in view of the present state of the building development, the Council agreed, and in other developments on September 9th at the meeting of the Highways and Works Committee Plan 1314, submitted by the Northampton Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd., to provide an extra high tension underground cable between Church Green Road and Shenley Road, was considered. Also discussed were the hazards likely to arise due to the manner in which the new road from ‘the Army camp’ had been connected to Shenley Road, and with suggestions being subsequently sent to the Ministry of Works in London, in due course by Plan 1317 a break in and splay would be provided.

On September 14th, at the 8p.m. meeting of the Council it was agreed that £5,000, as part of the General Rate Fund Balance, should be invested in 3% Savings Bonds, and with the Treasurer authorised to carry this out the Clerk then submitted a notification from the National Joint Council for Local Authorities Administration, Technical and Clerical Services, intimating that from July 1st the cost of living bonus had been increased from £24 to £33 16s. Regarding superannuation, the question was then raised concerning contributions due from Council employees who were serving in the Forces, and in accordance with the proposals of the Local Government Staffs (War Service) Act 1939, it was decided that in respect of each employee serving in the Forces who were not in receipt of any civilian pay allowance, the Council would contribute the appropriate amounts to the superannuation fund.

At the Conservative Club, on October 7th Wallace A. Foll auctioned 1, Water Eaton, (formerly the George Inn), which presently producing £36 8s p.a. was currently let to Mrs. Gibson. Also at the sale the firm additionally auctioned both 137, Bletchley Road, a semi-detached house let to Mr. A. Leonard at £52 p.a., and ‘the important and extensive corner Block of Business Premises’ at 59, Aylesbury Street, let at ‘low rentals’ totalling £117 p.a. to Messrs. Wells & Son, Outfitters, and The Empire Meat Co. Displaying their business acumen, Messrs. Wells duly purchased the Aylesbury Street premises for £1,600, and during the same month Mr. H. Weatherhead, of Bletchley Road, then bought Tudor House, in Western Road, for £340.

As for the proposed new Council dwellings, ‘The houses will be designed on the assumption that reliance is not to be placed on communal washhouses, bath-houses, restaurants, etc., but that all normal house-hold tasks will be carried out in the homes, and the houses will be made as labour saving as possible within the limits of the rental.’ Of local Rustic Fletton bricks, with Leighton Buzzard concrete sand faced tiles, or machine made red tiles, the properties would all be semi detached except for old age pensioner bungalows, in blocks of four and there would be no flats. Garage space would not be provided at individual houses ‘but accommodation will be reserved adjoining the allotment block for private garages, if required.’ Where possible, the houses would face ‘to give morning light to the kitchen’, with the larder facing north ‘or be sheltered from direct sunlight on its windows’, whilst in other considerations the living room windows would be low enough ‘to see out on when sitting.’

By a letter dated October 8th, Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd. asked the Council if Mr. A. Lord, the recently injured workman, could attend an examination by a specialist in London but the reply would be that his physical condition was such as to not permit this travel. Of other matters to occupy the Council, at the meeting on Tuesday, October 12th Councillor Johnson reported that following negotiations he had been empowered to purchase from Mr. Frederick Felce, of 34, Park Street, 5.03 acres of land in Manor Road at a cost of £1,625, and for the appropriate loan sanction, in order that the necessary application could be made to the Ministry of Health, the District Valuer at High Wycombe would be asked to inspect the area, and then submit his report. However, the Minister presently had no authority to issue loan sanctions for the purchase of land substantially in excess of the sum required for a one year programme, which for Bletchley was intended as the construction of some 150 houses - 35 on the Manor Road site, 45 on the 6.784 acres of the Water Eaton site, and 70 on the 6.68 acres of the North Street site. At the meeting of the Highways and Works Committee on Thursday, November 4th the Surveyor then outlined his housing proposals for the development of the site fronting Manor Road, and an application to Bucks. County Council would be made for consent under the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935. If, on the lines proposed, this was refused, then the necessary claim for compensation from B.C.C. would be made.

On Tuesday, November 9th it was resolved at the Council meeting that Barclays Bank, as the Treasurers of the Council, should be authorised on their behalf to invest, as the balance of the Housing Equalization Fund, £60 in 3% Defence Bonds but a bit of a stink was caused by a letter from the Grand Union Canal Co. of November 27th, regarding the pollution caused to their waterway by an overflowing sewer at Fenny Stratford. The Surveyor explained that a blockage in the main sewer in Simpson Road had been the cause, but with this having been remedied, the Council could now pursue the more normal flow of their business, and for Mr. Myers, Plan 1322 was considered for a brick barn at the rear of 16, Church Green Road. As for J. Bell, of 116, Newton Road, Plan 1323 for his temporary garden shed would be considered on December 14th.

For the Sandhouse Water Works, on the recommendation of the Water Engineer a proposal had been made earlier in the year to purchase, at an estimated cost of £850, a Beresford Submersible Pump, and with the introduction to the Urban District of a new system of water supply by the Council, this resulted in a higher and more stable pressure. However, since this might result in ball valve cisterns overflowing, consumers were asked to do the necessary adjustment themselves, or else call a plumber. As for new Council houses, these, it was decided, should include constant hot water, built in bedroom furniture, smokeless fuel grates, and refrigerator points etc., and municipally kept lawns would obviate the need for front gardens. As for urban enhancements, once the gravel pits at Western Road had been developed as a boating lake and children’s playground, a green belt was to extend through the centre of Bletchley, thus allowing people to walk from Denbigh Road through Western Road gravel pits, Central Gardens, and Leon Rec. to Water Eaton.

Having for many years been secretary of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church, Malcolm Clark, of 42, Windsor Street, would after 30 years in Bletchley Post Office now be leaving the town to take up an appointment at Chelmsford post office, as assistant superintendent. He originally came from Scotland to Winslow, and after two years - firstly as sorting clerk, then progressing to the position of overseer - was appointed to Bletchley post office where volunteers, paid on an hourly basis, were now required to assist during Christmas. The public were asked to withhold as much post as possible during the Christmas week, December 18th - 26th, and except in rural districts, no collections would take place on Christmas Day, although on Sunday, December 26th collections in the town and rural areas were to continue as per a normal Sunday.



Presently receiving workmen’s compensation, by a letter dated January 6th Mr. Alfred Lord declared that he now wished to be placed on superannuation. When the couple were married at the parish church, Leighton Buzzard, Celia, a girl from Stoke Hammond, had become his wife in 1907, and with a family of two sons and three daughters, a regular income would now become a necessity. A letter containing his request was duly forwarded to Bucks. County Council but sadly Celia would die aged 69 in June, 1944. At a Council meeting at 8 p.m. on January 11th the Clerk then reported on a notice received from N.U.P.E., stating that the present bonus of 17s 6d a week had been increased to 19s 6d from January 1st, with also an increase for female employees.

Possibly of interest to Mr. R. Price, who at auction had just bought 5, Osborne Street for £850, an Axminster carpet - five yards by four yards, ‘as new’ - could be purchased at the Swan Hotel but apart from the needs of carpet sweeping, there was now to be taken on trial a petrol powered road sweeper which, having been inspected by the Surveyor, would subject to satisfactory terms and conditions be purchased for duties on the local roads, at an approximate cost of £120. As distinct from the usual military vehicles, no doubt it would therefore become a welcome sight on Church Green Road, Shenley Road, and Water Eaton Road, for the repair of which a preliminary agreement had been reached by the Council with the Ministry of War Transport, regarding their proportion of the cost. Yet the calculations would be later upset when the contractors requested an extra payment due to the increased price of tar macadam. An increased value was also on the mind of James Ramsbotham, of the Brooklands Nursery when, by a letter dated January 13th, regarding his field at Water Eaton he asked Wigley and Johnson, as agents for the Council, to ‘please inform your Clients that as they could not make up their minds by January 12th that I am now withdrawing my offer to them of the above field. After thinking it over I realise that the field is of too great value to me in my business.’

In a letter dated February 15th, the Area Officer of N.U.P.E. applied for an increase of 3s 6d a week in the basic wage of workmen, to operate in accordance with the recommendation of the National Joint Industrial Council from, and including, the payday in the week commencing March 6th. This would be agreed, and also on labour matters it was anticipated that within the coming months the specialised workforce and plant of a number of civil engineering contractors, who had been engaged on airfield construction, would be freed from this work. The Government had decided that such facilities should be made available for the preparation of housing sites, and in other measures via circular 28/44, dated March 8th, they announced in the Commons a number of decisions from the Minister of Health; ‘Post War Housings - Purchase of Land’. These regarded housing policy and legislation, as well as the policy to allow local authorities to begin house building at the end of the European war, and in fact under the Government programme the local authorities would be able to buy in advance the land they required for their housing operations. For enabling this to be done, the wartime ban on capital expenditure was being relaxed, but not feeling very relaxed was the son of the present tenant of 15, Grange Road who, having asked the Council in a letter dated February 24th for the tenancy to be transferred to himself, now learned that his request had been refused.

By the direction of Miss Batterbury and the trustees of the late T. Calladine, 1, and 3, Eaton Avenue, plus the contents of the former, were to be sold by auction by Wallace A. Foll on Wednesday, March 15th. Mr. F. Field purchased 1, Eaton Avenue for £1,030, and Mr. B. Goldberg, of Clapton, 3, Eaton Avenue for £925. As for the preparation of sites for post war housing, the previous day at a meeting of the Council the Clerk had submitted a circular letter from the Town Clerk of Aylesbury. This invited the Council to send four representatives to a conference on March 21st at the Town Hall, Aylesbury, and it was agreed that Councillors Mells and Wells, and the Clerk, and Surveyor should attend. Prepared by the Surveyor, a plan was then considered showing the various parcels of land suitable for post war housing in the urban area and, following discussion, as being sufficient to meet the Council’s requirement for the first two post war years it was duly decided that concerning some of those proposed, negotiations should be opened. Seemingly not one to miss an opportunity, in a letter dated March 24th Hedley Clarke, of 43, Bletchley Road, then said that regarding Yards End, currently let to Mr. Ramsbotham, he was prepared to sell the interest to the Council for £1,500, pointing out that by him the road had been made up ‘linking up Western Road and Cambridge Street.’ In other property matters, by the instructions of Miss R. Smith on Thursday, March 30th Wigley and Johnson auctioned the freehold of 5, Park Street. The premises were currently let at £31 4s p.a., and by the same firm, ‘Burcote’, Staple Hall Road, would be auctioned on the instructions of Mrs. Carvell on Thursday, April 27th, to be purchased by Captain Webster for £1,310.

At the Council Offices, at the meeting on Thursday, April 13th of the Highways and Works Committee, as well as that submitted by the Northampton Electric Light Co., for an underground cable in Newton Road, another plan - Plan 1326 - regarding the drainage scheme for the new L.M.S. Railway Co. canteen, (in Station Road), was approved, subject to the agreement of the County Planning Officer. Then, at the A.G.M. of the Council on Tuesday, April 18th Councillor Wells was reappointed as Chairman. Councillor Maycock would become Vice Chairman, and the meeting provided an opportunity for the Clerk to report that from April 1st the National Joint Council for Local Authorities Administration, Professional, Technical and Clerical Services had approved an increase in the present bonus, from £33 16s to £49 8s p.a. In the early part of 1943, the Ministry of Works had asked for a reduction in the scale of charges for water supplied to Bletchley Park, and now instead of a flat rate of 2s per 1,000 gallons, new rates were to apply from the next reading of all water meters.1s 9d would be charged per 1000 gallons for the first 50,000 gallons, 1s 6d for the next 50,000 gallons, 1s 4d for the next 150,000 gallons, 1s 2d for the next 4 million, 1s 1d, for the next 5 million, and 1s for the next 10 million. Women were currently needed by the Post Office for part time delivery work, and also on postal matters because the public telephone in the Post Office at Bletchley station was only available during the opening hours, an outdoor telephone kiosk would now be provided. Undoubtedly this would be a useful addition for the post war needs of Bletchley, on the subject of which, for the two initial years seven building sites had now been selected, and were to be inspected by the District Valuer. By a letter of April 20th to Wigley and Johnson, who were acting for the Council, W. Sanders, solicitors, of 7, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1, then said that the Trustees of the late Thomas Rowland had stated £2,900 as the lowest possible price for land which, ‘easily accessible as it is in the centre of Bletchley, and close to the Railway Station, Market and shops, offers a unique opportunity to the Council for the development of their Post War Housing Scheme’ - perhaps enhanced by the forthcoming approval for the Northampton Electric Light Co. to lay an underground power cable in Buckingham Road. Regarding land between Church Green Road and Church Walk, in a following letter of Thursday, April 27th, Messrs. Sanders were then instructed to offer the interest for sale at £950, whilst as for Gravel Pit Close at Water Eaton, Messrs Ramsbotham were now prepared to sell the six and a quarter acres for £2,000. However, of those houses already built in the town, ‘Burcote’, Staple Hall Road, was to be auctioned at the Conservative Club on April 27th, and as a possible concern for prospective purchasers, at a Tuesday evening meeting in March a rate of 6s in the pound had been agreed by B.U.D.C, although including the monies from 121 tons of paper, 60 tons of iron, and 53 tons of tin, the £992 7s 4d raised by the scrap collected for salvage would now be used for rate relief.

The ‘starlighting’ scheme for street illumination had now consumed so little energy that the Council decided to continue the system throughout the summer. The Ministry of Home Security had asked for the lighting to be abandoned but since the use consumed only 1½ cwt. of fuel a week, and 10 units of electricity a night, the benefit in reducing the danger and inconvenience to the many users of the Bletchley streets was considered more important. However, perhaps such matters were now of declining interest to Mr. Arthur Bates, the Bletchley Surveyor, since in a letter dated April 14th the Central (Technical and Scientific) Register of the Ministry of Labour & National Service had stated that being qualified for one of the positions of Planning Inspectors in the Department of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, if he was appointed to such a post they would appreciate his release from his present duties by the Council. Unfortunately for Mr. Bates, this was a situation unacceptable to the Council, and a reply would be sent stating ‘In view of the apparent difficulty - if not impossibility - under present conditions of securing an efficient substitute and the possible prejudicial effect upon the health and safety of the inhabitants of Bletchley which would result from the vacation of his office by Mr. Bates the Council finds itself unable to agree to release Mr. Bates.’ On Thursday, May 4th, 75, Duncombe Street was auctioned by Wallace Foll at the Conservative Club. Despite the property not having the provision of electric or gas, the premises were sold to Mr. C. Watts for £760, and on the same day at the Highways and Works Committee the three tenders received by the Chairman of the Council and the Surveyor, for road repairs in Shenley Road, Water Eaton Road, and Church Green Road, were opened. With that from the Hadsphaltic Construction Co. Ltd. being £9,043 26s, James Bros. (Contractors) Ltd., £11,351 5s 2d, and Aubrey Watson Ltd. £12,927 2s 1d, the first tender was accepted but the intimation by the Ministry of War Transport was then revealed that an embargo had been recently placed on all road works of £5,000 and over. The Surveyor had therefore been in communication with the Ministry and the Hadsphaltic Company with a view to the most urgent work being carried out first, with the remainder undertaken at the lifting of the embargo. The Clerk of the Council then reported that those sites which the Council wished to purchase, in connection with the programme of post war housing, had now been inspected by the District Valuer, and a plan showing the seven sites to accommodate about 408 houses had been submitted to the Minister of Health, for his formal approval to both acquire the sites and erect 400 houses, in the first two years after the war. For supplying a proposed new factory, the Water Engineer next raised the question of the authority that had recently been given to lay a four inch main in the Watling Street, and it was recommended that if the necessary materials could be obtained, this should be extended by an additional 200 yards, to thereby provide an enhanced supply to the cottages near Talbotts Farm. For grazing purposes, the letting of the housing site in Manor Road was considered at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday, May 9th, with the Clerk authorised to sign the agreement on behalf of the Council with Charles Horn. The Clerk then submitted a letter dated May 5th from the Ministry of Health, stating that they had no observations to make regarding the Council’s recent proposal to build 408 houses in the first two years post war, and if the relevant conditions were met negotiations could begin for Manor Road (Brookdale Estate), six acres, Manor Road (Chestnuts Estate), three acres, Manor Road (Chestnuts Estate) three acres, Manor Road (Chestnuts Estate) four acres, North Street (West Side) six and a half acres, Westfield Road,18 acres, and the Eight Bells field, 12.46 acres. The District Valuer would be asked to negotiate on behalf of the Council although before beginning any dealings with the owners he should first submit his valuations for the Council to consider. For Mr. M. Clarke, valuations were also a matter to be considered, for he had now instructed Wigley and Johnson to auction 42, Windsor Street.

During the month, for providing a better approach to the mortuary, the brewers, Messrs. J. W. Green Ltd, would give the Council free of charge, except for the cost of conveyance, a plot of land behind the Maltsters Arms but mortuary matters were unfortunately more applicable to the major cities, where with enemy action having destroyed or damaged much of the housing, as a supposedly temporary solution the first prefabricated houses were displayed in London on April 30th - in fact somewhat ironic since during the year the first safeguards against ‘the spread of brick’ would be put in place by the Town and Country Planning Act. Enclosed in a letter from the Ministry of Health, six admission tickets were sent to the Council, and those members selected would thus be able to inspect the prototype of ‘the emergency factory produced house’ which, prepared by the Ministry of Works, would be exhibited on land adjoining the Tate Gallery, Millbank, from Thursday, May 4th. 16 persons would be allowed to inspect the example every half hour. Costing £550 each, the one floor accommodation consisted of a living room, (145 square feet), two bedrooms, (each of 125 square feet), a kitchen, bathroom, w.c. and shed, and it was agreed that Councillors Dimmock, Maycock, Wells, and the Clerk would take up the offer on the 16th, with Councillor Flack and the Surveyor attending on the 18th. However, the Council were more concerned with permanent housing, as was Mr. Herring who via a letter of June 2nd, (written on his behalf by Mr. Johnson), said ‘he has no desire to hold up the erection of houses for Ex-Servicemen. He does ask, however, that your Council shall give consideration to other land in the Urban area before proceeding with the proposed acquisition of Manor Farm, which he is most anxious to continue to farm.’ On June 8th, at a meeting of the Public Health Committee the Clerk raised the question of the charge for water, supplied by meter, outside the urban area. This would be set at 2s 6d per 1,000 gallons, since it was deemed inapplicable to adopt the sliding scale for metered supplies, a matter about which the Water Engineer now gave a report following his interview in London with representatives of the Ministry of Works. On other topics, concerning the trunk main laid to Bletchley Park by the Ministry of Works, the Clerk then said there had been agreement reached a) that no increase beyond the sum of £4,300 would be made by the Council as their contribution when taking over the 10 inch trunk main. b) the number of existing meters at Bletchley Park were to be reduced to two, and the consumption through each meter was to be aggregated for the purpose of arriving at the half yearly charge, based on the sliding scale recently adopted by the Council. c) for the water supplied to Bletchley Park, on all the half yearly accounts amounting to £1,000 and over a discount of 2½% would apply.

By a letter dated June 22nd, the Senior Regional Officer, Ministry of Health, asked if the Council would join the group now being formed to deal with the advance preparation of housing sites, and since four of their proposed locations exceeded the five acre limit, the Council would be recommended to join, with the Clerk instructed to accordingly notify both the Senior Regional Officer, and the Town Clerk of Aylesbury. In a letter dated July 4th the District Valuer then gave his detailed valuations on the purchase of housing sites, and the Council were recommended to ask that he, on their behalf, would undertake negotiations for the acquisition. In due course there would also be a further Council acquisition in consequence of a letter dated July 5th from Wigley and Johnson, concerning a field on Water Eaton Road. Owned by Mrs. Baisley Smith, this comprised 3 acres 3 roods and 21 perches, and in view of his past services to the family, the area was presently let for a nominal £10 to George French, of 1, The Hollow. The purchase price being £1,400, Mr. French duly relinquished his tenancy for £35. Held in London on July 5th and 6th, the Urban District Councils Association Conference would be attended, as the Council’s representatives, by Councillor Callaway and the Clerk, whilst in connection with the 10 inch water main from Little Brickhill to Bletchley, at the Public Health Committee meeting on Thursday, July 6th the Clerk was instructed to apply on behalf of the Council to the Public Works Loan Board for the sum of £4,250. As for housing matters during the month, these included 42, Windsor Street, bought by Edgar Hill for £1,000, and for persons of a similar aspiration, the Chesham Building Society would now accept offers on 2, Napier Street, presently let at 15s per week.

Regarding his possible appointment with them, the Ministry of Town and Country Planning had sent a further letter in mid June to Mr. Bates, the Council having, after deliberations, withdrawn their objections. In consequence, after discussing the position in more detail with officers of the Ministry Mr. Bates was successful in his application, and at the meeting of the Council on July 11th he submitted a letter asking to be released from August 31st. However, it would be duly noted that ‘Mr. Bates agreed that the wording of his letter was solely with a view to safeguarding his superannuation rights and that the Council in accepting the termination of his duties in this matter did not commit them to re-employ him at any time and that they were in a position to fill his appointment with a permanent successor.’ As for finding a permanent successor, offering a salary of £550 p.a., rising by two annual instalments of £50 to £650, plus a cost of living bonus of £49 18s, and a car allowance of £65 p.a., the post would be advertised at a cost of £8 2s in the Surveyor, and also other official publications. The Clerk of the Council, Mr. R. Sherwood, would temporarily fill the vacancy after the departure of Mr. Bates, who, whilst still for the meanwhile being employed by the Council was asked at the Council meeting on Tuesday, July 11th whether the ‘emergency produced’ houses recently visited at Millbank, in London, had fridges. If so, had he considered installing them in the new houses for Bletchley. Mr. Bates would reply that the type he had in mind were 1½ cu. ft., quite small but nevertheless sufficient to store meat and milk, and should sufficient orders be placed, the supplier would then be able to offer a unit price of about £10. As for Mr. Bates credentials for his new employment, he had first come to Bletchley in July, 1935 from Loftus District, Yorkshire. There he had been surveyor and engineer, from a previous employment as Borough Surveyor at Queensborough, in Kent.

At Bletchley, the building of the North Street houses had been a part of his early responsibility, as also the site plans and details of the Council’s post-war housing scheme, and in fact the layout plans for the housing estates on the east and west sides of Manor Road, and on the west side of North Street, had now been sent to the Ministry of Health for approval.

Bletchley Gazette

In early August the Consultants’ Report on the new sewage disposal works was discussed, the preliminary report by Messrs. John Taylor and Sons being dated July 7th. Subject to the Council’s wish that - if possible - the Old Bletchley works should be abandoned, this would be subsequently accepted, and hopefully to meet with public acceptance were the post war plans for Bletchley, which were displayed in the Council Chamber on Friday, 25th August, between 10a.m. and midday, and 6.30p.m. and 9p.m. With the town presently too long and straggling, one consideration of the post war developments would be to broaden the area and provide more direct links with Water Eaton, Simpson and Denbigh, and visitors were invited to offer their opinions and suggestions. That part of the Brookdale Estate at Water Eaton was to be amongst the earliest of the projects, and with the plans officially approved work was ongoing to modify the bed of the stream, and form a pleasant brook-side walk, ‘shaded with trees.’ An open space being provided for recreation, the estate houses would be built in the form of a double horseshoe, facing Manor Road, with a service road running between. Six allotments had been reserved on the Bletchley Road side of the estate, and a barn would be allocated to each holder. Eight houses, each having approximately 30 feet of front lawn, were proposed to each acre, and the houses elsewhere were to be of a similar plan, each front door having a porch and seat. Featuring cavity walls and space for a pram under the stairs, wherever possible the properties would face east and west and be of three types; two bedroom, three bedroom, and bungalows. As for local amenities, near the destructor works the gravel pit at the end of North Street and Western Road was to be laid out as a children’s playground with fish pool, boating lake, sandpit and gardens, and plans were also shown for a swimming pool at Central Gardens, 35 feet x 100 feet, enhanced by footbaths, cubicles, dressing rooms, showers, and underwater lighting. Such were the lofty ambitions for post war Bletchley, but of a more immediate need Mr. & Mrs. Leeson, of the High Street, had lofty ambitions for the rescue of their cat, when opting for a high rise accommodation the creature climbed 68 feet up an elm tree. In fact also on the matter of troublesome creatures the Surveyor, replying to a written complaint by 57 residents of Western Road, reported that the plague of crickets in their homes was not the fault of the Council, since the Council tip had been recently sprayed.

The Plans for the Westfield Estate. Bletchley Gazette

The proposed examples of the housing for a 'Bigger, Better, Brighter Bletchley.' Bletchley Gazette

At the 7p.m. meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, 35 applications for Mr. Bates position had been considered on Tuesday, August 22nd, and following discussions five candidates were placed on the short list; Mr. F. East, Godmanchester T.C., Mr. H. Holmes, Frinton U.D.C., Mr. H. Parks, Burnham on Crouch U.D.C., Mr. J. Smithie, Orrell U.D.C., and Mr. H. Stanworth, Richmond (Yorks.) T.C. All were Surveyors, Sanitary Inspectors and Water Engineers excepting Mr. Holmes and Mr. Smithie, who were Surveyors and Sanitary Inspectors, but nevertheless when, at a special meeting of the Council on August 29th, Messrs. F. East, H. Parks, H. Stanworth and J. Smithie were interviewed for the position of ‘Surveyor, Sanitary Inspector and Water Engineer’, with Mr. Parks, and Mr. East being respectively refunded expenses of £2 2s 10d, and £1 10s, the unanimous decision would be to appoint Mr. Smithie at a salary of £550p.a. - plus a cost of living bonus of £49 18s, and a car allowance of £65p.a. Subject to satisfactory service, the salary would rise by two annual increments of £50 to £650p.a. but the appointment would be subject to a satisfactory medical, and ‘the provisions of the Local Government Superannuation Acts 1937/1939.’ The appointment as Road Surveyor was subject to approval by the Minister of War Transport, and the appointment of Sanitary Inspector by that of the Minister of Health, as well as ‘to the provisions of Section 110 of the Local Government Act, 1933, and of the Sanitary Officer (Outside London) Regulations, 1935.’

Aged 32, Mr. John Frankland Smithie, a native of Lancashire, was married with one child, and having previously been Surveyor of Orrell U.D.C. near Wigan, in preceding appointments he held positions with Ince-in-Mackerfield U.D.C., Swinton & Pendlebury Borough Council, and Barrowfield U.D.C., as Surveyor. A Member of the Institute of Municipal & County Engineers, and an Associate of the Royal Sanitary Institute, being a friend of L. Constantine, the West Indies test player, in his recreational pursuits he played cricket for Nelson in the Lancashire League, and should he need somewhere to live in his new appointment, at 4p.m. at the Conservative Club, on Thursday, August 31st Wallace A. Foll auctioned ‘Dun-romin’, a detached bungalow in Bletchley Road, adjoining the site of the proposed new Post Office. This was by the direction of Mr. C. Biggs, who was leaving the district, and the premises were eventually sold for £1,950.

A request had been made for the loan of the draft scheme map of Bletchley’s post war housing plans, and Councillors Callaway and Flack, together with the Clerk, were chosen to attend the Town and Country Planning Association conference on September 6th at Aylesbury. On the following day, at a meeting of the Highways and Works Committee the tender of W.J. Furze and Co. Ltd. of £95 was then accepted for carrying out repairs to the Refuse Destructor Chimney, and in other business the Northampton Electric Light Co. Ltd. would be asked to provide and erect four public lamps in Cottingham Grove. The Surveyor then submitted a number of plans which, approved as complying with the byelaws, would be forwarded to the County Planning Officer, for approval under Town Planning. Plan 1333 related to the factory buildings and layout of the Watling Street for the Industrial Magneto Co. Ltd., Plan 1334 for the one bedroom type house for the post war housing proposed by B.U.D.C. and for the same purpose Plan 1335 for the two bedroom type, Plan 1336 for the three bedroom, Plan 1337 the layout of the Brookdale Estate, Plan 1338 the layout of the Chestnuts Estate, Plan 1339 the layout of North Street (West), Plan 1340 the Eight Bells field, and Plan 1341 Westfield Road.

Since in the present road repair programme there had been no provision made for a footpath from the Water Eaton Co-op to Saffron Street, it was decided at the 8p.m. meeting of the Public Health Committee on September 12th that a slabbed path should be laid at an approximate cost of £200. At the Council meeting on the same evening the Clerk then gave a report on a notice received from N.U.P.E., stating that, (with an appropriate increase for female employees), the present bonus of 19s 6d a week had been increased to 24s a week from September 4th. As regarding public lighting, the Clerk had discussed with the local manager of the Northampton Electric Light Co. Ltd. the question of fittings for the new wartime lighting and with these to cost around £120, an order had now been placed.

Regarding the advance preparation of housing sites, by a letter dated September 18th in connection with the grouping of local authorities the Town Clerk, at Aylesbury, asked the Council to appoint representatives to attend an Aylesbury conference on October 3rd and with Councillors Wells and Mells duly chosen to go, the Clerk was authorised to vote on behalf of the Council. As for the houses already built in the town, by the instruction of the trustees of Louisa Williams, at the Conservative Club Wigley and Johnson were to auction 83, Bletchley Road, a semi detached property, on Friday, September 22nd, although the property was then advertised for sale, with immediate possession, for £1,250.

Housing in Bletchley had been fortunately little affected by enemy action but before the onset of winter 900,000 properties in London were now in need of urgent repair. ‘Londoners stood up to the attacks magnificently’, said the Minister of Labour and National Service, but in order to get the work done, he now made a personal appeal for men to take up voluntary, temporary skilled building work in the Capital.

Quite a while had now passed since the Council had ordered the equipment necessary to reinstate the pre-war street lighting. Difficulties with supply were the problem, but towards the end of September an improvement to the existing facilities had been achieved by removing the bottom of the ‘star-lights’, and inserting different bulbs. By mid October it was then hoped that with the new equipment installed, all the Bletchley streets would be lit - although only as the maximum allowed under the new Lighting Order - by an illumination 10 times greater than at present, and in fact a Home Office circular now permitted a full resumption of street lighting by the Council, but only within those areas where the lighting could be controlled by means of a master switch. Yet in a wise move, as a means to assist road safety the Council decided to retain a few lamps of low intensity, which would remain on should all the other lighting be switched off in the event of an alert. Presently the street lamps in the town were turned off at 11p.m., but the Highways Committee would shortly recommend that they should instead be left on by the Council until 1a.m., and this was a measure that would soon afterwards be taken.

In the middle of the month, a proposition in favour of interest free housing loans, to be raised by the issue of paper money, was adopted by B.U.D.C. whilst in other measures came the acceptance of a preliminary report on the new sewage works, with the continuing recommendation that, if possible, the Old Bletchley works should be demolished. As for the various plans regarding factory buildings in the Watling Street, as well as the layout of the Brookdale Estate, and the post war scheme for one, two, and three bedroom houses, since these had now been approved they would be sent to the Town Planning Officer. Indeed, for the post war housing opposite the present estate in North Street a site would be purchased by the Council by the end of September, although the scheme would claim the Service of Youth sports ground, and all the ground back to the railway. Also in danger of being claimed was the Eight Bells Field, for, acting as agents in the sale of the 12½ acre extent, James Martin and Co. of 8, Bank Street, Lincoln, said in a letter of September 27th that despite having previously written on September 1st and 23rd they had received no reply, and they were rather surprised that the field was required for post war housing since for the purpose of allotments a 10 year lease had been arranged from October 1st.

At a conference at Aylesbury, between the representatives of the local authorities in Buckinghamshire and the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Works, on October 3rd agreement was reached that the local authorities should be placed in a southern, central, and northern group, the northern group to comprise the urban districts of Bletchley and Newport Pagnell, the Borough of Buckingham, and the rural districts of Northampton and Towcester. Each group would appoint a Group Leader, responsible for making all the arrangements in connection with the area contract, and to generally act as Paymaster for the group area, and in this respect Bletchley was appointed for the ‘Northern Group’.

Having approved the plan for a coal barn for Mr. Cobb, at 4, Eaton Avenue, on matters less straightforward at the meeting of the Highways and Works Committee on Thursday, October 5th it was reported that the Ministry of War Transport were prepared to only permit the reconstruction of the part of Water Eaton Road from the Plough corner to Saffron Street, and the rest - to the junction with Buckingham Road - would have to wait until after the war. The Clerk and Mr. T. Orchard had therefore held discussions with the Regional Officer of the Ministry of War Transport as to having the remaining part of the road repaired now, although on a reduced grant basis - 50% instead of 66 2/3rds - and with this having been agreed, a further application would be made to the Ministry. As for the question of street lighting, in a report to the meeting of the A.R.P. Committee the Clerk said that the necessary cables and switches were now being installed, and from the Report Centre this would enable a central control of the system until the reinstitution of normal street lighting. As for the better spread of light, where necessary the height of the lamp poles would now be increased.

The Clerk had now discussed with the Ministry of Health the several layouts in connection with the Council’s post war housing programme, and although the situation of the proposed estate roads was approved, consideration of the house locations, and the house design, would be deferred until the new Surveyor had considered the suggestions contained in the new Housing Manual, recently issued. He would also have to consider rather more mundane matters, for there had been a further blockage in the sewer in Simpson Road, caused by unknown persons having illegally thrown offal into some part of the system. The matter was now with the police, and when appointed the new Surveyor would be tasked to implement ways of preventing any further nuisance.

That all Council property, except for the 1919 Housing Act Scheme, and the British Restaurant, should be increased 50% above the present fire risk cover was recommended at the Council meeting on Tuesday, October 10th. Also considered was the question of purchasing Manor Farm for building development, and this was the sequel to a recent deputation to the Council from the Bletchley Horticultural Society, submitted on their behalf by Hedley Clarke. This proposed that the portion of land nearer to Aylesbury Street should be included in the Council’s post war housing plans for development, with the lower portion reserved as a public open space, to be made available each year for the Bletchley Show and similar functions. In order for the Council to begin negotiations, the Clerk would approach the Ministry of Health, who, within a few weeks, then confirmed their acceptance. However, a letter was later received from the Regional Planning Officer stating that before he could approve the site at Manor Farm, he would need to know the number of houses to be built in the first two years of the post war period. 350 was the figure duly stated in reply.

Regarding the interest free loans for public built houses, following the recent U.D.C. debate, at 8p.m. in the Co-op Hall the Bletchley Co-op Education Committee held a public discussion on Thursday, October 26th, the matter no doubt being of keen interest to Mr. J. Smithie, the new Surveyor to B.U.D.C., who would take up his duties on December 1st.

By the end of October more land for housing had been purchased in Westfield Road, and featuring a bandstand, the old gravel pits were to be converted into gardens, with sites reserved for the town’s civic offices, public library, and community centre. At a future date, houses would then be built up to the Brooklands Road frontage, tobe joined up with the Brookdale Estate at Water Eaton. However, at Water Eaton there had been a problem during the year caused by overloading the ejector station, quite apart from flooding near the railway station, and therefore to cope with the proposed new developments, a scheme for dealing with the ejector station would be submitted in 1946.

In early November Mr. E.C. Cook asked the Council to carry out repairs and provide two public lamps in Church Walk, but since this was a private road the lamps could not be installed. Nevertheless, it was agreed that gravel would be spread on the 4 feet public right of way up Church Walk when the Surveyor took up his new position, and to further occupy his attention would be the problem of rubbish thrown into the sewage system, a piece of wood having recently caused a further blockage in Simpson Road.

At a cost not exceeding £400, land fronting Water Eaton Road had now been purchased from Mr. R.G. Bates. This would provide a link to Water Eaton Road from the proposed Westfield Road housing estate, regarding the purchase of which the Clerk was now making arrangements. In a letter dated November 7th the Ministry of Health then stated that on the understanding that the development of Manor Farm was included in the Council’s immediate post war housing scheme, the Minister had no objection to the District Valuer being asked to proceed with negotiations. However, this was subject to the land being declared free from objections on both planning and agricultural grounds by the Regional Planning Officer who, by a letter of November 9th, stated that before clearance could be given the number of houses within the first two years would need to be known, with the matter also referred to the Ministry of War Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In consequent progress, at the Public Health Committee meeting on November 9th the Clerk reported that a recent meeting of the Northern Group of local authorities had resolved that in connection with the construction of estate roads and sewers, the work should be put out to tender by February 1st 1945, with Mr. Smithie to be appointed as Engineer to carry out the required duties.

Indeed, as the new Surveyor, Architect, and Water Engineer, Mr. Smithie began his duties at the beginning of December and since the designs for the 382 houses, proposed by the Council, had not as yet been finally agreed, it was thought that he might have appropriate comments on design and cost, an indication of the latter having perhaps been suggested on Thursday, November 30th by the auction by Wigley and Johnson of 30, Newton Road. With the property purchased for £1,000 by Mr. Anderson, of Messrs. Anderson and Bugg, Veterinary Surgeons, of Aylesbury, for anyone having missed out on that particular opportunity, a couple of weeks later, on the instructions of Mrs. Shore the six roomed ‘Cliftonville’, 33, Newton Road, would then become available at auction, again via Wigley and Johnson, at the Conservative Club. At £1,100, the purchaser would be Mr. F. Harrison, of 118, Church Green Road.

With Mr. Smithie now settling into his duties, as per the recent agreement he would be asked at the Highways and Works Committee meeting on Thursday, December 7th to have the public footpath repaired at Church Walk, and the committee also considered the question of having the cycle track and footpath from North Street to Denbigh Road made up with a concrete surface. The Surveyor would obtain a price from the Hadsphaltic Construction Co. - who were now working in the district - and if the cost seemed reasonable, the work would be undertaken. However, the expense proved too great, and the track would be subsequently only patched, this and surface dressing being also the remedy where necessary on the roads of the district, following the Surveyor’s request.

At the Council meeting on Tuesday, December 12th the matter of sinking a new borehole at the Sandhouse Waterworks was considered, to augment the existing supply, and it was agreed that Mr. T. Richardson, of The Homestead, Buckingham Road, should be appointed as consultant. By a letter to the Clerk of the Council dated December 13th from Wallace Foll, it was then asked that since the Council had acquired the Brooklands Road Building Estate, they might also consider the purchase for £1,200 of four brick and slate freehold cottages, (1- 4, Water Eaton), between the Estate and Water Eaton Road, near the southern end of Brooklands Road. Let at a low rent for his employees, these belonged to Mr. J. Ramsbotham but the Council declined any interest. However, the Surveyor was authorised to purchase a builders level for £35 12s 8d, and for his additional work between September 1st and November 30th as Acting Surveyor to the Council, the Clerk would be granted £60. For Mr. G. Cheshire, Plan 1345 for a garage at 38, Church Green Road had now been submitted to the County Planning Officer and approved, and in preparations for the forthcoming development of the town, Mr. R. Hobourn had been paid £1,500, and Mr. E. Marchant £1,000, for housing land.

In fact regarding the more extensive development of the town, on Thursday, December 14th advance copies of the Greater London Plan were made available, proposing to expand the town to accommodate a population of 60,000 within 10 years. With the need to distribute the industry and population of London, the ultimate intention was to create a population density of 100 persons per acre, and as read a relevant extract from the Plan; ‘Bletchley is a very good transport centre, and important junction on the main L.M.S. line to the north-west, with an east and west line to Bedford, and thence connecting at Sandy with the L.N.E.R. to the north-east. The town is also served by Watling Street and the Grand Union Canal. The exact location of an expanded Bletchley is a matter of careful consideration. The best site will probably be found on the north-west or north-east of the present town, which is not residentially attractive and will require a good deal of rehabilitation and improvement in its shopping facilities etc.’




The year began with a need to recruit dance band musicians for the Fred Groom band which, although often engaged to play at local events, was not the entertainment provided at the Sunday evening concert for the Forces, held on January 4th in the Baptist Spurgeon church. Here, amongst the inspirational acts Mr. Wilson gave a selection of solos and monologues whilst at 7.45p.m. from January 7th dancing could be enjoyed every Wednesday at the Co-op Hall, and on the same day, as another popular pastime a bridge drive was held at the Conservative Club, admission 2s.

As for anyone preferring home comforts, for radio listeners the first edition of Desert Island Discs, compered by Roy Plomley, was broadcast on January 9th and as a means of boosting morale, ‘wireless’ entertainment proved increasingly effective. In fact it had been found that production significantly increased for at least an hour after each broadcast of the ‘Music While You Work’ programme which, for factory workers, had first introduced in June, 1940, as two half hour daily sessions of continuous music - one mid morning and one mid afternoon. During the year, a night session would then be added.

As well as foot tapping music, people could also indulge in foot tapping dance lessons at ‘Melville’, Shenley Road, where Miss C. Dell now offered tuition in ballet, tap and ballroom dancing. In fact perhaps these were useful skills for those members of the Forces who qualified for a reduced admission to the Grand Dance, in aid of Red Cross funds, which was held on Friday, January 16th at the Senior School, with the R.A.F. Dance Orchestra providing the music.

The ‘Sunday at 7.30 Concerts’ were being continued for H.M. Forces in the Baptist Hall, and on January 18th the performance featured Mr. T. Pacey on saxophone, and Mrs. White as vocalist. Also continuing were the bridge drives at the Conservative Club, including that on January 21st for the H.R.H. Duke of Gloucester Red Cross Fund and St. John Fund, at 7.15p.m. Then possibly for a more intellectual challenge, on Tuesday, January 27th a Bletchley Brains Trust occupied the platform of the Baptist Young People’s Fellowship meeting where the question master, Mr. E. Staniford, firstly gave a potted biography of each team member. As for the questions, these ranged from ‘Is psychology science or Tommy-rot?’ to ‘Why is the 4.40 from Wolverton always late?’ The competition was based on the format of the popular B.B.C. Brains Trust which, first broadcast on January 1st 1941, comprised a zoologist, a philosopher and a retired naval officer as the panellists!

Having been originally staged the previous November, by popular request a concert by Miss G. Weatherhead and Mr. C. Coleman was repeated at 7.30p.m. on Wednesday, February 4th, respectively in the Senior School hall and the Baptist School hall. Items included a ladies’ percussion band, solos, sketches and an attractive finale, entitled ‘To Our Allies’, and on Friday, February 6th for the benefit of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes a dance then took place at 8p.m. in the Senior Schools, Bletchley Road. Under the personal direction of Reg Heckford, this featured music by ‘The Five Rhythmists’, and at the same venue another dance took place on Saturday, February 14th from 7.45p.m. to 11.50p.m., with music on this occasion provided by the Melody Dance Band. As for the other musicians in the town, the Rhythmic Dance Band were ‘free for engagements’ at 69, Duncombe Street although it was the Blue Rhythm Band that were chosen as the musical entertainment for the Social Centre Grand Dance, held from 7.30p.m. until 11.50p.m.on Saturday, February 21st.

Staged at 3p.m. in the Senior School hall, on Sunday, February 22nd a Grand Brass Band Concert, organised by Lt. C. Pilcher, was given by the band of F Coy, 2nd Bucks. Battalion Home Guard, for the benefit of Mrs. Churchill’s ‘Aid to Russia Fund.’ A stirring programme of marches and other musical selections, conducted by Bandmaster A. Brooks, were featured but regarding other entertainments for reasons seemingly obscure it had been announced that cinemas would not be open on Good Friday, as they had in 1940 and 1941. However, to perhaps partially compensate a Grand Dance took place in the Senior School hall on Saturday, March 7th, 7.45.p.m – 11.45p.m., with admission priced 2s 6d, and Forces 1s 6d. The Melody Dance Band provided the music, and with the tickets obtained from Bollen’s tobacconist, Bletchley Road, proceeds would be for the St. John Ambulance Brigade. Then, from March 17th until 19th it proved the turn of the pupils to provide a concert in the School hall, with their entertainments generating monies for not only Warship Week, but also ‘to secure educational amenities not provided for by the County authorities.’

Conducted by Henry Smith, on Sunday, March 17th another programme of music was then staged by the Salvation Army band in the Studio car park, and the sum raised of £1 14s 8d would be applied to Red Cross funds. Elsewhere, held by members of Bletchley youth organisations a barn dance in the newly renovated Albert Street Pavilion was the first of a series that provided youngsters with an opportunity to improve their dancing skills, and perhaps nifty footwork was also in evidence on Friday, March 20th from 8p.m.-1a.m., when at the ever popular Senior School hall the 20th Special Constabulary dance took place. Tickets priced at 3s 6d, the Bucks. Police (Central Division) supplied the music.

Amongst the more unusual ‘entertainments’ were the political meetings occasionally held in the town, including ‘Key to Victory’ which, at 7.30p.m., was given at a public meeting in the Co-op Hall on Saturday, March 21st by Ernie Keeling and Clarinda Peto, both members of the Communist Party of Great Britain. However, such events unsurprisingly proved generally less popular than the conventional ‘amusements’, especially the ‘Sunday at 7.30 concert’ on March 22nd when, with the soldiers waiting on them, the ladies who every week had served the refreshments, gave a party in the Spurgeon Memorial hall.

Names of national renown were often engaged for local entertainments, and on Sunday, March 22nd the Coventry Hippodrome Orchestra, well known to radio fans, played at the well attended Studio, where Scouts and members of the staff performed the duties of the ushers and programme sellers. As for Bletchley Warship Week, at 7.30p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th this, with prizes being awarded in the form of Savings Certificates and stamps, included a whist drive at the Yeomanry Hall, and for the following day with herself as the compere Lorna Webster had arranged a 7.30p.m. concert in the Senior School hall, and included amongst the artists were Belle Chrystall, ‘stage, screen and radio star’, and Ernest Elliot’s ‘Living Marionettes’.

For the Police Dance, on Friday, March 27th the music was provided by Reg Millman and his Paramount Players and presented by the Park Drama Group, on Saturday, March 28th the Bletchley Warship Week closed with a Grand Finale Concert at 7.30p.m. in the Senior School hall. However, competition for the event was provided by a public meeting held in the Co-op Hall by Ben Bradley - ‘the noted Communist authority on Colonial affairs’ - who, as a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Bletchley Branch, spoke on the subject of ‘India and the Colonial Question.’

At the Spurgeon Baptist church, the second year of the Sunday ‘troop concerts’ concluded on March 29th with the 30th show of the season, and the local performers, and the ladies who, under Mrs. S. Whitlock, managed the catering, were all cheered before the epilogue was given. Nevertheless, there remained many other entertainments to keep residents and military personnel amused, and performing to an appreciative attendance on Thursday, April 9th Bletchley Musical Society presented Handel’s ‘Samson’, in the Senior School hall. Taking part were Miss Mary Hamlin, soprano (B.B.C.), and also appearing by courtesy of the B.B.C., was Wilfred Puttick, as tenor. Ending the month the Park Drama Group then gave an excellent concert which concluded with a well received ‘There’ll always be a Bletchley’, a clever paraphrase of the popular song applied to prominent traders and people in the town.

In the Bletchley Road Senior School hall a dance raised money for the junior and senior schools on Saturday, April 11th and with the staff combining to help with the refreshments, music was provided by the Melody Makers Band. Again in the Senior School hall, the Bletchley Evening Institute Dramatic Society then presented at 7.30p.m. ‘The Romantic Age’, by A. A. Milne, on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14th and 15th and with the proceeds destined for the Bucks. Welfare Fund for Troops, music was provided by a radiogram. As for another novelty, ‘A Novelty Dance’ at the Yeomanry Hall took place on Saturday, April 18th from 8p.m. - 11.45p.m., admission 2s, Forces 1s.

Shown in the Studio on Sunday, April 19th, a Ministry of Information film included Russian scenes of besieged Odessa, and at the arcade of the Bletchley & District Co-op Society in Bletchley Road the Soviet influence was again locally evident when, having been moved from town to town, the Russian photographs and cartoons, presented by Stalin to Lord Beaverbrook on his visit to Moscow, were shown.

At the Senior School hall, at 7.30p.m. on Friday, April 24th in aid of the local Red Cross the Blue Rhythm Swingtet provided music for a dancing display and concert, and amongst the artists were included Lorna Webster, soprano, Cynthia Dell, ‘Danseuse’, and, as banjoist, Terry Harrison, who, having previously been their employee at Market Harborough, was the manager of the local branch of Lloyd’s Bank. Well known in local concerts, his skills on the banjo had been already recognised by the B.B.C. in several radio broadcasts, but unfortunately in 1945 at the early age of 59 he would die suddenly at his home ‘Bowden’, in Denbigh Road. Apart from his musical skills he was also an expert model maker, and his son, John, would finish some of his work for entry after the war at the exhibitions of the Bletchley Model Making Club.

Opened by Mr. Goodwin, Chairman of the Education Committee and President of the Society, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, April 24th, 25th and 26th, from 3p.m. to 8p.m. the Bletchley Artists Group Exhibition of paintings, drawings and poster work, was held in the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, under the auspices of the Educational Committee of the Bletchley & District Co-op. Some 150 local works of art were displayed, and with the exhibition proving a great success, local work included that by Mr. L. A. Grainger-Cox, and sketches by the talented Mr. A. Perry, a ticket collector at Bletchley station. Mr. A. Duffield lent an interesting painting of St. Martin’s church, dated around 1813, and members of 456 A.T.C. Bletchley Squadron provided a detailed display of scale model aircraft.

By now many members of the Bletchley Evening Institute Dramatic Society were serving in the Forces, but nevertheless the Society managed to put on a well received three act play, ‘Romantic Age’, by A. A. Milne. This was the first play under the direction of Miss Robinson, who had taken over the responsibility some two years ago, and Kay Rigby, a W.A.A.F. corporal, stole the show with her portrayal of the romantic Malisande, ‘lost in her own dreams.’ The Co-op had lent the furniture, and profits were for the Bucks. Welfare Fund for Troops.

For the St. Martin’s church restoration fund, produced by Mrs. Lorna Webster a Variety Concert was held at 7.30p.m on Wednesday, April 29th whilst with music by Vera Stapleton’s Rhythmic Band, from 8p.m. – 11.50p.m. a grand dance took place on Saturday, May 2nd at the Social Centre, which, as an occasion for ‘novelty dances’ and spot prizes, also proved the venue for a dance on Saturday, May 16th, featuring the Blue Rhythm Swingtet.

Again at the Social Centre, with music by the Rhythm Dance Band, (Watford), a dance took place on Friday, May 29th from 7.30p.m. -11.50p.m., and on Friday and Saturday May 29th and 30th the ‘Parkites’ faced a spate of gentle satire from rank and file members of the W.A.A.F. and Army. This was the third ‘Blue & Khaki’ revue, and the highlight of the evening would be ‘Uniform Thoughts on the Park’, presented by Corporal Kay Rigby and Pilot Officer Moyse, which directed shrewd digs at ‘our Bayswater visitors.’ The production had been written and devised by members of the Forces of whom none were above the rank of N.C.O., and despite a recent increase in the price of cinema tickets, and the abolition of the half price system for the Forces, the large attendance by an enthusiastic audience seemed to confirm the continuing popularity of such events. Raising a sum of around £3,000, through the Bletchley Park Drama Group the ‘Parkites’ staged several quality productions during the war, and many were arranged by Major Douglas Jones who, as Mr. Jones, a schoolteacher in civilian life, had personal experience of performing, having sung at the pier end, Weston Super Mare, in the summer of 1938!

In the Yeomanry Hall, a dance on Saturday, May 30th raised £34 15s for the local P.O.W. Fund, and the Bletchley Evening Institute Drama Society then gave their third performance of A. A. Milne’s ‘The Romantic Age’ on Wednesday, June 3rd. Proceeds were for the Boy Scouts Baden Powell Memorial Fund but in view of the financial burdens imposed by the war, the money would be lent to the Government until the duration. Featuring music by the Rhythm Aces Dance Band, with admission by ticket - 3s for P.O. staff and 2s for members of the Forces - the staff of the Bletchley post office held a flannel dance in the Bletchley Road Schools on Friday, June 5th, 9p.m. - 1a.m. and since Central Gardens had been deemed too small, it was now decided by B.U.D.C. to hold three band concerts in Leon Rec. The Home Guard Band being asked to play, one concert would be given on United Nations Sunday, June 14th, and in fact the Home Guard Band had offered to give concerts in July, August and September, for which they would hire Colonel Whiteley’s portable bandstand!

Aiming to ‘Support the Anglo-Soviet Treaty’, at 7.30p.m. the Soviet film ‘Conquerors of the North’ was shown on Friday, June 26th in the Co-op Hall and elsewhere, associated with the British Puppet & Model Theatre Guild, Bletchley Road Junior School was the setting for concerts performed on Monday, June 29th, Tuesday June 30th, and Thursday July 2nd. The plays had been written by both the headmaster, Mr. W. Crisp, and Miss E. Clark, and with the percussion band providing a musical selection, also included was a display of P.T. Events then concluded with terrific applause for Mr. Crisp who, on being presented with an electric table lamp and a bouquet of flowers, said in response that by spending 12 years in a slum school in Birmingham, he had received the finest possible training for a teacher.

For the benefit of the Bletchley Red Cross Working Party, a recital by Maurice Cole on the pianoforte (London Promenade Concerts and B.B.C.), assisted by Sheridan Russell, violoncello, was given on Friday, July 3rd at 8p.m. in Bletchley Senior School hall. Available from Weatherheads, tickets, ‘reserved and numbered’, were priced at 3s 6d, 2s 6d, and unreserved 1s 6d, and perhaps for the audience the participation of Sheridan proved quite an attraction, for with his musical competence evidenced by having been the spare man of the Lener String Quartet, as ‘a genuine Bletchley Park eccentric’ he had ‘an unusual personality’ and a gypsy like appearance!

The A.T.C. held their dance in the Senior School hall at 8p.m. on Friday, July 10th with music by the Blue Rhythm Band, and at a meeting on July 14th it was decided that for the remainder of the summer the members of the Public Health Committee should be the sub committee for preparing suitable schemes of outdoor entertainment. A maximum of £50 would be allowed for this purpose, and at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday, July 21st the following were duly agreed from the various suggestions;

‘Period of Entertainments - it being advised to arrange the events during August.’

Concert Platform and Situation - the Surveyor to be asked to arrange for the erection of a wooden platform, with a suitable covering, in a convenient position in Leon rec.

Agreement of the following programme of events, with the Clerk to make the necessary enquiries and bookings;

Monday August 3rd. Dance band preceded by a Punch and Judy show.

Wednesday August 5th. Concert, with with Mrs. Webster’s party.

Saturday August 8th. Dance band.

Wednesday August 12th. Concert, with Miss Weatherhead’s Percussion Band.

Saturday August 15th. Dance band.

Wednesday August 19th. Marionette show.

Saturday August 22nd. Dance band, preceded by junior percussion concert.

Wednesday August 26th. Concert, with the Bletchley Park concert party.

Saturday August 29th. Dance band and concert, with artistes from London.

As for those entertainments already scheduled, admission free, the band of the 2nd Bucks. Battalion, Home Guard gave their concert in Leon Rec. on Sunday, July 26th, 7.30p.m.-9p.m., and the staff of Bletchley post office now announced their second Flannel Dance, to be held in Bletchley Road Senior School hall on Friday, July 31st from 9p.m. - 1a.m. Providing the music would be the Rhythm Aces Dance Band and with admission by ticket only, priced at 3s these were appropriately available from the Aylesbury Street and Bletchley Road post offices. Featuring the Blue Rhythm Swingtet, in the Senior School hall a dance in aid of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes took place on Saturday, August 1st at 8p.m., and another dance was held at the Co-op Hall on Bank Holiday Monday, August 3rd, this being also the date for a holiday show and sports which, staged by the London Brick Co., raised over 10guineas for the local Troop Comforts Fund. In connection with the Government’s Stay at Home Holiday Scheme, the free outdoor public entertainments were now about to commence - ‘Consult the posters at the entrance to the Recreation Ground for particulars of dates and types of entertainment’ - and, as previously agreed, future attractions would include concerts, marionettes, Punch & Judy shows, and dances. The events would take place in Leon Rec. but should the weather prove unfavourable, then a transfer to St. Martin’s Hall would be made. Amongst the activities on Thursday, August 6th Vera Stapleton’s Dance Band performed with local artists from 7.30p.m., and on Saturday, August 8th from 7.15p.m. Ron Pearson’s Blue Rhythm Band performed with various variety artists. On Wednesday, August 12th Vera Stapleton’s Dance Band was again then featured, at a concert arranged and compered by Lorna Webster, with local artists. As for more studious amusement, due to the many requests following the recent art exhibition in the Co-op Hall, the Bletchley & District Co-op Society Education Committee was to now inaugurate an Art Class, and on Monday, August 17th enrolment would take place at 7.15p.m. in the Co-op Hall. Mr. H. Sellen, the well-known animal painter, had agreed to the tutorship of the class, with many of his paintings having already been exhibited.

North Bucks Times

The 2nd Battalion Home Guard Band attracted a numerous crowd to Leon Rec. with their concert on Sunday, August 23rd, and towards the end of the month in the Yeomanry Hall the latest dance for the benefit of Bletchley P.O.W.s raised £40. Vera Stapleton’s Band provided the music and with competitions arranged, the prizes included apples given by Mrs. Neale, with the funds also assisted by 4s 6d raised by Ruth Shaw, who had sold buttonholes at the Grammar School. Continuing the B.U.D.C. ‘Stay at Home Holidays Free Entertainments’, on Wednesday, August 26th at 7p.m. Charles Wreford, of the B.B.C.’s ‘Pig & Whistle’, then starred in ‘Granfers Gaieties’, staged by courtesy of the Bletchley & District Co-op Society Education Committee, and on Saturday, August 29th at 6p.m. Punch & Judy and ventriloquism featured from 8p.m. - 11p.m. Including guest artists, the Grand Finale by Vera Stapleton’s Band took place in St. Martin’s Hall, whilst on Friday, August 28th the Blue Rhythm Dance Band announced the first of a series of dances in the Social Centre, from 8p.m. - 12p.m. The art class of the Bletchley Co-op Society Education Committee made a good start on Tuesday, September 22nd, with 23 pupils, including several members of the Forces, having enrolled for a seven month course. At a cost of 2s 6d or 5s, depending upon the student’s age, the pupils were provided with drawing equipment, and pencils and paper could be purchased at cost. The full choir of 60 voices was conducted by Mr. F. Bates J.P. on Sunday, September 27th at the Spurgeon Memorial hall, when at 6p.m. a performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ was given. The occasion duly received an enthusiastic reception from the audience of around 850 people, and with four well known B.B.C. singers undertaking the solo parts, the performers received a standing ovation for their delivery. The third post office staff dance was then held in Bletchley Road Senior School hall on Friday, October 9th from 9p.m. until 1a.m. and with music by the Rhythm Aces, tickets priced at 3s for staff and 2s for Forces were, as usual, available from the Aylesbury Street and Bletchley post offices. Having been previously arranged by the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church, under the direction of the Bletchley United Christian Council a new series of troop concerts began on Saturday, October 10th in St. Martin’s Hall, and included amongst the audience at the concert on Sunday, October 18th was a member of the U.S. Army. Also for uniformed members of the Forces, a dance would now be held every Wednesday and Friday at the Co-op Hall, from 7.50p.m. to 11.15p.m. - admission 1s, Forces 9d, with those on Fridays also open to the public. As for 456 Squadron A.T.C., for the benefit of the Squadron Welfare Fund their second dance was held in Bletchley Road Senior School hall on Friday, October 23rd.

During early November, anyone interested in forming a Poetry Reading Society was invited to contact Margery Still, of ‘Highfields’, Manor Road, but for those of a different inclination, they could instead visit John Studt’s amusement park, which had now arrived at the ‘fair field’, adjoining the cattle market. Features included a dodgem track, Noah’s Ark roundabout, and ‘a host of sideshows’, and the park would be open from Friday, November 13th from 6p.m. to 10p.m., ( Saturday 2.30p.m.), in the large black out tent. Early in the month, sadly Mr. William Muckley, of 5, Windsor Street, died, having in local musical circles been a well known personality. A native of Crewe, employed on the railways he transferred to Bletchley 44 years ago, and founding and conducting many of his own choirs, these became sufficiently proficient to perform at the All England eisteddfods. His first choir was held at the Albert Street Methodist church, and amongst the others would be the Railways Children’s Choir, which broadcast on the original B.B.C. wavelength 2LO from Savoy Hill. The intended concert party being unable to attend, for the troop concert in St. Martin’s Hall a programme was instead improvised and compèred on Sunday, November 8th by Mr. G. Gaylor. However, four members of Mrs. Webster’s concert party - Vera Stapleton, (pianist and dance band leader), Billy Jones, (accordionist), Doug Beery, (drummer), and Jean Langley, (vocalist) - had now accepted E.N.S.A. contracts, and would consequently tour the country with Geraldo, (Graham Bright), and his orchestra. Formed in 1939, E.N.S.A. stood for Entertainments National Service Association, and perhaps it is best not to dwell on the alternative interpretation; ‘Every Night Something Awful’! Now new talent had to be locally sought for the troop concerts, although as an alternative entertainment the Sunday opening of cinemas was presently being considered by the Council who, at a meeting on November 10th, resolved ‘That this Council is of the opinion, having regard to the general wellbeing of the town, it is desirable as a wartime measure that the cinemas should be opened on Sundays and suggest to the Officer Commanding of the district that he should take the necessary initial steps to that end.’ Yet nevertheless, the troop concerts remained popular and arranged and compèred by Mr. C. Stevens that on Sunday, November 15th included not only the choir of Bletchley Road Methodist church but also violin recitals and recitations. Then on the following day a concert for the Red Cross by Mrs. Webster’s now depleted concert party took place in the High Street Schools, and amongst the items were included monologues by Peggy Sharpe, ballet dances by Cynthia Dell, and, performed by Mr. A. Duffield, some comic songs. Hopefully he had not learned these whilst at school, for in the 1890s a local schoolmaster had been fired for teaching ‘trashy songs’ to the boys, unfortunately as witnessed by an education officer during a school inspection!

Mr. William Muckley's Railway Choir. - R. Cook

On Monday evening November 23rd under the chairmanship of Mr. E. Callaway a committee, set up to arrange entertainment for Bletchley war workers, was attended by representatives from many local firms, and with Mr. Callaway elected as Chairman, and Mr. F. Jones (Billeting Officer) as Secretary, the possibility of an E.N.S.A. concert was also discussed. A sub-committee would then investigate if a hall could be obtained for use as a social club. At the Senior School hall, in aid of the B.M.S. Medical Mission in China a Variety Concert, arranged by Miss Gertie Weatherhead, took place at 7.30p.m. on Friday, November 27th and included a ladies’ percussion band, instrumental and vocal solos, monologues, and a spectacular finale entitled ‘The Spirit of the British Empire’. On the next day, for the benefit of the P.O.W. Local Forces Christmas Parcels Fund a variety concert arranged and compèred by Lorna Webster was held in the Yeomanry Hall, and the four hours of varied entertainment met with an enthusiastic reception. However, to discuss the formation of a Town Band only a few people had attended a meeting on Wednesday, November 25th and enthusiasm seemed further lacking when, presiding, Mr. F. A. Bates, Chairman of B.U.D.C., said that although the old instruments and uniforms might still be available, there could be no financial help. On this disappointing note the year then drew to a close with, on Monday, December 21st, a private dance in aid of Dr. Barnardo’s held at 8p.m. in the clubroom of the Park Hotel, (a venue popular with many Americans from the air base at Cheddington), and on Sunday, December 27th the Blue Rhythm Dance Band entertaining an audience of service men and women in St. Martin’s Hall.



With profits destined for the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund, the year began with a revue entitled ‘Confidential Waste’ presented, in 16 short sketches, by the Bletchley Park Dramatic Group. Performed to an appreciative audience, this took place in the Senior School hall, and on the first Saturday of the New Year a fancy dress ball was staged in the Yeomanry Hall. However, only one dancer turned up in fancy dress, to be appropriately awarded first prize!

2nd Lieutenant D. Cook being the adjutant, an Army Cadet Force dance was then held in the Senior Schools on Friday, January 8th. The Melody Makers Band provided the music whilst on January 17th, under the direction of William Pethers at 2.45p.m. the Coventry Hippodrome Orchestra played ‘classics and swing’, at a Grand Orchestral Concert for the benefit of the Bucks. Police Widows’ & Orphans’ Fund. Charles Gee, Bletchley’s very own composer, sang ‘Our Mr. Churchill’, his own composition, , Miss Helene Caine, ‘the famous broadcaster’, performed musical comedy memories, and Ken Astbury, ‘a crooner’, crooned popular tunes. The event was staged at the Studio, and although this would be only a wartime measure, following attempts by B.U.D.C. to arrange the opening of local cinemas on Sundays, the Clerk at a recent meeting of the Council reported that from the Officer Commanding the troops in the Bletchley area, he had now received the required certificate.

£7 14s 4d having, through the organisation of a party of carol singers, been raised for the P.O.W. fund by Mr. & Mrs. H. G. Faulkner, they, with Mr. Faulkner as the compère, and ‘Alf’ and his accordion leading the community singing, also arranged a Sunday concert party in St. Martin’s Hall. The event proved pleasingly well attended by members of the Forces and war workers, and also continuing to be well attended were the amenities at Central Gardens although due to the unsightly appearance of waste paper being thrown into the ornamental lake, this was now to be infilled with soil, until a review of the situation could be made after the war.

Regarding the Sunday opening of cinemas, following the public notice of the intention to submit a draft order to the Secretary of State, the Council, at a meeting on Tuesday, February 9th, received and considered representations against the proposal by the Baptist Spurgeon church, Freeman Memorial church, and Bletchley United Christian Council. Attending the meeting, the Reverend A. Yates was allowed to put forward the objections, although the motion would proceed nevertheless.

With Oliver Wells in the chair, during February the opening of a social club was decided at the Council Offices by a meeting of representatives from Bletchley firms and organisations. The primary object was to provide general entertainment for workers, and one room would be set aside for rest purposes. Having seen the achievement in other districts, Miss Bezzant, Welfare Officer for the Ministry of Information, said that she fully realised the need for something similar in Bletchley, and with a full time warden to be appointed to organise the activities, the club would be open all day and every day for the benefit of shift workers. The Ministry of Labour were prepared to release the Temperance Hall in George Street as a clubroom, and with Mr. H. Jones appointed as Secretary of the Committee, this would operate until the official opening of the centre, when on the formation of a council, a new committee would be elected.

In the Social Centre, at a Sunday concert given by Lorna Webster’s party the audience included a large number of soldiers, W.A.A.F.s, and war workers, and amongst the entertainments the inimitable Mr. Charles Gee performed his own compositions. Alfred Duffield sang humorous songs, and the talented Bernard Brown - elected to full country membership of the Magicians Club, London - conjured. Meanwhile, resident at the Lantern, Bletchley Road, Mr. J. Taylor, manager of the Studio, had conjured up the sum of £39 18s 4d for the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund. This had been raised by a collection taken during a showing of ‘In Which We Serve’, and the potential for further amounts was later enhanced by B.U.D.C. when, after a lively debate, by a vote of eight to three a decision was taken to request Parliamentary sanction for the opening of local cinemas on Sundays. Indeed, the House of Commons would grant a subsequent approval, but only on condition that for distribution to ‘charitable objects’ a weekly contribution of ¾d a seat was paid to the County Cinematograph. In consequence, the Home Office confirmed approval by a letter dated March 1st, and on March 3rd indicating the terms and conditions on which the licences would be issued, the Clerk of the County Council sent a letter to the two local cinemas.

Of the ‘Sunday at 7.30’ programmes held at the Baptist School hall, in early March the organisers received on behalf of the ‘boys who used to be in Bletchley’ a long letter from Private Fred Marsden, who wrote; ‘We still retain pleasant memories of all of you who helped entertain us on those Sunday night at 7.30 series.’ ‘What would we give to be sitting in the Baptist Schoolroom, especially at about half past eight, when the cakes and buns and all those things we now miss very much came round.’ In fact one of the men still had the caricatures he sketched during the performances, which were undoubtedly occasions that helped to raise local morale. Also boosting the local mood were the facilities at the Bletchley Workingmen’s Club where, as was proudly announced at the annual meeting, an increase of £2,000 in the bar takings now made a total for the year of £11,392, enabling £850 to be paid off the Club’s mortgage.

Arranged by the Bletchley Park Recreational Club Musical Society, the renowned Griller String Quartette gave a concert in the Senior School hall, and the hall was also the venue for a C.E.M.A., (Council for the Encouragement of Music & the Arts), Concert, which took place on Thursday, March 25th, at 7.30p.m. A plan of the seating had been displayed at Mr. T. Papworth’s shop, in Aylesbury Street, and featuring the Bletchley Musical Society, the event also included Murray Davis, baritone, Rita Sharpe, cello, and Phyllis Spurr, piano. In fact as opposed to E.N.S.A., C.E.M.A. promoted a more ‘highbrow’ form of entertainment and indeed had taken over the funding of a number of major orchestras, including the L.S.O.

At the Social Centre, on Friday April 9th a total of £14 8s was raised by the last of a series of concerts for war workers’, and compèred by the well-known local comedian, Monty Bond, the proceeds, and those of a previous concert, would benefit the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund. As for anyone of musical aspirations, a piano accordion was now for sale, with case, at 5, Water Eaton Road whilst at the Garden Café, at 97, Bletchley Road, a piano player and piano could be purchased for £150, ‘or o.n.o’.

Towards the end of the month, with the names of the players, as usual, remaining anonymous, the Bletchley Park Drama Group began rehearsals for Pride & Prejudice, to be staged in the Senior School hall. The proceeds would be applied to the P.O.W. Educational Books Fund, which enabled prisoners to study for examinations, and as for the proceeds from their New Year Revue, these were now divided as £102 6s to the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund, and £29 11s 6d to Mrs. Churchill’s Aid to Russia Fund. For causes more local, for the service funds a rummage sale and white elephant stall was then held at the Yeomanry Hall on Saturday, May 1st, followed by a poultry whist drive and a skittle tournament for a pig.

Regarding the Stay at Home Holiday Programme, at a meeting of the Public Health Committee on Friday, May 14th proposals were considered, and a programme drawn up. It was suggested that events should be held from the third week in June until the third week in August, and for the purpose it was suggested that a temporary brick and concrete platform should be erected in Leon Rec, and remain there for the whole of the summer.

On both Thursday, May 20th and Saturday, May 22nd at 7.30p.m. members of the Bletchley Park staff staged a concert for the Adopted Ship Fund at Bletchley Road Senior School, and there would be a division of the proceeds between the purchase of a plaque, to be presented by the town to the ship, and the Comfort Fund for the ship’s crew.

Now to be formed in Bletchley was, if sufficient numbers could be found, a Rhythm Club, and as an indication of the freedoms for which the nation was fighting, since under the Nazi regime anyone of similar interests could be sent to the concentration camps, persons with an interest in jazz were invited to contact John Stanley, at 26, Manor Road. Perhaps meetings could be held at St. Martin’s Hall, where to mark the final discharge of the debt on the premises a supper and social took place at the end of May. However, the discovery of damage caused to play equipment in the Recreation ground then somewhat subdued the celebration, and the matter was further compounded by the difficulty in obtaining repair materials. For information that lead to the conviction of those concerned, a reward of £1 would be subsequently offered

On a more constructive theme, preliminary preparations for the proposed boating and fishing pools in Western Road were now complete, with - following the arrangement of a free tip for a contractor working in the neighbourhood, and also by an adjustment of the arrangements for controlled tipping - the work having been carried out free of charge. Kathy Parker being the secretary of the Bletchley Park Social Committee, again towards recreational amenities in June the possibility of a social club in the town was discussed at a Tuesday meeting of the Council, and the matter had arisen from a letter sent by the Bletchley Park Recreational Club, which described the social advantage afforded to service and civilian members by their club.

At a meeting of the Council on June 8th a letter from Bucks. County Council was considered which listed those charities intended to benefit from the Sunday opening of cinemas in the town. After discussion, the list was then approved and, with the Bucks. Discharged Prisoners Aid Society having been additionally suggested, would shortly be finalised as Northampton General Hospital 20%, Bedford Hospital 10%, Bletchley Nursing Association 20%, St. John Ambulance Brigade 15%, Red Cross 11%, Welfare for Troops 10%, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmens Society 5%, Bucks. Association for the Blind 3%, Bucks. Association for the Care of Mental Defectives 3%, and the Oxford Diocesan Council, North Bucks. Division 3%.

From the Public Health Committee, the previous report stating that ‘holiday at home’ entertainments should be held from the third week in June was now adopted by the Council, and Captain Mells, Chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Council, would be asked to prepare a programme. As suggested, by means of a temporary brick and concrete platform, a concert platform and bandstand was to be constructed in Leon Rec., and an invitation would be sent to the Home Guard and Bletchley Town bands asking them to play.

Prior to the ‘holiday’ programme a Grand Variety Concert, arranged and compered by Lorna Webster, took place at 7.30p.m. in the Senior School hall on Friday, June 25th and amongst the featured artists were Ernest Elliott and his Living Marionettes, local lad Terry Harrison, ‘of B.B.C. fame’, and Gerald Heighton, billed no less as ‘the young Fred Astaire.’ On Wednesday, June 30th to an initial broadcast in the recreation ground of light classics and dance the Bletchley Holidays at Home programme then began but although some couples danced, for a large assembly the conditions proved unfavourable. Yet, a couple of days later there was certainly a large assembly when Peter Pears, the well-known radio tenor, who had recently appeared in the Sadlers Wells’ production of Rigoletto, was the star attraction at the Bletchley Park Recreational Club Choral Society’s performance of Handel’s Acis & Galatea, and continuing the activities, the Jollities Concert Party would perform on Saturday, July 17th, the OK Concert Party on Thursday, 22nd and on Sunday, 25th the Wolverton Home Guard band.

At the end of the month, after an absence of a year and a half a welcome return was made by Fred Groom and his band, which now once again included Mr. George Carpenter, a player in the band before the war. He was back in his former role as saxophonist, having been discharged from military service due to the wounds sustained when an 88mm shell hit the tank that he was commanding in North Africa. The reunited band then played at a Saturday dance at the Social Centre, and with the singing of Miss Olive Leeds proving especially popular, also popular were the novels of Dorothy Sayer, who told the Bletchley Ruri-decanal conference that churches were empty today ‘because of the platitudes that were being preached and they would be emptier still if the truth was preached.’

North Bucks Times

On Saturday, August 28th the Bletchley Community Centre in George Street (the Temperance Hall) was officially opened at 3.30p.m. by W. Blakiston, Regional Controller, Ministry of Labour & National Service, and in the evening a concert by the Jollities concert party took place at 7p.m., followed by a dance at 9p.m. with admission for the concert priced at 1s, and the dance at 1s 6d. With Mr. F. Bates as Chairman, and Mr. H. Jones as Honorary Secretary, the management of the centre came under a local committee, and the idea had in fact locally aroused the interest of many firms, whose workers paid a subscription of 4d a week, or 2d if under 18. If aged over 14, other people could also become members for a weekly payment of 6d, or 3d if aged under 18, and membership was eventually expected to be around 800. Attractions would include two billiards tables, table tennis, darts, draughts, etc. and it was also hoped to start an amateur dramatic society and debating clubs. In addition, concerts and dances would be a feature, with light refreshments and baths obtainable on the premises. For the Bletchley Senior School hall, an application was now granted for the necessary music and dance licence for a Red Cross dance, whilst with ‘the lighting and scenery as usual beyond reproach’, as the first event at the new Assembly Hall, in Wilton Avenue, ‘the talented and anonymous’ Bletchley Park Drama Group produced a three act play by Edward Percy and Reginald Denham, ‘Ladies in Retirement’. This was for the benefit of Lady Cripps’ Aid to China Fund, and also on the question of China, with a view to the formation of a local committee, to work on behalf of the organisation, the Council would shortly receive a letter from the Area Organiser of the United Aid to China Fund, asking if a public meeting could be called. In consequence it would then be duly resolved that a public meeting to consider the matter would be held at the Council Offices on November 23rd, at 7.15p.m. Staged at the Social Centre, a Grand Dance took place on Saturday, September 18th, with - ‘featuring all his latest hits’ - the music provided by Fred Groom and his band, and since such events always proved popular, perhaps it was just as well that the Centre now had two marquees available, 30feet x 18feet, although these were now being offered for sale ‘with accessories.’

The Bletchley Odeon Cinema Club opened at the County Cinema on Saturday, December 11th. Club members were allowed free entry on their birthadys, with the occasion marked by a card sent from Odeon Theatres Ltd. - North Bucks Times

In view of her present commitments, of arranging several concerts and cabarets for the autumn, the principal, Miss Dell, now asked those pupils taking Saturday morning ballet and tap dancing classes at the Co-op Hall to contact her, and also on an artistic theme, the Bletchley Evening Institute Art Classes would now resume at the Bletchley Road schools on Friday October 8th, 7.30p.m. until 9.30p.m. They would be under the direction of Mr. H. Sellen, the artist of international repute, and also of a certain renown was Mr. A. Thomson, the ‘Strolling Commentator’ of the Radio Times, who, paying a visit to the town on Wednesday, 13th October, spoke, ‘admission free’, on current events at 7.30p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue. The population might also be entertained by a series of public lectures on local government which, arranged by the Co-op Education Committee, would be held at 7.30p.m. in the Co-op Hall from Thursday, 14th October. Forthcoming topics would include ‘Post-war development of Bletchley’, which was to be given by Mr. A. Bates, the Engineer & Surveyor of B.U.D.C., on December 9th. At the Studio, for employment as usherettes women and young girls were now required, and for one young girl a party was given one Tuesday evening by Mr. and Mrs. Papworth in the Swan Hotel, on the occasion of their daughter’s 21st birthday. With some 45 guests attending, they were suitably entertained by a selection of songs from Mr. A. Duffield . Public dancing now took place at the Community Centre, George Street, every Tuesday, from 8.15p.m. to 11.15p.m., and with the Melody Dance Trio providing the music, admission was priced at 1s. On November 27th to the music of Fred Groom and his band a dance then took place at the Social Centre, admission 2s 6d, or Forces in uniform 1s 6d, whilst for the more intellectual, they might prefer the lantern talk on ‘Hitler Over Europe’, given in the Senior school at 3p.m., on Sunday, December 5th by the celebrated writer and traveller Bernard Newman. Admission was free, although children were not allowed. However, having been awarded a B.B.C. audition, the appearance of the younger generation was certainly appreciated at the Bletchley Senior School Choir Concert held, for one night only, on Monday, December 6th in the large hall where Rita Sharpe featured on the ‘cello, Phyllis Spurr on the piano, and Murray Davies sang as baritone. Proceeds would be for the school welfare fund, and also for the children’s welfare the Odeon National Cinema Club for boys and girls opened on Saturday, December 11th at the County Cinema. Concluding the year, at 7.30p.m. a Variety Concert then took place at Bletchley Community Centre, George Street, on Thursday, December 16th at 7.30p.m., featuring a marionette show and several vocal items amongst the entertainments.



As a Ministry of Labour scheme, after four months of existence the Bletchley Community Centre, with about 350 members, had, in the words of the warden, ‘passed the first phase in the experimental stage of its development’, and whilst the warden held charge of the Centre, a Committee elected by the members took responsibility for discipline. A Canteen Committee dealt with the catering, and activities on Sundays and Mondays were reserved for the under 20s. A public dance was held on Tuesdays, educational pursuits, to include lectures and debates, on Wednesdays, musical appreciation on Thursdays, a public whist drive on Fridays, and on Saturdays a family night social took place, to which parents could bring their children. However, now a greater percentage of older members was required, and since the Warden, Mr. H. Mort, was of the opinion that on recreation there seemed too much emphasis, and not enough on education, he would design a New Year programme to attract more people to the Centre. Since the financial situation was presently satisfactory, towards this intention the yearly subscription would be reduced by 16s to 10s, and for enhancing the Centre’s appeal it was proposed to temporarily remove one of the billiard tables, and replace it with table tennis. Also, the adjoining hut would be kept as a games room, with the main hall reserved as a reading and rest room.

As for other entertainments, one Friday at the beginning of January for five performances the Bletchley Park Recreational Club produced ‘an excellent show’ in the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue. At 7.45p.m. on Saturday, January 29th a whist drive, with a top prize of £1, then took place in the Yeomanry Hall in aid of the A.T.C., and in fact on the same day, and at the same time, the event rivalled a dance held at the Social Centre which, with Olive Leeds as the vocalist, featured Fred Groom and his band.

Raising proceeds for Mr. H. Fairey, on Friday, February 18th a grand benefit dance took place from 9p.m. until 1a.m. in the Senior School hall, and with Doug Dytham’s Rhythm Aces providing the entertainment, they would also play in the later month, when the Bletchley Post Office held their staff dance on Friday, February 25th.

Meeting initially at the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, during the year to celebrate the centenary of the Bletchley Co-op Society the Bletchco Players would be formed, and commenced during mid February by servicemen and women, a newly formed local Drama Society staged its first play, Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives’, in the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue. As for the Stay at Home Holiday programme, on Thursday, March 9th the Clerk was instructed at the meeting of the Public Health Committee to communicate with the bands of the Wolverton and Northampton Home Guard, concerning those dates which were vacant for band concerts in Bletchley during June and July.

The North Bucks. Army Welfare Committee had now donated a monetary sum to the Community Centre, and the amount would cover the membership for all troops stationed in the district. Any member of H.M. Forces arriving in uniform would thereby be admitted without charge to the Centre, whilst for those attending a Grand Dance at the Senior School on Friday, March 17th, entry would cost 2s, and 3s for civilians. Featuring the R.A.F. Dance Band, the event was staged between 8p.m. and 11.45p.m., and in other activities, again in the Senior School hall including dancing, songs, and accordion solos, the ‘Happy Go Luckies’ one Thursday evening gave a variety concert for A.T.C. funds.

On Thursday, April 13th at the meeting of the Public Health Committee it was announced that for the Stay at Home programme the band of the Northampton Home Guard had now been engaged. They would play at an afternoon and evening concert on Sunday, August 6th, and the band of the Wolverton Home Guard would take part in an evening concert on Sunday, June 25th and July 23rd, with there being also an afternoon and evening concert on Saturday, August 19th. Meanwhile, other entertainments were taking place and during Bletchley Special Week, held from Saturday, April 15th to Saturday, April 22nd, for the ‘United Aid to China’, a Service of Youth football match took place. Amongst other events there would also be a Chinese Curiosities exhibition in the Co-op hall, a Bletchley Park production of Gaslight, and a police dance.

By the beginning of April, a decision to again form the choir of the Bletchley Co-op had been made. The first practice night would be scheduled for 8p.m. on Monday, 24th in the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, and also on matters concerning the Co-op, at the end of April they announced their arrangements for a Stage Pageant, with the need for a cast of around eighty performers.

On Friday, May 12th, at the Yeomanry Hall from 8p.m.-12p.m. Bletchley Fireguards held a dance in aid of the N.F.S. Benevolent Fund, and funds were also required elsewhere for not only had hooligans damaged the Service of Youth ground, but they had also wrought havoc at Leon Recreation ground. A one inch iron bar having been ‘smashed through’ on the popular ocean wave, other parts were scattered about, and since some could not be replaced, the Surveyor had to discontinue the use. However, repairs to the other amusements were authorised, and swing seats and other play equipment would shortly be purchased from C. Wicksteed and Co., at a cost of £9 17s 3d.

Bletchley Gazette

At the Temperance Hall, to elect the Committee the Bletchley Community Centre A.G.M. took place at 7.30p.m. on Wednesday, May 17th. Reporting that he found it easier to get people to dance than listen to lectures, Mr. Mort announced that the membership numbered 170, although people were not allowed to come to the centre to play games seven nights a week, nor was the centre to become ‘a playground for older people’! Public dancing on Tuesday nights drew a welcome attendance of about 40, but a talk and discussion held on Wednesdays attracted only around ‘12 interested and 12 disinterested persons’! As for the Thursday music appreciation class, this was a fiasco, in contrast to the whist drive on Fridays which proved a huge success! Saturday concerts and social evenings also proved popular but on Sundays the centre only opened in the evening, due to a drop in the afternoon attendance. Mondays also drew an unusually low attendance, and it seemed that the faults of the Centre lay with the lack of co-operation and communal spirit. Therefore an all-out effort was needed to get the Entertainment & Social, Sports & Education Committees working efficiently, and he proposed to enrol all members aged under 18 as associate members, and not as full members as was presently the case. Mr. Mort also proposed setting aside two nights a week for young people, allowing them the run of the centre, but since several of the 18-year-olds had been behaving like children of nine and 10, this caused understandable problems. As for Mr. Varley, the Ministry of Labour representative, having visited many community centres he felt that the novelty was now wearing off, although nowhere had he seen a man tackling the difficult job of warden better than Mr. Mort.

At a cost of £9 17s 3d, in early June swing seats and other equipment was ordered from C. Wicksteed and Co. but due to the previous vandalism, the drinking fountain had been removed from Leon Rec., and this perhaps proved inconvenient for the procession assembling to open Salute the Soldier Week, held from June 10th to June 14th. By a letter dated May 3rd the Publicity Committee of the Local Savings Campaign had asked permission to use the Rec., and the campaign - aiming to raise £75,000 - began on Saturday, 10th June at 2.30p.m., with a ceremonial march of H.M. Forces, Civil Defence and other services, including the bands of the 55th Tank Regiment, the Royal Armoured Corps, A.T.C., and B.B. With the salute taken at the Council Offices at 3.15p.m., at 3.45p.m. there followed the opening ceremony performed in Leon Rec. by Major-General L. Hill, O.B.E., and on Sunday at 2.15p.m. a combined parade of H.M. Forces made their way to Bletchley Park cricket ground, where a religious service took place at 3p.m. Various events were then held in the evening, and during the week amongst the many activities were included on Monday, 12th June a bridge drive at the Conservative Club, Stantonbury Amateurs ‘Salute the Soldier’ variety concert in the Senior School hall, Miss Metcalfe’s Happy-Go-Lucky’ concert party in the Senior School hall, a dance at the Community Centre, and a whist drive at the Yeomanry Hall. More unusually, on Wednesday a Fancy Dress parade by Premier Press for adults and children featured ‘Decorated prams and cycles’, and on Thursday, June 15th, and Friday, June 16th Trevor’s Circus came to the Market Field, featuring ‘Enormous Attractions’ to include Bebe the lion, eight acrobatic dogs, and six performing ponies. Concluding the week, on Saturday night at the raising of the indicator board, (situated outside the Council Offices), a commendable total of £79,035 was then revealed.

Of lesser, but no less well meaning, amounts, £100 was raised at the annual fete of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church, held one Saturday in Denmark Street at the Baptist Sports Ground, and amongst the entertainments the nursery school children of Ecclesbourne Road - conducted by Miss Hancock - gave percussion band selections. As for the games, walking flower pots caused great amusement!

With the launch of the V1 flying bomb campaign against England, there again came a need for evacuation, and for displaced persons the Temperance Hall was made available from Sunday, July 2nd, having been closed from the previous role as the Community Centre. In fact the hall had been loaned to the Ministry of Labour as a community centre by another Ministry, which had originally requisitioned the building for evacuation work, and since this was now again the purpose, it seemed doubtful if the premises would return to the recent use. As for Mr. Mort, he resigned when offered a similar position in Aylesbury.

On Saturday, July 22nd at the Yeomanry Hall a white elephant sale was held at 3p.m., followed in the evening by dancing to Bill Deckman and his R.A.F. band, who perhaps submitted a tender to the Secretary of the Bletchley Schools Parents’ Association, regarding the opportunity to play at Saturday dances, in aid of the China Church Appeal fund.

Featuring tap and ballet, music and comic interludes, given one Tuesday and Wednesday in Bletchley Assembly Hall the ‘Mixed Grill’ performances by the W.A.A.F., R.A.F., and A.T.C. attracted a numerous and appreciative audience. Excepting perhaps Mr. Dickens, of 32, Windsor Street, who during the visit had lost a Stephens fountain pen ‘of sentimental value.’ Offering ’a good reward’, he would appreciate its return, and also appreciative were the crowds attending L. Parkins’ great touring carnival and fun fair, ‘direct from London’, which paid a visit to the Market Field from Friday, July 14th until Saturday, July 23rd. Spectators and participants were suitably awed by not only the Big Wheel and High Flying Chair-o-plane, but also ‘England’s largest touring Boxing Academy’- with cash prizes - and Mile a Minute Speedway. Quite a spectacle in fact, and well worth filming, perhaps with the Miller 9.5mm cine motor camera - ‘brand new but less lens’ - that G. Cave had for sale at The Glen, Stoke Road.

On Sunday, July 23rd the band of the Wolverton Home Guard performed at a B.U.D.C. Band Concert given at 7p.m. in the Recreation Ground, and for the Bucks. Constabulary Widows & Orphans Fund, by courtesy of Bletchley Co-op repeat performances of ‘A Pageant for the People’ were then staged at 7.30p.m. in the Senior School hall, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August.

For members of the Forces serving abroad, their requests broadcast via the B.B.C. were a welcome means of maintaining family contact, and in fact one example would be that from Able Seaman Bowler, aboard H.M.S. Cubitt. His family would hear his message while they were having breakfast, at 12, Newton Road! By now the first models of the new British radio receivers were reaching the shops, and a quarter of a million were scheduled for production. With both prices to include purchase tax, an A.C. mains model was priced at £12 3s 4d, and a battery model at £10 19s, although the H.T. and L.T. batteries had to be bought additionally. The sets were being manufactured following a realisation, reported to the Board of Trade, that there was increasingly a shortage of radios available for the listening public, and not least since the Forces had a priority for components. The answer was to produce a standard design using standard parts, and this was a task undertaken by a technical committee of the Radio Manufacturers Association, using the minimum of materials and components to ensure, limited on medium wave from 190 to 560 metres, a good reception. For radio repairs, Weatherheads, at 73, Bletchley Road, claimed that they could provide a service ‘in the shortest possible time’ whilst as for televisions, although these were not yet available, being nevertheless aware of the potential the firm declared that the technology had made great strides, ‘and after the war a set will probably come within the means of many householders. Then of course they will turn to Weatherheads, pioneers of Television in Bletchley.’ An astute statement which clearly showed that the firm was boxing clever, and of 10 two minute rounds, on Saturday, August 19th at the Bletchley Show a boxing contest took place between Sapper Jack Beech, at 12st. 6lb., and Tom Benjamin, deputising for Bob Crabb of Waltham Cross. In fact the contest only lasted for three rounds, although the six supporting bouts provided some measure of compensation. A boxer for 20 years, Lieutenant Corporal Jack Beech had recently celebrated his 38th birthday and perhaps due to the fact that he did not smoke or drink, had taken part in 231 contests.

Opened in the horticultural tent by Field Marshall Sir Phillip Chetwode, chairman of the Executive Committee of the British Red Cross, the Bletchley Show was held at the Bletchley Park Sports Ground in aid of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, and with around 3,500 spectators, apart from the boxing other attractions included a horticultural show, a fur and feather show, gymkhana, baby show, and two bands. Before the war the Bletchley Shows had been a popular entertainment and the secretary, Hedley Clarke, was already contemplating their continuance; ‘Great changes are taking place. I have disclosed to the chairman my views and opened the picture of a perfect show ground with a delightful setting.’ This was in fact Manor Farm, and although much of the area would be destined for post war housing, Manor Fields did indeed play host to the events.

Over four performances, during September the Bletchley Park Musical Society gave a programme in the Assembly Hall of not only English choral and orchestral music but also Purcell’s ‘Dido & Aeneas’, whilst on Thursday, September 21st at the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue, members of the Bletchley Park Art Group staged a display of some 180 art exhibits. These ranged from model soldiers to oil paintings and sculptures, although ‘The sculpture is hardly up to the general level of the exhibition, being for the most part competent but not very inspired.’ Yet ‘on no account should Miss Marr Johnson’s exhibit of Book Illustrations Nos. 60-64 be missed’, and also not to be missed was an opportunity by Mrs. Olney to thank the mystery person who, for unknown reasons, had put an ‘unexpected and welcome gift’ through the letterbox of her home at 47, Church Street!

On Tuesday, October 3rd, conducted by Mr. J. Williamson, (a former professional baritone in the Midlands), at 8p.m. with some 25 voices the Co-op adult choir commenced the winter season in the Co-op Hall. In fact in readiness for Victory Day they were now contemplating learning some of the most popular songs of the United Nations, and with the Honorary Secretary being Mr. H. Eldridge of 33, Cottingham Grove, new members were always welcome. No doubt new members were also welcome at 11, Buckingham Road, where Mrs. G. Wootton now offered piano lessons. However, drama lessons seemed more in need for the R.A.F. Station Dramatic Society when, on Thursday, October 5th and Friday, October 6th they made their second appearance at the Assembly Hall. Here they staged ‘Saloon Bar’, a play by Frank Harvey but despite the production being good entertainment, ‘It was perhaps disappointing that there was no marked improvement in the standard of playing.’

Perhaps a more professional standard could be expected when the Powell Brothers Victory Circus and Zoo announced that they would arrive at the Market field on Tuesday, October 17th. With ‘a great company of performers and wild horses and a fine stud of coloured horses and ponies’, also to be included was ‘The most daring and thrilling performance ever offered to the British public’ in the form of Sonya, ‘The Lady of the Lions’, ‘the amazing Lady lion-tamer who will perform her forest-bred lions at every performance. Must be seen to be believed’. However, this was left to conjecture since despite all the hype the Circus failed to turn up, having last been heard of at Buckingham! Also last heard of at Buckingham was Sammy, ‘the almost human monkey’ who would, it was alleged, have amongst his repertoire even walked the tight wire!

Thankfully there was no monkeying around on Friday, 20th October when Cynthia Dell and her cabaret featured at a dance at the Senior School, and the month additionally witnessed a performance of J. B. Priestley’s ‘They Came to a City’, by the Bletchley Park Drama Group. As for the Old Bletchley Serving Men & Women’s Fund, a social gathering and gift stall in the Yeomanry Hall raised £29.

During October the Rest Centre authorities unexpectedly released the Bletchley Centre at the Temperance Hall, which would reopen with ‘a social’ on Saturday, November 4th. With the need to now seek a replacement for Mr. Mort, during the day four candidates for the position of Warden were accordingly interviewed by the Bletchley Community Centre Committee, who then subsequently met to plan future activities and facilities. By the end of November Mr. E. Haley, of Chingford, would be appointed as the new Warden, and he seemingly proved an appropriate choice for having arrived from an East End educational settlement, he and his wife had already been wardens in a rest centre, as well as being involved in the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

In early November, one Friday evening an enjoyable concert was given by ‘The Jollities’ in the Co-op Hall, despite several of the members having been involved in a car accident a few hours before. Not surprisingly the opening was delayed, but in the meanwhile a soldier from the audience provided entertainment by admirably playing his mouth organ, and leading community singing. A standing ovation rewarded his initiative. Introducing the ‘Dixie Serenaders’, on Saturday, November 11th a Grand Dance in St. Martin’s Hall was organised by the British Legion, Bletchley branch, and the following month at the same venue on Saturday 9th from 8p.m. until 11.45p.m. the Bletchley British Legion held their ‘Dance of the Season’, with music by the Beds. & Herts. Dance Band.

On a seasonal theme, with tickets priced at 2s, on Saturday, 16th December at 7.45p.m. the Bletchley Branch of the British Legion held a Poultry Whist Drive at the Social Centre. A turkey was appropriately offered as the top prize and with Christmas now approaching, including a collection for Dr. Barnardos Homes on Saturday, December 18th a children’s dancing display was given in the Co-op hall by pupils of Cynthia Dell, she being presently able to offer at 1s per session dancing lessons every Tuesday night in The Barn, from 8p.m. - 9p.m.

From 8p.m. - 1a.m. at the Co-op Hall a Christmas Dance was staged on Wednesday, December 20th, and with music provided by the Rhythm Aces band, in the Senior School hall the Young Farmers’ then held their Christmas Ball on Friday, 22nd December. Cinemas in the county were allowed to open on Christmas Day, and for post festive merriments on Wednesday, December 28th, at 8p.m. in the L.B.C. canteen the L.B.C. Entertainments grand poultry whist drive took place, admission 1s 6d. So another war weary year now come to a close, but at least to play in more optimistic prospects for the next, Mr. Hill could offer a piano for sale, in ‘good condition’, at 11, Drayton Road.




Mr. Charles Manning, who during February died at his home at 7, Water Eaton Road, had for many years served with the 2nd Company Toronto Corps of Commissionaires, similar to the British Special Police. He was born at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, and sailed as a cook at the age of 14 on a small coastal tug, before joining the Army. After six years he then went back to sea as a fireman but with the outbreak of the First World War served with the Forces in India during December, 1914. Wounded during subsequent duties in Mesopotamia, upon his recovery he joined the victorious army in France but on later suffering a disabling injury, under doctor’s orders he left his home in Linslade with his wife and moved to Canada, where the couple lived in Toronto for 15 years. In 1935 they then returned to England and with Mr. Manning finding employment as a cinema commissionaire at Bletchley Studio, by naming his house ‘Adanac’ perhaps he would often reflect upon life in his previous homeland!

One Saturday at the end of the month, the miniature rifle range at the Conservative Club proved the scene for a shooting match between Bletchley and Buckingham police. With D.C. Smethurst scoring 81, and S.C. Cook 97, Bletchley proved victorious and during March Police Sgt. W. Howe also had something to celebrate, for on his promotion to Inspector he would continue to work in the town. On the outbreak of war he had been a constable at Newport Pagnell, but gaining promotion to sergeant some months later, he transferred to Bletchley as a constable with Special War Staff duties. Special wartime duties were then a topic for the Police, Civil Defence workers, and Home Guard when discussions took place at meetings during the second week of March. Held in the Senior School hall, these concerned confidential questions regarding invasion, and as a measure to thwart invaders all signposts and nameplates identifying Bletchley had been removed. However, for an entirely different reason, from the front of Dr. Hodson’s house in Bletchley Road a soldier had stolen the brass nameplate, which he intended to make into cigarette lighters! Until told by the police, Dr. Hodson remained unaware of the theft and when apprehended the soldier, who had also stolen a lady’s suitcase from Bletchley station, was sentenced to three months hard labour.

From 8p.m.-1a.m., the Senior School hall became on Friday, March 20th the venue for the 20th Special Constabulary dance, and with tickets priced at 3s 6d the music was appropriately provided by the Bucks. Police (Central Division).

With the threat of air raids a continuing menace, enforcing the blackout assumed an ongoing importance, and on March 21st Miss Sheila Dunlop, of 103a, Bletchley Road, was fined £1 for showing a light from three windows at 8.20p.m. She had left the flat during the day, but on returning later than expected found that on seeing light from the fire, Reserve Constable Arthur Brinklow had climbed through a window and drawn the curtains. Noted, allegedly, for a diligence in his duties, in ordinary employment he would for many years after the war keep a newsagent’s shop in Victoria Road, but for 23 years until 1941 he had worked for Moss’s in Aylesbury Street. Indeed, until 1938 for 42 years the firm had also employed his father.

Bucks. police and Special Constabulary were amongst the many organisations included in the parade of Bletchley Warship Week, which commenced on Saturday, March 21st, and during the week encouragements for the public to save were broadcast via loudspeaker from H.M.S. Bletchley - a model constructed around a lorry by N.F.S. member Mr. L. Verrel, and Police Sgt. Boucher - which toured the local streets. Meanwhile, touring the gravel pits in Western Road was a swan which, having become a local feature and an object of some affection for the residents, then caused an unusual and distressing task for the police when it ripped its tongue, either on barbed wire or a fish hook. Realising that nothing could be done for the bird, Police Sgt. Philip Lloyd reluctantly fetched Mr. Betteridge, manager of the County Cinema, who swiftly despatched the unfortunate creature with a single shot. Perhaps in mournful remembrance, in February, 1952 a swan settled in the back garden of Miss A. Staniford’s house at 2, Western Road, and despite her repeated attempts with a broom, it refused to move! Watched by an increasing crowd of children the swan eventually waddled onto the pavement and squatted there, until the police arrived around 6.30p.m. and released the bird at Denbigh Road gravel pits.

There seemed little crime in the town except for those episodes caused by contraventions of the blackout and ration infringements, but drunkeness was also an occasional problem, as evidenced by an incident when a soldier under the influence of drink damaged both the fence of the Bletchley Road Methodist church, and a fence belonging to Arthur Pollard. Then, ‘in a sparring attitude’, declaring that ‘I want a rifle to fight the Germans, but they will not give me one’ he tore up his army pay book, and at a subsequent appearance at Bletchley Police Court was duly fined for his inebriate antics. Hardly a role model for the children in the town who, in general, had respect for property and nature although on the Albert Street football ground the Pavilion, which had been recently renovated by the Bletchley Youth Committee, suffered damage by hooligans, and also by persons unknown the billeting office was broken into, and £6 9s 2d stolen from the cash box.

However, for Police Sgt. B. Lord, during the year his regard for such matters became lessened when on promotion to Superintendent he was seconded as police liaison officer with the U.S.A.A.F., a service for which he would be later recognised by the award of the King’s Police Medal, and the American Medal of Freedom. Born in 1897, he began his police career in 1919 as a constable at Slough and becoming a sergeant in Bletchley from 1923 until 1928, would return to Bletchley in 1946, being appointed Chief Superintendent of the Slough division in 1952.

At the end of April, matters at the maternity court concerned the application by Bertie Denny, of 31, Osborne Street, to care for his child, currently in the charge of his wife Elizabeth, of 27a, Ravenstone Road, Balham. The couple had married in 1931 but after four years he said that ‘she went in the company of other men’, and was therefore not fit to look after the infant. When his wife left him on the Wednesday after Easter he had moved from Bletchley to work away, and in view of the evidence the court granted the order.

As told in the chapter ‘Back to School’, for a while the town was affected by a spate of thefts from local schools, and in addition to these groceries were stolen from the Albert Street stores of the Co-op, with the thief dropping down some eight feet to take just a few stamps and 2oz. of tobacco. At Hands Garage, in Station Avenue, a forced entry was made through a small window, and it was therefore perhaps opportune that on May 25th Detective Constable Strong was posted back to Bletchley from Little Brickhill. Soon to prove a very capable officer, he would in fact progress after the war through the ranks of Inspector, Chief Inspector, Superintendent, and Chief Superintendent until retiring in 1973, having been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal. For the meanwhile, however, amongst the cases needing his initial attention would be a break in during the later year at the Bletchley Road Senior School Domestic Science Centre where, in October, with a window broken and a clock stolen, taking a long while, he ‘carefully examined the premises.’

On Saturday, June 13th Bletchley police played their part in a Civil Defence exercise when A.R.P. workers, firemen, and stretcher-bearers went into action at the Tetley’s factory in Osborne Street. Devised by the Bletchley A.R.P. Sub-Controller, Mr. A. Bates, this was the latest scheme to bring the town’s Civil Defence to high efficiency, and with gas, incendiary, and high explosive ‘bombs’ let off, a running commentary was given through a police loudspeaker to the A.R.P. wardens watching the demonstration. During August, on one Sunday morning incidents involving practice bombs then again gave the A.R.P. wardens ‘a lively time’, and the fire services and police quickly arrived at the various ‘scenes’ to afford valuable help. Also during the month, by playing his banjo P.C. Norman afforded valuable help to the Stay at Home Holidays programme in Leon Rec. although the police had to play a different tune when a series of shop breaking episodes occurred in the town, for his part in the resolution of which Detective Constable Smethurst would be highly commended.

On Wednesday, August 26th, at Bletchley Station, on being questioned about his military travel warrant a man wearing a navy-blue suit suddenly slipped away from Mr. W. Roff, the ticket collector, and dodging between travellers and railwaymen, scaled the wall surrounding Bletchley Park. Despite the police being immediately called, no trace of him could be found, and also raising concern at the end of September a New Bradwell grocer was charged with illegally taking ration sheets representing 4,000 points, as well as rationed food, from the Bletchley Food Office. With such matters to occupy their attention, perhaps it was just as well that the police were now amongst the certain categories exempt from the ‘Registration for Fire Prevention Duties under the Civil Defence Duties (Compulsory Enrolment) Order 1942’, by which men born on or between 21st September 1882, and 20th September 1924, and women born on or between 21st September 1897, and 20th September 1922, would have to register, if they were resident in the district.

Bletchley station, in 1938.

Complete with the arched portico the station would become very familiar to many of the wartime code breakers employed at Bletchley Park. It was perhaps also familiar to a mystery train passenger stranger who, on Wednesday, August 26th, 1942, whilst being questioned about his military pass suddenly ran off and scaled the wall of Bletchley Park. No trace of him was ever found. - Milton Keynes Citizen.

Especially in wartime, incidents involving firearms became unsurprisingly a matter for police concern, and one occasion occurred on October 9th when, with the intention of causing injury to a former fiancée, and/or himself, a man stole a shotgun and cartridges in the town. Eventually, Detective Constable Smethurst managed to arrest him, and for his courageous and competent handling of the episode received a well deserved official praise. Then, in early November another firearms incident took place, albeit with a conclusion rather more tragic. This episode involved an Army car being driven from Whaddon by a corporal of the R.A.S.C., whose home was in Morecambe. Nearing the Shoulder of Mutton, the car collided with a brake taking some of Messrs. Gee, Walker, Slater’s men to their work, and in the accident a lady passenger in the car suffered injuries, as did also several people in the brake. Hurriedly the corporal rushed to a telephone box at the corner of Grange Road but whilst tending the woman, through the morning mist people from neighbouring houses then heard a muffled shot, and when the door of the phone box was opened the body of the corporal slumped to the ground. Outside the kiosk lay his service revolver. As for the lady, she was quickly taken into a house and then moved to Bletchley Clinic, before being sent home. Married for just two weeks, the last words of the corporal over the telephone had been ‘I’m going to ring the Colonel’, and at the subsequent inquest the Coroner returned a verdict of suicide, due to a disturbed balance of mind.

As perhaps something of a record, three members of a Bletchley family now held the rank of Sergeant. Police Sergeant Boucher, the father, lived with his wife at Bletchley police station and of their sons the youngest, John, was a pilot in the glider regiment, in fact the first Bletchley man to have joined this new branch of the army.

It being alleged that a number of boys had formed themselves into a gang, with Christmas stealing up the festive spirit was marred during mid December by a series of planned thefts. The G.P.O. store and a shop had been broken into and, with the glass in the boxes having been smashed, locks and keys had been stolen from four air raid shelters.



Unable to account for 13s 8½d and 12s, amounts which were missing on various days from his office till, Eric MacLaren, the local garage proprietor, on January 15th then placed some marked coins in the till, only to later discover that now 15s was missing. In consequence, Detective Constable Smethurst kept the premises under surveillance, and on January 19th he noticed two boys come into the shop. Whilst one talked to the assistant, the other took a key from a box and unlocked the office door, and the marked coins were subsequently found in his pocket. The previous June, one of the boys had already been bound over for two years for not only shop breaking but also placing sandbags in the road, and the other boy had been similarly sentenced in June, 1942 for shop breaking. Both being fined, the boys were consequently summoned to face the music.

In fact it had been the turn of the local constabulary to face the music when on January 17th at 2.45p.m. a Grand Orchestral Concert took place at the Studio, in aid of the Bucks. Police Widows’ & Orphans’ Fund. Under the direction of William Pethers, the Coventry Hippodrome Orchestra provided the music, although perhaps not in a dancing mood was Sidney Skipp, of 34, Brooklands Road, who - formerly of the Creameries, Bletchley Road - now had to obtain orders for non payment against a number of his former customers.

Matters would also turn sour in February when Mrs. Dorothy Inman, of the King’s Head, Bletchley, was granted a decree nisi against Joseph Inman for adultery. The couple had married in 1932, and her case claimed that in 1940 he had told her he wanted to leave. She then discovered that he had gone to live with another woman in Victoria Road.

Saying that the regular police were grateful for their co-operation, at the end of the month at Bletchley police station the Commandant, Captain James Fitzgerald, presented Special Constables with long Service medals and bars, including an award to Special Constable Watson, of the Bletchley Section. Perhaps Captain Fitzgerald should also have qualified for an award, since shortly after Dunkirk whilst practising at the Great Brickhill firing range, (set up by Sir Everard Duncombe), he nearly lost an eye when a cartridge in the breech of his revolver exploded. Born in 1894 to a titled Irish family, (his grandfather being one of the ‘Knights of Kerry’), he was educated at Dean Close, Cheltenham and the Royal Military College, and joined the 4th Dragoon Guards in 1914. Becoming a subaltern riding instructor, he was posted to France in 1916, and having gained a mention in despatches, transferred to the Royal Dragoons, being made Captain in 1921. In 1924 he married Lady Moyra Dawson-Damer, the youngest daughter of the 5th Earl of Portalington, and on his retirement from the regular army in 1928, although acting as Adjutant to the Shropshire Yeomanry, he made his home with his wife at Walton Manor. Tragically, both would be killed when their Jaguar car collided with a lorry at Bicester, in 1962.

As for 1943, amongst the matters to now absorb the attention of the police was the loss of a carved octagonal sapphire and diamond ring in Bletchley Park, reported on April 4th by Miss Bridger, of 33, Newton Road. She offered a reward of £5, and again with a reward being offered a while later a string of ‘Ciro’ pearls was reported lost between 51, Bletchley Road and the New Inn. As for actual crimes, two soldiers suffered a sobering experience when they were remanded on bail at Bletchley Police Court, for stealing from the L.M.S. goods yard 36 bottles of Old Angus whisky, and two Invictor radio sets. A postman was also charged with receiving one radio set and 28 bottles, and suspicions had been initially aroused when a package dropped at Camden Town railway station began to ooze whisky! The consignment was delivered nevertheless, but with enquiries being made, arrests soon followed.

Rather more tragic was the incident when a young woman wrapped her newborn baby in a pyjama coat, and placed the infant in a cubicle cupboard at a Bletchley hostel. She was duly charged at Bletchley police station, but during the infanticide trial the foreman of the jury intervened to say that he and the jury had reached a unanimous verdict of not guilty, and, with the judge in agreement, the woman was discharged.

Contraventions of the blackout still remained an ongoing problem, and for cycling in Bletchley Road at 12.25a.m. on May 27th without a rear light, Angela Ratcliffe, of the A.T.S, Rhondda House, was fined £1, despite saying in her defence that she had missed the last transport. Such were the usual and more mundane of matters to occupy the police but on the afternoon of Thursday, August 12th they were called to a more unusual incident, when a farmer reported to Olney police the presence of five holes in corn fields which were being cut at Petsoe Manor Farm, Olney, and Top Farm, Clifton Reynes. Police sergeants Oseland and Bartlett were sent from Bletchley to investigate, and although they discovered that two of the holes had been caused by rabbits, three were bomb shafts, and ‘in each case light blue metal fins were visible.’ Revealing that the bomb had exploded, one complete but damaged tail unit was then withdrawn and of the other two tail units, since the detonators and fuses were intact, they were treated as U.X.B.s (U.S.A.A.F. Practice). At 7, Station Road, Newport Pagnell, Colonel N. Byam-Grounds, Controller, No. 1 Area, was then informed of the findings, and Sgt. Bartlett duly completed the necessary Forms UXB 1 and 2. Probably the bombs had been dropped on June 16th, 1943, and with 27 others previously reported, 15 of these had exploded, with the remainder duly dealt with by No. 6226 Bomb Disposal Flight, R.A.F. Concluding the matter, with typical understatement it was wryly observed by the British that the American pilot and bomb aimer ‘might perhaps be in need of some extra training’! Interestingly, not far from the site of the bombs in a field near Weston Underwood an American P-38 Lightning fighter, of the 13th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, U.S.A.A.F., had crashed in flames on February 10th. Having taken off from R.A.F. Poddington, Northamptonshire, the pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Earl William Bierer, then experienced a problem with one of the two engines which, when shut down, suddenly burst into flames. He tried to bale out, but with his headset still connected to the aircraft precious seconds were lost as the plane began to dive, and he had to clamber back into the cockpit before again climbing onto the wing. Opening just as his feet touched the top of the trees, his parachute became entangled in the branches, and he was held suspended three feet above the ground as the blazing aircraft plunged into a bank of the River Great Ouse. On a recent visit to the site, the pilot’s son was presented with a poignant reminder of the incident; his father’s cap badge, found by an eyewitness at the site of the crash.

On Thursday, August 12 , 1943, Bletchley police were called to investigate a report of unexploded bombs in fields near Olney and Clifton Reynes. Allegedly these had been inadvertently dropped by an American aircraft during a practice mission, and in the same vicinity in a field near Weston Underwood an American P38 Lightning fighter had crashed in flames on February 10th. However, the pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Earl Bierer, baled out and survived the crash. He died in 2003, but in September, 2005 his son made a poignant visit to the site, and was presented with his father's cap and badge, which had been found at the scene. 2nd Lieutenant Earl Bierer had been attached to the 13th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron and interestingly during the war another American Lightning fighter, of the same unit, crashed near Bletchley. This was then an area of open countryside, but with the development of the New City of Milton Keynes has since become the site for the Abbey National headquarters. - Milton Keynes Citizen.

At 4p.m. on August 26th, Detective Constable Strong received information regarding the theft of a pair of rubber boots from near a Bletchley building site, and at 4.30p.m. he then interviewed a man on the site who admitted that, under the influence of alcohol, he had stolen the boots from a truck. The man, originally from Scotland, had been in Bletchley since June, and was fined £2 for the offence.

Apart from his detective skills, the translation talents of Detective Constable Smethurst were required the following month when, with two of the defendants at Bletchley Police Court being Irishmen, the speech of one proved so unintelligible that, in remedy, Superintendent Bryant remarked, ‘Detective Constable Smethurst understands these Irish - he will interpret it.’ Also from Ireland, Christopher McMahon, a labourer lodging at 8, Napier Street, pleaded guilty to wasting food on September 3rd, 8th, and 9th by throwing away the fish sandwiches given to him by his landlady. Taking them to the police station, Special Constable Vaughan said that he found the sandwiches on September 3rd in the George Street public convenience, and with the premises kept under subsequent observation, McMahon admitted that he had left the items on a ledge. Giving evidence, his landlady, Mrs. Gwen Smith, said that whenever she had given him the sandwiches he always took them but McMahon then confessed that not being partial to the offering, on and off for six months he had regularly disposed of them! Arriving eight years ago from County Clare, he had proved himself to be a hard worker and although from his weekly earnings of between £4 15s and £5 he sent 30s to his parents in Ireland, he was nevertheless still ordered to pay a fine.

Regarding alterations made to a shop, at the end of the month the United Dominion Trust Ltd., of London, sued Thomas Gilroy Mason (otherwise Bernstein) of 101, Bletchley Road - trading as ‘Gilroy’ - for £140 13s 3d, and despite Mr. Mason having been in hospital for some weeks, an order was nevertheless issued for his wife to pay £20 a month. In fact October seemed to herald the start of a local silly season, for two soldiers were remanded in custody at Bletchley Police Court for stealing a radiogram one Saturday night from the Rose & Crown! Then in another unlikely episode, following a session at the George Inn an Irish labourer made his way home via a short cut through the R.A.F. site. Unfortunately, he managed to end up in a hut where a W.A.A.F. was sleeping, and awoken by his shuffling she sought the assurance of another girl. On striking a match they saw a man going out of the door, and with the Service Police being called, after a struggle the man was taken to the guardroom, on leaving which one of the two men detailed to act as his escort exclaimed ‘For God’s sake get rid of him, he’s mad.’ Despite the labourers’ camp being adjacent to the R.A.F. camp the two sites were separate, but since there were no prohibitive notices or fences, the case was dismissed.

The sympathies of the Bletchley Police Court were again milked in November, when the farmer of Bengal Farm pleaded that it was common practice to sell excess milk to registered customers. However, he was charged with not declaring the excess, and told that he should have reported his action to the Regional Milk Officer. In fact this was the first such instance in the Bletchley area, and although the man had kept complete records he was still fined £1.



The aptly named Gabriel Sparkes, of The Haven, Tavistock Street, found himself summoned for allowing a light to be seen at 8.10p.m. on February 24th, and no doubt he took a dim view when a fine of £2 was imposed. The outlook was not much brighter for a storeman, who towards the end of January had stolen a watch left on the mantlepiece of a room by the occupant, Thomas Griffiths, a G.P.O. engineer living at Elmers School. However, instead of doing time the thief was bound over for two years, with costs of 25s imposed. Less suspect was the disappearance of a heart shaped gold locket, enclosing a sailor’s photo, which had been lost one Sunday at the end of February. At 170, Water Eaton Road, a reward would be paid to the finder.

Apart from police matters, P.C. Boucher occupied himself in other pursuits, and in April offered the Council a model that he had made of the ship adopted by the town, H.M.S. Meon. This would now be displayed in the Council Chamber, pending a decision for a new location. As for another well known police family, Mrs. Elizabeth Callaway, wife of ex Superintendent E. Callaway, died at ‘Belmont’, 143, Bletchley Road, after an illness of 13 years. Two of her sons were continuing the police tradition, one as a corporal in the Military Police, and one as a member of the Bucks. Constabulary, whilst of the other three, the eldest was employed in the Control Office at Bletchley station, another was a corporal in the R.A.F. in Rhodesia, and the youngest was serving aboard H.M.S. Maidstone.

In late May, a soldier was remanded in custody by Bletchley magistrates for obtaining £2 on false pretences from the Methodist Minister of Bletchley. Claiming to be a Sunday school teacher, and alleging that he had once been a Minister, this was not his first attempt to defraud a clergyman, and the incident took place when, purporting to be a Sergeant Davey, stationed at Tompkins Garage, he called at the house of the Reverend Holdsworth in Staple Hall Road. Since his wife would be supposedly coming to Bletchley the following day, he said that he needed a loan of £2 to confirm her accommodation at 27, Cambridge Street, and taken in by the ruse, on being given an I.O.U. signed ‘Sergeant Davey’, the Reverend parted with over £2, on the promise of repayment the following Friday. However, when the fraud became apparent Lucy Sabin, of 27, Cambridge Street, said that she had never advertised any availability of accommodation, and when Detective Constable Smethurst duly arrested the soldier in Woburn High Street, the man gave his name as Sgt. Major Barrett, of Kempston. It then transpired that he was actually a deserter from the Devonshire Regiment, and with an ample opportunity to contemplate his misdeeds, he was sentenced to six months in prison for each offence.

As related elsewhere, during June aged 13 and 12 two boys from Birmingham played truant from school, and travelling to Bletchley stole a car belonging to Hedley Clarke from the Conservative Club. In fact, having now been sworn in as a Justice of the Peace, this was perhaps an incident of some interest to Mr. F. A. Bates, of 176, Western Road, and it was also hoped that a person of similar honest and law abiding ways would hand in the gold wrist watch, recently lost by Mrs. Hartwell of ‘Clovelly’, Shenley Road.

Staged by courtesy of the Bletchley Co-op, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August, monies for the Bucks. Constabulary Widows & Orphans Fund were raised by repeat performances of ‘A Pageant for the People’, held at 7.30p.m. in the Senior School hall. Further finance for the Fund was then forthcoming a few days later when the Bletchley Police Division held a fête one Saturday in the garden of Mrs. Bodsworth’s house, in Bletchley Road. With the N.F.S. providing a demonstration of fire drill, amongst the more interesting attractions were also included the smallest horse in the world, fortune telling, ‘knocking the bobby’s helmet off’, and a pin-up girl competition, won by Miss Irene Kleiman. In the evening, dancing to recorded music then concluded the events.

In August, Police Sergeant Aubrey Bartlett, stationed in Bletchley, was, with the commission as lieutenant, seconded for administration duties with the military authorities in the Occupied Countries. Thereby he would no longer have to deal with such crimes in the town as the occasion on Friday, September 29th when, in broad daylight, without forcing entry thieves walked into two local pubs and stole money and cigarettes. The incidents apparently took place between 4p.m. and 5.30p.m., and by walking via a back entrance into the bar of the New Inn they stole about £5 and cigarettes. Then, by gaining similar access to the Park Hotel they made off with about £30. The police would investigate, but more embarrassing would be their investigation into the theft of a bicycle belonging to Mr. W. Golding, for this was stolen, whilst he was fire watching, from the back of the police station! A matter perhaps to keep quiet about, unlike the noisy antics of Joyce Nash, an A.T.S. driver of Wilton Avenue, who in October was summoned for sounding a Klaxon horn whilst in a stationary car. The offence had occurred one night at 11.20p.m. in Heath, when she had been detailed to collect a contingent of girls going on duty ‘in a Bletchley public department.’

In Western Road, fashion conscious thieves went on a burglary spree during the night of Tuesday, October 10th, Wednesday, October 11th. Directing their unwelcome attentions to numbers 24,26,30 and 36, apart from taking money and articles, at 36 one of the thieves even changed into a blue serge suit, leaving his own suit behind. If caught, he certainly deserved a good dressing down, as did two boys, aged 14 and 13, who, having one Monday run away from an evacuee hostel at Daventry, on Friday, September 29th reached Bletchley. From outside the Repeater Station they then stole a bicycle belonging to Mrs. Phyllis Culley, a telephone operator from Drayton Parslow, and with one on the saddle and one pedalling, the boys travelled as far as St. Albans before being arrested. They were both sent to an Approved School but might have gained benefit from a meeting of the Baptist Youth Fellowship on Tuesday, November 7th when Mr. E. Callaway, M.B.E., the former superintendent of police, gave an informative and amusing talk on the theme that ‘Crime doesn’t Pay.’




Continuous prayers were held on New Years Day, in response to an appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury to unite with the people of the United States, and on the morning of Sunday, January 4th Dr. Leo Parker, the Bishop of Northampton, made his first visit to the Roman Catholic Mission in Bletchley. As for the Methodists, the annual meeting of their Bletchley Road Methodist Sunday School Council took place on Wednesday, January 7th, and with the Reverend A. Yates presiding, apart from welcoming a financial balance in hand of £21, he also welcomed two new teachers, and spoke of the loyal service afforded by the officers and teachers during the past year.

On the same day, about 45 children of the St. Martin’s Junior Sunday School were then given their annual treat in St. Martin’s Hall, and with the programme including games and refreshments, prizes were presented to those children who had attended 40 services. Also in line for an award was Miss D. Brown. On resigning as Sunday School secretary she was presented with books by members of the staff and children, whilst in other presentations, on Wednesday, January 17th at the Freeman Memorial Church members of the Ladies’ Bright Hour gave a cut glass flower vase to Mrs. J. Hicks, on the occasion of her leaving the district.

The Youth Week in connection with the Spurgeon Baptist Church had recently concluded, but continuing the youthful theme the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Life Brigade paraded to the morning service on Sunday, January 21st, this being the 4th anniversary of the Bletchley Baptist Sunday School. Despite the recent resignation, (after some 20 years), of Mr. F. Bates as choirmaster, musical items and recitals were included, and in the afternoon a children’s service took place. Elsewhere, in the Salvation Army Hall one Tuesday at the end of January the Bletchley Salvation Army Home League then staged their annual social evening which, arranged by Mrs. Walters and other officers, featured a programme of mostly games.

For their good attendance, more than 60 children received prizes at the Baptist School Sunday School on Saturday, January 31st, and at 6p.m. the following day in St. Martin’s church a recital of church music was performed by the St. Martin’s choir, with a collection being taken for the benefit of the Choir Fund. As for the Albert Street Methodist Sunday School Council, at a meeting on Wednesday, February 11th, Mr. J. Litchfield was re-elected as the Superintendent.

Having been in France before the German invasion, on the evening of Monday, February 16th the Reverend W. & Mrs. Copperwheat told their story to the United Methodist Guild at the Freeman Memorial church, describing their work in Austria and Poland, and also their experience with the European Christian Movement. Meanwhile, the Reverend A. Yates presided over the annual meeting of the Water Eaton Methodist Women’s Own and with Mrs. C. Stevens elected as president, Miss E. Webb became vice-president, and Mrs. E. Cox, secretary. The position of treasurer was taken by Mrs. Wakeney, and financial matters were also on the agenda at the St. Martin’s church annual meeting, at which it was reported that with the A.R.P. expenses standing at £10, there was still a debt on the church hall ground but not on the hall, which had now been taken over by St. Paul’s School. Increased takings were reported for the games section, and thanks were expressed for her past service to Mrs. McLeod, who had now left the district.

At the fortnightly meeting of the Mothers Union, on Wednesday, February 18th Miss Fairs, the ‘moral welfare worker’, gave an address in the Rectory on ‘Christian Marriage’, and also on a feminine theme on Friday, February 20th the National Women’s Day of Prayer Rally took place at 3p.m. in the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church, conducted by Deaconess Warman. Of eight years welfare experience in London, at the request of B.U.D.C. she had been made the Welfare Officer of the town in 1941 and having in September, 1939, arrived at Bletchley with the first batch of the evacuees, she claimed one of the reasons for coming to the town was that ‘she could walk down the road on a Sunday to find all the shops shut.’ In London they remained open, and ‘God forbid that open shops should ever come here.’

For 16 hours a week, early March found the need for a gardener at Bletchley Rectory, and also in the early month at a Tuesday concert in Water Eaton Methodist church a ‘Treasure Ship’ raised around £11 for the Church Fund. As for St. Mary’s church, a decision to replace the hymnbooks and Psalters was taken at the annual meeting of the Church Choir, and also of a spiritual fabric, attended by about 50 teachers on Saturday, March 9th members of the North Bucks. League of Sunday School Teachers - ‘who promote greater co-operation between Sunday school and day teachers’ - held their annual festival in St. Martin’s church and vicarage.

Bletchley United Christian Council now announced the second in a series of indoor meetings, and on Wednesday, March 11th the Reverend J. Bailey Chapman, of Woburn Sands, addressed members of the Freeman Memorial Methodist Ladies’ Bright Hour. Also active was the Salvation Army, and over the following weekend meetings were conducted by the Salvation Army Band in the Church Street hall where, with Henry Smith as bandmaster, deputy bandmaster Heeley received an enthusiastic welcome, having now returned home on leave from the Army.

On Saturday, March 14th, at a concert arranged by Mrs. Lorna Webster, during the interval the opening of the Albert Street Methodist Church Treasure Ship yielded around £32. With normal activities now suspended, the money would be needed for the maintenance of the church when occupied by troops, and for their benefit the Recreation Room and canteen were now open every night of the week.

Concerning the heroic struggle of the German church against Nazism, on Friday, March 20th at 7.30p.m. a ‘youthful looking’ German refugee pastor, Pastor Ludwig Horlborg, spoke to a numerous audience at St. Martin’s Hall, ‘admission free’. Formerly a schoolteacher, when the Nazis came to power he had been forced to leave the country, and of the conditions that presently prevailed he revealed that Gestapo agents attended the church services, and tried to steal the collections.

Before going to the Spurgeon College in London, the Reverend L. Elliott, of the Baptist church at Macclesfield, held the pastorates of Winslow and Swanbourne, and he had lately been offered that of the Bletchley Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church. However, in the event he declined, accepting instead a position in the Forces, and it was therefore the new Minister designate to the Methodist circuit, the Reverend Norman Renshaw, who preached at the morning and evening services in the Albert Street Methodist church on Sunday, April 12th.

With a good attendance at all the churches, on Palm Sunday a National Day of Prayer was held, and an improved financial position, as a result of smaller expenses and larger collections, was reported on Wednesday, April 15th at the annual meeting of St. Mary’s Parochial Church Council, at which the Reverend J. Lloyd Milne presided. The bank balance now stood at £76 4s 5d, and this took into account the sum of £21 16s 1½d, as the content of the Fabric Fund boxes. As for expenses, these included £31 17s 6d for war risk insurances, £11 17s 3d for fire precautions, and the heating fund, £10 8s 8d although further spending might soon be forthcoming not only on the drainage - ‘bad in parts’ - but also the battlements, which with large pieces of stone falling off were in a dangerous condition. It was therefore perhaps just as well that ‘Christianity and Reconstruction’ was the subject of a talk organised by the United Christian Council on Friday, April 17th. Given at 7.30p.m. by Percy Bartlett, of the Society of Friends, this was held in St. Martin’s Hall, which also proved the venue for a Wednesday lecture by the Reverend F. Walker who, using lanternslides, gave an illuminating description of the work of the Universities Mission to Central Africa, in the copper belt of Northern Rhodesia.

At the first prize giving ceremony of the Sunday School, formed two years ago, prizes were awarded on Sunday, April 19th to over 35 boys and girls of the Water Eaton Methodist Sunday School, whilst as for the Bletchley Free Church Council, towards the end of the month the Reverend A. Yates was elected President, and Mr. F. Bates and Major D. Parkhill Vice-Presidents. Regarding the United Christian Council, at St. Martin’s vicarage they discussed at length the problems of both youth and the Church, and decided that a resolution which had been sent, amongst others, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Oxford and the local M.P., would duly be framed.

As the Easter offering, at St. Martin’s church Mr. G. Campbell, the People’s Warden, presented the Reverend C. Wheeler with a cheque for £32, and at the weekend a former Spurgeon pastor, the Reverend R. Roberts, of Glasgow, paid a visit to his old church and conducted the services. However, he would not be present to witness during the next few days the two occasions when the prowess of the Spurgeon Memorial church fire-fighting team was tested, to deal with an ‘incendiary’ bomb.

With flowers being taken home by the children, on Friday, May 1st the Salvation Army celebrated Mothers’ Day, and in the evening a meeting was then conducted by Sister Mrs. W. Walters, the Home League Secretary.

Mainly due to the efforts of Major D. Parkhill, of the Salvation Army, £400 had now been raised in the six months since the opening of the Bletchley Penny a Week Red Cross Fund, of which he was the Honorary Secretary. However, with his place to be taken by Adjutant and Mrs. Stacey, of Abingdon, after 16 months service as a Salvation Army officer in Bletchley he would now shortly resign to take up similar work in Buckingham. Yet, nevertheless, other means of fundraising for the Red Cross were continued by the Salvation Army, and a programme of music by the Salvation Army band, conducted by Henry Smith, had been given on the Studio Cinema car park, on Sunday, March 17th, raising a sum of £1 14s 8d.

Having resigned the previous September, after three years as minister at the Spurgeon Church the Reverend A. Reid M.A. was now to be ordained into the Church of England at York Minster, with the Bishop of Hull to conduct the service. Following the ordination he would then go to Middlesbrough and work with Canon Townley. Nevertheless, he paid a visit to Bletchley during a weekend in late May, and attended Sunday services at St. Martin’s where further celebrations were shortly due for the birth of a son, Christopher James, to Mrs. Jean Snell, wife of the curate of Fenny Stratford, the Reverend J. O. Snell. On Saturday, June 6th the North Bucks. Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers held their annual meeting in Bletchley, and the associated service was conducted by the Vicar of Ravenstone, the Reverend J. Amies, with the Reverend J. Lloyd Milne, playing the organ.

A former Bletchley minister, the Reverend W. Walton, on Sunday, June 7th conducted the Freeman Memorial Methodist Sunday School anniversary services, presenting to Mr. J. Hicks a long-term certificate for 47 years’ work with the church and Sunday school. The following day, at a farewell meeting held in the Salvation Army Hall Major David Parkhill, and Mrs. Parkhill, then said goodbye to their Bletchley friends, and amongst others the Reverend Lloyd Milne paid an appropriate tribute to their work.

Having asked approval by a letter of July 13th, the Bletchley United Christian Council had now received permission from the Council to use loudspeakers and a microphone at open air services, and later in the month in St. Martin’s Vicarage garden on Saturday, July 25th Miss Fage, of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, described to an interested meeting the work of the Mission, and her experience as one of the workers. Admission being free, teas were priced at 9d, with a variety of stalls and competitions provided. On the same day, opened by Mrs. Valentin, of Stoke House, the Bletchley Salvation Army Corps held their Summer Garden Party at the Baptist Sports Ground, the Bletchley Salvation Army Band and a party from the New Bradwell Salvation Army providing musical items. The Life Saving Scouts, Salvation Army Guards, and the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade staged various displays, and the features included sideshows, croquet, vegetable stalls, and a jumble sale. With the intention being to raise £20 for the local work of the Salvation Army Corps, the eventual takings amounted to £30 2s 6d.

The Reverend G. Barnes, B.A., formerly a missionary in China, made a special visit to a United Guild Rally for Overseas Missions on Monday, August 3rd, and commencing from the Bletchley Road Methodist church, a ‘ramble’ was to take place at 2.30p.m., to be replaced in the event of unfavourable weather by an impromptu concert in the Infants School hall. Scheduled for 5p.m., following a ‘united’ tea served - priced 9d - in ‘The Hut’, which adjoined the Bletchley Road church, a Great Evening Rally in the church at 6p.m. would then conclude the day.

A concert performed by the 2nd Battalion Home Guard Band drew a good attendance to Leon Recreation ground on Sunday, August 23rd and on Thursday, August 27th the Reverend Donald Sutton, who formerly held the pastorate of the Spurgeon Memorial church, celebrated 25 years of ministry. With special services taking place at his church in Hertford, he was there presented with a cheque for 25 guineas.

During late August, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Spurgeon Memorial church the members began a drive to raise the cost, approximately £5,000, necessary to build, at the end of the war, a much needed school hall for the church. A Saturday fête in the old school hall proved an encouraging beginning and Mr. F. A. Bates, Chairman of the U.D.C., said that as one of the few who could remember the opening of the church, 50 years ago, as a child he had been amongst those to whom 1d was given, as the basis to raise as much money as they could.

One Tuesday in early September, at the first meeting of the Old Bletchley Baptist Young People’s Guild Mr. H. Cowley was appointed as President, with the other officials also elected. Then, on the Thursday National Day of Prayer, on the third anniversary of Britain’s entry into the war, magistrates, police, and prisoners at Bletchley Police Court prayed and sang hymns for 15 minutes. At every church a short service was held in the evening, and with collections taken, for any parishioners who might be financially embarrassed, for an appropriate wage a cleaner was now required for 15 hours a week at St. Mary’s church; ‘apply Woods, Woodstock, Church Green Road.’

A performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ took place in the Spurgeon Memorial Hall on Sunday, September 27th at 6p.m. Featuring a choir of 60 voices, conducted by Mr. F. Bates, J.P., the recital received an enthusiastic reception, and not least from the attendance of four well known B.B.C. singers, who took the solo parts. With around 850 people in the audience, the participants received a well deserved standing ovation.

Concerning the spiritual welfare of local residents, at their first annual meeting, held on the last Wednesday of September, the Bletchley United Christian Council discussed many problems. In succession to the Reverend J. Lloyd Milne, the Reverend Arthur Yates gained election as President, and amongst the matters considered was the funding of free Sunday entertainment for the Forces. In fact a decision was duly taken to restart the weekly concerts and with a winter programme drawn up accordingly, shows arranged by members of the Forces would be included.

On Saturday, October 10th the Sunday School Adviser to the Baptist Young Peoples’ Dept., Miss Phyllis Morgan, conducted ‘a model training class’ for the Spurgeon Memorial church, and in early November a letter to his former companions was read from a former member of the church and Boys Brigade, Corporal Reginald Keen, R.E., now serving as a soldier; ‘I remember a day in the Mediterranean’, he wrote, ‘returning to Egypt from Crete; we were under attack for twelve hours, and after we had sustained three direct hits I saw men whom I thought hard cases praying. If people rag you, it is only bluff, call it and they will respect you all the more.’ Hats off to that sentiment, although in November the Church of England decreed that women should be allowed to keep their hats on in church.

In early November interested persons were invited to apply to Mr. J. Colgrove, at ‘Bankheld’, Bletchley Road, for the position of caretaker at the Bletchley Road Methodist church whilst as for St. Martin’s church, St. Martin’s Day was celebrated on November 11th with a lecture on the history of the church by Gillie Potter, famous as an antiquarian and comedian. The Bletchley United Christian Council then announced the visit of another famous personality, Professor Clement Rogers, ‘famous Hyde Park Sunday Speaker, Lecturer and Author’, who would arrive at St. Martin’s Hall on Friday, November 13th at 7.30p.m. for a ‘Question Time in Hyde Park’.

The Church Army now provided mobile canteens to those Forces serving in isolated areas, Forces’ centres, and special work in bombed areas, and Bletchley people, especially those in St. Martin’s parish, were asked to contact Mrs. W. Hurst, at 8, Vicarage Road to support the fund of the Church Army Appeal. As for church peals, the ringing of bells on Sunday, November 15th ‘put new heart’ into the mothers, wives, and children of the men battling in Libya. During the afternoon, including an R.A.F. band, police, A.R.P., Fire Guards, N.F.S., and A.T.C., a Civil Defence parade to St. Martin’s took place, and on the following day to conclude the 56th anniversary celebrations of the Bletchley Salvation Army Corps a concert was held in the Salvation Army Hall, with Mr. J. Colgrove presiding. Illustrated by many examples, later in the month on one Monday evening the Reverend Laurie Toseland, of Stony Stratford, then gave a talk on poetry to the Bletchley Road Methodist Church Guild, and at the end of November a Saturday social gathering and sale was held in St. Martin’s Hall, to augment the restoration of St. Martin’s church. With about £18 raised, this now brought the total to around £100.

Christian harmony seemed a little amiss during December, when a retired gentleman of 29, Eaton Avenue, sued the Reverend Arthur Yates of 140, Eaton Avenue, for 15s garage rent and accommodation. In August, 1941, he had allowed the Reverend to rent the garage at 2s 6d a week, but this was only on condition that he took the car away when his daughter, a schoolteacher, came home for holidays and weekends. When she duly returned in March, the Reverend asked if he could leave his car on the drive, and as long as the daughter was able to get her car in and out, this was agreed. No formal agreement had been made for leaving the car on the drive during this period, although the man thought 1s a week to be reasonable. However, in defence the Reverend sent a letter saying that he had no recollection of this, and viewing sympathetically the mention of the many acts of kindness by the Reverend to the family, including taking them to the station, etc., the judge entered for the defendant with costs.

So ended the disagreement, and on December 3rd at the 8p.m. meeting of the Public Health Committee also laid to rest was the fate of the old bier used at the cemetery. This would be sold for the best price available, and heralding the close of the year the church bells of Bletchley rang out on Christmas Day, the fourth Christmas of a very long and weary war.



Raised through carol singing and a concert, the sum of £10 was sent at the beginning of the year to the National Children’s Home by the Freeman Memorial Church, and at Bletchley Road Methodist church a wartime relaxation of the rules allowed the marriage to take place between the Reverend Arthur Yates, of Eaton Avenue, and Edna Webb, the only daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Webb of Papworth Everard, Cambridge. Living at 11, Eaton Avenue, as a B.A. Hons. English (Lon.) she had been teaching since January 20th, 1941 at Bletchley Senior School, and she and her husband were both prominent religious and social workers in the town. At the Saturday wedding, the Methodist Scouts and Guides formed a guard of honour, and following a reception held in the Senior School hall, the newly weds then left for a honeymoon in Richmond.

One Sunday, in St. Martin’s Hall the infant scholars of St. Martin’s Sunday School entertained parents and friends with a selection of ‘action songs’ and hymns, and speaking of the work in the Sunday School - and expressing appreciation of the duties performed by Miss Gamble and the teachers in training the children - the Reverend Wheeler presented prizes to those children who, during 1942, had gained the highest marks. Also presenting prizes were Brigadier & Mrs. Irving, of Northampton, who one Sunday in February conducted the Young People’s annual prize giving in the Salvation Army Hall. Here, following the resignation of Mr. H. Parker, the Brigadier presented Troop Leader Laurie Moore with his Scout Leader’s commission, and as for the activities at St. Martin’s church, with Mr. W. Hurst reappointed as vicar’s warden, and Mr. Battams as St. Margaret’s Mission warden, on Monday evening the Vicar announced to the annual meeting of St. Martin’s Church Council that the Reverend J. O. Snell would be leaving Bletchley after Easter. He required a wider experience, and would therefore be going to Willenhall, near Wolverhampton.

With a tea provided, the Baptist School prize giving was held one Saturday during February, and at the Freeman Memorial Church celebrations were in order for the installation of a new piano, the last instalment on which would be paid in April, from the proceeds raised by a concert given in the church.

Married with two daughters, the Reverend Walter William Wareing Richardson, of Grays, Essex, had now accepted the pastorate of the Bletchley Spurgeon Baptist Church. The vacancy had arisen due to the sudden resignation of the Reverend A. Reid in September, 1941 but as detailed in the chapter ‘Housing and Highways, 1942’ the house originally intended for his use, 18, Oxford Street, was otherwise occupied. The church then bought a house in Cambridge Street at a ‘war influenced’ price of £1,000, plus £100 for repairs, and although Mr. Gaylor, who was occupying 18, Oxford Street with his family, was asked if he would like to buy his current home, the offer of £700 proved unacceptable.

As for the Reverend Richardson, who would remain as the Minister until his death in 1965, he was a native of Northampton where, having originally been a member of the Princes Street Baptist church, he worked until taking a lay pastorship at Cogenhoe. Following World War One, he then entered the permanent ministry by way of the Baptist Union examination. Married in 1925, he was appointed pastor at Blunham in 1929, at Stow on the Wold in 1933, and from 1936 his duties would then be at Socketts Heath, Grays. His duties at Bletchley would now commence on the first Sunday in May, and perhaps to mark the beginning of his ministry the organist of the Spurgeon Memorial church, Mrs. E. Bedford, of 84, Water Eaton Road, might feel inspired to compose a special tune, for she had written many songs for the church including ‘Bedford’, so named because the B.B.C. Singers, who lived at Bedford, had once especially come to the church to perform a concert. In fact after the war the tune, now renamed ‘Bletchley’, would be accepted as a hymn in the new Baptist Church Hymnal, published in 1962. Yet even before then, in 1946 and 1950 a well known firm of music publishers had accepted a number of Mrs. Bedford’s musical compositions, for inclusion in ‘Sacred Childrens Songs.’

One early morning in early March, the Salvation Army Hall was crowded for an entertainment given by the Bletchley Home League, and with the event supported by local artists the proceeds of £5 were applied to the Salvation Army Self Denial Week. At the end of the month, the Reverend Wheeler then announced to St. Martin’s Parochial Church Council that, on the recommendation of the Bishop of Oxford, a successor had been found to the Reverend J. O. Snell. He was to be the Reverend John Sutters of Oxford who, having been ordained in 1939 to the curacy of St. Thomas, Oxford, became assistant lecturer at St. Stephen House Theological College, Oxford, two years later. On July 16th he was to arrive in Bletchley to be formally licensed by the Bishop of Oxford, and in fact he would remain in Fenny Stratford until 1952 when, withdrawing as the vicar designate of St. James, New Bradwell, he instead became chaplain of Wells Theological College.

Apart from these new arrivals, soon to make a re-acquaintance with the town was the former pastor of the Spurgeon Memorial Church, the Reverend Hugh Roberts, of Cambuslang Baptist church, Glasgow. He would conduct the services one Sunday in April, and also in April the Council now considered a letter, dated March 24th, from the Bletchley United Christian Council, stating that the Christian Council had been in touch with the Salvation Army about providing a Red Shield club in Bletchley. Supplying, at a charge, food and recreation for Salvationist servicemen and women, the Red Shield clubs had been established at the end of World War One, and with a headquarters in London were still ‘going strong’. They served a similar purpose to the facilities run by the Y.M.C.A. and with the cost estimated at around £1,000, for that intended for Bletchley the Council would be asked to supply free of charge ‘a suitably convenient site.’ If possible this should be near the station, and therefore convenient for members of the Forces passing through the town. At a meeting of the Council on April 20th, a letter dated the previous day was then read from the Trustees Secretary of the Freeman Memorial Church offering an excellent site adjoining their premises in Buckingham Road, and with the rent suggested as a nominal 1s a year, permission was duly granted to erect any type of building approved by the Council. As for the specific location and related matters, the Surveyor would be asked to advise both the Trustees and the Salvation Army authorities, and this being agreed the Clerk was to communicate with the Salvation Army, and notify them of the offer, requesting that they then conduct negotiations direct with the Trustees.

Receiving a farewell address from the Reverend Wheeler, at the beginning of May, the Reverend J.O. Snell was presented with a cheque and a book token at a gathering in St. Martin’s Hall. Having been the curate of Fenny Stratford since 1938, he was now moving to Rugeley, and in 1947 would then be appointed as vicar of Dawley Parva, in Shropshire, being instituted on St. Martin’s Day in recognition of his association with Fenny Stratford. Following the Reverend Snell’s departure from Fenny Stratford, until a successor could be appointed the duty as Assistant Priest at St. Martins and St. Margarets would be temporarily assumed by the Reverend R. Swinson M.A. He was previously of the diocese of Edinburgh whilst as for the Reverend Walter Richardson, having now commenced his pastorate of the Bletchley Spurgeon Memorial church, he and his wife were welcomed at a Saturday social evening by members of Old Bletchley Baptist Missionary. No doubt their arrival was also welcomed at the fourth anniversary of the Womens Bright Hour, Baptist Church Mission, Old Bletchley, which took place on Sunday, May 23rd.

Rather faded, an archive photograph of the Reverend Walter Richardson, who became the pastor of the Bletchley Baptist church in May, 1943. - Bletchley Gazette

At the Empire Youth Sunday parade, after forming up on the Studio car park about 500 young people paraded to the Bletchley Service of Youth sports ground, for a service conducted by the Reverend Wheeler. The month then concluded with a farewell service held at the Salvation Army Hall one Sunday evening for Adjutant & Mrs. Thomas Stacy. They were leaving for Water Beach, in Cambridgeshire, and their replacements would be Captain & Mrs. Ralph Horton of Woollaston. At the Yeomanry Hall, attracting large congregations for the morning, afternoon, and evening services on July 1st celebrations took place for the 5th anniversary of the Old Bletchley Sunday School, and also at Old Bletchley in the Rectory paddock and next to the churchyard around two acres of mowing grass - ‘No grazing’ - were presently for sale. However, at the Fenny Stratford Vicarage hopefully the grounds were already well mown for, by permission of the Reverend & Mrs. Wheeler, a Missionary Garden Meeting took place on Saturday, July 3rd. Admission was free, but teas were priced at 9d.

On the following Sunday the annual festival of St. Martin’s Church Sunday School began with the Sung Eucharist, and in the afternoon a procession of children then made their way from St. Martin’s Hall to the church for a festival service, with the proceeds from the flower gifts brought by the children to be applied for Sunday School funds. In the evening, outside the Studio the Bletchley United Christian Council staged a religious brains trust, and with the Reverend Wheeler and the Reverend Yates on the panel included amongst the questions was ‘the nature of the evidence for belief in the Christian faith.’

In July, at the 135th anniversary of the Spurgeon Baptist Church, the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Life Brigade paraded with the Colours at the morning service, and a moment of respectful silence was observed in memory of Brigadier Whiteley. Also reminding of the war, in the windows of the Electric Light Co., Victoria Road, and the Co-op, Bletchley Road, pictures were displayed of the war work being undertaken by the Salvation Army, who, by a letter of July 14th to the Council, applied for the use of Leon Rec. for a Band Concert on Sunday, August 29th. Permission to use the Rec was granted, but an additional request to make a collection was declined.

The work of the Salvation Army Corps was again emphasised one Saturday afternoon at the end of the month, when at the annual garden party events at the Baptist Sports ground included bowling for a chicken, guessing the weight of coal, and lighting the greatest number of candles with one match. Many stalls and sideshows were featured and with the baby show attracting around 45 entries, in the fancy dress contest ‘Airman’ and the ‘Prettiest’ Bo Peep would be the winners of the ‘original’ class.

The Reverend A. Yates had now concluded his studies as a probationer and - as the occasion for his wife to be excused her teaching duties for the day - was ordained on July 14th. Having gained a Batchelor of Divinity degree at London University, amongst other subjects he qualified in psychology, ethics, and Hebrew, and during his time in Bletchley the churches had been merged into one circuit. At the arrival of the first evacuees, until they could be taken to their billets he did ‘a splendid job’ with their sleeping, reception, and catering arrangements in the Methodist huts, and also performing great service as chaplain to the R.A.F. and Army, he catered for the social and physical needs of the latter by opening a canteen. He had now been appointed to the St. Neots circuit, and at the end of August with the A.C.F. represented in strength farewell services were preached in the morning at the Freeman Memorial church, and in the evening at the Bletchley Road Methodist church where Mr. H. Edward, the Society Steward, presented not only a cheque, (to which the members had subscribed), but also a donation from the Simpson church. As the theme for his last sermon the Reverend Yates appropriately chose ‘Lo I am with you always’ but in fact it would be the Reverend G. Leslie Holdsworth who would be with them, as the replacement minister. The eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Holdsworth, of 17, Ash Crescent, Leeds, he had entered the Ministry from Leeds, Headingly Circuit in 1939, and training at Didsbury College for a year, following a war enforced closure he then transferred to Hartley Victoria College, Manchester, for the remaining two years of his tuition. Resident at Shillington, in 1942 he was then given charge of the country end of Luton (A) Circuit, which entailed responsibility for five country churches.

A former Superintendent of St. Martin’s Sunday School, and employee of the Bletchley post office, the Reverend E.S. Owen was now the Vicar of Staincross, Yorkshire, but returned to Bletchley at the end of August to preach at Sunday Evensong. Then at the beginning of September the United Christian Council held their last summer Open Air Meeting in the Studio car park, and also during the month the Baptist church became the first in the town to install the ‘aid to the deaf’ equipment. Gifts from the members of the church, and from the family of the late deacon, Joseph Bates, had made this possible, and no doubt for those of impaired hearing the facility was much appreciated when, at a return visit made on Sunday, September 25th, at 6p.m. B.B.C. soloists performed Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise, and other items.

Gratitude was now also due for the surrender of Italy, with the giving of a Sunday general thanksgiving in St. Martin’s church but whilst the news indeed proved welcome, the war dragged on nevertheless, and collections from St. Martin’s church had now raised £6 11s for ‘Merchant Navy comforts’.

During the month, the Girls’ League of the Bletchley Road Methodist church held their first winter meeting one Monday, with a talk on ‘The beginning of missionary work in South-West China.’ However, for those girls perhaps less than enthralled, they could always slope off and apply for a position doing housework at the Rectory, Old Bletchley, where a ‘young girl to train might suit.’

Now running a canteen and recreation rooms for the Forces, in mid October members of the Albert Street Methodist church staged an instrumental, vocal, and elocution programme in aid of church funds, and intending to raise monies for the benefit of the renovation fund, at the beginning of November a well attended concert was given in the Freeman Memorial church. However, regarding the Salvation Army, on Saturday, Sunday, December 4th and 5th, they received a ‘Very Special Visit’ from a party from London, which included Major G. Ward as leader, ventriloquist, and songster, and I. Stoker, ‘elocutionist’.

Raising proceeds for the Catholic church building fund, on Saturday, December 4th, admission 2d, a bazaar and jumble sale took place at St. Martin’s from 3p.m. to 5p.m., and on Tuesday, at the newly formed Bletchley Road Methodist Church Youth Meeting suggestions were made that the organisation should be known as the ‘Yips’, ‘Loungers’, ‘Nomads’, or ‘Venturers’. No decision was reached! ‘December Merrymaking’ then featured at Water Eaton church at 7p.m. on Monday, December 13th and bringing the year to a seasonal close, on Sunday, December 19th at 6p.m. the choir performed J. Maunder’s ‘Bethlehem’ at Bletchley Road Methodist church.



The intended Red Shield Club had not as yet materialised, for despite plans being complete for a building - at a cost of £4,000, to include sleeping accommodation for 10 men and 10 women, bathrooms, a recreation room and reading room - the problem arose because the Ministry of Labour had refused to release more than a certain number of men.

As a former assistant priest in Fenny Stratford, the Reverend E. Perkins had now accepted the Maidenhead living of All Saints, Boyne Hill, but regarding Bletchley matters, on Candlemas Day the traditional ceremony of blessing the candles took place at St. Martin’s and St. Margaret’s, ‘probably for the first time since the Reformation’.

At the annual meeting of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church it was reported that although there were now sufficient funds to build a new church in Old Bletchley, this would be after the war, and for the meanwhile the school building in Aylesbury Street was to be repaired, and the organ modernised. In fact towards the organ rebuilding scheme a few weeks later a concert would then be held in the church one Wednesday evening, with £5 raised by the auction of a dolls’ house.

During early February, an instrumental and vocal concert was arranged in the Salvation Army hall by Band Leader E. Smith, he being the prospective leader of the young people’s band, which would be the recipient of the proceeds. Also during the month, with songs, recitations, and games featured amongst the entertainments, the Reverend C. Wheeler then gave out prizes at the Vicarage party to scholars of the St. Martin’s Infant Sunday School but for Miss J. Bonner, she was presented with a fountain pen, as a gift on leaving the Sunday School to take up nursing.

For the benefit of the Supernumerary Minister’s Fund, at Bletchley Road Methodist church, on Saturday, February 26th a concert to include Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast was held at 7.30p.m., and in other events the Salvation Army Scouts celebrated their third birthday, with a Saturday entertainment written by the Assistant Leader, M. Smith. Captain Ralph Horton, the C.O. of the Bletchley Salvation Army, also had something to celebrate when promoted to the rank of adjutant, but of a higher elevation, in March Major Walter Williams, the Salvation Army Youth Organiser in the Midlands, visited the Bletchley Corps one Sunday to take special services. He gave a demonstration of youth work, and would no doubt be well pleased when the Bletchley & District Salvation Army Self Denial Week raised a record sum of £140, with the money employed for the general work of the Salvation Army.

At the Baptist Spurgeon Memorial church, plans were now in hand to rebuild and modernise the organ. A concert arranged by Miss Gertie Weatherhead, and members of the choir, was held on Wednesday, March 8th, and in the interval a contribution to the fund was made by the auctioning of a dolls house which, fashioned by Mr. L. Weatherhead, raised £6.

On Monday, April 3rd, a successful concert was given at the Salvation Army hall, where the guest artist, Mr. Samuel Hawes, introduced novelty items on sleigh bells, and gave solos on a musical saw. The proceeds were for the funds of the Salvation Army, and one Monday the Girl Guards of the organisation presented a display of semaphore signalling, P.T., first-aid drill, musical items and recitations. Well earned refreshments were then served by the Scouts! Unfortunately, due to depleted numbers caused by the call up the Salvation Army were unable to undertake an early morning march on Easter Day, but on Easter Tuesday, April 11th, featuring soloists from the B.B.C. Handel’s Messiah was performed in the Spurgeon Baptist church. Then on Tuesday, April 25th, in St. Martin’s Hall at 7.30p.m. the Lord Bishop of Kingston-on-Thames spoke concerning ‘The Application of the Christian Faith to Life’, whilst regarding a Methodist youth centre, which would adjoin the church in Bletchley Road, in May two members of the Bletchley Road Methodist Youth Circle put forward their ideas. Mr. Holt, amongst others, had prepared large scale plans for a young people’s chapel, separate classrooms with rubber floors, an upholstered music room, a handicrafts room for Scouts and Guides, a concert hall with cinematograph and a fully equipped kitchen, and it was duly agreed to try and carry out these proposals. On Wednesday, May 24th, Wesley Day was then celebrated at the Bletchley Road Methodist church, and in a programme entitled ‘John Wesley Comes to Bletchley’, Miss Doreen Skipper and the Reverend Holdsworth presented the life story of John Wesley ‘on B.B.C. lines’.

The Army Cadet Force, A.T.C., Girls’ Training Corps, Red Cross Youth, St. John Nursing Cadets, B.B., Girls’ Life Guards, Scouts, Cubs, Rangers, Girl Guides, and Brownies were all included at the Empire Youth Sunday Service and parade which, having been marshalled on the Leon Rec, was lead by the Salvation Army band for a service, arranged by the United Christian Council, at the Albert Street Service of Youth Sports Ground. Then at the Baptist Sports Ground in Denmark Street, from 3p.m. until 6p.m. the annual Bletchley Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Midsummer Fete took place on Saturday, 24th June, and events included a baby show and, conducted by Miss Hancock, percussion band selections performed by the nursery school children of Ecclesbourne Road. £100 being raised from the many people attending the fete, there was also a good attendance when the Bletchley United Christian Council held another open-air service outside the Studio Cinema, and on Saturday and Sunday, July 1st and 2nd, at a visit to the Bletchley Road Methodist church by the Cambridge University Team the subject was ‘Rediscovering the Bible.’

On Thursday evening, July 6th, the Albert Street Primitive Methodist church was officially closed for worship, with the membership transferred to other Methodist churches. For some 12 months thereafter the premises would accommodate a Forces canteen, but in late 1946 the building became, following a few months of closure, a Methodist Youth Centre. The church had first opened in 1896, when a minister from Northampton preached on the text ‘They planted an ash’, and prior to the construction of the chapel, the congregation had met in a hut in the same street. Of the founder members, the oldest was now Mr. Litchfield, of Water Eaton Road.

Professor Middleton Smith, late of Hong Kong, and for many years engineering tutor to Hong Kong University, was the speaker at a Missionary Garden Meeting held in the Vicarage Gardens on Saturday, 8th July. Proceeds were for the China Church Appeal fund, and also on a foreign theme the town welcomed the Reverend E. T. Ryder of Serampur College, India, who, conducting the Missionary Sunday services in the Spurgeon church, spoke of his work as the headmaster at an Indian school. As for Ronald Cowley, of 40, Church Green Road, having studied for the past five years at Manchester Baptist College, on passing his final exam for the London University Batchelor of Divinity degree he would accept an invitation for the pastorate of the church at Norbury, S.W. London.

Towards the end of August, at Gayhurst in a Saturday competition by the Stony Stratford & Wolverton Boy Scouts’ Association, the Bletchley Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts won the Sir Arthur Holland Camping Trophy and also on youthful matters, by a letter dated August 31st the Officer Commanding 456 Squadron A.T.C. invited the Council members, and officials, to attend the Battle of Britain service at St. Mary’s, to be held at 3p.m. on Sunday, 17th September. In the afternoon, units of the R.A.F., W.A.A.F., A.T.C., N.F.S., and Civil Defence assembled on the Studio car park, (where the R.A.F. ensign was raised), and having marched to the church, then attended the service conducted by the Reverend Lloyd Milne, with an R.A.F. padre, the Reverend G. Froggatt as preacher.

Reminding of the reasons behind the Battle, the Jewish High Festivals were held at the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, on the following day as well as on Tuesday, September 19th, Tuesday, September 26th, and Wednesday, September 27th. Particulars could be obtained from Mr. A. Dindol, at 91, Bletchley Road.

Missionary work in India was the subject of a play, ‘The Sacred Thread’, produced in the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Hall on the evening of Wednesday, September 20th, which also proved the occasion to open the mission boxes, which had been placed in various houses for the collection of small change throughout the year. On Wednesday, September 27th ‘A Woman’s Place is in the Home’ was the subject of a debate by the Bletchley Road Methodist Youth Circle and proposing the motion, Miss Kathleen Ferguson stressed ‘the married state for a woman as the goal of true happiness.’ However, opposing this view was Geoffrey Cox, who said that there were many ways of seeking happiness in addition to home life. The motion was carried by one vote. As for Mr. H. Thomas, he felt that his home was in Tenby, North Wales to where, after 15 years service as an altar server at St. Martin’s church, he would now return. Before the war he had been in business in Aylesbury Street, and during the hostilities served as a War Reserve police officer. Also regarding St. Martin’s church, on the morning of Sunday, October 1st Group Scoutmaster S. Harlock, of the 1st Fenny Stratford Troop, and 10 boys, nine of whom were members of the Troop, were solemnly admitted before Mass as new servers by the Vicar, the Reverend Wheeler, whose youngest son, Marcus, had now obtained an open Classical Scholarship, at Oriel College, Oxford, in which city his father had been a scholar of Queen’s College. A Bible Clerkship was attached to the Scholarship, which conferred a responsibility on the holder to say Grace in College Hall.

Sunday, October 1st had been ‘Choir Sunday’, which, celebrated at the Freeman Memorial Church, was also the occasion of the first sermon to be preached at the centre by the newly appointed Lay Pastor, Mr. E. Kitchin. Then on Wednesday, October 4th, nearly 400 people accepted an invitation to ‘Meet me at the Fayre’ when, in aid of the Boiler Fund, an Old Michaelmas Fayre took place in the evening at St. Martin‘s Hall. About £40 would be raised, and later in the month Mr. Andrew Alderman, for the past 12 years the verger and sexton of the church retired, aged 77, due to the ill health of his wife. They would then live at the home of their married daughter at Evesham. Having commenced his working life as a gardener, Mr. Alderman later became an L.M.S. goods guard, and took the position as verger on his retirement. As for his replacement, applicants were to contact the Hon. Sec. P.C.C., Miss F. Davis, at 5, Victoria Road. For the British and Foreign Bible Society, at 7.15p.m. the Reverend R. Gould, for many years the Society’s Secretary in Central China, spoke at the Salvation Army Hall on Saturday, October 21st. His talk was regarding ‘The Bible in China’ but ‘Growing Up in an Independent Age’ was the topic on Friday, November 4th for an 8p.m. talk by Dr. Marjorie Reeve, of Oxford. For the Bletchley Christian Council, she spoke at St. Martin’s Hall but for those more musically inclined, at the Spurgeon Memorial Church on November 8th Mendelssohn’s Oratoria, ‘Elijah’, was given by soloists of the B.B.C. The work was supposedly somewhat notorious for the trickiness of the solo parts, but also tricky was the playing of the organ which, due to a technical hitch, was only partially working. However, at the keyboard Miss Gertie Weatherhead coped heroically.

Andrew Alderman, seen at work tending the borders of St. Martin's Churchyard. He began his working life as a gardener but later worked on the railways. When he retired, in 1932 he then became the verger and sexton of St. Martin's Church, until retiring in October, 1944, due to the ill health of his wife. The couple then moved to the home of their daughter in Evesham.

Over at the Bletchley Road Methodist church, at 7p.m. the Reverend W. Lorne Cornish (Westminster) came to present a lecture entitled ‘Followed by Discussion’ on Saturday, November 11th and the following day the 211th St. Martin’s Day Sermon was preached at 11a.m. by the Lord Bishop of Buckingham, the Right Reverend Robert Hay, M.A., B.D. Yet less successful was the Armistice Sunday parade, which had to be cancelled due to torrential rain. Then on Wednesday, December 6th, with admission priced at 3d almost £2 a minute was taken at a Christmas market held, at 7p.m., in the Spurgeon Memorial Church. The previous month, members of the choir had decided to run a Christmas Sale and, assisted by friends, various articles were made for the sale, ranging from toy animals to calendars and Christmas cakes. £112 being eventually raised, this would be applied towards rebuilding the organ but for the organ at the Albert Street Methodist church, as decided at the quarterly meeting of the Bletchley & Wolverton Circuit this was now on the move to a new home at the Bletchley Road Methodist chapel. As for the old organ of the Bletchley Road church, that would be going to New Bradwell, to replace a harmonium now being offered for sale!

Bringing the year to a close, with the proceeds destined for ‘local work’ on Saturday, December 16th the Salvation Army held their annual Bazaar at 3.30p.m. and on Saturday, December 23rd they then staged their Christmas Carol Service, both events being staged in the Salvation Army Hall.




Despite the Japanese capture of Hong Kong on Christmas Day, at least for Bletchley the New Year began on a more cheerful note, when on January 4th a Sunday evening concert for the Forces was held in the Baptist Spurgeon Memorial church. The entertainment included a selection of solos and monologues by Mr. Wilson, whilst at the concert on Sunday, January 18th amongst the featured artists were Mr. T. Pacey on saxophone and Mrs. White as vocalist.

However, there seemed little to sing about on the wider scene, especially when the German warships, Gneisenau, Prinz Eugen, and Scharnhorst, escaped through the English Channel. Yet when the Scharnhorst met her eventual end, at least the event would be witnessed by a Bletchley lad, Lewis Taylor, of 41, Eaton Avenue, who was then serving as a Boy Signaller on a British ship. As for the Far East, the two reinforced divisions of the Japanese Fifteenth Army had now begun moving north west into Burma from Thailand, and not surprisingly for the British the build up of military supplies began to assume a national priority. With personnel of the R.A.O.C. accommodated in Nissen huts at Skew Bridge, the kilns of local brickworks were now being used to store vast quantities of ammunition, and increasingly the railways played a vital role in this transportation. In fact with many ammunition and troop trains now passing daily through Bletchley station, elements of the Home Guard were deployed to protect the railway facilities, and the signal box near Denbigh Bridge could take protective comfort from the presence of a local member armed solely with a rifle of First World War vintage! Protecting the communications to Bletchley Park and the associated centres also remained of prime importance, and accommodated in three huts near the gates of Bletchley Park, this was the responsibility of the Post Office Home Guard, which during the early month would be divided into the separate categories of 1/ Telecommunication Specialists, 2/ Essential Postal and 3/ Military Duty.

Towards the end of January, Mr. Harry Bates, of 32, Church Street, was presented with a wristwatch by his fellow workmates at W.O. Peakes. He had been an employee since leaving school four years ago, but was now to be called up for the Forces. However, the authorities made a tragic mistake when at the end of the month they sent a notice to Albert and Mabel Davis, the parents of Harry Douglas Davis of 114, Buckingham Road, calling him up for duties with the Home Guard. In fact having already enlisted in the Army as Private 5950407, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, he had been posted as missing four months ago in Malaya. Tragically he would die in Japanese captivity on August 21st, 1943, and now lies buried in Kanchanaburi war cemetery, Thailand.

Another insensitive announcement was made by the Ministry of Information, when they informed Mrs. Dakin of 32, Saffron Street, that her husband, Trooper George Dakin, had been captured by the Italians in the Middle East. She had been receiving letters from him for the past three months. As for Gunner William Betts, R.A., whose home was at ‘Snaefell’, Cottingham Grove, as the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Betts of 150, Western Road, he had been a manager of the Water Eaton branch of the Bletchley Co-op but a year after his marriage joined up in October, 1940. Unfortunately, he was now reported as missing since December 15th, 1941 but in more optimistic news, during a broadcast of ‘Sandy’s Half Hour’ the B.B.C. organist, Sandy Macpherson, read out a message for Miss Doreen Wale, of Woolstone, from Aircraftsman Arthur French, of 8, Western Road. Now serving with the R.A.F. in Lancashire, he had joined up 11 weeks ago.

Despite the depressing news that in North Africa General Rommel’s second desert offensive was now driving back the British, as some boost of morale at least those soldiers in Bletchley had the benefit of a ‘For the Troops’ recreation room and canteen, open nightly throughout the week at the Albert Street Methodist church. Meanwhile, in the Assembly Room of the Rose & Crown, on Friday, 30th January the A.G.M. of the British Legion, Bletchley Branch took place, and with Mr. R. Barnwell appointed as secretary, Major J. P. Whiteley was re-elected as President. As for Mr. H. Felce (Treasurer), he was presented by Captain Mells with a British Legion gold badge, for the efficient manner in which he had performed his work.

Towards replacing those instruments lost at Dunkirk by the band of the 1st Bucks. Battalion, at the end of the month an appeal to the people of Buckinghamshire was made by Lord Cottesloe, and although there was a good response, despite £331 12s having already been raised, money was still needed for silver plating the Battalion bugles, as a substitute for those left behind.

However, on February 15th far more than band instruments were lost when the 55 year old Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Percival surrendered Singapore to a force of 35,000 Japanese, under the command of General Yamashita. Many soldiers from Bletchley were amongst the 138,000 soldiers thus signed over to the ‘mercy’ of the Japanese, and the ensuing brutalities are now well known. Yet more humane treatment was afforded to Percival, and when moved in 1943 to a camp near the capital of Formosa, each officer had a room to himself, as well as access to ‘a library of English and American books, and a gramophone with a good supply of records.’

In February, 1942 at the Fall of Singapore many Bletchley men would be amongst 138,000 prisoners taken by the Japanese.

Following the Fall of Singapore, no doubt an increased sense of purpose prevailed on Saturday, February 21st when at the Bletchley Labour Exchange 108 women, born in 1907, registered for National Service. As for the general population, a public meeting, organised by the Ministry of Information, took place in the Studio at 7p.m. on Sunday, March 1st, and with the speaker being Sir Arthur Wellert, K.B.E., Regional Officer for the Ministry, his subject was ‘The Wider War’. In fact this seemed quite appropriate, since it was the day that the Japanese gained the Dutch East Indies, and were therefore now able to contemplate offensives against India and Australia. In fact in view of this menacing potential, Australian adult civilians then became liable for war service on March 2nd. The wider war was also especially relevant as the topic on Monday, March 9th for a Belgian general, the President of the Belgian Chamber in London, who discussing anti invasion techniques, gave an evening talk on the German invasion to Bletchley Civil Defence workers and Home Guard.

With the Luftwaffe launching nightly raids on London and the South East, there now came welcome news of the recent graduation in the United States of two Bletchley members of the R.A.F. Specialising in fighter training, they were Jack Biggs, aged 20, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Biggs, of 24, Duncombe Street, and Luing Cowley, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Cowley of 20, Bletchley Road. Jack had arrived in Bletchley with his family four years ago, and being employed as an engineering draughtsman at Wellingborough he then joined the R.A.F., in fact as one of the first 50 R.A.F. recruits to be sent to America for flying training under the Lend Lease agreement. However, during the ocean voyage matters were somewhat delayed by a message that the Bismark was on their tail! Following his initial training, in December he then received a diploma for gunnery, and as a member of the Seventh Aviation Cadet Class graduated from the Advanced Flying School, Craig Field, Selma, Alabama, in January, 1942, gaining both his R.A.F. wings and the U.S. equivalent. As for Luing Cowley, for seven years a member of the 1st Bletchley Company Boys Brigade, he had been employed as a mechanic at the Cowley and Wilson garage but joining the R.A.F. in 1940, he had now graduated at the age of 19 from Riddle-McKay Aero College, at Clewiston, Florida.

By the entry of the United States into the war, there now ensued a two way exchange of personnel, and to help prepare American serviceman for the British way of life, on arrival each was issued with a booklet that stressed ‘Three actions on your part will slow up friendship - swiping his girl, not appreciating what his army has been up against and rubbing it in that you are better paid than he is.’ ‘The people will be very glad to see you, but their enthusiasm is usually of a rather shy sort.’ As for the British response, a pamphlet issued by the Army Bureau of Current Affairs informed service personnel that ‘Americans are not Englishmen who are different, but foreigners who are rather like us.’

On February 14th Britain had issued the ‘Area Bombing Directive’, whereby residential areas became a target, and of a firm belief in this policy, on February 29th Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Harris took over the responsibility from Air Marshall Sir Richard Peirse of Bomber Command, the capability of which would be then much enhanced by the introduction of the four engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.

By March, Britain’s spending on the war had reached £9,050 million, more than the entire expenditure for the Great War, and as a means to raise extra funds, plans were now well advanced for Bletchley Warship Week, March 21st - 28th. A representative committee had been making preliminary arrangements, and with these now being reported to both a joint meeting and the secretaries of the sub-committees, the objective - especially since losses in the Mediterranean had greatly reduced the availability of escort vessels - was to raise £120,000 to buy a corvette. In fact this was a need that had been recently emphasised by the recent loss of 4/5ths of a convoy sailing to Alexandria from Malta, the inhabitants of which island would in recognition of their defiance against sustained enemy attack, be awarded the George Cross on April 15th. Also regarding service overseas, having enrolled as a sister in the Queen Alexandria Imperial Military Nursing Service, Miss Rose Sundewall, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Sundewall of Staple Hall Road, would now be posted abroad, and after a period of duty in the Middle East, she would then move with the Eighth Army through Africa, and eventually to Italy.

With the ‘Week’ commencing on the Saturday at 2.30p.m. a Grand Parade of Services and Civil Defence Units duly assembled on the Studio car park and amongst those included were an R.A.F. band, two contingents of W.A.A.F.’s, units of the regular army, 456 Squadron A.T.C., elements of the Home Guard, members of the Women’s Land Army, St. Martin’s Church Scouts and Guides, Bucks. police and special constabulary, civil defence units, and local men and equipment of the N.F.S., all lead by a contingent of the W.R.N.S. Also included was not only a lifeboat full of W.R.N.S. personnel, but also a large model submarine, (made at an R.A.F. station!), and a model ‘warship’, H.M.S. Bletchley, which had been built over a lorry with the help of the Council’s Surveyor, Mr. A. Bates and his staff, assisted by an N.F.S. member Mr. L. Verrel, and Police Sergeant Boucher. Proceeding via Lennox Road, Eaton Avenue, Manor Road, Aylesbury Street, Church Street, and Victoria Road, following the salute, (taken at the Council Offices), the parade then passed through the main gates of the school to Leon Rec. for the opening ceremony. This was conducted by Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey, ‘G.C.M.G. etc’ who in fact appeared well qualified for the task, having until his retirement in 1922 enjoyed a long and distinguished naval career which, apart from commanding H.M.S. New Zealand during her Empire cruise in 1913, also encompassed action both at Heligoland Bight in 1914, and Dogger Bank in 1915, service in H.M.S. Iron Duke at Jutland, and for two years the command of the Royal Australian Navy.

On Monday evening Commander O. Callaghan, R.N., announced the weekend total as £18,365, and during tours along the streets by ‘H.M.S. Bletchley’, through loudspeakers mounted on the ‘vessel’ the public was vigorously urged to save. Various money raising events had been organised, and with kick offs at 3p.m., on the L.B.C. ground at Newton Road Warship Week football matches were played against an R.A.F. XI team on Saturday, March 21st and Saturday, March 28th, followed by an evening dance in the L.B.C. canteen. Also during the week, with prizes appropriately given in the form of Savings Certificates and stamps, a whist drive took place at 7.30p.m. the Yeomanry Hall on Tuesday, March 24th and the following day with herself as the compere, a concert arranged by Lorna Webster took place in the Senior School hall. Artists included not only Belle Chrystall, ‘stage, screen and radio star’ but also Ernest Elliot’s ‘Living Marionettes’. The Warship Week then closed with a Grand Finale Concert on Saturday, March 28th, presented at 7.30p.m. by the Park Drama Group in the Senior School hall and with £73,073 having been collected by the end of the month, the Warship Week indicator was raised to this new total by a former member of the 1st Fenny Stratford Rover Crew, Ashley Shouler, who was now home on leave from the Royal Navy. In early April the final figure would then reach £78,716, of which Mrs. Hankins, for the Bletchley Road Savings Group, had collected £1000, the Bletchley Road schools invested £500, B.U.D.C. collected £505, the selling centres £12,629 and Bletchley Park, £5,701. Even the Home Guard Mile of Pennies raised £61, duly applied to the fund for British Merchant Seamen and their dependants. As for the Warship Week prizewinners, they included Mrs. Brown of 56, Water Eaton Road, Mrs. Long of Ye Olde Swan, and Mrs. Mercer of 19, Brooklands Road.

Lieutenant Colonel Whiteley with warrant officers and N.C.O.s of the 99 Field Regiment at Ahmadnegar, India, in March, 1942. In the early days of the war he had been involved in the fighting before the evacuation from Dunkirk, and as read an account of his actions on May 28th, 1940; 'when leading a column on the march he encountered enemy tanks that had broken through. He immediately brought into action an anti-tank gun that had attached itself, knocked out two tanks and extricated his column.' - Mr. I. Beckett.

With India now threatened by the Japanese, on March 29th in order to maintain an Indian commitment the British offered Gandhi a plan for full Indian independence after the war. In fact this had been his long cherished ambition, an intention to which he alluded when, asked what he thought of Western civilisation, he replied that he thought it would be a very good thing! In fact the defence of India was vital, for, as stated by a press advertisement; ‘DO YOU KNOW THAT INDIA supplies all the jute for making sacks and handbags, that more than half Britain’s needs of livestock foods come from India, as well as tea, rice, hides, skins, cotton and manganese.’ Unfortunately, however, the Gonds, an Aboriginal hill race of Central India, were unable to offer much help, for although keen to supply the British Government with their weapons, they were most surprised to learn that bows and arrows were out of date! Yet many Indians would fight for the Allied cause, and at the beginning of the war 24 volunteers had been selected for R.A.F. flight training, although of the 18 who completed their instruction, 13 were killed during 1941. Of opposite loyalties, sympathetic to the ‘liberate India’ intentions of Subhas Chandra Bose, the nationalist leader, the Indian Freiwelligen Legion der Waffen-S.S. would be made up of around 1,000 Indian volunteers, who had been captured whilst fighting for the British. Yet their use was in the event solely for garrison duties whilst as for Gandhi, in August he would be detained in the Aga Khan’s palace after condemning Indian involvement in the fight against Nazism, and for calling for civil disobedience. However, due to his failing health, officials would release him in 1944, fearing that he might die in British custody.

On the question of coloured troops fighting for the Allies, the British approach differed vastly from that of the Americans, who employing blatant segregation, imposed separate eating and sleeping facilities. For those coloured American troops stationed in Britain, however, although the official policy was not to interfere, the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, stated that ‘What I won’t have is British police enforcing their rules for them.’ In fact by the wisdom of the Secretary of State for Colonies, Viscount Cranborne, it was realised that if Britain advocated a colour bar, then ‘all the coloured people here from our Empire will go back discontented and preach disaffection.’

On June 17' , 1940, the 'Lancastria', formerly the Cunard liner 'Tyrrhenia', was bombed shortly after leaving the port of St. Nazaire. On board was the rearguard of the British Expeditionary Force, and Sapper Charles Essen, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Essen, of 21, Duncombe Street, was amongst the 4,000 on board who lost their lives. Recovered by a French fisherman, the bell of the ship was presented to the HMT Lancastria Association in 2005.

For the improved detection of U boats, during the year a breakthrough in radar technology would be made by two British scientists, who successfully developed the cavity magnetron. By generating high power at high frequencies, this made centimetric radar possible which, using smaller aerials, consequently lead to the production of airborne radar sets. Also as a means to lessen the dangers that faced Allied Atlantic shipping, March 28th/29th saw the launch of a British Combined Operations attack on the French port of St. Nazaire. Significantly, it had been from here that on June 17th, 1940, the rearguard of the B.E.F., together with civilians, had boarded the ‘Lancastria’, which, formerly operated by Cunard as the liner ‘Tyrrhenia’, had been requisitioned in March, 1940. However, within half an hour of leaving the harbour the vessel was bombed, and sank within 20 minutes. 4,000 lives were thereby lost, including that of Sapper Charles Arthur Essen, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Essen of 21, Duncombe Street..

Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Newman, whose home was at Little Brickhill. Serving with the Essex Regiment, he led the Special Service troops on the night raid of March 28th/29th, 1942, on St. Nazaire, the objective of which was to destroy the dry dock of the German battleship Tirpitz'. The raid was successful, but he was taken prisoner during the action. Repatriated at the end of the war, he would then be awarded the V.C. as recognition of his heroism. - War Illustrated.

St. Nazaire lay 30 miles WNW of Nantes, at the mouth of the river Loire, and for his part in the British attack serving with the Essex Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Augustus ‘Gus’ Newman, whose home was at Little Brickhill, would be awarded the V.C. The objective of the mission was to destroy the dry dock of the German battleship Tirpitz, whose performance and firepower could otherwise wreak havoc on Allied shipping, and with Lieutenant Colonel Newman commanding the military forces, and Commander ‘Red’ Ryder the naval forces, under heavy fire H.M.S. Campbeltown, accompanied by escorting vessels, rammed the lock gates leading to the main basin and then ‘piled herself up on them with the sureness of a ferret diving into a hole.’ Filled with explosives, the ship completely wrecked the gates, and the only French Atlantic graving dock able to handle German heavy ships was thus rendered inoperative. Having gone ashore with a force of commandos, Lieutenant Colonel Newman raked the U boat moorings with mortar and Bren gun fire but during the engagement he would be amongst those who were taken prisoner. Repatriated at the end of the war, ‘You could have knocked me over with a feather’ was his reaction on hearing that he had been awarded the V.C., yet the award was well deserved for even the Germans were moved to remark; ‘We would not wish to deny the gallantry of the British. Every German is moved by a feeling of respect for the men who carried out this action.’

At the end of March, the second year of Sunday troop concerts, held at 7.30p.m. in the Spurgeon Baptist church, concluded with the 30th show of the season, presented to a record attendance of around 150. Before the epilogue, local performers, and the ladies who, under the charge of Mrs. S. Whitlock, managed the catering, were all cheered, and thoughts would now turn to the military personnel further afield. These included members of the Royal Bucks. Yeomanry 99th Regiment who, having been enlisted at the outbreak of war, saw consequent action in France, and after Dunkirk were then deployed along the Yorkshire coast in the East Riding, specifically to protect Filey. There they remained until December, 1941 but with the lessened threat of invasion, were then transferred to Tewkesbury, prior to embarkation from the Clyde on April 13th. As part of convoy WS18, with other units of 6 Brigade they duly sailed in the Empress of Canada which, launched on August 17th, 1920, had made her maiden voyage on May 5th, 1922, becoming a troop transport on November 29th, 1939. Unfortunately, in 1943 with the loss of 392 lives she would be sunk whilst on a voyage from Durban to England by two torpedoes, fired from the Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci.

When the vessel reached Freetown, orders were then given to attain readiness within three weeks for forthcoming action - presumably the invasion of Madagascar, to forestall Japanese intentions - but at Cape Town these orders were cancelled and the convoy sailed instead for India, docking at Bombay on June 3rd. However, for the meanwhile, since no field guns had yet arrived they would have to train as infantry in the Deccan, at Poona, and north of Bombay, but during October two batteries would be equipped with 3.7in howitzers. Some personnel were later committed to the support of the 6th Infantry Brigade in the Arakan, but the unsuccessful attack by the 6th Brigade at Dunbaik caused heavy casualties for both the infantry and artillery.

In the ongoing call up, on Saturday, March 21st 131 women of the 1905 class had been registered for war work at the town’s Labour Exchange, and as a means to fill the vital jobs in industry and the auxiliary services the registration of 20 and 21 year old women then began in April. Exemption applied to married women with young children, although increasingly they shouldered their own burdens since the all too frequent news of casualties abroad continually emphasised the grim realities of war. As an emphasis, Lieutenant Bombardier Geoffrey Underlin - the son of Wilfred Underlin, (who was appointed Bletchley’s head postmaster during the year) - had become a prisoner of the Japanese, and this also proved the unenviable fate that befell several other Bletchley men, including the Reverend Albert Bennitt, the eldest son of the Reverend F. Bennitt, a former rector of Bletchley. As a missionary for the S.P.G., in 1934 Albert had travelled to the Malaya Peninsula and following a return to Britain he then resumed his work in 1939, only to be captured by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore. Fortunately, his wife and daughter had left for England a short while before.

At the Fall of Singapore, amongst the Bletchley men to become Japanese prisoners was Lieutenant Commander Albert Jenkins, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. M. Jenkins of ‘Skircoat’, Vicarage Road. He had been employed at Wolverton Works before joining the Army, and was a member of the 148th Field Regiment when captured. After two years without news his parents would then receive a postcard stating he was now a P.O.W. in a camp in Thailand, and - although they could not know it at the time - working on a railway rather more infamous than that of his pre-war occupation. Private Gerald Hitchcock, R.A.M.C., the only son of Mr. & Mrs. Hitchcock, of Meacham Cottage, 43, Duncombe Street, had also been reported as missing at the Fall of Singapore, and having joined the Army in 1940, he had also been employed before the war on the railway, spending two years as a staff clerk on the L.M.S. at Woburn Sands. After eight months at Singapore he would be taken to Thailand, and his parents eventually received a standard postcard confirming that he was at a base hospital. The prisoners were only allowed to write a maximum of 25 words but despite this brief allowance, and the strict censorship, many nevertheless devised secret codes to tell of the brutal treatment, and appalling conditions. Deciphering this information, sometimes in the form of anagrams or Morse code annotations, then became the task of a code breaking team based at 58/62, High Holborn, London.

As former pupils of Bletchley Road Senior School, whilst on active service several other men had been reported as missing in Malaya. Serving with the 148th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, they included Gunner Geoffrey Chew, aged 22, of 21, Aylesbury Street, and it would be a year until his mother, Mrs. E. Chew, received a card stating that he was a Japanese prisoner. Tragically, he would later be killed when the ship taking him to Japan was torpedoed in September, 1944. Having worked before the war at the local branch of Sketchley, (at 23, Bletchley Road), he had enlisted two years after leaving school in the Royal Artillery, and also enlisting was Gunner Ronald Bowler, aged 24, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Bowler, of 3, Manor Road. Formerly a lorry driver at the London Road garage, Ronald served with the 148th Field Regiment, R.A., but during captivity by the Japanese he would die on April 16th, 1944. Also to die as a Japanese prisoner was Henry Grace, whose home had been at 13, Eaton Avenue. Formerly employed at Ramsbotham’s, he then worked as an L.M.S. porter at Woburn Sands, but with the outbreak of war became a private in the Cambridgeshire Regiment. Following capture he was then sent to a camp in Thailand, where he would die on October 11th, leaving a son that he had never seen. As for Gunner Ronald White, R.A., of 164, Simpson Road, he had enlisted two years ago, and formerly employed for eight years as the North Bucks. Times representative in Bletchley, Carl Moser, aged 28, of 7, Clifford Avenue, had joined the Army in July, 1940 but as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 135th Field Regiment was now reported missing.

After working for eight years at the local brickyard, Douglas Cresswell, aged 24, of 72, Victoria Road, joined the Royal Artillery as a gunner in 1939, but when captured at Singapore he was taken to Malai Camp. However, in 1944 he would have an amazing escape when the Japanese ship transporting him, and other P.O.W.s, was sunk by an American submarine. This later returned to rescue some of the survivors, and via the United States he then returned home. Followed by a reception at the Temperance Hall, for around 50 guests, on Saturday, December 30th at Bletchley Road Methodist church he would marry Ruby Haywood, of 24, George Street, with the couple then spending their honeymoon in the west of England.

Albert Jenkins

Captured in Greece, Albert Davis was now a P.O.W. in Germany. From a previous employment at Flettons, aged 24 his brother, Harry Davis, of 114, Buckingham Road, had in 1940 also joined the Army, whilst also from a brickyard employment, (at Skew Bridge), Lieutenant Corporal Bert Knight, of 70, Newton Road, had joined the Forces two years ago. His wife and baby daughter were presently living in Bedford, and would be unfortunately told that Bert Knight had now been reported as missing. As for Private John Cattarall, aged 22, he and his brother had been enthusiastic members of the Salvation Army and Bletchley Town bands, and John, before joining the Army, had been employed as a porter at Bletchley station. The son in law of Mr. and Mrs. Gibson, of ‘The Shop’, (ie. 1, Stoke Road, Water Eaton), he had married Isobel in 1941, and with her husband having sailed soon afterwards for Singapore with the Beds.and Herts. Regiment, she would be eventually notified that both men were prisoners of the Japanese at Thai Camp, Tokio. Also a prisoner of the Japanese was Denis Hebborn of the Beds. and Herts. Regiment. The younger son of Mr. and Mrs. Hebborn of 59, Duncombe Street, he was reported missing at Singapore on February 15th, and his parents were duly informed that he was now a P.O.W. in No. 2 Camp, Thailand. In fact from the camp, in the coded wording on a postcard one of the inmates would manage to describe the conditions they had to endure; namely ‘One Red Cross between eight. Rice daily. No pay. Terrible rains. Try tell English.’ Having been in the Territorials at the outbreak of war, Private Walter Harris, of 26, Brooklands Road, had also been captured at Singapore but he would die as a prisoner of war on September 1st, 1943, with only one P.O.W. field card and a letter card having been received by his wife.

Living at 32, Church Street with his aunt, Mrs. Bates, William Ellis had worked on the Woburn Estate for 11 years, before joining the R.A.F. three years ago. As a Sergeant Observer he flew on many bombing missions, including 45 successive raids without leave, and for reasons he never discussed was awarded the D.F.M. However, when again engaged on flying operations over enemy territory, he was presumed killed in August, 1941.

A German E-boat in action.
As a supply assistant in the Royal Navy, Thomas Fairey, of Water Eaton Road, had been amongst the few survivors when his ship was torpedoed by an E-boat. However, with its first shell the corvette that rescued him blew an E-boat out of the water.

More fortunate was Mr. Thomas Fairey, of Water Eaton Road. A supply assistant in the Royal Navy, he was now home on ‘survivor’s leave’ after his ship, and all but 11 of the crew, had been lost in an E-boat encounter in ‘E-boat Alley’. In the darkness his ship had been torpedoed but in swift retribution with its first shell the rescuing corvette blew an E boat out of the water, and two other E boats were also destroyed during the action.

At the Bletchley Labour Exchange, 144 females, born in 1922, were registered for National Service on Saturday, April 11th, followed on Saturday, April 18th by 46 young men, born in the latter half of 1923, and 101 women of the 1904 age group. Perhaps local morale was then boosted by the showing in the Studio of a Ministry of Information film on Sunday, April 19th, with scenes to include Russian pictures of besieged Odessa, and Atlantic seamen. Also on a nautical theme, during the month Mr. F. Bates, the Chairman, received a congratulatory telegram from Sir Kingsley Wood, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the success of Bletchley Warship Week. In fact the total sum now amounted to around £79,000, and as a result Bletchley had adopted the yet to be launched H.M.S. Meon, (K269), a River Class corvette, named after a Hampshire river.

The town’s naval enthusiasm might have then been encouraged by the release during the year of the film ‘In Which We Serve’, which starred Noel Coward, who had also written the script. Charting the career of the destroyer H.M.S. Torrin, this was the first full length feature film by David Lean, and amongst a cast of several embryo stars was included Richard Attenborough, who came to be acquainted with Bletchley by acquiring his first motoring penalty at Fenny Stratford crossroads! The theme of the film was perhaps influenced by the naval exploits of Louis Mountbatten, who from April 18th was appointed to command Allied operations in South East Asia, and as an interesting association with Bletchley, on his staff would be a Wren officer, Miss Philippa Cary, the great granddaughter of the late Sir Herbert Leon of Bletchley Park.

As for airborne matters, from April 24th with the ‘Baedeker’ raids, (named after the pre war German tour guides), the Luftwaffe began the targeting of British cities, commencing with the bombing of Exeter. Meanwhile in Bletchley, organised by Mr. John E. Taylor at the end of the month at the Studio a special appeal film, ‘Knights of the Air’ was appropriately shown, and during the screening members of the W.A.A.F. and the staff collected £61 1s 5d for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund, with the cinemagoers contributing £86. However, a crash landing loomed for the Bletchley Spitfire Fund, since due to the pressure of his other duties Mr. R. L. Sherwood, the Honorary Secretary, had for several months been unable to work on the project, which would now shortly close.

With many local men presently serving in the R.A.F., as a variation on this theme John Boucher, the younger son of Police Sergeant Boucher and Mrs. Boucher, of Bletchley police station, became a pilot in the glider regiment, being thus entitled to wear the light blue wings. Destined to take part in the Arnhem operations, he was in fact the first Bletchley man to join this new branch of the Army, and thereby perhaps proved a role model for members of the Bletchley Company of the Army Cadet Force, which was formed during May. Also during the month, on May 7th Sergeant Pilot Harold Perry, the second son of Mr. & Mrs. A. Perry, of 4, Bedford Street, was tragically killed following a bombing raid on Lubeck. Gaining his wings some three months ago, he had volunteered for the R.A.F. in October, 1940, and was due home on leave in two days time. His brother, a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, had especially returned at the weekend to celebrate Harold’s birthday, but now he would instead be attending his funeral at St. Martin’s church, with the body being the first to be buried in that part of the cemetery especially reserved for war casualties. A keen tennis player, before the war Harold had attended the Cedars School, Leighton Buzzard, then training to qualify as a sanitary inspector. For two years he worked as clerk to the Surveyor, Mr. Bates, who well praised his capability, and on his next leave he was to have become engaged to Miss Doris Lane, of Tavistock Street.

The grave of Sergeant Pilot Harold Perry. J. Taylor

125 women, born in 1903, were registered for National Service at the Labour Exchange on Saturday, May 16th whilst in the middle of the month the Clerk of the Council, Mr. R. Sherwood, reported that the adoption last April of the collier S.S. Chelwood, by the pupils of Bletchley Road Senior School, had been not so much a wartime intention but more ‘a means of making textbook geography brighter and more realistic.’ Indeed, at present involved in coastal trips, the nature of their work was described in letters to the schoolchildren by the crew, two gunners of which the previous December had received official awards for their part in destroying an enemy bomber. The case of a shell used in that engagement was then given by the Captain and crew to the school, to be competed for by the Houses, as also a cup inscribed ‘To the pupils of Bletchley Road Senior School, from the crew of SS Chelwood.’ This would thereon be known as the Chelwood Cup, and on behalf of the ship was presented by the headmaster, Mr. E. Cook, who apart from his school responsibilities, also undertook covert duties for the Bletchley Park code breakers. Yet apart from these activities, within the immediate district other secret intelligence activities were also being carried out, and with these including subversive propaganda programmes transmitted from nearby radio stations, in charge of one such a facility was an officer billeted in premises opposite the Lantern Café.

At Bletchley Labour Exchange, 103 women of the 1901 class were registered for National Service on Saturday, June 13th whilst of the wider scene, at 7.30p.m. on Friday, June 26th in the Co-op Hall the Soviet film ‘Conquerors of the North’ was shown, to commemorate the Alliance - perhaps a little optimistic since the German Army Group South launched a summer offensive two days later, attacking eastwards from Kursk towards Voronezh, which fell nine days later.

For six years formerly a sorting clerk and telegraphist at Bletchley post office, having joined the R.A.F. at the beginning of the war Sergeant Fred Brown, a wireless operator and air gunner, was reported missing during the month on flying operations, and whilst serving in Libya, also reported missing was Trooper Harvey Collyer, aged 28, of Seghill, Simpson Road. He had first joined the Royal Armoured Corps in December, 1940 and later transferred to the Royal Tank Regiment. Of the Worcestershire Regiment, on June 14th, Sergeant John Eric Payne was killed in the Middle East. The nephew of Mrs. T.R. Bazeley, of 34, Windsor Street, he left a widow at their Bow Brickhill home, and on June 26th also bereaved were Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Levick, of 48, Duncombe Street when their eldest son, Private John William Thomas Levick, of the 10th Hussars, was killed in action.

As the third ‘Blue & Khaki’ revue, on the last Friday and Saturday in June the ‘Parkites’ faced a spate of gentle satire from rank and file of the W.A.A.F. and Army, and as the highlight of the evening Corporal Kay Rigby and Pilot Officer Moyse presented ‘Uniform Thoughts on the Park.’ The production had been written and devised entirely by members of the Forces, none of whom were above the rank of N.C.O., and on the same Saturday a dance took place in the Yeomanry Hall, raising £34 15s for the local P.O.W. Fund.

With the increase of Army traffic in the town, causing local consternation a live shell dropped off a lorry at The Crossroads on Tuesday, June 30th, and also causing consternation was an unsubstantiated rumour that tanks pulling into the courtyard of the Swan Hotel had run over several soldiers, sleeping in the open. However, whatever the truth the ‘Tanks for Attack’ National Savings campaign began during the last week of July, and, at the Bletchley Savings Committee meeting in the Conservative Club, it was decided to aim for an increase of 30% in small savings on the amount collected during Warship Week. If for 10 weeks this proved successful, then two heavy tanks could be named, whilst an increase of 20% would allow the ‘adoption’ of two light tanks.

For the benefit of serving soldiers, the Army Welfare Service enquired into applications for compassionate leave and other domestic difficulties, and during the month for those ranks below that of Sergeant Major the Army Legal Aid Scheme was set up, to assist servicemen ‘whose problems had often arisen because he had been taken away from his home by the state.’ As for those personnel who decided to instigate divorce proceedings, a Services Divorce Department had been set up by the Law Society, and made legal action possible where the cost had previously been a dissuading factor. In fact perhaps from the unique pressures of wartime, the number of cases had substantially increased.

At the end of July, whilst home on leave a 22 year old R.A.F. armourer, Reg Saunders, whose parents lived at 30, Western Road, gained a mention in despatches, although on hearing the news he said that he had no idea why! As for other local young men, 52 members of the ‘18 class’ were also about to serve their country, when registered at the Labour Exchange on Saturday, August 15th for National Service.

During August a letter was received from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty expressing appreciation for the town having achieved its financial objective during Warship Week. Arrangements regarding the adopted warship were now being made for the presentation of a plaque, at a cost of about £40, and on the proposal of Mr. W. Johnson, seconded by Captain W. Mells, a ceremony would be duly arranged, with the Admiralty then intending to present a similar plaque to Bletchley.

On the wider scene, General Montgomery had now been appointed to command the Eighth Army, and no doubt further gladdened by the news that Brazil had declared war on Germany and Italy, on Saturday, August 22nd 80 men, born in 1893, were registered at Bletchley Labour Exchange for National Service. As for those already serving, acting Flight Lieutenant Jabez Lander Thrussell, of Bletchley, had now been awarded the M.B.E. for his actions one night in June, 1942, when an aircraft carrying a large bomb landed on an aerodrome. As the station armaments officer he immediately rushed to the crash, and by digging away the ground on the port side he crawled underneath the plane and made the bomb safe. As another cause for celebration, following his training in Canada former A.T.C. cadet Sergeant Glyn Hankins, of 46, Windsor Street, had recently gained his R.A.F. wings. His career could now literally take off, but for entirely different reasons a man hurriedly took off when questioned about a military pass he produced at Bletchley station, one Wednesday at the end of August. Wearing a navy-blue suit, suddenly slipping away from the ticket collector, Mr. W. Roff, he dodged between travellers and railwaymen and scaled the wall surrounding Bletchley Park. Despite the police being immediately called no trace of him could be found, and as another attempted breach of security, at the Garden Café, which often provided a social venue for the Wrens employed at Bletchley Park, a Wren was approached by a man who, if she brought him the contents of a wastepaper basket from the Park, promised her Cadburys chocolates. Pretending to comply with his request she informed the authorities, and left them to deal with the matter.

Whilst the town escaped any massed bombing, the amounts of ammunition stored locally posed a potential peril, as also the military exercises variously held in the district. In fact at the village of Heath, not many miles away, in September a boy amongst a group playing with a bomb was killed, and several persons injured, when the device exploded. Commandos being stationed in the area, the tragedy happened outside the house of the unfortunate Mrs. King, who had been leaning on her gate at the time.

For various roles, the ongoing call up of the population had now reduced the national unemployment figure of 1,052,218 in September, 1939 to the present total of 108,963, and 94 women of the ‘44 class’ reduced the number even more when registered on Saturday, September 5th for National Service at Bletchley Labour Exchange. They were then followed by 70 men of the 50 age group on Saturday, September 19th, and 102 women, of the 1898 class, on Saturday, September 26th.

The previous day had seen a narrow escape for Captain Peter Rowland, grandson of the founder of the Rowlands timber business who - to be awarded the D,F.C. during his career - was now serving in the R.A.F. with 105 Squadron. Educated at Knoll School, Woburn Sands, and Bedford School, he had joined the family firm before the war but then joined the air force, and on a mission to eliminate the notorious Norwegian traitor Quisling, was a pilot of one of four Mosquitos detailed to bomb a Nazi headquarters near Oslo. Since the crews had been told that no enemy activity could be expected, the aircraft were unarmed but after releasing their bombs the Mosquitos were suddenly attacked by Focke Wulf 190s. With one of the bombers shot down, Captain Rowland took evasive action by dropping his aircraft to tree top height, and through inexperience this caused the pursuing German pilot to lop the top off a fir tree, and gash a large hole in the wing of his fighter. Nevertheless, the chase continued for 15 minutes until Captain Rowland managed to escape unscathed, and landing in Scotland he then celebrated his salvation in suitable style! After the war Captain Rowland became a pilot for B.E.A., and quite by chance met up with his past pursuer, Erich Klein, at Hamburg airport, where the former adversaries were able to recount the details of their wartime encounter.

At the end of September an unofficial foreign broadcast gave news that Trooper Collyer, of Bletchley, was now in a Benghazi prison camp, and at ‘Chrisharvie’, Western Road, his wife and parents were immediately notified of the good news. However, the news for Mrs. Lingard, now residing at Drayton Parslow, was decidedly more tragic, with a report received that her husband, Private Arthur Lingard, serving with the Queens, had been killed on September 4th, on active service in the Middle East. Aged 26, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Lingard, of 52, Westfield Road, he had worked on the L.M.S. Railway before joining the Army 2½ years ago, and his two brothers were presently serving in the R.A.F. Also in the air force was also Pilot Officer Radio Observer James Watts, of 49, Eaton Avenue, who in October gained the award of the D.F.C., in fact less than a month after receiving the D.S.O. The news leaked out whilst he was attending a Saturday dance at the Bletchley Road School but try as the dancers might, they could not cajole him into revealing the nature of his exploits. Air Chief Marshall Sir Robert Brooke-Popham might have perhaps been more forthcoming, when he paid an unexpected visit to 456 A.T.C. Squadron later in the month, being shown the work of the unit before joining in a discussion with the squadron committee. However, hopefully not on the agenda was the Bletchley Spitfire Fund for on Monday, 12th October the final meeting of the Committee took place, where Mr. R. Sherwood, the Honorary Secretary, produced a report stating that the subscriptions etc., had amounted to £760 2s, including £488 in donations, £23 from concerts, £47 from the exhibition of an Me. 109, £93 from collecting boxes, £14 from bridge and whist drives, £50 from competitions, £33 from stop watch competitions, £3 sales, 10s postal refund, and £4 5s bank interest. The expenditures amounted to £10 2s, and closing the Fund a cheque for £750 would be sent to the Minister of Aircraft Production, who in due course expressed his due thanks. Whilst the winding up of the Fund had been disappointing, also disappointing was the public response for subscriptions towards the £40 necessary to buy a plaque, and create a comforts fund, for the crew of H.M.S. Meon, the ship recently adopted by the town. In fact it would be announced at a Tuesday meeting of B.U.D.C. that there had been only one small subscription, yet at least a model of the vessel, made by P.C. Boucher, would be offered for display in the Council Chamber.

The raid carried out earlier in the year on St. Nazaire had greatly influenced the animosity of Hitler towards Allied commandos and special forces, not least due to their effect on German morale, and on October 7th he personally wrote a note in the Wehrmacht daily communique stating that ‘In future, all terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, who do not act like soldiers but rather like bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops and will be ruthlessly eliminated in battle, wherever they appear.’ A few days later, after consideration by High Command lawyers, officers, and staff, in secret he then issued his Commando Order, or ‘Kommandobefehl’, of which only 12 copies were written, and the following day, October 19th, copies would then be distributed by the Army Chief of Staff but with an appendix that the order was ‘intended for commanders only and must not under any circumstances fall into enemy hands.’ As a result of the directive, troops operating against the Germans in commando raids ‘are to be annihilated to the last man’, and until the end of the war such executions were indeed carried out.

Having been previously arranged by the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist church, on Saturday, October 10th under the direction of the Bletchley United Christian Council a new series of troop concerts had begun in St. Martin’s Hall, and in further uplifting news, during the 10 weeks of the ‘Tanks for Attack’ campaign the Bletchley Savings Groups had currently saved about £38,000. Proving a 97.6% increase on the same period the previous year, this would now enable the town to adopt eight medium Matilda tanks, and on the vehicles would be recorded the names of the 24 most successful savings groups, of which 14 had already been chosen. As for the name Matilda, this had been a less than flattering choice by General Elles, the Master General of the Ordnance, because of a waddling resemblance to the cartoon creation, ‘Matilda the Duck’! Instigated in 1934, the initial model of the tank appeared disappointing, but following a redesign in 1937 the Matilda 2 was introduced in 1940, and subsequently became one of the finest tanks of the period.

Tanks would be crucial in the first British defeat of the German army at the Battle of El Alamein, which beginning on October 23rd ended on November 4th, and by pushing Rommel’s forces back from this strategic position, which guarded the approaches to Alexandria to the east, the British so began the continuing retreat of the Axis forces from North Africa. The Anglo American landings in North Africa took place immediately afterwards but for Albert and May Clements, of Bletchley, this news would be tempered by the death of their son Albert Clements, Aircraftman 2nd Class, of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was killed on October 25th, at the age of 19, and lies buried in the local churchyard.

The grave of Aircraftman 2nd Class Albert Clements. J. Taylor

22 men of the 18 age group were registered at Bletchley Labour Exchange on Saturday, November 10th, and on Wednesday, November 18th at 8p.m. the Bletchley Branch of the British Legion held their A.G.M. in the Park Hotel Assembly Room. As for the town’s younger population, during the month conditions on active service were dramatically described in a letter from a young Bletchley soldier, Corporal Reginald Keen, R.E., the only son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Keen of 8, Cambridge Street. A former member of the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade, writing to his former companions at the Spurgeon Baptist church he said ‘I remember a day in the Mediterranean returning to Egypt from Crete; we were under attack for twelve hours, and after we had sustained three direct hits I saw men whom I thought hard cases praying. If people rag you, it is only bluff, call it and they will respect you all the more.’ In fact as a Sergeant, a couple of years later he would again have something to write home about when on October 19th, 1944, he married Sergeant Lobelia Rose Johnson, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. W. Johnson of North Shields. The couple had met whilst serving in Cairo, and when he was posted to Italy, by the efforts of the Chaplain’s department, the Welfare branch, and Sergeant Keen’s C.O., Lobelia also secured an Italian posting. At the Garrison church in a small town in Central Italy the marriage would be solemnised, indeed being the first wedding of the kind to take place north of Rome.

During November the deeds on active service would occur that brought Pilot Officer Leslie Smith, of Stoke Road, the award of the D.F.C. He was a son of the late Mr. J. Smith - a former chairman of B.U.D.C. - and on leaving school he helped in the milling business of his father, until joining the R.A.F.V.R. in 1940. Commissioned two years later, whilst on an operational mission over Genoa, although the starboard engine of his aircraft failed approaching the target he nevertheless pressed on with the raid, and a month later despite being attacked by five Ju88s he released his bombs and returned safely. However, he would be unfortunately killed on September 7th, 1943, when shot down over England whilst giving night flying instruction. He left a widow at their home ‘Killala’, in Stoke Road.

A sensational incident occurred during November when, whilst being driven by a corporal of the R.A.S.C. from Whaddon to Bletchley, an Army car collided near the Shoulder of Mutton with a brake, taking some of Messrs. Gee, Walker, Slater’s men to their work. With a lady passenger in the car having sustained injuries, as also had several personnel in the brake, the corporal hurried to a telephone box at the corner of Grange Road, but the people from the neighbouring houses who were tending the injuries of the woman then heard a muffled shot, and when the door of the phone box was opened the body of the corporal slumped to the ground, his service revolver laying nearby. His home being in Morecambe, he had only been married for two weeks, and his last words over the telephone were ‘I’m going to ring the Colonel.’ At the subsequent inquiry, the Coroner returned a verdict of suicide, due to a disturbed balance of mind.

Tragic news would additionally affect the town when a report was received that having already flown on several missions, Sergeant Observer Ronald Tebbutt, R.A.F.V.R, was now missing on an operational flight. Married four years ago, as the youngest son of Mrs. & the late Mr. Tebbutt, of Cottingham Grove, he won a scholarship to Wolverton Secondary School whilst attending the Bletchley Road School, and after his education then joined Barclays Bank at Leighton Buzzard, before transferring to the branch at Woburn Sands. Private William Gladstone Chambers, of the Queens Royal Regiment, would also be a casualty of the war, killed in action at El Alamein on October 24th. An employee of Valentin Ord & Nagle before the war, he had joined the Army on July 24th, and his mother Mrs. W. Chambers, of 10, Tavistock Street, would be notified of the death of her only son by the War Office. In fact perhaps the news would have an added poignancy when on Sunday, November 15th church bells were rung across the country to celebrate the surrender of Axis troops, following the landing of British and American forces.

The grave of A/C2 Joseph Reginald Haynes. J. Taylor

More than £62 had been spent during 1941 on helping branch members of the Bletchley British Legion and their families, and one member through the assistance of the Legion had even been awarded £400 damages, instead of the £60 originally claimed. Now the Chairman announced that to provide Christmas gifts to local servicemen and women, a permit had been granted to collect contributions for a Service Comforts Fund. In a letter dated October 4th, to thereby set up the Fund the Secretary then made a request to the Council, who for the purpose of conferring with the Legion duly appointed a small committee consisting of Messrs. Bates, Callaway, Dimmock, and Mells. As for the wider war, on November 27th French Admiral Laborde ordered the destruction of the French Mediterranean naval fleet since, having broken the French armistice, the Germans had now launched Operation Lila, and in an attempt to capture the French vessels were moving into Vichy France. Two battle cruisers, four heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, one aircraft transport, 30 destroyers, and 16 submarines were put out of action, and with three managing to escape to Allied held Algiers, the Germans captured only one submarine.

With the year now drawing to a close, comprising four hours of various entertainments on Saturday, November 28th Lorna Webster arranged and compèred a variety concert in the Yeomanry Hall, Old Bletchley. The proceeds would benefit the ‘P.O.W. & Local Forces Christmas Parcels Fund’, but for one P.O.W., whose captivity had been officially reported on December 2nd, Lieutenant Carl. Moser, R.A. would at least be able to follow the progress of the war via a radio set, hidden in the water bottle of a fellow inmate!



Following the Casablanca Conference, held between the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, plans to defeat the Axis by an Allied offensive in Europe were announced, whilst of more local matters plans were also being made for the M.P. for North Bucks., Lieutenant Colonel John Whiteley O.B.E. who, having been promoted to a Brigadier, and also appointed a Commandant of the Royal Artillery, would now relinquish command of his regiment and take up a position at headquarters. As additional recognition for his military service, he would also be awarded the Territorial Decoration for 27 years duty with the Regular and Territorial Army, and in fact with a reorganisation of the Regiment the 393 battery now had 3.7 inch howitzers, and the 472 battery 25 pounders and also a light A.A. battery from the 36th Division.

A short service for Bletchley youth was held one Sunday afternoon in St. Martin’s Hall, and with representatives present from all the local youth organisations, a parade to St. Martin’s church took place by the Army Cadet Force, who may have perhaps been disappointed when in early January of the 45 men registered one Saturday for H.M. Forces, most stated a preference for the R.A.F. and Navy. Nevertheless, their regrets were possibly consoled by an Army Cadet Force dance at the Senior School where, as an interesting perspective on the war, Miss Mona Stirling, from General de Gaulle’s headquarters, gave a lecture on January 27th on the Free French. As for those French who were decidedly not free, despite the Occupation resistance was still being carried out and indeed achieving success by some rather unorthodox means. As one instance, with the situation in the Atlantic now becoming desperate - 7 out of 9 tankers carrying oil to the Mediterranean having recently been sunk - increasing measures were being desperately sought to harass the U boat campaign, and at the U boat bases supplies of itching powder were covertly supplied to French workers, to be applied to the consignments of underwear destined for the submarine personnel! As equally far fetched, in one instance the cargo of a merchant vessel torpedoed by a U boat exacted swift revenge by sinking the submarine. The explosion had hurled a truck on the deck of the ship high into the air, and when the U boat surfaced, the truck came crashing down and sent the U boat to the bottom! However, employing a less measure of chance Reuben Fine, a world champion chess player, was now serving in the U.S. Navy and using his skill at ‘positional probability’ to estimate where enemy submarines might surface.

During the war, the American motor industry produced a total of only 139 cars, since their output was primarily concerned with the manufacture of tanks, aircraft, and other wartime needs whilst as for the French motor industry, following the Fall of France German officials had planned to transfer the Renault works at Billancourt to Germany. However, by agreeing to make vehicles for the Wehrmacht Louis Renault managed to retain production in France, and could thereby more effectively arrange not only the diversion of strategic materials by the workforce, but also employ other means of sabotage, to include having dipsticks marked deliberately low such that engines would seize up in action - as became markedly apparent on the Russian Front. Nevertheless, the works would not be spared Allied attention, and much damage had been caused by 235 bombers in a raid on the night of March 3rd/4th 1942.

Since the beginning of the war, to those Bletchley men serving in the Forces about 900 gifts had been sent by courtesy of the St. Mary’s knitting party which, despite having used all their supplies of wool, still met once a week to carry out work for the Red Cross.

Tragically, Guardsman Thomas Barden, a former employee of the Co-op, died in hospital on February 23rd, and it was now reported that as a crew member of H.M.S. Samphire, Able Seaman C/JX 130272, John Jones, aged 32, had been lost on January 20th. Leaving a widow, Nora, he was the son of William and Emily Jones, and is today commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent. More fortunate was Merchant Navy Cadet Clem Cowley, aged 18, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Cowley of 20, Bletchley Road who, having served in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and South Atlantic, after journeying 40,000 miles in cargo ships, was via America, where he thoroughly enjoyed the ’great hospitality’ presently home on leave, after his vessel had been torpedoed. However, countermeasures against U Boat attack were now achieving an increasingly potent effect, and towards the end of April in a running battle across the Atlantic although one convoy lost 13 of the 42 ships, seven U Boats were sunk and 17 damaged, from a force of 51.

Also on nautical matters, subscriptions were at last being slowly received for the plaque for the town’s adopted ship and, collected during a showing of ‘In Which We Serve’, towards other maritime monies Mr. J. Taylor, the manager of the Studio, forwarded in February the sum of £39 18s 4d to the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund. Meanwhile, regarding the Army many soldiers during recent exercises had been locally deployed, when British and Canadian forces staged their largest operation in the U.K. With the ‘enemy’ established in London and East Anglia, the intention of the attackers’ was to dislodge and defeat them in the east, and although captured during the early stages of the ‘fighting’, Bletchley station was soon retaken. Perhaps just as well, for in April in the brick kilns at Newton Longville the Ministry of Supply had established a depot which, during the war, would handle a million shell cases, 20,000 tons of steel, and 2 million paper containers, entailing the unloading of 1,740 railway wagons, and the sending out of 3,500 wagons, and over a thousand lorry loads. All the work was done by 60 women and 35 men, and when with the opening of the sorting section it was realised that there was insufficient staff, an appeal to the ladies of Newton Longville and the district produced a pleasing response.

In the brick kilns at Newton Longville the Ministry of Supply established a depot, which during the war would handle a million shell cases. R. Cook

Possibly the convoy shown in the left hand photograph was involved in an extensive exercise codenamed Operation Spartan, which was conducted for a fortnight in March, 1943. Indeed, as one local resident recorded in his diary, 'This last week we have had some excitement. Large scale manoeuvres have been taking place over a large area. Planes, tanks, guns and troops all taking part, and not without accidents. One Spitfire crashed not far from us here, and there's been other accidents besides. This has been a rehearsal for some future operation.' In fact the intention was to simulate an invasion of Britain, and 'The battle that followed raged over hundreds of square miles of Central England, including in its scope the Chiltern Hills and the outskirts of London on the East and the Cotswolds on the West.' The convoy is parked in Aylesbury Street, opposite St. Martin's church, and the lead vehicle, bearing the emblem of a Canadian maple leaf on the nearside, (just under the windscreen), is a Ford or Willys 5cwt. 4x4 jeep. The markings suggest that it belongs to the South Saskatchewan Regiment, 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, which was part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, and behind the jeep, near the junction box -(which is painted with white blackout stripes) - is a Canadian Military Pattern (C.M.P.) Ford 15cwt 4x4 truck. The shop on the right hand corner in the photograph is the grocery stores of F. Cook, and attached on the left is his house. Adjoining this is Croxford's confectioner and tobacconist. The right hand photo shows the scene in 2007. - Mr. G. Lewis.

On May 3rd for British women aged from 18 to 45 part time work became compulsory but for the next of kin of Private D. Bull, formerly an employee of the Co-op, they would be informed that he had died of wounds on May 6th. Then came news that Fusilier Frank Breedon, another Co-op employee, of the Coal Department, was killed in action on May 10th. His home had been in Eaton Avenue, whilst for Mrs. A. Eames of 91, Western Road, during the month she received notification that her eldest son, Private G. Eames, of the Beds. and Herts. Regiment, was interned in Malai camp, Japan, as was also Gunner Douglas Cresswell, R.A., of 72, Victoria Road, who had been reported missing at the Fall of Singapore. Initially, prisoners of the Japanese were not allowed to send any letters home, but during the year after much negotiation the Red Cross then secured an agreement that P.O.W.s could send one postcard a year, although no incoming mail was allowed. Therefore, had they known, Bletchley men enslaved by the Japanese might well have appreciated the intent behind the staging of the play ‘Pride & Prejudice’, performed during the month, by Bletchley Park Drama Group at Bletchley Senior School hall, and with the intention being to raise funds for the P.O.W. Educational Books Fund, this would thus allow prisoners to study for examinations. As for the fighting men still at liberty, by a rummage sale and white elephant stall £60 was raised for the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund at the Yeomanry Hall, and also on a nautical theme, at 7.30p.m. members of the Bletchley Park staff staged an Adopted Ship Fund Concert on Thursday, May 20th and Saturday 22nd. Held at Bletchley Road Senior School, the tickets had been sold at the Council Offices, and from the gross profit of £74 5s 9d, £60 was estimated as clear profit, it being anticipated that Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes, of Zeebrugge, would subsequently visit the town to exchange the plaques. May would witness a visit to Washington by Winston Churchill, not only to discuss preparations for a second front in Europe but also British assistance in the war against Japan, which seemed quite circumspect since more news now arrived of Bletchley men being held as Japanese prisoners. They included Walter Harris, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Harris, of 26, Brooklands Road, who, as a private in the 5th Battalion, Beds. and Herts. Regiment, had been missing for 16 months since the Fall of Singapore. Married, with two children, he would tragically die in Japanese captivity on September 1st being today commemorated 129 kilometres W.N.W. of Bangkok in Thailand in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. This is in fact one of the three cemeteries to which, from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the course of the track, the remains of those who died working on the construction and maintenance of the Burma/Siam Railway were removed, and another victim of Japanese imprisonment would be A. King, formerly an employee of the Co-op.

The Thai-Burma Railway.
The Japanese forced 61,000 Allied P.O.W.s, and 250,000 Asian natives, to build the infamous 265 mile railway, through the dense jungle and mountains of Thailand and Burma. The construction took some 14 months to complete, and several Bletchley men were amongst those who had to endure the working conditions. Douglas A. Cresswell was amongst that number, and as a member of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry Artillery Battery he had arrived at Singapore on January 29th, 1942. His commanding officer, Major W. Merry, of Leighton Buzzard, was killed in action, but Douglas was taken prisoner on February 17th and put in a camp at Singapore to clear debris and bomb damage. In October, he and others were then transported in cattle trucks to Thailand, and during the four days of the journey they had to continually stand or lean, being allowed only four meals. Then followed a three and a half day march from Bangpong to a camp at Tarson and thence to other camps, where the men had to build their own huts to sleep. Working eighteen hours a day, during which they were given only two meals - each consisting of a pint of rice and a two inch piece of fish - they were firstly made to clear the jungle, and then dig out the earth for the embankments of the new railway. Malaria and dysentery were always rife, but in 1943 cholera broke out and in early 1944 Douglas was transferred to a camp at Thamvan. leaving behind two Bletchley men, Albert Jenkins, of Vicarage Road, and Shirley Hitchcock, of Duncombe Street. Today about 80 miles of the railway are still in use and the bridge, well known from the 1957 film, is now a major tourist attraction on the River Kwai.

In the Atlantic, at last the tide was beginning to turn against the U boats and with 56 submarines having been destroyed since April, the Germans had now suspended patrols in the northern ocean. Glad tidings indeed, as was also the news during June that with it being possible to purchase one thousand cigarettes for £1, by various means £36 had been collected for equal division between the Overseas Tobacco League for Troops, and the school piano fund. The following month, at St. Martin’s Hall, Roberts’ Welfare Club then organised a Friday dance on behalf of the Building Trades Operatives’ P.O.W. fund, and for the event the music was provided by Mr. Tebbutt’s orchestra. The town now received the tragic news that whilst returning home on leave from the Middle East, Brigadier General John Whiteley, of The Grange, Bletchley, had been killed on July 4th in a plane crash, which also claimed the lives of General Sikorski, the Polish premier, and Colonel Victor Cazalet M.P. A native of South Africa, the Brigadier had been the son of Frank Whiteley C.M.G., J.P., who was the Mayor during the famous siege of Mafeking, where in fact John had been born 45 years ago. Educated at Shrewsbury School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he then served in the Royal Artillery from 1916, and the Life Guards from 1926, before retiring two years later as Captain. Thereon he would be much involved in the civic and social life of North Bucks., and as chairman of the Association, he played a prominent role in the formation of the Conservative Club, of which he became president. Being responsible for many educational improvements, for much of the time that he lived in the town he represented Bletchley on the County Council at Aylesbury, and for the benefit of those who were locally unemployed, during the Depression he commenced several local improvement schemes which enhanced both St. Martin’s churchyard and St. Mary’s church. Maintaining links with the T.A., becoming C.O. of the 393rd Battery he would be responsible for the construction of the Yeomanry Hall, and in other activities with a clear majority he was elected M.P. for the local Division in 1937. At the outbreak of war he resumed military service, and would duly accompany his men of the Bletchley Territorials to Dunkirk, and eventually India. Promoted the previous December to Brigadier, after 15 months of continuous military service he then planned to spend a month carrying out political work in his constituency, but this vacancy would now be filled by Captain Fitzgerald, when invited to join the County Council as the Bletchley representative. Being in more recent years the subject of various ‘conspiracy’ theories - with even a two night television debate held on the subject in December, 1968, chaired by David Frost - the crash of the Liberator, which had been converted to an R.A.F. transport, occurred during the last stage of the Brigadier’s journey, just after take off one Sunday evening from Gibraltar, where, with full military honours, he would be buried in the cemetery close under the north face of the Rock. On the day that his memorial service was held at St. Mary’s, Westminster, a service also took place at St. Mary’s church in Bletchley and at the Council Offices, schools, and Conservative Club, flags were flown at half mast. Of his two sons, the eldest was aged 15, and his wife Amy, a daughter of Mr. H. Tetley of Alderbrook, Surrey, continued to live at The Grange throughout the war, until eventually moving to Mixbury Hall, Brackley. With the Brigadier’s financial affairs resolved the following year, he left £16,704 5s, of which £250 would be directed to his niece, £100 each to his brother and sister, and the rest to his wife and children.

How the local press reported the loss of Brigadier Whiteley. - North Bucks Times

In July, on the 135th anniversary of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, with the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Life Brigade parading their Colours, at the morning service a respectful moment of silence was observed regarding the loss of Brigadier Whiteley, and one Saturday morning during the middle of the month tragedy again struck the town, when a lorry passing an Army jeep ran into a company of men from the Warwickshire Regiment. Marching in column under the Denbigh railway bridge, some 20 to 30 soldiers were knocked down and with several injured, of the three fatalities one man was killed outright and the other two, despite the swift arrival of the Bletchley ambulance, and the attentions of Dr. Lufkin and Dr. Morphy, died later in Luton hospital. At the subsequent inquest, it was stated that with no lantern available, the lights of the jeep were supposed to provide the rear illumination but this measure had been authorised by the Sergeant against Army Regulations. Dated June 20th a postcard was now received from 2nd Lieutenant Carl Moser, stating that uninjured, fit, cheerful, well fed, and housed, he was a prisoner of the Japanese. Also a prisoner of the Japanese was Henry Grace, a private in the Cambridgeshire Regiment, who on the occasion of the first birthday of his small son sent a postcard to his home at 13, Eaton Avenue. However, the sentiment would be tragically marred by his death on October 11th, and he lies buried in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand. In an airgraph dated June 27th from the Middle East, Private V. Adkins of 41, Buckingham Road, then wrote to confirm that as a Christmas gift from the people of Bletchley he had now received a postal order for 10s, and at 32, Albert Street, Mr. & Mrs. Eastaff were also receiving news, that their son, Driver Frederick Eastaff, of the 5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, had been confirmed as a P.O.W. in the Far East. By now the Savings Association at Bletchley Road Senior School, had raised £629 17s 9d for the Wings for Victory Week. However, by carrying out a tactical exercise one Sunday, the Bletchley Army Cadet Force were firmly keeping their feet on the ground and with the Company divided into a battle platoon and ‘the enemy’, with the enemy lodged at Stoke House, and the battle platoon at the Bletchley Schools, when the enemy were seen to advance along Stoke Road and the canal, No. 1 Section was ordered back to defend the schools. Whilst No. 2 force then engaged the company from Stoke Road, a section progressed along the canal and thence to Vicarage Lane, and from here they advanced to attack the schools. Immediately the defenders put up a smoke screen, and positioning for an attack from the new direction, a fierce ‘battle’ ensued. Soon, nearly all the participants had become ‘casualties’ and because of the dryness of the bracken, the numerous fireworks even caused a slight fire. Falling back, the enemy then regrouped but, excepting an intrepid few, who scaled the wall and entered the school via the windows, they were duly repulsed. Having been ordered from the firm of Inglis, H.M.S. Meon was launched on August 4th and with Lord Keyes, the Admiral of the Fleet, receiving the town’s plaque from Mr. Collins, Chairman of the local National Savings Committee, on the first Monday in August the exchange of plaques between Bletchley’s adopted ship and the town took place in the evening. As for those Bletchley men and women who were now serving in the Forces, a photographic exhibition was displayed in the Temperance Hall, perhaps providing an emphasised poignancy when Mr. & Mrs. Eastaff, of 32, Albert Street, received a further postcard from their son Driver Fred Eastaff who, as a Japanese P.o.W., wrote that he was in Thailand and ‘working for pay’.

The grave of Flying Officer Leslie Smith, D.F.C. - J. Taylor

Whilst there seemed little optimism in the war against the Japanese, in Europe progress was being more surely made, and after the Casablanca Conference it had been decided that Sicily should be taken as soon as possible after the North African campaign. Therefore towards this intent a macabre deception was staged by planting on the corpse of a supposed ‘Major Martin’ false plans which, when the body was washed up on the Spanish coast, would hopefully lead Hitler to believe that the Allies were about to attack Sardinia or Peloponnese, in preference to Sicily. That the ploy was successful was duly confirmed by codes decrypted at Bletchley Park, and with Hitler downgrading the defence of Sicily, the Allies thankfully found their task less arduous when they secured the island on August 3rd - in fact the day that the Italian regime made overtures for peace. In response, the Allies laid down amongst their conditions that Allied prisoners held by the Italians should be freed, and not handed over to the Germans, and with the invasion of the mainland on September 3rd the Italians capitulated, although the news was not made public until September 8th. A service of thanksgiving then took place in Bletchley, but there were still six men from the district held in Italian P.o.W. camps, and repatriation could not be expected in less than six weeks. Formerly of a hairdresser’s shop in Bletchley Road, Bombardier Reg. Pacey had been an active participant in the Italian events to which, with scant regard for political correctness, he now alluded in a letter written home; ‘You can guess it is a change for us in Sicily and now in Italy, after so many months in Iraq and Persia, with the sand flies and the funny people that way.’ Having in 1940 enlisted in the R.A.F.V.R., being commissioned two years later, on September 8th Flying Officer Leslie Smith D.F.C., of 218 Squadron, died in hospital following an accident when involved with instructional flying ‘in the Eastern Counties.’ Born in 1915, as previously mentioned his parents were the late Mr. J. F. Smith, a former chairman of B.U.D.C., and his wife Florence - nee Benbow - who had been born at a house in Regent Street. The couple were married during World War One, and with Mrs. Smith taking a subsequent role in her husband’s milling business, Leslie, an Old Cedarian, also assisted in the enterprise on leaving school. A branch shop would be duly opened in Bletchley Road but during the war this was then discontinued when the granary of W. Brinkler, in Victoria Road, was acquired. On the death of her husband, Mrs. Smith then continued to run the family business with the help of her daughter, and living at the Wharf House, another son, Eric, returned to help. When Leslie was killed, Mrs. Smith then moved to Eaton Avenue, leaving his widow, Norah, and their son at their house in Stoke Road.

For women in general, the age for conscription had now been extended to 51 and for those local personnel of the Forces serving abroad, a committee led by Captain W. Mells was presently raising Christmas gifts from Bletchley people. In fact during a house-to-house collection during September substantial donations were received by the ‘Bletchley Forces Gift Fund’ including, as a result of a bowls evening, £16 from Bletchley Town Bowls Club. £9 4s had also been received from three Bletchley firms but due to the policy of the Japanese, a gift could not be despatched to Denis Hebborn, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Hebborn, of 59, Duncombe Street, who - reported missing at Singapore on February 15th, 1942 - as a P.O.W. in No. 2 Camp, Thailand, had now sent a card to his parents. However, on happier matters the wedding took place on Saturday, September 11th of Corporal Stanley Cracknell, R.E.M.E., from Birmingham, and Driver Pamela Rose, A.T.S., from 12, Eaton Avenue. Before joining the Army she had been a vocalist with Fred Jones’ Dance Band, and Eric Holloway’s Band. Aged 27, John Palmer Redgrave, the brother of Mrs. L. Kent of 22, Buckingham Road, was the youngest of four soldier sons, and had risen from the ranks to be granted a commission of full Lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals. Married with a son, having enlisted in 1933 he served four years in India, and gained promotion to Sergeant Major on his return to England. In fact he was a cousin of the film actor, Michael Redgrave, who is perhaps best remembered for portraying life in the wartime era as Flight Lieutenant David Archdale in ‘The Way to the Stars.’ Continuing an aeronautical theme, at the end of the month in commemoration of the Battle of Britain various units - excepting the R.O.C., which was unable to attend owing to duties - assembled under the charge of Flying Officer Tranfield on the Studio car park. They then proceeded to St. Mary’s for a church parade, with the Reverend Pearson, an R.A.F. padre, then conducting the service. Having been previously detached, during October the 394th battery rejoined the 393rd Regiment in place of the A.A. component, now equipped with Priest’s, 105mm guns mounted on a tank chassis, and in fact perhaps such matters now formed a topic for discussion when two Bletchley men, Sergeant Reg Christie and Gunner A. Charles, met by chance in Algiers at the end of the month. They had lived within 100 yards of each other, and both were former employees of the London Brick Company!

Greeted by his wife and sister at Bletchley station, after 3½ years Signaller John Plumb, of 27, George Street, had now arrived home as a repatriated P.O.W. Called up in July 1939, he had been taken prisoner at St. Valery on June 12th, 1940, and after the amputation by a German surgeon of his shattered arm, he was then moved from camp to camp until eventually arriving at Rouen. From there he would be supposedly repatriated but when this did not take place, since the food within the camp proved less than adequate Red Cross parcels became ‘indispensable,’ with the first received on New Year’s Eve, 1941. Food parcels were also indispensable in other ways, for Resistance workers hid tiny maps of railway networks inside the prunes, for the benefit of potential escapers! Yet Signaller Plumb had no need to make plans for escape, for with his last camp being Oflag 64Z he was finally repatriated to Britain. Initially accompanied by Swedish vessels, for the homeward journey his ship was escorted along the Norwegian coast by a German destroyer, and with the crossing made in the ‘Drottningholm’ - which, with two other ships of the Swedish American Line, the Gripsholm and the Kungsholm, took part during November in the exchange of 3,000 P.O.W.s between Germany and Scotland - the ship eventually docked at Leith. Also aboard was another repatriated P.O.W., Sapper Frank Cheney, of Woodstock, Stoke Road. He had been wounded at Dunkirk on May 21st, 1940, and following the amputation of his left leg in a hospital of the town, he was then sent to Lille, Belgium and thence to Germany. Duly imprisoned at Stalag 8B, he soon took advantage of the ‘good school’ which had been formed there, and amongst other subjects would study languages and accounting, the necessary books for which were despatched from the Bodleian Library, at Oxford! In early November, at Burton on Trent the wedding had taken place between Sister Lily Wallis, of Burton on Trent, and Ordinary Seaman Edward Callaway, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Callaway of Belmont, Bletchley Road although in an emotional counterbalance, on November 22nd at the R.A.F. hospital in Uxbridge, A/C2 Joseph Reginald Haynes died from illness, leaving a widow at their home at 29, Tavistock Street. During the same month Mr. and Mrs. Corby, of 6, Bedford Street, were notified that their son, Lieutenant Corporal Stanley Corby, had been posted missing, although there was a possibility that he might be a P.O.W. Formerly a presser at the W.O. Peakes factory, Stan had joined up at the age of 18 and although initially posted to the Sherwood Foresters, he volunteered in December, 1940 for the Parachute Regiment, with whom he served throughout the North African campaign, before joining the Mediterranean Force. On November 28th Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met in Tehran to discuss the second front against the Axis, towards the defeat of which William Stevenson made a potential contribution by being awarded his Wings, and given a commission in the Fleet Air Arm. His parents lived at an address in Bletchley Road, and before joining the Forces in civilian life he had been the North Bucks. Times representative in Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard. In fact employing his journalistic background he had written to a Canadian newspaper stating that ‘With my period of flying training in Canada completed I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to those scores of Canadians who have shown my companions and me so many kindnesses. At home in England a reputation for hospitality is fast being gained by Canada and the United States one which will have quite an important bearing on the post-war future. Let us hope the fruits of their work will not be wasted when the right time comes.’ In fact with there presently being a shortage of labour in the coal mines, perhaps William felt fortunate to have been called up during the earlier part of the war, since Ernest Bevin now directed that a proportion of those youths registered for National Service would have to be employed in the pits. As one tenth of each intake, the ‘Bevin Boys’ were chosen by ballot, and for those selected the move proved deeply unpopular, no doubt especially for those selected from Bletchley, since every man and woman from the town now serving in the Forces was to be sent the sum of 10s from the Christmas Gifts Forces Fund, which presently totalled £455 17s 6d.

Pilot Officer Donald Baker, of 625 Squadron, was killed on December 16th aged 20, when his Lancaster bomber crashed on a raid against Berlin. From November 1943 until March 1944 the German capital would come under constant air attack, and this German air raid poster urges civilians to watch out for shell splinters from anti aircraft fire.

The son of Frank and Laura Baker, Pilot Officer Donald Baker, of 625 Squadron, R.A.F.V.R., was killed, aged 20, on December 16th when, having taken off at 16.21 hours from Kelstern, his Lancaster III bomber, LM 424, crashed on an operation to Berlin at Wetschen, 5km. east of Diepholz. Excepting one member, who was taken prisoner, all the crew were killed, and Donald lies buried in the Hanover War Cemetery. Yet increasingly, Bomber Command was now taking a nightly toll on German cities, and from November until March, 1944, Berlin would be under constant air attack, including a raid on Christmas Eve that left thousands of Berliners clearing up the debris on Christmas Day. However, for the British the probability of reciprocal raids seemed to be diminishing, as evidenced by a letter of December 23rd from the Southern Regional Commissioner’s Office, Marlborough House, Parkside Road, Reading, sent to the County A.R.P. Controller at the Chief Constable’s Office, Aylesbury. This stated that from January 1st, 1944, No. 4 Bomb Disposal Group R.E. at 241, Chesterton Road, Cambridge, would no longer be responsible for the disposal of all U.X.B.s, and the reporting procedure ‘for both Before and After Action Stations will be A Category, requests to Regional H.Q., Reading, as before. B,C,D, Categories, reports to No. 3 Bomb Disposal Group, Cambridge and copies to the Regional H.Q. Reading. Owing to the reduction of Bomb Disposal Companies and Sections the O.C. No. 3 Group wishes the controller to report to him to use the Bomb Disposal Sections to the best advantage.’



During the year, Edward Ayres, the son of Mr. F. Ayres, of 41, Saffron Street, would be tragically killed in action aboard the destroyer Trollope, but on happier naval matters, on Saturday, January 1st Petty Officer Ashley Shouler, R.N., the only son of Mrs. and Mrs. T. Shouler, of ‘Kenley’, Lennox Road, married Private Joy Jerham of the A.T.S. She was the youngest daughter of Mr. H. Jerham of 1, Eton Crescent, Wolverton, and the couple were married in St. Georges church, Wolverton, with the reception held in the Co-operative Hall.

Recently repatriated from Germany, Signaller John Plumb achieved some 35 seconds of fame during the first week of February, when he appeared on screen at the County Cinema. He was amongst those featured when a close up of the audience was shown during a celebrity concert which, starring such artists as Tommy Trinder, was screened as an extract from a news film for Red Cross P.O.W. propaganda purposes.

As the year began, as part of Operation Dexterity troops of the U.S. Sixth Army landed on the north coast of New Guinea, and, with the rearguard isolated from their main base, the only option for 20,000 Japanese soldiers, trapped between Australian and American forces, was to try and escape through the dense jungle. Certainly a setback, but still little consolation for the Allied prisoners in Japanese captivity, including Gerald Hitchcock, who, whilst serving in the R.A.M.C., had been posted as missing at Singapore. His parents, Mr. & Mrs. H. Hitchcock of ‘Meacham Cottage’, 43, Duncombe Street, now received a postcard saying that he was at a base hospital in Thailand, and Mrs. Jenkins of ‘Skircoat’, Vicarage Road, after two years without news of her younger son also received a postcard, stating that Lieutenant Commander Albert Jenkins was in a P.O.W. camp in Thailand. However, at 46, Windsor Street the news proved more tragic for Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Hankins, when informed that their third son, Glyn, had been killed two days before Christmas, 1943, whilst dropping air supplies to forward troops in Burma. He had been a pupil at the Cedars school, Leighton Buzzard, and after the war his name would be included amongst those of 27 other former scholars, whose sacrifice was honoured by a memorial unveiled in the school garden. As a further memorial, at St. Mary’s church in 1946 his parents would present a solid silver wafer box for use at Holy Communion, with the inscription ‘In proud memory of Flt. Sergt. Pilot Glyn Hankins, R.A.F.V.R. Killed over Burma, December 23, 1943.’ Claude, his brother, had been called up for service in 1940 with the Royal Artillery, and eventually commanding a battery of field artillery, would take part in the D Day landings. Demobilised with the rank of Major in 1946, he then pursued a successful career with the railway.

News now arrived for Mr. and Mrs. Cosby, of 6, Bedford Street, that their son, Stanley, reported as missing on October 13th, 1943, was now a P.O.W. in Germany whilst as for Flying Officer Ron Felce, of 69, Church Green Road, he had returned to Britain after serving two years abroad. Gaining his wings in Rhodesia, he then went to South Africa for further training, and he now hoped to go on active operations.

Born in Bletchley in 1921, but later becoming a farmer in British Columbia, Sergeant Roy James Cook, of R.A.F.V.R. 625 Squadron, had now been awarded the D.F.M., in recognition of his actions as a pilot on a raid over Frankfurt when, despite an engine failure, he carried on with the mission. As for those Bletchley personnel serving abroad, the Forces Christmas Fund had now provided not only 268 10s postal orders for Bletchley men serving overseas, but also 377 10s postal orders for men and women in the Home Forces, and additionally two repatriated P.O.W.s had also received donations. With Mr. Knight and Mrs. Ince responsible for the posting, the registered letters were handled by the Bletchley Road postal staff, whose counterparts in Germany would during the war benefit from the introduction at a national level of a postcode system.

At the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue, on Wednesday, January 26th the plaque which commemorated Bletchley having raised £83,000 during Wings for Victory Week was handed to Mr. C. Collins, the Chairman of the Bletchley National Savings Movement, by Group Captain J. Bradbury, of the Air Ministry. The occasion was marked by an excellent concert given by members of the Bletchley Park Drama Group, and the plaque would be hung in the Council Chamber, alongside that from the town’s adopted ship, H.M.S. Meon.

Amongst those R.A.F. pilots who, at a Service Flying Training School in Canada, had now completed their training was Sergeant H. Hodson, the son of Mr. & Mrs. F. Hodson of Cold Harbour, and also receiving good news during February were Mr. & Mrs. Garner of 4, Denbigh Road, regarding their son Tim, of the Buffs. On joining the Army, he had served for six months but was then placed on reserve, returning to his employment at the Ridgmont brickworks. However, being later recalled to the colours, he was then immediately sent abroad and it was now confirmed that having been reported as missing in Italy last November, he was now a P.O.W. Yet for Mr. and Mrs. Southwell, of 48, High Street, their news was definitely unwelcome, when notified by telegram on February 7th that their son, Frederick, was dangerously ill at Ramsgate hospital. They were asked to come as soon as possible, but he died on Monday. Born in Bletchley, and educated at the Bletchley Road Council schools, he had been employed before the war as an L.M.S. porter at Bletchley station, and volunteered for the Marines at the age of 17. During the month unwelcome news also arrived for Mrs. Freda Perry of 6, Western Road, when informed that her husband, Private Kenneth Harold Walter Perry, had been killed in action on February 15th at Anzio. Awarded the Africa Star Ribbon in January, he had been serving in the Loyal Regiment, and before the war was a canteen steward at L.B.C. He left two children.

Also killed in action at Anzio had been Private Leslie Barden, of the 1st Loyals Regiment, the third son of Mr. & Mrs. P. Barden of 21, Church Street. Aged 27, his death had occurred on February 8th and having been married with two sons, his wife was notified at her Bow Brickhill home. Educated at the Bletchley Road schools, he had originally worked in the butchery trade, but later gained employment at the Ridgmont brickworks. Despite joining the Forces at an early stage of the war, he resumed his normal employment when an urgent need for brick workers arose, but after being recalled for military service in 1942, he was then posted overseas in January, 1943. However, there was good news for the family in late May, when recently returned from Italy, Sapper Ronald Barden, the fourth son of Mr. and Mrs. Barden, married Connie Gill, a member of the Women’s Timber Corps from Halifax. In fact their wedding was contemporary to that of Joan Wesley, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Wesley of 102, Western Road and Private Edwin Price of the Pioneers, of Tredegar, with the ceremony conducted at St. Martin’s church.

The grave of Frederick Southwell. J. Taylor

By a happy coincidence, two brothers had recently met whilst on military service in Italy. They were Edward and Bob Bryant, and someone else with a cause for celebration was L.A.C. Reginald Felce of 156, Western Road, who was now home on leave having served in Kenya and the Middle East for three years. Yet despite the return to the English climate, this proved hardly intolerable for ‘I can put up with any amount of it - being home makes up for anything.’ No doubt sentiments that would have also been echoed by those Bletchley men held abroad as P.O.W.s, although for their benefit at least during February Barbara Toms, of 57, Eaton Avenue, would raise £2 2s, by means of a competition for fruit.

Born in the first half of 1926, 19 young men were now registered for national service, whilst of those who had already witnessed military action, Sergeant Lewis Waller, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Waller of 1, Railway Terrace, had been mentioned in despatches for gallant service in Burma. Having been in the Territorials, he had joined up at the outbreak of war, and was one of those evacuated from Dunkirk. Two sons of Superintendent Bryant, of the Bletchley police, then met in the Italian theatre of operations, one surprising the other by tapping him on the shoulder whilst he was having breakfast in a canteen! Serving in different units, they had not seen each other for four years.

On Saturday, March 15th Petty Officer William Gee, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Gee, of 24, Manor Road, married Private Winifred Hampson, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Hampson of 11, Grange Road, and in April the engagement was announced of Major Michael Wheeler, R.A., the eldest son of the Reverend C. Wheeler, and June Isoult Watson, the widow of Flight Lieutenant G. Watson, R.A.F. Her parents home being at Alderman’s Place, Aspley Heath, she was the daughter of Colonel S. Kershaw, D.S.O., and the D.S.O. would be shortly awarded to Acting Group Captain Harry Bufton, D.F.C., A.F.C., whose home was in Bletchley. Born at Llandrindod Wells in 1916, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in 1936, and commanded his squadron during the Battles of the Ruhr. News of another award would then shortly arrive, when the repatriated Frank Cheney, of Stoke Road, was informed of his success on passing the Royal Society of Arts Stage 1 examination in French, having studied as a P.O.W. in Germany with the help of the Red Cross. However, news more tragic was received when Mr. & Mrs. J. Watts, of 49, Eaton Avenue, were informed that their eldest son, Flying Officer J. E. Watts, had been killed in action on September 6th, 1943.

Sergeant Lewis Waller. Bletchley Gazette

In early March the Japanese had launched Operation U-Go, an offensive to force the Allies back into India and destroy the Allied bases both at Imphal, and also the small town of Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, which, commanding the main supply route to Imphal, lay at an altitude of 4,000 feet in the Naga Hills. Crossing the Chindwin River, on March 15th/16th two Japanese divisions duly advanced to sever the road linking the two bases, and achieving this by March 29th, they could now lay siege to Imphal. In response, with their jungle training at Belgaum complete, in consequence of the Divisional H.Q. having received the brief order ‘Concentrate for active service’, the 99th moved in support of the 6th Infantry Brigade to the defence of Kohima, and intending to repulse the Japanese, the 2nd Division - in which most of the Bletchley men in that theatre of operations served - would, backed by artillery, be amongst those divisions assigned to reopen the road. The Division was commanded by Major General J. Grover who, having directed the training in England, brought the Division to India, and with one brigade assembling at Bangalore, and the rest of the Division at Ahmednagar, on March 24th they moved east. By April 1st trainloads of men, guns, and vehicles were rolling into the Dimapur railhead, and overhead transport planes flew in other units. However, on April 8th the narrow ribbon of road winding through the hills between the Dimapur railhead and Kohima - the lifeline that linked the Imphal base with India, and the fighting fronts - was cut by the Japanese filtering through the Naga Hills, and the task of the 2nd Division was therefore to now clear the road. This they achieved within 31 days of receiving the movement orders, and the battle for Kohima was won. Within 96 days they had pushed along the Imphal Road, and at the 109th milestone linked up with the 5th Indian Division, driving up from the south. In fact they had advanced 76 miles, and apart from capturing much equipment, had killed 3,182 Japanese, wounded 15,000, and taken 76 prisoners. For the Japanese it was now the beginning of the end, and on July 18th Operation U-Go would be called off by their high command.

Map showing Dimapur, Kohima and Imphal. - War Illustrated

QUESTION Who wrote the Kohima epitaph?
From April 4 to 18, 1944 the cream of the Japanese Army and the Indian National Army, consisting of Indians under the command of Subash Chandra Bose who had gone over to the Axis side, attempted to seize a gateway into north-east India.
They surrounded British forces in the Kohima and Imphal regions, close to the border between Burma and India. The desperate and heroic defence of those two locations is one of the mostfamous episodes in British military history.
The campaign to relieve Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, began on April 18 and ended on June 22 when British and Indian troops from Kohima and Imphal met at Milestone 110.
Inscribed on the Commonwealth cemetery war memorial at Kphima is the well-known epitaph.
'When you go home, tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.'
Major General John Grover, who commanded the 2nd Division at Kohima, says this epitaph was composed by Major John Etty- Leal, probably inspired by an epitaph written during World War I by poet John Maxwell Edmonds (1875-1958):
'When you go home, tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow these gave their today
Edmonds was a classical scholar who would have known the description by the ancient Greek poet Simonides of Coes of the Spartan rearguard action under Leonidas in holding the pass of Thermopyae against the Persians in 480BC:
'Tell it in Sparta, thou that passes by
Here, faithful to her charge, her soldiers lie.'
Edmonds' full poem includes the earlier stanza:
'Went the day well? We died and
never knew but, well or ill,
Freedom, we died for you.
The Kohima epitaph is a controversial one in India these days because Indians fought on both sides of the battle.
The Kohima 2 Division Memorial.
This commemorates those who died for the Allied cause repulsing the Japanese Fifteenth Army, which attempted to force a passage from Burma into north east India. Many Bletchley men were involved in the action, which lasted from April until June 1944, and inscribed on the memorial is an epitaph composed by Major John Etty-Leal;

Carl Moser joined the Army in July, 1940, but as a 2 Lieutenant in the 135th Field Regiment he was reported missing after the Fall of Singapore. He then spent the rest of the war as a Japanese prisoner, and said on his return that the experience 'showed how the undaunted spirit of our men persisted in the face of incredible trials.' After leaving Banbury County School he had joined the Banbury Advertiser, and in 1933 then moved to the Observer, at Leighton Buzzard. In 1934 he became the local reporter for the North Bucks. Times, and after the war in late 1945 he was offered the position as editor of the Bletchley District Gazette. When this publication was bought in 1951 by Home Counties Newspapers Ltd. he then also became editor of the North Bucks. Times, which the group had purchased a while earlier. Aged 48. in June. 1962 he was inducted as President of the Bletchley Rotary Club, and in 1972 he joined the Milton Keynes Development Corporation as press officer.

In 1937 Carl had married Olive Hankins, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hankins, of 46, Windsor Street. Having attended the Cedars School at Leighton Buzzard, before her marriage she worked in Bedford and then the offices of J.L. Shirley Ltd., in Bletchley Road, and at the outbreak of war, as a full time member of staff she began maintaining a telephone watch at the Report Centre, at the Bletchley Council Offices. For an average of twelve hours a day, seven days a week, she shared the duties with Mr. W. Bradbury, and in addition to this responsibility they not only carried out all the clerical and administration work of the A.R.P. Dept. but also the clerical work of the Fire Brigade and the A.F.S. As Secretary of the Bletchley Aid to China Fund, in March, 1944 Mrs. Moser had the honour to attend a reception at the Mansion House, London which, as the third such meeting in support of the effort for China, was given by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. On Wednesday, May 2nd, as throughout the country the Civil Defence personnel in Bletchley ceased their duties, and for the first time since August 18th, 1939 the Report Centre, the hub of all the Civil Defence activity, was unmanned. It was therefore appropriate that having voluntarily worked the first shift in August, 1939, as one of the original staff it would be Mrs. Moser who sounded the last siren. During the war, Mrs. Moser's brother, Glyn, had been killed in action in Burma, and this would perhaps be the reason that her son would also be named Glyn.

Carl Moser died in 1993, and Olive in 2003, and their grave is situated in St. Mary's churchyard. - North Bucks. Times. J. Taylor.

It was now also the beginning of the end for the Germans, for at 0016 hours on June 6th - six hours before the first Allied troops would come ashore on the D Day beaches - three Horsa gliders carrying men of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry landed at the Orne Canal bridge crossing, now known as Pegasus Bridge. Commanded by Major John Howard, their intention was to clear the bridge of any demolition charges, and led by Lieutenant Herbert Denham ‘Danny’ Brotheridge, 1st Platoon D Company took out the enemy defences and successfully fought off a German counterattack, until the arrival of commandos from Lord Lovat’s brigade. Unfortunately, whilst throwing a grenade Lieutenant Brotheridge was shot in the neck, and despite being taken to a first aid post he died shortly afterwards. He was therefore perhaps the first Allied soldier to be killed by enemy action on D Day, although possibly another candidate was Bombardier Henry Hall, aged 23, who is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having been killed on June 5th. Whatever the truth, another soldier to land on the beaches on D Day was Dr. B. Morphy, of Bletchley, who having come ashore with a medical unit, was then engaged on the front line.

'H.M.S. Meon' was a River class frigate adopted by the town of Bletchley. She saw duties in the Atlantic and in support of the D Day landings, and on one occasion was nearly destroyed by a glider bomb. In this dramatic illustration a frigate of the River class is seen braving a North Atlantic swell, engaged on escort duty to protect a convoy. - War Illustrated.

Also playing a role in the D Day operations was Bletchley’s adopted ship, H.M.S. Meon. For some while she had been transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy, and having ‘worked up’ at Tobermory she joined the 9th Canadian Escort Group at Londonderry. She then operated in the defence of Atlantic convoys, but in May was assigned as one of the six frigates of the 9th Escort Group for duties in support of the Normandy landings, being deployed in June in the Bay of Biscay to deter U boat attacks on the Channel traffic.

At St. Mary’s church, in early June Private Mildred Elmer, A.T.S., the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Elmer, of 33, Mill Road, married Guardsman Albert Tomlinson, of Birmingham. Before the war she had been a machinist at W.O. Peakes, and in July another person of previous employment in the town sent a card from a Japanese P.O.W. camp to the Clifford Avenue home of his wife, the sister of the previously mentioned Glyn Hankins. He was Lieutenant C. Moser, R.A., the former North Bucks. Times representative in Bletchley, and meanwhile, at 70, Newton Road the parents of Lieutenant Corporal Ben Knight received a card stating that he was a P.O.W. in No. 2 Camp, Thailand, ‘and working for pay’. At ‘Nevrin’, Staple Hall Road, a postcard would also be received by the wife of Sergeant Thomas Cloran, R.A.F. On leaving school, he had worked as an accountant in his home town of Royton, Lancashire, but soon began a new employment with the Argentine Meat Co., and then the Royton Industrial Co-op Society. As manager of the Co-op butchery department in Victoria Road, he then moved to Bletchley in July, 1939, and in 1940 became a navigation warrant officer in the R.A.F. Taken prisoner some eight months ago, from Germany he now wrote; ‘Out of hospital, much better, don’t worry. Can’t write yet. Don’t write to this address. Thinking of you all. Food is very good, thanks to Red Cross. Permanent address soon. Will write as soon as possible. Kiss the children for me - shall soon be home. Lots of love. Always yours - Tom.’ He had been a crewmember of a Lancaster bomber that was hit and set ablaze by enemy flak, and although he and the other survivors bailed out, they were attacked by an enemy fighter and badly injured. On landing, Tom made his way to a farmhouse, where two old ladies agreed to hide him but since his injuries proved so severe, they had no choice but to surrender him to the Germans. After treatment he then spent many months in P.O.W. camps, and returned to England at the end of the war to resume his former employment. Yet despite saving his life, the two old ladies were shunned by the other villagers of Poigny le Feret, near Paris, who thought they had betrayed him and so Tom, on hearing of this, returned to the village to set the record straight. Unfortunately, one of the ladies had died and the other, Mme. Langdale, was still being ostracised, until Tom revealed that the reason for their action had been the need for his injuries to be treated by a skilled doctor. In 1950 Tom would start his own business running a grocery store and delicatessen, (later the site of the Kwai Hong Chinese restaurant), in Bletchley Road but in 1964 he then joined the Elmo supermarket as manager of the butchery department, until leaving in 1967 to become section manager of a supermarket of the John Lewis group, at Tilehurst, Reading.

Captain (temporarily Major) Sidney Clarke, the eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. H. Clarke of 21, Manor Road, Bletchley.
During the fighting in Burma he was awarded the Military Cross, for his bravery whilst directing artillery fire. - Bletchley Gazette.

In the wake of the Normandy invasion, Bletchley’s adopted ship, H.M.S. Meon, undertook anti submarine duties in the Channel but on July 20th was damaged by a near miss when attacked with glider bombs. However, after repairs she would then rejoin her group, and help defend Atlantic convoys in the Western Approaches.

During the year, a scheme to welcome home members of the Navy would be planned by Mr. Alex Martin, who after 15 years of naval service had been invalided from duties in 1940. A helmsman on seven different vessels, he had helped in the first armed convoy of the war, and having moved to Bletchley in 1941, he now fashioned useful household knick-knacks in his workshop, which was mostly equipped with homemade machinery. In fact his first lathe had been built from bits of bed iron and a sewing machine! As raw material for his products, as the local lock keeper he frequently fished pieces of wood from the canal, and perhaps such antics were watched with amusement by the local lad who, on July 20th, whilst lazing on the canal bank counted 517 American B17 bombers flying over Fenny Stratford. Such aircraft were now a familiar sight in the local skies, and despite many of the planes being often badly shot up, their appearance was still a welcome contrast to the drone of enemy aircraft which, heading for industrial targets in the Midlands, had been heard on so many nights during the early months of the war. As for British airmen, with their honeymoon to be at Marlow, in early July Squadron Leader Douglas Hankins, whose brother, Glyn, had been killed whilst serving as a pilot in Burma, married Hazel Turner, the third daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Turner of Rectory Farm, Great Brickhill. An Old Cedarian, she worked at the Bletchley Road sub post office whilst as for Douglas, he had joined the R.A.F. in April, 1939, and was commissioned the following October. Following two years of service in West Africa, he was presently stationed in Britain with R.A.F. Transport Command. In mid July, an Airgraph was then received from the son of Councillor and Mrs. H. Dimmock, L.A.C. Douglas Dimmock, who reported that having been for some three months in hospital with a dislocated shoulder, he was now back at his station, perhaps with some reluctance since he had enjoyed ‘a life of ease and sunbathing’ whilst convalescing.

Formed in August, 1942 at Salem, Madras, in March, 1944 the 25th Indian Division, including the Oxon. and Bucks. Light Infantry, moved to the Arakan, and for several months would be subsequently engaged in bitter fighting against the Japanese. In fact for his bravery during the actions in this region Captain, (temporarily Major), Sidney Clarke, Indian Artillery, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Clarke, of 21, Manor Road, had now been awarded the M.C. As read the citation; ‘At Kyaukylt, Arakan, Major Clarke was forward observation officer supporting a company in their attack on a strongly held bunker position. During the early stages of the attack he observed and directed accurate artillery fire where required by the infantry commander, although under continuous rifle and light machine-gun fire at a range of two hundred yards. To obtain sufficient observation Major Clarke stood on the roof of a captured bunker raked by enemy fire from three sides throughout the subsequent phases of the attack and directed the fire of his battery on to targets as near as fifty yards from himself. During the withdrawal he half carried, half supported one of his wounded men back to the rear position over difficult country under fire from 500 yards’. On March 11th he was again forward observer supporting a company in their attacks on the Kyaukylt position, and to obtain an adequate vantage from where to direct the fire of the supporting infantry, he occupied an observation post on the exposed side of a hill, despite attracting rifle, machine-gun, and grenade attack. Ignoring a wound to his knee he then refused to be evacuated until, due to his accurate direction of fire, most of the casualties were brought in; ‘His conduct throughout these operations was an inspiration to all ranks.’ Aged 34, and educated at the Bletchley Road schools, he had joined the Army at the age of 18, and having experienced military service in India before the war, he would be a veteran of Dunkirk, before returning to India.

A former member of the Home Guard, who had joined the Forces in July, 1942, was killed on August 14th on active service in Normandy. He was John Thomas Shepherd, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Shepherd, of 12, High Street, who had been attached to the Armoured Corps as a driver. Before the war he had worked at the W.O. Peakes factory, and two other employees of Peakes now met in a German P.O.W. camp. They were Stan Corby, of 6, Bedford Street, who had been captured in Italy, and Frank Lovell, formerly the tenant of the Rose & Crown. As for another employee of the firm, and later of the L.M.S. Control Office, having been previously reported as missing, during September came confirmation that 20 year old Flying Officer James Edward Hanks, a member of the Caterpillar Club, whose parents lived at 1, Simpson Road, had been killed on April 23rd, 1944 when, following a raid on Dusseldorf, his aircraft was shot down over Holland. He had joined the R.A.F. as a wireless operator in 1941, and Woensel, Holland, would now be his place of burial. In fact in the coming months L/Sgt. L. Circuit, of the Royal Engineers, would spend a morning looking for the grave, which he eventually discovered situated ‘in a proper cemetery’ which, complete with paths and shrubs, and bounded by iron railings, provided the last resting place of many American, Canadian, and British aircrew. Giving all the known details, a plain polished wooden cross was affixed above each grave, and a bunch of dahlias with a card worded ‘In remembrance of Jim, from Officers and Boys of the 1st Bletchley Boys Brigade’, was left on that of Flying Officer Hanks by L/Sgt. Circuit, a Bletchley man.

On happier matters, one Thursday during the month the wedding took place of Miss Winifred Benbow, of 33, Cambridge Street, and L.A.C. Stuart Copeland, of Manchester. She was a cook with the W.A.A.F., and he a draughtsman in an aerodrome construction flight, and soon there would then be another wedding when a munitions factory worker, Ivy Wallis, the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Wallis, of 24, Water Eaton Road, married Private Dennis Kington, R.A.M.C., of Luckington, Wiltshire.

Tragically, Alfred Burgess, of 9, Brooklands Road, had been killed in an explosion near Rome, in which city two Bletchley men, who had been employees of Valentin, Ord & Nagle before the war, and who lived within a stone’s throw of each other, now met up by chance. They were Gunner Fred Vickers, of 15, Mount Pleasant, and Gunner Reg Cross, of Church Street, whilst of those sufficiently fortunate to make the re-acquaintance of their home town, in late September Gunner William Adney, of 25, Osborne Street, who had been taken prisoner at Cassel, France, on 19th May, 1940, was amongst the repatriated prisoners recently landed at Liverpool. Arriving in the ship ‘Arundel Castle’, before attending a medical examination he was now home on 28 days’ leave, having in civilian life been an L.M.S. railway stores clerk at Wolverton. He then joined an anti-tank regiment of the Royal Artillery, and on being captured was first sent to Lamsdorf Camp, where he met Sergeant Reginald Purcell and Gunner Les Green, of Western Road. Both had been captured whilst serving in the Bucks. Yeomanry.

Of his experiences as a prisoner, he said that he had been better treated during the last two years, although generally the treatment had been reasonably good throughout his captivity. However, without supplies from the Red Cross survival would have been impossible on German rations, and the cooking facilities were also inadequate; ‘The fireplaces were of no use and there was no proper fuel, so we had to make up something ourselves.’ In fact to demonstrate this improvision he had made up and brought home a model of the apparatus, consisting of a gramophone record, tooth brush, and shaving stick block! Yet food for the German population was also inadequate and sparse, as evidenced by the condition of a German loaf that he brought with him. This was the same size as a British loaf but weighed no less than 3lb. 6ozs, being of a texture practically black, and seemingly composed mostly of potatoes, which were apparently the mainstay of the German diet. It seemed therefore ironic that the British Post Office had decreed that no food should be contained in parcels despatched overseas, although the cigarettes etc. sent by Bletchley people had been gratefully received. Since 1941 Gunner Adney had been tasked with light duties to include cleaning the barracks, and in each room these were furnished only with three tier beds, tables and forms. Enjoying no privacy, and enduring a communal life, about 120 prisoners were thus accommodated although the inmates could stage a certain amount of entertainment, and there were opportunities for study through the Red Cross. As for conditions in Germany, food was short, all the young people were apparently in uniform, and Berlin seemed to be ‘in a bit of a mess.’ Gunner Adney was glad to be home!

Also coming home, on leave, was Staff Sergeant John Boucher, the younger son of police sergeant & Mrs. F. Boucher of 18, Simpson Road. As a glider pilot of the 1st Airborne Division, he was a survivor of the Arnhem expedition, and being a part of the initial landing would recall ‘It was a very good trip over and I got her down to a perfect landing.’ After removing his equipment from the glider, he then remained with the Airborne Infantry until finding the rendezvous for glider pilots, following which posts were taken up on the front. Witnessing ‘quite a bit of action’, after a week the assembly then left the trenches and occupied positions in houses at Osterbek, opposed by ‘Jerries’ in the houses in the next street. However, the British artillery was putting up a good barrage and Typhoon aircraft were strafing the enemy, although there was always a risk of ground attacks by German planes. At the eventual ‘pull out’, ‘I was lucky’, he said, and regarding the river, ‘got across within half an hour of reaching the bank. On the other side, everything was organised, and sentries told us where to go. Ten miles on, we halted in a barn, and had rum and hot tea.’ By various means he reached Nijmegen, and then Brussels, and eventually home, and as a thanksgiving for the safe return of his sons from the war, his father would present a map of St. Paul’s Missionary Journeys - ‘of considerable value’ - to St. Martin’s church.

As a glider pilot with the 1st Airborne Division, Staff Sergeant John Boucher was the first Bletchley man to join this elite group. Flying a Horsa glider he took part in the Arnhem operation and after several adventures returned safely to England. The Horsa first flew in September, 1941, and because of the scarcity of materials was constructed from wood. Indeed, wings for the gliders were manufactured at Wolverton Works. Since no complete example of a Horsa now survives, under the Assault Glider Project enthusiasts are currently building a replica. - Daily Express

Of 24, George Street, Gunner Douglas Cresswell was also homeward bound, having been one of the P.O.W.s on board a Japanese ship sunk by an American submarine. He would now arrive via the United States, giving an account a few weeks later of his experiences as a Japanese prisoner.

As for his seaborne experiences, in September whilst home on leave Marine Donald Mead, of the High Street, went to a local cinema only to find that the newsreel being screened showed pictures of his own ship firing on the Island of Alderney. He had been in the Marines for five years, 3½ of these being spent abroad, and his younger brother, George, was now serving in the R.A.F. Also serving in the R.A.F. was Flying Officer Luing Cowley, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Cowley of 40, Church Green Road. Commissioned in February, 1943, he would variously become Advanced Flying Instructor, Navigation Instructor, and President of the Central Examination Board, and having been transferred to Rhodesia, on September 30th at the Cathedral of St. Mary and All Saints, Salisbury, he married Lily Smith, the ward of Miss Fletcher, of West Hartlepool, County Durham. Another Bletchley person serving abroad was Private Joyce Labrum, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Labrum, of Braemar, Denbigh Road. Before being called up she had worked as a shorthand typist at the L.M.S. Railway H.Q., and after attending the A.T.S. Clerks School in London she then volunteered for duties overseas. Following two months working in Essex she was sent to the Middle East in August, 1943, and when posted as a shorthand typist to a G.H.Q. branch, during her travels would meet Luing Cowley! Of a literary inclination, she wrote several short travel stories and poems, and some of these would appear in Middle East newspapers, and also the local press.

The end of the war was at last now in sight, or so it seemed by the decision of the Government to set up a chain of offices, where demobilised men and women could obtain advice on resettlement problems. On August 23rd Paris had been liberated and, in direct contravention of Hitler’s order, thankfully spared from destruction by the decision of General von Choltitz. However, the Germans were still stubbornly resisting defeat, and during the fighting Sergeant William Edwin Meredith, of the Grenadier Guards, was killed on September 3rd, while in command of a tank on the Franco Belgium border. Elsewhere, in another theatre of the war three Bletchley men held as Japanese prisoners would also not be returning home alive. Private Frederick Eastaff, of the Suffolk Regiment, died on September 12th, as also Geoffrey Chew, a gunner with the Royal Artillery, 512 Battery, 148 (The Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment. He was aged 25, as was also Private 5952645 John Cattarall, born in Cumberland, of the 5th Battalion Beds. and Herts. Regiment, who drowned on September 21st when the prisoner ship Toyofuku Maru, en route to Japan, was sunk off Luzon in an air attack. All three men are commemorated at the Singapore Memorial Cemetery, in Kranji War Cemetery which, constructed on the north side of Singapore Island, on a hill 22 kilometres north of Singapore city, overlooks the Straits of Johore.

On October 10th, at the Yeomanry Hall a whist drive and social was held, with the proceeds to be applied towards providing Christmas gifts for those personnel from Old Bletchley who were now serving in the Forces. However, perhaps not on the list were the two men from the local R.A.O.C. unit who, on Thursday, October 12th, appeared before Bletchley magistrates accused of shouting and singing in the street. The incident had occurred on September 17th, and P.C. Crowley said that at 10.40p.m. he had been at 4, Drayton Road when he heard a commotion in the road outside. He asked the men for their names and addresses, but they refused to volunteer the information and although remaining quiet for a while, they soon began to sing and shout again. Cycling to the guardroom, P.C. Crowley then interviewed the men, one of whom said ‘I cannot sing’, and the other ‘I have been to the pictures, and afterwards had a few pints at the Plough.’ As to why they had not given their names and addresses, they replied that since P.C. Crowley had not been in uniform, they had no idea that he was a police constable. On further questioning, one man then said that he had left the cinema at 9p.m., and went to the Plough at 9.20p.m. They had two pints of beer, and because it was a lonely stretch of road they usually sang and whistled to pass the time on the way back to the camp. At their court appearance the chairman of the bench asked one of the men ‘Can you sing?’, to which came the reply ‘I do not say I am a singer. I can make a noise, but its more for my own benefit than anything. I suppose I can hum a bit.’ The C.O. of the unit, Major Saxon, then said that the conduct of the men was exemplary, and both were reliable soldiers and tradesmen. The chairman next asked if the unit had a concert party, and when the Major replied ‘Not at the moment’, the chairman suggested that he should form one. The Major agreed that this would be a very good idea! With the charges dismissed, a lady wearing a W.V.S. badge then came forward in the court to pay the 8s costs, saying that she felt Bletchley had the need for a centre where serving men and women could spend their evenings.

On October 5th British troops had landed on the Greek mainland, and on October 14th Athens was taken by the Allies. As for the distinguished military service of a Bletchley man fighting in Italy, also in October Lieutenant Corporal Norman Chapman, of the R.A.M.C., was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry. For the troops fighting overseas, ways to maintain their morale were being continually devised by the civilians of the town, and a Grand Social and Gift Stall, held at the Yeomanry Hall on October 24th, proved the means to raise proceeds for Old Bletchley men and women serving in the Forces. However, for the residents of Newton Road and Beechcroft Road, with many not being aware of the wider scheme they had been conducting their own, until towards the end of the year they were then included in the ‘Bletchley Gifts for the Forces’ organisation.

On Monday, November 6th Bletchley provided a G.I. bride, when at St. Mary’s church Frances Mattinson, A.T.S., married Sergeant Harry Huebner, of the U.S. Forces. She was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mattinson of Manor Farm, Old Bletchley, and he was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Huebner of Maplewood, New Jersey. The bride’s only brother, currently undergoing aircrew training with the R.A.F. in South Africa, sent a telegram of congratulations, and following a reception at Manor Farm - attended by several U.S. personnel - the couple then left for a honeymoon in Scotland.

Miss Doris Gee, of 24, Manor Road, had recently sent a donation of £25, in ‘ship’ halfpennies, to the Royal Naval War Libraries, and perhaps this helped spur the belated appointment of a U.D.C. committee, to carry out the work of providing comforts for the crew of the town’s adopted ship, H.M.S. Meon.

The Japanese Fifteenth Army was now in a weakened condition following the recent fighting at Kohima and Imphal, and in early December the British 14th Army, commanded by General William Slim, began an assault for the recovery of Burma. The Royal Bucks. Yeomanry consequently went into action with the 2nd Division, and on December 15th by joining up at Indaw, in northern Burma, the British 19th and 36th Divisions formed an undivided front. With the war now being fought on so many fronts, the cost was unsurprisingly becoming exorbitant, and during the year at the Bretton Woods conference the world’s principal reserve currency - and effectively the gold standard - then became the dollar. However, not greatly impressed was the British economist John Maynard Keynes, who reputedly remarked ‘We might have the brains, but the Americans have the money.’

In December the Red Cross informed Mrs. A. Souster, of Pavilion Lodge, Bletchley Park, that her husband, Sergeant A. Souster, a P.O.W. at Stalag 383, had now passed the preliminary written section for the National Diploma in Horticulture, and there was a further blossoming of good news when a Sergeant Pilot in the R.A.F., the only son of Mr. & Mrs. F. Tattam, of Westfield Road, returned to England. He had now completed his training in America, but as a portent of the training that future pilots might expect, on Christmas Eve the first air raid by jet bombers took place, with Liege, in Belgium, attacked by German Arado 234B ‘Blitz’ aircraft.

The year would now hopefully end with good news for an American soldier, who near Bletchley station had a few weeks ago lost not only a Waterman pen but also a brown air force wallet containing photos of sentimental value; ‘Reward if returned to Pte. C.J. Beams U.S. Army.’ On Friday, December 29th at the Senior School hall entertainments for the year then came to a close with the holding of a Grand Dance for the British Legion who, during May, had been refused permission by the Council to erect a notice board near the Council Office approach. All notices displayed on Council premises had to relate to local and Government matters, but perhaps with the ever popular Rhythm Aces providing the music for the British Legion dance, no advertising would be necessary.

Douglas Cresswell.
He was the first survivor to be rescued by the American submarine 'Pampanito.' - North Bucks Times

The submarine 'Pampanito', now moored as a permanent memorial in San Francisco harbour. - Mr. D. Eastaff


Many Bletchley men were amongst the thousands of Allied troops taken prisoner by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore. Some would survive their captivity, many would not, and this is the story of those who, having been forced to help build the 'Railway of Death', were crowded aboard Japanese ships to be taken as slave labour to Japan.

In March, 1944, after the building of the Thailand to Burma railway a group of British and Australian P.O.W.s were selected to carry out forced labour in Japan, and following his transfer to Thamvan, Douglas Cresswell, who was now employed on building roads, would be amongst those selected. The men were eventually taken in cattle trucks to Singapore and, after being detailed to work eighteen hour days loading scrap iron in the docks, were then crammed into the forward holds of two Japanese ships. Some 900 British P.O.W.s were herded aboard the 'Kachidoki Maru', and 1,318, including all the Australians, in the 'Rakuyo Maru.' This had been originally built by the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., and was the vessel aboard which three men from Bletchley - Douglas Cresswell, Frederick Eastaff and Geoffrey Chew - embarked. Gunner Douglas Cresswell, of 72, Victoria Road, had enlisted in 1939 from a previous employment at the brickyard, and Gunner Geoffrey Chew, of 21, Aylesbury Street, had joined the Royal Artillery. His first job on leaving the Bletchley Road schools had been at the local Sketchley branch whilst as for Frederick Eastaff, whose parents lived at 32, Albert Street, he had been a driver in the 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Aboard the ship each P.O.W. was given a block of raw rubber, about 2 feet by 2 feet by 1 feet, to be ostensibly used as a 'life preserver' although this proved more likely a ploy by which more rubber could be crammed into the cargo. On the morning of September 6th the two ships, with no markings to indicate that P.O.W.s were aboard, then manoeuvred into a box formation in the company of other ships, and with four escorts joining the convoy two seaplanes were detailed to scout for enemy submarines. However, early in the month a Japanese message had been intercepted and the decode then revealed information about the convoy. On the night of September 9th/10th an enciphered message providing details on the ships, plus their past and predicted positions, was sent to the American submarines Growler, Pampanito and Sealion II, and it would whilst the convoy was crossing the South China Sea that they sprung their attack. Nevertheless, for Douglas Cresswell 'It was a wonderful feeling knowing our Allies were out there.' Launched by the Sealion, one of a second salvo of three steam torpedoes missed the ship but one hit in the bow, and another amidships in the engine room. Yet despite settling 10 or 12 feet down in the water the ship was kept afloat by the cargo of rubber, and although the Japanese survivors tried to fend off the P.O.W.s from the lifeboats, the opportunity was often seized for some of the prisoners to now settle old scores. After the torpedoing of his vessel Douglas Cresswell had clambered onto a raft, which was then lashed to three others to endure the coming uncertainty. As for the 'Kachidoki Maru', of the three torpedoes fired by the Pampanito two struck home, sinking the ship. About 600 P.O.W.s from the two stricken vessels were picked up by Japanese ships, and only after four days did the Americans learn that many of the remaining survivors were British and Australian. A rescue mission was quickly launched, and asking the Sealion to help on September 15th the Pampanito began to pick up the exhausted P.O.W.s. Fainting in the arms of his rescuers Douglas Cresswell was the first to be hauled aboard, and after as many men had been rescued as possible, the Pampanito and the Sealion rendezvoused on the afternoon of September 18th with the destroyer 'Case', which transferred medical supplies, a doctor and a pharmacist to each submarine. On September 20th both vessels reached Tanapag Harbour, Saipan, which by early July had been retaken from the enemy, and small landing craft then ferried the survivors to the beach and thence to the U.S. Army's 148th General Hospital. Wearing U.S. Army uniforms on October Is' the British group embarked on the Liberty ship 'Cape Douglas' for Pearl Harbour, and were next taken by another vessel to San Francisco. From here they travelled across America to New York, where they boarded the 'Queen Mary' for the Atlantic crossing to England. In fact during their time in America the former P.O.W.s had been afforded almost a celebrity status, which seemed therefore in keeping with that of two of the other passengers, the movie actors Mickey Rooney and Bobby Breen. The ship duly docked at Greenock, and the P.O.W.s underwent a week of military debriefing at a secluded country estate, Vache, at Haversham, Buckinghamshire, before returning to their homes. Yet tragically Frederick Eastaff and Geoffrey Chew would not be returning home. They were not amongst the survivors, and are today commemorated on the war memorial at Kranji, Singapore. Mr. D. Eastaff.

Freddy Eastaff stands on the left in this photo, taken in the 1930s outside the Co-op in Bletchley Road, (now Queensway). His parents lived at 32, Albert Street, and after his call up he became a driver in the 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Taken prisoner at Singapore, he was drowned when the ship taking him as slave labour to Japan was torpedoed. - Mr. D. Eastaff.




During February, it was reported that between May, 1941, and October, 1941, the President of the Bletchley Red Cross Working Party, Mrs. J. P. Whiteley, as well as the committee, had received amongst other donations £2 2s from a bridge party, and £10 11s 2d from a harvest sale, and, in addition, 3,418 garments had been made throughout the year, most of which were then sent via the Red Cross to Russia.

Also during February, no doubt two million children were delighted at the announcement that now they would qualify for free cod liver oil, whilst for the benefit of the general population, the sale of Rose hip syrup began, perhaps providing medicinal benefit for patients of the Bletchley Hospital Scheme which at the annual meeting in St. Martin’s Hall, on Wednesday, February 11th reported a balance of a penny less than £1,047. 164 subscribers had now left the Scheme and although 219 new members had been enrolled, since the number of calls proved less than expected, for the yearly use of the ambulance the annual payment of £100 to B.U.D.C. was reduced to £50. The month also witnessed the resignation of Mr. W. Brown as the A.R.P. First Aid Commandant, and an appreciation of his excellent work would be duly recorded by the Council. Aged over 70, he now felt that the time had arrived to make way for a younger man.

Of various events to raise funds for the St. John Ambulance Brigade, with music provided by the Melody Dance Band, commencing at 7.45p.m. and concluding at 11.45p.m. a Grand Dance took place in the Senior School hall on Saturday, March 7th. Admission was priced at 2s 6d, Forces 1s 6d, and tickets had been available from Bollen’s tobacconist, in Bletchley Road.

Many Red Cross workers attended a Ministry of Information film show at the Conservative Club on Thursday, March 12th, where the several films included ‘Wartime Agriculture in Scotland’, and ‘Keep the Fleet at Sea’, perhaps in mind of which Mrs. Whiteley, presiding, made an appeal for more helpers to knit garments for H.M. Forces.

30 girls aged from 14 to 18 were enrolled at the Clinic towards the end of April for a preliminary course of six lectures on first aid. Arranged under the auspices of the St. John Ambulance Nursing Division, these would be given by Dr. Dorothy Lufkin, of The Gables, Bletchley Road, and taking an exam the successful candidates would go on to the adult course. However, in little need of the adult course was Nurse Morrish, the District Nursing Association nurse who, in May, left Bletchley for a similar position in South Bucks. From June 1st she would then be replaced by Nurse Davies.

£400 had now been raised in the six months since the opening of the Bletchley Penny a Week Red Cross Fund, and although he would soon resign for a similar appointment in Buckingham, this was largely due to the Honorary Secretary, Major D. Parkhill, of the Salvation Army. Expressing appreciation of the Major’s efforts, in June Mr. J. Newrick, C.B.E., Chief Organiser of the Red Cross Penny a Week Fund, said that upon ‘reaching the dizzy heights’ of 1d per person per week Bletchley deserved especial congratulations, and the new secretary, Mr. E. Callaway, M.B.E., also warmly thanked Major Parkhill for his past services.

Not surprisingly, medical services played an important role in the Civil Defence exercises and to bring the town’s Civil Defence to a state of high efficiency, in the latest scheme devised by Mr. A. Bates, the Bletchley A.R.P. Sub-Controller, A.R.P. workers, firemen, and stretcher bearers went into action on Saturday, June 13th when gas, incendiary, and high explosive ‘bombs’ were let off at the Tetley’s factory in Osborne Street. During the exercise the firemen rushed to the rescue of men trapped on the roof, and over the side casualties were then lowered onto the road, to be carried by the first aid men to the waiting ambulances.

Miss M. Scobie, of 9, St. Martins Road, being the organiser for the Bletchley area, the annual Flag Day for the Red Cross & Order of St. John raised £100 15s 6d, whilst at 8p.m. in Bletchley School hall the recital on the pianoforte by Maurice Cole - ‘London Promenade Concerts and B.B.C.’ - assisted by Sheridan Russell, violoncello, raised funds for the Red Cross Working Party on Friday, July 3rd.

From Malta, in June the former Medical Officer of Bletchley, Dr. R. Stones, M.C., O.B.E., said in a letter to Mr. A. Bates, the District Surveyor, that the King George V Memorial hospital had been blitzed, but fortunately there had been no casualties. The hospital had been formerly his place of employment and with the surviving premises now partially converted into a seamen’s club, he was presently serving in the army as a Civilian Medical Practitioner. The rock shelters provided excellent protection, he said, but nevertheless ‘We get plenty of excitement.’ Attached to his letter was a cutting from ‘The Times of Malta’ recording a tribute paid by Bletchley U.D.C. to the Island, and the British Government had also paid tribute, by awarding the Island the George Cross on April 15th. In fact the island was historically well versed in military actions for having been the property of the Knights of St. John from 1530, it was captured by Napoleon in 1798, and seeking British help, then became annexed to the Crown in 1814.

Held in the Clinic during mid July, at the joint annual meeting a sound financial position was reported for the Bletchley St. John Ambulance Brigade & the Nursing Division, and at the request of the blood transfusion service it was now agreed that the Bletchley Nursing Division should take over this work. The average number of donors was presently 65 per month and in charge would be Superintendent Mrs. Vaughan, to be assisted by Miss Elliott, an ambulance driver.

The Medical Comforts Fund Section had now received many useful gifts and, currently being lent at 2s 6d per week, amongst these was included an infrared ray lamp, presented by Mrs. Rowland-Reynolds and Dr. Lufkin.

In August, with three drivers the Voluntary Car Pool came into existence which, available to all Government departments, primarily conveyed people needing treatment to hospitals. With Mrs. M. Cooke, of Glenwood, Bletchley Road, as Officer, a 24 hour service was provided, and in the first month 45 journeys were undertaken.

Bletchley had now been selected as one of the centres where the public would have an opportunity to witness the many sided activities of both the Red Cross and the St. John war organisations, and, with the incentive of free admission, the Studio car park would accordingly accommodate a touring display unit of the Red Cross.

Since the beginning during the previous October of the Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund, by August £603 10s 7d had been collected, of which house to house collections accounted for some £400. Around 750 railwaymen contributed 1d per week from their wages, and in Bletchley September would prove to be a record month, with the collection of £102 6s 9d - the largest since the launch of the fund - providing a healthy contribution towards the wartime eventual total of £3,851. September also proved a lucrative month for the first Flag Day of the Bletchley Nursing Association, which raised £60. In fact on the first day of the month the Nursing Cadets Unit had been formed with Miss Day as Lady Cadet Superintendent, and Mrs. Walpole as Lady Cadet Officer, but of a previous association with the town, sadly during the month Mrs. Edith Bradbrooke, the widow of Dr. William Bradbrooke, died at Horsham. Well known in the town, Dr. William Bradbrooke had practised in Bletchley for 35 years and, as secretary of the Bucks. Architectural and Archaeological Society, had published a history of Fenny Stratford.

On Thursday, October 15th, for the benefit of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, the Bletchley Branch of the N.F.U. held a Farmers’ Gift Sale. Opened at 1.30p.m. at Bletchley market by Lord Cadman, it had been originally intended to raise a minimum of £1,000, but in fact an actual total of £1,054 7s 6d would be achieved.

Every Friday at 7p.m., from November 6th a series of Home Nursing Lectures had been organised by the British Red Cross Society. Nurse Davis, S.R.N., being the lecturer, these would be held in the Bletchley Road Schools, whilst towards raising funds for the Red Cross, £6 12s 6d was realised on the evening of Monday, November 2nd by a well attended concert given in the High Street Schools. Again for the benefit of the funds, a Red Cross concert by Mrs. Webster’s concert party then took place in the same venue on Monday, November 16th, and amongst the items were included monologues by Peggy Sharpe, ballet dances by Cynthia Dell, and ‘humorous songs’ performed by Mr. A. Duffield.

Orange juice had now been introduced as a vitamin supplement, and towards the end of the year the Medical Officer announced that a scheme to treat children aged between one and five with diphtheria immunisations was being considered. It was hoped to achieve a 75% response, which seemed especially necessary since during the year there had been six cases of diphtheria, as well as 16 of scarlet fever, two of pneumonia, and 19 of measles. However, there had been only two reports of bed bugs, and as another cause for celebration on Saturday, December 5th the Red Cross Flag Day certainly achieved a good response, with a record amount of £165 12 7d raised in the town.



One Friday at the end of January, many people watched a display by the nursing cadets of the St. John Ambulance Brigade who, apart from performing exhibitions of country and ballroom dancing, also gave more appropriate demonstrations of stretcher work and emergency action. Then in early February, with Mr. Tranfield presiding the A.G.M. of the Bletchley Hospital Contributory Scheme was held in St. Martin’s Hall, and Miss Garner, the secretary, announced that the membership of 1,594 showed an increase of 131. Despite a deficit of £48 on the year’s working, this was more than offset by the reserve fund, which, now exceeding £1,000, was exceedingly good news for those in need of hospital treatment. In fact ironically in need of such treatment would be Dr. J. E. Hodson, of ‘The Nook’, Bletchley Road, who one Thursday afternoon towards the end of the month whilst riding near Denbigh Railway Bridge was thrown from his horse onto the grass verge when, startled by a passenger train, the animal swerved into a convoy of army vehicles. Suffering a broken leg the Dr., attended by Dr. W. Carter, was rushed to Northampton hospital in the Bletchley ambulance.

With Mrs. Peggy Mason as Commandant, in the science room at Bletchley school the newly formed ‘Bucks. 530’, (the British Red Cross Youth Detachment), met at 7.30p.m. every Friday, and there would soon be a need for such imparted skills when, at the end of March, two children, aged 61/¬2 and 7, ran out from behind the back of a van into the path of Dr. F. Morphy, who was driving his car along Buckingham Road. Both being taken to Northampton hospital, one child suffered a broken arm, and the other cuts and bruises. Therefore it was just as well that, instructed by Dr. Challenger, the Youth Detachment now hoped to commence an 8p.m. series of first aid lectures on April 30th.

At a Council meeting on May 11th it was resolved that Councillors Bates and Wells should be reappointed as the Council representatives on the North Bucks. Joint Hospital Board, and regarding pensions the Council also considered a resolution submitted by the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick. After discussion it was then decided to provide a written support ‘That representations be made to H.M. Government to increase the pensions to widows and orphans under the National Health Insurance Acts, particularly in view of the fact that in July 1942, it was stated in Parliament that this question would be considered after the publication of the Beveridge Report.’ A copy would be sent to Brigadier Whiteley M.P. but in fact the House of Commons had debated the Report in February and, although of the opinion that many of the proposals should be accepted, they decided that a commitment to any should not be made until after the war.

In connection with the L.M.S. Brass Band Concert, to be given between 8p.m. and 9p.m on Sunday, June 20th, by a letter dated May 25th permission was asked from the Council by Mr. H. Allen, of Church Green Road, to use Leon Rec. and make a collection for the local Red Cross Association. Permission to use the Rec would duly be granted, but no collection was to be allowed.

During May, before the Queen at Buckingham Palace in a Sunday youth parade Miss P. King had the honour of representing the British Red Cross Youth Detachment, and for those persons employed in the medical profession, the question of nurses salaries was now to be raised under the Rushcliffe scheme. Accordingly, with Mrs. J. P. Whiteley as the Chairman the Bletchley Nursing Association decided to increase the subscriptions by one halfpenny per week, thereby raising the weekly amount to 6s 6d, and an increase in salary seemed a fair proposal since Nurse Brinklow had now dealt with 181 cases, and made 3,494 visits. At Old Bletchley the visits by Nurse Davis had totalled 2,434, and in consequence both nurses were not surprisingly now suffering from overwork.

With offers to be made to Mrs. Colgrove, at ‘Bankfield’, 149, Bletchley Road, the Red Cross Working Party urgently needed a hand sewing machine, and for funds for the Red Cross, on Thursday, June 24th a horticultural and rabbit show and sale took place at 7.30p.m. This was then followed a few days later by a successful Friday social evening, held at St. Martin’s Hall. Towards the cost of cadet uniforms, a welcome sum of about £10 would be raised, and by the even more welcome amount of £100 0s 10d the Red Cross penny-a-week fund came to benefit from collections made around the town. Also during July the British Red Cross Society (Bucks. 124) announced the formation of the Senior Detachment in Bletchley, and with meetings to be held every Friday at the Welfare Centre, enquiries could be made to Mrs. Beatrice Shiner, the Commandant, who lived at 7, Water Eaton Road.

By a letter dated July 29th, regarding the Horticultural Show on August 21st the Secretary of the British Red Cross asked if the Council would meet, either in part or whole, the cost of engaging the Northampton Home Guard band, and as part of the Council’s ‘Stay at Home’ holiday programme it was decided that £12 would be allowed. Then by a letter in early August, asking for alternative arrangements to be made Mr. E. Maclaren informed the Council that, because of the depletion of staff, he was no longer able to continue the maintenance and running of their ambulance. The Ministry of War Transport declined to take further action in the matter, and therefore with the Surveyor tasked to make enquiries temporary arrangements would be made by early September for the ambulance, when necessary, to be driven by one of the Council lorry drivers. Attempts would meanwhile be made to provide a more permanent solution, with discussions to be held with the local police authority.

The Melody Dance Band provided the music when, on Friday, September 12th, the Bletchley Youth Detachment of the British Red Cross Society held a dance in the Senior School Hall. Of the £75 16s raised, £14 would be contributed from the handicraft stall, under the charge of the Commandant, Mrs. Mason, and of other collections, for both the Red Cross and St. John Ambulance Brigade by October a good response had been received to the drive in the town for books which, after sorting, would be sent to London.

Donated from people in the town, more than 200 bottles of blood had now been sent overseas from the Clinic, but certain members of the population seemed less community minded when not only were the heavy coping stones pushed over, but also the stone pillar. These then had to be hurriedly re-erected prior to the Royal visit to the Clinic by the Duchess of Kent when, as part of her tour of North Bucks., she came to Bletchley on the afternoon of Monday, October 11th. Hundreds of people lined Bletchley Road for the arrival of the Royal car which, preceded by a police pilot car driven by P.C. Norman, was followed by a car containing the Chief Constable of Bucks., Colonel T. Warren, and the Commandant of the Special Constabulary, Captain J. Fitzgerald. Loud cheers greeted the Duchess as, wearing the uniform of Lady Superintendent for Wales of the Nursing Association, accompanied amongst others by Lady Rachael Davidson, Lady Dawson of Penn, and Colonel Warren, she stepped from her car to inspect members of the St. John Nursing Division, before watching a demonstration of first-aid. Taking the time to talk with everyone she was then entertained to tea and in appreciation of her welcome, on behalf of the Duchess a letter would duly be sent complementing the St. John workers, and stating that ‘Her Royal Highness wishes me to thank you and all those concerned for all the trouble you took to make the arrangements for this most successful afternoon.’

For the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, Bletchley and district farmers had now set out to raise £2,000 during the year, and a gift fund one Thursday in October brought the total to £1,970. Given by Mr. R. Barbour of Great Brickhill, a pedigree Ayrshire calf was bought and sold many times with bids including those from Lieutenant Colonel Lord Sandhurst and Brigadier General Gambier Parry, who had opened the show. In fact unbeknown to the audience, both men were prominently involved in local activities of the ‘secret intelligence war’, as told in the book ‘Bletchley Park’s Secret Sisters.’

That the Rescue and First Aid Services had now been amalgamated was reported by the A.R.P. Officer, at the 7.30p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee, on Thursday, November 4th and also in November the schools dentist, Dr. Ernest Blumenau, of Draycott, Church Walk, applied to the Home Secretary for naturalisation.

‘The Austin 18 Ambulance continues to function satisfactorily and three A.R.P. ambulances are also available’, stated Dr. Janet Ronaldson, the Acting Medical Officer of Health, in her report summing up the year, and whilst ‘the incidence of Infectious Disease has remained at a satisfactory low level, there was an increase in notified cases of Pneumonia and Scarlet Fever and an outbreak of Measles, none of which, however, assumed epidemic proportions.’ In fact the notifications of measles during the year was 87, diptheria, 1, scarlet fever, 5, pneumonia, 9, whooping cough, 10, and scabies, 1, and of other concerns, only 2 cases of bed bugs had occurred during the year - ‘appropriate action was taken.’ With 3 males and 4 females born out of wedlock, legitimate births in the town had totalled 82 males and 64 females, but for all youngsters in the town the year concluded with members of the Bletchley Red Cross Working Party making toys during their spare time, which were then sold for a total of £31 9s, duly applied to the Duke of Gloucester’s Fund.



On Friday, January 14th, the Bletchley Senior Detachment Red Cross New Year Dance and Cabaret took place at 8p.m. in the Senior School hall, with music by the R.A.O.C. band. Admission cost 3s 6d, or Forces in uniform 2s, (although refreshments were extra!), whilst staged over several days, ‘But Once a Year’, a six part ‘riot of brilliant, colourful fun’ revue, performed in the Assembly Hall, raised proceeds for the Red Cross Fund for P.O.W. Parcels.

Alluding to future health care, at 7.30p.m. at the Community Centre on Wednesday, January 19th the Bletchley branch of the W.E.A. conducted a public meeting on the Beveridge Report, ‘from a social worker’s point of view.’ The speaker was Mr. H. Hexton, of the Social Security League, and at the Public Health Committee meeting on Thursday, February 3rd it was announced that due to the difficulty in manning the ambulance, presently garaged by Cowley and Wilson, the County Public Assistance Department would be notified that only on production of a medical certificate would residents outside the urban area be conveyed, or otherwise where urgent hospital attention was imperative. The Chairman being Mr. H. Tranfield, on the same day, the annual meeting of the Bletchley Hospital Contribution Scheme took place at St. Martin’s Hall, and despite a membership of 1,637, as opposed to 1,594 the previous year, only a few of this number were in attendance. The financial reserve now totalled £1,038 but the meeting nevertheless approved, effective from February 28th, an increase in contributions from 3d to 4d for a family, and from 2d to 3d for an individual, with O.A.P.s being exempt. As compensation, the maximum payable for private hospital treatment would be raised from 10s 6d to 15s a day and regarding those helped by the Scheme, these included 273 outpatients, 70 in-patients, and 20 ambulance cases. As for lesser ailments, prescriptions could be made up in Aylesbury Street at Ruston’s chemist shop, where an assistant was now needed.

Stating that he was at a hospital in Chester, although whether as a patient or doctor was not clear, Dr. Stones, the former Medical Officer of Bletchley, now sent greetings addressed to the Council Offices where, at a 7.30p.m. meeting of the A.R.P. Committee, on Thursday, March 9th the A.R.P. Officer reported that mutual arrangements had now been made for Dr. Sahlmann to take over as nominal First Aid Post Commandant. Mrs. Vaughan would be in charge of the nursing section and Mr. J. Orchard in charge of the men’s section. As for the Bletchley Station Sick Fund, at their A.G.M. in March the officers were elected, with a decision taken to increase the benefit payments from 10s to 12s per week.

In April, Councillors Callaway and Stevens were appointed as the Council representatives on the North Bucks. Guardians Committee for the year, and on Friday, 2nd June, at a meeting in Bletchley of the North Bucks. Hospital Board it was revealed that the North Bucks. smallpox hospital had accommodated only seven patients in the last 30 years. The future was therefore in doubt of the premises which, situated near the 46 Café, about 100 yards from the Watling Street, consisted of a caretaker’s house, a corrugated building with two wards, (four beds in each), nurses quarters, a laundry, mortuary, and outbuildings. The beds had recently been re-enamelled, and minor repairs had been carried out and although the caretaker and his wife kept the establishment in good order, all the water had to be boiled since there was no supply laid on, and it would cost £200 to remedy this shortcoming. An arrangement had now been made by the Clerk of the Council with the Regional Officer to allow any cases to be admitted to Oxford Hospital, until the South Bucks. Smallpox Hospital at Saunderton was available, and it was stated that £30 a year could be saved if the superintendent, Mr. J. Nicholls, resigned. This was not least because he lived rent free, was provided with coal, paid a retaining fee of 1s a week, and his insurance cards were stamped, and for further income he also ran a small farm and undertook work for other farmers. However, it would be eventually recommended that at minimum expense the hospital should be maintained until the end of the war, in case of any outbreaks of the disease.

A first aid competition for the Red Cross Junior Detachment took place at the Senior School on Saturday, June 1st whilst maternal instincts would be required for a position offered during mid June at Highfields, Manor Road, where, for approximately a month, a responsible person was needed to look after a new baby at night. Also concerning the younger generation, a Social for the St. John Nursing Cadets was held at The Barn on Friday, July 28th but medical rather than social skills were the theme when with Dr. Sahlmann M.D. as the lecturer, from August 4th the Bletchley Red Cross Society, Bletchley Senior Detachment, began a series of lectures at the Clinic at 8p.m. every Friday. Primarily these were for the benefit of Red Cross personnel, and anyone else who wished to attend was asked to contact the Commandant, Mrs. B. Shiner, at 7, Water Eaton Road.

The Bletchley Show took place at the Bletchley Park Sports Ground on a very wet August day, yet nevertheless the event, held in aid of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, raised £686 9s 4d. For the same cause, a Farmers’ Gift Sale, organised by the Bletchley branch of the N.F.U., would then be arranged as an additional benefit at Bletchley Market on Thursday, 12th October, with Brigadier General Gambier Parry performing the opening ceremony at 2p.m. As for the Bletchley Nursing Association, their Flag Day in September raised a sum of £59 10s 7d.

The Bletchley Red Cross Working Party staged their annual harvest sale on Thursday, September 28th and with the produce having been given by members and friends, the proceeds of £13 10s 9d were spent on wool and materials, for making hospital supplies and comforts for the Forces.

Continuing a family tradition, in October Mr. Peter Corden, the son of Mr. & Mrs. A. B. Corden, of Victoria Road, passed the chemist and druggist qualifying examination of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and for many years he would then run the shop in Victoria Road. However, not destined for such longevity was the scheme for the Bletchley Cottage Hospital which, since ‘it was not an opportune time’, would now be abandoned. Nevertheless, it was now an opportune time to consider the possibility of free hospital treatment for everyone after the war, for, during the year, the Government had issued, (as also in 1943), a series of White Papers by which a commitment was made to the main proposals of the Beveridge Report, first published on December 2nd, 1942.

In a programme arranged by the Lady Superintendent, Miss G. Day, and the Cadet Officer, Mrs. G. Walpole, one Friday in early October, the Bletchley Nursing Cadets of the St. John Ambulance Brigade held a display in St. Martin’s Hall. After an inspection by the President, Mrs. B. Roland Reynolds, they then gave a smart exhibition of marching, country and Morris dancing, home nursing, P.T., and first aid, and in the second half presented a play and tableau in which every cadet had a part, the purpose being ‘to bring out the 8 points of the white cross emblem.’

During the summer, a beautiful display of marigolds had brightened up the front of the Junior School in Bletchley Road, and having now collected the seeds the schoolchildren sorted them out into small envelopes, which they then sent off in return for donations to funds for the Red Cross. Other donations were also anticipated when, for the Duke of Gloucester’s Red Cross and St. John Joint War Organisation Fund, from Monday, November 13th to Saturday, December 2nd, between 11a.m. and 12 noon, and 3p.m. and 4p.m., the public was invited to bring gifts to the Red Cross shop, opening in Bletchley Road at the Co-op Firewatchers Post. Having been loaned by the Co-op for a month, the premises would be run by Red Cross and St. John members under Mrs. Mason, the Red Cross Divisional Secretary for North Bucks., and Mrs. Vaughan, of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and between 10a.m. and 6p.m. the gifts would be sold from Monday, December 4th to Saturday, December 9th. Thereby £226 14s 6d would be made.

With the end of the war now hopefully anticipated, day and night manning of the first aid post at the Clinic had been discontinued during November, and, with the approach of Christmas, as always thoughts now turned to gifts for those Bletchley personnel serving overseas. This especially concerned those held as P.O.W.s., for whom the Bletchley Red Cross Working Party would duly send £35 to the P.O.W. Fund, raised by a gift sale and the collections at meetings.




As a promising newcomer to the sport, on Monday, January 12th Norman Ball, of Bletchley, fought a trial bout at Watford against the coloured boxer Alec Buxton, and no doubt Norman’s embryo prowess owed much to the tuition of the renowned local middleweight boxer Jack Beech, of Duncombe Street. Having fractured his hand in a fight the previous December, on Monday, February 9th Jack then returned to the ring and defeated Guardsman Freddy Wells, of Hackney, in an evening match. On Tuesday, March 10th he then fought a six round contest with Bruce Bishop, and although taking two counts still managed to draw the match. Tall, with ‘a terrific left punch’, in fact during his career he would lose only seven of his 169 fights, and in his early days he received much encouragement from both a heavyweight champion named Seamarks, whom he subsequently defeated, and the Lovell brothers, of Bedford. Later, his trainers would be Howard Beard and Ernie Humphreys and apart from boxing, until called for Army service Jack also played cricket and football for the works team of his employers, the London Brick Company.

By now, with the ‘Service of Youth’ sports ground in Albert Street enclosed by fencing, work to renovate the Pavilion would consequently begin, and with the facilities to be enjoyed by the A.T.C., Boys Brigade, and Boy Scouts, on alternate Saturdays the intended sports during the season would include football, hockey, and netball. As for the Bletchley Town Tennis Club, including Sundays they hoped to block book a court for the coming season, and when at a meeting on March 10th the Clerk of the Council submitted their application, it was recommended to grant approval. However, recreational matters took an unsporting turn towards the end of March, when the Albert Street Pavilion was badly damaged by hooligans. In fact this was especially disheartening since, in response to an appeal for funds, a donation of £15 11s 4d had been recently sent to the Bletchley Service of Youth Sports Ground Committee by the Hark Hark Dramatic Section.

Rather more sporting, football matches for the town’s Warship Week had now been arranged, and on the L.B.C. ground at Newton Road these would be played on Saturday, March 21st and Saturday, March 28th, with the L.B.C. playing an R.A.F. eleven comprised of personnel from different Stations. Events would then close with an evening a dance in the L.B.C. canteen.

During the Easter holiday not only were the cinemas packed, but the tennis courts and putting green also found an enthusiastic use, whilst amongst those of different interests, on Wednesday, April 15th members of the Bletchley Bowls League met in the Conservative Club and decided to give £3 19s 2d, as the balance from the account of the previous year, to the Bletchley Nursing Division and Bletchley St. John Ambulance Brigade. However, with the resignation of Mr. C. Collins, the Secretary, who had been instrumental in the formation of the League, Mr. J. Wicks would now take his place. Also preparing for the new season was the St. Martin’s Bowls Club, and on Wednesday, April 29th, at 6.30p.m.the President, the Reverend C. Wheeler, performed the official opening As for the Fenny Stratford & Bletchley Bowls Club, they would begin their activities on Wednesday, May 6th, coincidental with the date that Jack Beech fought Jack England at Watford. Unfortunately, the eight round contest came to a premature close when one of the eyes of the popular boxer from Bletchley was damaged so badly that the referee had to stop the fight.

Of high flying ambitions, Bletchley & District Co-op were now stocking the famous Astral Model Aeroplane kits - ‘flying scale models at 1s 9d, 8s 6d and 12s 6d’ - and to discuss the formation of a model building club a meeting had been duly held at 7p.m. in the Co-op Hall on Monday, April 19th. However, firmly keeping their feet on the ground were the boys and girls of Bletchley’s juvenile organisations, who were presently indulging in running and physical exercises on the Albert Street sports ground. Having performed similar work elsewhere in the country, Mr. R. Richardson and Miss M. Brooks, officers of the Central Council of Recreative Physical Training, were undertaking the training and apart from this physical exercise, including Saturday dances and a dancing class begun by Miss Brooks, the reconditioned Albert Street sports ground was also being used by youth organisations for recreational evenings - such an occasion being one Tuesday, when, with a view to competing in the Service of Youth Sports in July, cadets of the A.T.C. would spend the evening in running and jumping exercises. In early June, even starting up some aero engines on the tarmac the cadets then paid a visit to ‘a large R.A.F. Station and Training Centre’, where they played sports and visited workshops and hangers. On a following Saturday another visit to an R.A.F. station was then made by 25 cadets, 10 of whom were taken on flights.

In the presence of 200 boys and girls, (representing every youth organisation in Bletchley), on Saturday, July 11th Alderman J. Tarver, Chairman of Bucks. Education Committee, opened the Service of Youth Sports Ground and with leading citizens present, after the inspection the band of the Boys’ Brigade led the boys and girls to Bletchley Park for the sports. Towards furnishing the Pavilion the Board of Education had agreed to grant £45 but this was only on condition that the rest of the £60 could be found. Fortunately the required amount would then be promised by an anonymous donor. The Service of Youth Sports Ground Social was then held on Saturday, July 20th at 7.30p.m., admission 6d, and with members of the Bletchley Youth Organisations only being admitted, badges had to be worn.

Jack Beech had put on a remarkable fight at Watford on Wednesday, July 1st, beating Harry O’Grady of Amersham on points, but he was then defeated on Wednesday, July 29th through being too sporting. With Watford again as the venue, he had been billed to fight Billy Hood, of Minehead, but when his opponent failed to turn up, he instead fought Charlie Collett, three stone heavier! However, Jack’s protégé, Norman Ball, then made due recompense by winning a six round contest against the more experienced George Fordham. The tennis net fittings at the courts in Central Gardens had also taken a bashing, and £2 2s was now to be expended on obtaining replacements from the En-Tout-Cas Co. Ltd.

The death was now sadly announced of Councillor Thomas Coles, aged 65, who had lived with his wife at Grange Lodge, Buckingham Road. He originally came to Bletchley as gardener to Mornington Cannon, the famous jockey, and later worked at Holne Chase for the late Colonel P. Giles, and then Captain J. Whiteley.

From the three bowls clubs of the town - St. Martin’s, Bletchley Town, and the Conservative Club - forty members played a subscription match on St. Martin’s green on Wednesday, September 2nd, and the £5 0s 6d raised was then shared between St. Martin’s Restoration Fund and the Red Cross.

Apart from the more active sports, fishing was continuing to be a popular pastime, and in aid of the Red Cross Funds as the fourth in the series at Denbigh Road gravel pits on Sunday, September 6th from 3p.m. - 6p.m. Flettons Angling Club held three open matches. With the proceeds amounting to £2 15s, the 27 anglers caught a combined weight of 20lb. 10ozs., and fishing was also enjoyed by youngsters at various nearby locations, to include Orchard Mill and the gravel pit. Despite usually having no permit, as long as they caused no damage the boys were generally tolerated in their pursuit, and again on watery matters in late September the 1st Fenny Stratford Troop formed a Sea Scout patrol which, apart from the usual Scouting activities, also entailed instruction in seamanship and being able to swim 50 yards fully dressed.

On Friday, September 25th at 6p.m. the A.G.M. of the Service of Youth Sports Ground took place in the Senior School, Bletchley Road but it was disappointingly reported that during the year the people of Bletchley had given only £25 to Bletchley Service of Youth. The cost of repairing the Albert Street pavilion would be £200, but no more than £140 had so far been raised, and this was mostly from visitors to the town. Yet at least there was partial optimism when Mr. S. Harlock, the Secretary, announced that two officers, who had paid a visit to Bletchley the previous May, were being sent by the Central Council to train leaders ‘to fit them for organised games and exercises.’ Then concluding the year’s sporting activities, in early November Jack Beech won a victory at Watford one Tuesday by forcing Tom Feeley, of Ireland, to retire at the end of the eighth round.



Jack Beech commenced the New Year in fine form, with a win at Oxford in February, a victory over Harry O’Grady, of Amersham, at Berkhamsted in March, and a win at Hornsey Town Hall in April, against Vince Hawkins of Southampton. His was certainly an example that encouraged youngsters to take up the sport, although regarding the Bletchley School Sports Association Mr. Crisp, reporting to the annual meeting in April, said that since a large number of members had now left the town to join the Forces, it had been decided to leave the election of officers until later, to thus determine whether there remained sufficient numbers to support the Association.

At the Public Health Committee meeting the application was submitted on April 8th by the Bletchley Town Tennis Club for the block booking of one tennis court for the coming season, and with this duly approved the terms would remain the same as the previous year. In May, the Bletchley Bowls Club then opened their season at the Town Club but continuing to dominate the local sporting scene was Jack Beech, who in his 123rd fight after 10 rounds won a contest against ‘Bibby’ Monks .

In other sporting activities, Bletchley provided the champion long distance runner of Bucks. in the County Youth Sports at Aylesbury, held one Saturday in July when, despite a ‘dodgy ankle’, Ron Mercer won the Senior Half Mile. However, it was the end of the road in October for two brothers aged 63 and 75 respectively, who died within five days of each other. They were Ebenezer Burnham, of 37, Tavistock Street, and Edward Burnham, the sons of a well known racing cyclist.

Fishing continued to be a popular recreation in the district, and throughout several weeks the Leighton Buzzard Angling Club had successfully restocked the Ousel, between Orchard Mill and Water Eaton Mill, with roach and rudd. However, in consequence there was now a need to thin out the pike in, or near, the Mill Stream at Water Eaton.

North Bucks Times



One Tuesday in January, at Watford town hall Jack Beech, now a Private in the Army, won by a knockout in a boxing contest fought against Harry O’Grady of Amersham. In fact he would then repeat the performance one Monday towards the end of the year at Swindon, when, now as a Corporal, he again dismissed O’Grady with a knockout, by a left to the stomach in the third round. Later in the month, of more leisurely pursuits a good financial position was reported one Tuesday evening at the annual meeting of the Fenny Stratford & Bletchley Bowls Club. The meeting was held in the Club Pavilion in Bletchley Road, and with the membership having increased, the monies raised included £15 2s for the Minesweepers’ & Trawlers’ Fund.

On Thursday, February 3rd, at a meeting of the Public Health Committee the Clerk submitted a letter, dated February 1st, from the Station Administration Officer of the R.A.F. camp at Church Green, asking if a block booking of one tennis court could be granted for the whole of each day during the coming season. This was agreed at 1s an hour, and by an application dated March 4th Bletchley Town Lawn Tennis Club then also asked to block book a court on certain days during the coming season. This was again agreed at 1s per hour, whilst as for future bowls matches, at a meeting one Monday evening in March the St. Martin’s Bowls Club, situated at the rear of St. Martin’s Hall, decided the fixture list for the forthcoming season, with subscriptions to be set at £1 1s. The season was then opened on Wednesday, May 3rd by the President, the Reverend C. Wheeler, and on May 6th play at the Baptist Tennis Club commenced, consideration being given to the letting of the three lawn tennis courts on Tuesdays and Fridays.

On Tuesday, May 16th Jack Beech travelled to Watford to box Roddy McDonald, the 1943 Army champion. However, since Beech proved to be the heavier of the contestants the bout did not take place, although on July 8th at 5p.m. arrangements went more smoothly for the Bletchley Service of Youth District Sports Day, held at Bletchley Park. Then towards the end of the month Jack Beech, now of a military rank equal to that of his opponent, floored Lieutenant Corporal Allison, of the Operating Company, during a bout at Shandon, in Scotland, and the Conservative Club also wiped the floor with the Bletchley Town Bowls Club, by winning a match by three rinks to nil.

On Saturday, 19th August at the Bletchley Show Jack Beech - now weighing 12st. 6lb.- was back in action, and this was a contest in which Tom Benjamin deputised for Bob Crabb, of Waltham Cross. At Watford, on Tuesday, September 12th Jack Beech then fought a contest against Sergeant George Taylor, the famous R.A.F. cruiserweight, who, having been victorious in a series of bouts, had just returned from Malta. He had recently been taken over by Jack Turner, the Bournemouth manager who had developed the British cruiserweight champion, Freddie Mills, but nevertheless in his fight with Beech, Taylor was obliged to withdraw with an injured right hand, having fractured his thumb.

The reputation of Jack Beech was now becoming known well beyond Bletchley, and even the London Evening Standard in the edition of Wednesday, September 20th featured an article about his career, entitled ‘Still Fighting After 21 Years.’ He was still fighting the next month, when on Tuesday, October 3rd, at Watford in an evening contest he defeated ‘Red’ Pullen on points - ‘advancing years seem to affect him not at all.’ In November, however, his 14 month run of continuous victories then came to an end, when he was beaten at Hitchin by Corporal Len Bennett of London, the winner of a heavyweight competition. Nevertheless, his reputation would be restored on Monday, November 20th when boxing at Oxford, he stopped Peter Mullen, R.N., of Tottenham, in the 7th round of an eight round contest.

By a letter dated November 29th the Service of Youth asked if the Council could provide a football pitch in Leon Rec. for the use of the members but although the Council replied that they would be unable to grant a sole use, they were happy to consider other suggestions.

However, ‘Dink’ Thurlow, the Bletchley footballer of pre war years, was no longer concerned with local facilities. He was making headlines in a leading Egyptian morning newspaper under the heading ‘Thurlow Hat Trick at Zamalek’, which referred to his performance in a friendly match between his team, Movement and Transport, leaders of the G.H.Q. Middle East Branches League, and Farouk S.C. Old Boys, who were defeated by five goals to one. No doubt the victory would then be again celebrated on Boxing night, when the Bletchley men serving in the Egyptian area held a reunion dinner in Cairo




For the benefit of the Help For Russia Fund, by now £91 14s 8d had been collected. Of this, 5s had been raised through carol singing by the 1st Company, Boys Brigade, who at the fourth anniversary of the Bletchley Baptist Sunday School would parade with the Girls’ Life Brigade to the morning service on Sunday, January 21st. During the afternoon, including recitals and musical items a children’s service would then take place.

On the lines of the B.B.C. programme, on Tuesday, January 27th a Bletchley Brains Trust occupied the platform of the Baptist Young People’s Fellowship meeting, and with the question master, Mr. E. Staniford, firstly providing a potted biography of each member, questions to the team included ‘Is psychology science or Tommy-rot?’ and ‘Why is the 4.40 from Wolverton always late?’

At a Sunday ceremony, towards the end of the month those children who had regularly attended the Young Peoples Meetings at the Salvation Army Hall received their annual awards for 1941. Major David Parkhill presided, and in order to celebrate the enrolment of their new recruits, on Thursday, January 29th guides of the 1st Fenny Stratford Group invited Scouts of the same Group to a social evening in St. Martin’s Vicarage Room. Also during the month several A.T.C. cadets were awarded proficiency stars, a standard equivalent to that attained by R.A.F. recruits during initial training, and in fact so many enquiries were now being received from potential recruits that 456 Squadron A.T.C. had started an enrolment campaign, enhanced by an impressive display of model aeroplanes, exhibited in the entrance hall of the Studio.

During the weekend of Saturday, February 7th and Sunday, February 8th, the first anniversary of the formation of the Life Saving Scouts in Bletchley was celebrated, whilst for the Bletchley Service of Youth Sports Ground a donation by the ‘Hark Hark’ Dramatic Section of £75 11s 4d had been sent to the Committee. This was in response to an appeal for funds but although the windows of the Pavilion had now been put in, and the ground was enclosed by fencing, for the meanwhile as a temporary measure the ground would only be used for football.

Presently, the Home Guard needed recruits for the 2nd Bucks. Battalion Bletchley Coy, Junior Platoon, and stating their name, age and address candidates were invited to apply to Mr. H. Parker, at 30, Saffron Street. As for another deficiency, on Saturday, February 21st the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade nearly caused a shortage of platform tickets when they said goodbye to the Northampton Girls’ Life Brigade! The girls had been invited to the Bletchley Girls’ Life Brigade annual party in the Spurgeon Baptist church and commencing with a high tea, games and amusements, a good time was seemingly had by all.

During mid March several members of 456 Squadron A.T.C. took part in a six mile Sunday run, and with the course arranged through Water Eaton to Stoke Hammond, returning via Drayton crossroads all the runners managed to complete the distance.

Active in the local youth movements, having inaugurated a Rover Scout crew in Fenny Stratford, Mr. S. G. Harlock, a traveller for Flettons, had lived for about six years with his wife at 33, Eaton Avenue, and their son, John, was, or was about to become, a patrol leader in the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Troup. He would be too young to see active service in the war, (although he would serve in a later conflict, as a telegraphist during the Korean campaign aboard the destroyer ‘Concord’), but at least he could train for military duties by joining a special section of the Scouts which, introduced nationally by the Chief Scout, would be known as ‘War Service Patrols’. Open to present Scouts and Rover Scouts, as well as newcomers aged between 15 and 18, that in Bletchley was to be raised by Mr. Harlock, and to prepare members for roles in the war, in a progression of activities endurance tests, patrolling and technical subjects were all to be included. Within three months of being invested, a War Service Scout would be expected to undertake some form of practical war service, such as helping with a Scout Troop, Cub Pack, Civil Defence messenger work, salvage work etc., and although the Scouts were not required to wear uniform, they were supplied with an armlet free of charge, and also the Scout button hole badge.

By now the Cadet Section of the 2nd Battalion Bucks. Home Guard had been formed and the headquarters, ‘The Chestnuts’, occupied a corner site fronting Water Eaton Road. Open to boys aged between 14 and 17, with Mr. H. Parker as the leader meetings were held on Wednesday mornings, and Sunday mornings for drill, and such disciplines seemed sorely in need for some elements of the local youth, since with the renovation having only just been completed by the Bletchley Youth Committee, the Pavilion on the Albert Street football ground was badly damaged at the end of March by hooligans. Hopefully not amongst the vandals were any members of the Baptist Ladies’ Percussion Band, who, on Monday, March 30th to assist the funds performed at a social evening, held by the Methodist Scouts in Bletchley Road Infants School. As for the 1st Fenny Stratford Rover Crew, a former member, Ashley Shouler, was now home on leave from the Royal Navy, and he accordingly had the honour to raise the Warship Week indicator to the new total.

The Chestnuts
Also acting as the 'Keep' for the Water Eaton Platoon, on the corner of Water Eaton Road this became the headquarters of the Cadet Section of the 2nd Battalion Buckinghamshire Home Guard. - J. Taylor

The new Commandant of 456 Squadron, Bletchley A.T.C., was now Mr. H. Tranfield, who had served during the last war in the R.F.C. Since the formation of the Squadron he had been the instructor in Flight Mechanics, and on taking up his new appointment he had to vacate the Presidency, which was then ably filled by Mr. E.C. Cook. Also regarding the A.T.C., having camped in Bletchley for two weeks the previous August, five members of two London A.T.C. Squadrons came to the town especially for the Easter weekend, having cycled all the way.

The 1st Bletchley Company Boys Brigade was now open for the special recruitment of boys aged 13½ to 15½, who would be put through a ‘specially fast Recruits Course’, and for the benefit of the Coventry Fund, in the Spurgeon School hall the Boys’ Brigade then held an invitation only social evening on Saturday, April 4th. As for the Bletchley Home Guard Cadet Corps, with there presently being some 50 members meetings were held on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, and those enrolled would eventually progress to become members of the 2nd Bucks. Battalion Home Guard.

On Wednesday, April 15th, in the Vicarage Hall the Assistant District Commissioner, Mr. R. Saunders, presented Troop Leader Alec Barrett, of the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Troop, with the King’s Scout Badge, and in another ceremony held in the Vicarage Hall six Wolf Cubs then became Scouts of the 1st Fenny Stratford (St. Martin’s) Troop. At St. Martin’s vicarage, in the later month the Bletchley United Christian Council then kept themselves amused by discussing the problems of both youth and the Church, whilst on Friday, May 1st the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Troop committee managed to solve some of their own problems, by raising £9 for Troop funds through a jumble sale held at St. Martin’s Hall.

Training for National Service, a 1st Bletchley Company of Rangers had now been formed, for girls aged from 14 to 20. The District Commissioner for Girl Guides, Mrs. J. Lloyd Milne, was appointed as Captain, whilst as for boys, during the month the first camp of the year was held by 16 members of the 1st Fenny Stratford Troop on Mr. W. Gurney’s farm at Water Eaton. However, one Scout managed to fall into the river, twice, and then into the sump pit, twice! Hopefully more surefooted were members of the Bletchley youth organisations, who on Saturday, May 16th in the recently renovated Albert Street Pavilion held a dance, in fact the first of a series of events at which the youngsters had an opportunity to learn dancing skills. Meanwhile, of less gentile pursuits, on the same day in the charge of Pilot Officer G. Wilkins 25 boys from 456 Bletchley A.T.C. Squadron were shown around an R.A.F. aerodrome in parties of six, and as a highlight of the visit they were taken on flights in a night fighter and training aircraft.

Also on May 16th, a large number of parents attended the annual inspection and display of the 1st Bletchley Company Boys’ Brigade, and following an inspection of the Company by Mr. Polmear, an officer of the Bucks. Education Committee, platoon drill then followed. The boys also demonstrated semaphore signalling, and staged a realistic blackout accident as a means to display their knowledge of first aid. A burlesque, ‘The Boys’ Brigade - in another land’ caused much amusement and a more serious play, ‘Cavalcade of Boyhood’, was also enjoyed. The P.T. display involved pyramids, horse vaulting, and games, and Mr. E. Staniford, the Captain, then gave a report on the year’s work. With the Boys’ Brigade being self-supporting - through monies raised by the boys’ contributions, and other means - the Bible Class had collected not only £7 10s for the Foreign Missions but also £10 for the Coventry Fund, and by carol singing £12 8s had been raised for the Russia Fund.

North Bucks Times

By late May, on the Albert Street sports ground, Mr. R. Richardson and Miss M. Brooks, officers of the Central Council of Recreative Physical Training, were training boys and girls of the Bletchley juvenile organisations in running and physical exercises, but of disciplines rather more military, now affiliated to the Home Guard, the Bletchley Army Cadet Force was going ahead with its own training scheme. Mr. H. Parker, the C.O., (who had now been promoted to Captain), was taking the boys through a course of signalling, map reading, stalking, and other outdoor activities and, acting as messengers for the Home Guard, there were around 60 cadets, most of whom had received their uniforms.

Since Mr. Tranfield had taken command three months ago, the various sections of 456 A.T.C. Squadron were displaying good progress, and because of a pleasing influx of recruits, some classes were being duplicated. As well as classroom activities, the cadets additionally took part in social activities although not perhaps those of the Young Communist League, a branch of which had been formed on Sunday, June 7th with Ted Bodsworth as Secretary, and Comrade M. Nicholls as Group Organiser.

During Whitsun, a camp by the 1st Fenny Stratford (St. Martin’s Church) Troop was held, and about 20 Scouts, accompanied by Scoutmaster Mr. N. Billington, and Rover Crew skipper Mr. S. Harlock, camped for three days on the estate of Sir Everard Duncombe. Then in early June the Bletchley A.T.C. contingent went to a camp ‘at a large R.A.F. Station and Training Centre’ where they enjoyed sports, visited workshops and hangers, and even started up several aero engines on the tarmac.

In the first of a series of monthly parades to different churches in the district, the Bletchley Company of the Army Cadet Force attended the Salvation Army Hall on Sunday, July 5th, and also during July a fortnight’s Salvage Drive began - ‘Listen for the Salvage Lorry’. Information could be obtained from uniformed members of the Boys’ Brigade and Scouts, who were amongst the 200 boys and girls representing every youth organisation in Bletchley when, on Saturday, July 11th, Alderman J. Tarver, Chairman of Bucks. Education Committee, opened the Service of Youth Sports Ground. Many leading citizens were present, and after the inspection the Boys’ Brigade Band led the boys and girls to Bletchley Park for the sports. The Board of Education having agreed to grant £45 towards refurnishing the Pavilion at the Sports Ground, the rest of the £60 was then provided by an anonymous donor.

In early August the first meeting of the Old Bletchley Baptist Young People’s Guild was held on a Tuesday, with the election of officials and the appointment of Mr. H. Cowley as President. As for those young people preparing for military service, having trained in Canada, a former A.T.C. cadet, Sgt. Glynn Hankins, of 46, Windsor Street, had now gained his R.A.F. wings. Of those aspiring to such achievements, on Sunday, August 2nd the cadets of 456 A.T.C. Squadron then held their church parade at St. Mary’s, having left the Senior Schools at 2.30p.m. to attend a 3p.m. service for the W.A.A.F. and A.T.C. Music was provided by the R.A.F. band, and also music to the ears was the chance in early August of a holiday away from home for those boys belonging to Bletchley youth organisations. Duly taking advantage, 23 members of the Boys’ Brigade spent a week under canvas with the Slough & Maidenhead Battalion at Hambledon, and also escaping the apron strings were the 1st Fenny Stratford (St. Martin’s) Scout Troop, who chose the 26 acre Boy Scout camping ground at Overstone, near Northampton, for their August summer camp. Games, ‘stunts’, and water games in the swimming pool were all enjoyed, and they also underwent training in bridge building and general scouting. Being responsible for their own cooking, they spent the week in the charge of Rover Skipper Mr. S. Harlock, as well as Scout Master N. Billington, who would later gain a somewhat wider experience when serving with the Palestinian Police Force - indeed studying Arabic in his off duty hours!

Boys aged 14 to 17 were still eligible to join the Army Cadet Force Bletchley Company, and the Officer Commanding could be contacted at The Chestnuts, Water Eaton, either on Thursdays at 7p.m., or Sundays at 10a.m. As for the Salvation Army Boy Scouts, one Saturday six members travelled to Phasel’s Wood Scout camp at Apsley for a weekend of cooking tests, which might also have been of interest to the 15 Bletchley Ranger Guides who, joining a number of Wolverton Guides at Nether Winchendon, ended their fortnights vacation with a campfire, without the fire!

On Sunday, August 30th a mock battle took place between two sections of Bletchley Army Cadets at Great Brickhill. This gave the first practical demonstration of the tactical principles they were studying, and although Lieutenant H. Harlock and his section defended their ground, they were unable to hold the attackers, lead by Under Officer D. Cook. In fact to prepare young people for skilled occupations in the army, in the autumn under a Government scheme the Bletchley Army Cadet Force were now to start technical training, which would include maths, science, English, and electrical engineering.

On Sunday, September 6th Bletchley youth organisations paraded with the police to St. Martin’s church, and over the weekend of Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade then entertained 19 boys of the 1st Langley (South Bucks.) Boys’ Brigade to a camp reunion.

The 1st Fenny Stratford Troop was now forming a Sea Scout patrol, and the training would include not only the usual Scout activities but also instruction in seamanship. Perhaps more importantly the boys were required to swim 50 yards fully dressed but on more terrestrial matters, in late September under Scoutmaster H. Parker the Salvation Army Scout Troop attended a weekend camp at Ridgmont, parading to the Baptist church on Sunday morning

In the Bletchley Road Senior School, the A.G.M. of the Service of Youth Sports Ground took place at 6p.m. on Friday, September 25th whilst as part of a Brigade Week, the Girls’ Life Brigade held an open evening at the Spurgeon church on Monday, September 28th. Parents and friends were given a demonstration of activities, and Miss Margaret Rogers, P.T. Instructor, displayed her skills in illuminated club swinging. However, the man appointed to operate the Council’s Autoscythe would need to demonstrate more practical skills, with the grass cutting application by the Service of Youth having been approved by the Council at a meeting on Thursday, October 8th. In fact throughout the war the machine continued to give good service but with the prospect of having to contend with the grassy acres of the post war housing estates, it was included amongst the implements for sale when, in November, 1951, the Council approved the necessary expenditure of £305 for a replacement.

On Saturday, October 10th the Sunday School Adviser to the Baptist Young Peoples’ Department, Miss Phyllis Morgan, conducted ‘a model training class’ for the Spurgeon Memorial church. Then on Monday, October 12th the inauguration of the Bletchley Troop of Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts was conducted in the Salvation Army hall, and after the ceremony Major & Mrs. Wallace Greig publicly enrolled the 13 members, before handing them over to the chaplain. Joined by visitors from the 1st Fenny Stratford Guides, the Scouts then gave a short concert, and on Monday, October 19th Scouts of the 1st Fenny Stratford Group made a presentation in St. Martin’s Hall to Troop Leader A. Barratt, the first Scout of the troop to join the Royal Navy.

For the benefit of the Squadron Welfare Fund, in the Bletchley Road Senior School hall the second dance of 456 Squadron A.T.C. took place on Friday, October 23rd, and a week later on Friday, October 30th a sausage and mash supper was given in the Park Hotel to the Bletchley Company of the Army Cadet Force, ‘and friends’. The Cadet Force Band played for dancing, and afterwards Mr. A. Duffield entertained the company in his usual style.

At the end of October the National Guard organiser, Major Avery, visited the Salvation Army Life Saving Guards in the Salvation Army Hall, and was there welcomed by the Guard Leader, Elsie Whatley. Members of the Girls’ Life Brigade then sang the chorus, and with a drill display given by the girl Guards, Joan Sharman provided a display of club swinging. A number of tunes having been played by the Salvation Army Band, the evening then eventually closed with an appropriate indoor campfire.

Accompanied by their C.O., Flying Officer H. Tranfield, and Adjutant, Pilot Officer S. Wilkins, on Sunday, November 8th cadets of 456 Squadron A.T.C. again visited an R.A.F. aerodrome, where some 30 members attended lectures on various branches of navigation. Of the Boys Brigade, eight members of the Bletchley Company then attended a weekend training course at Chesham for N.C.O.s, and a good start was made on Friday, November 20th with the formation of a new Boys’ Brigade Company to cover Old Bletchley. This would be connected with the Baptist Mission, and if the attendance averaged 20 boys a week, it would then be enrolled as the 2nd Bletchley Company. As for the Girls’ Training Corps, with the work having recently been extended to Bucks. it was hoped to soon form a local company in the town where, by popular request, recruitment had already begun.

Early December witnessed the reorganisation of the Bletchley Company Army Cadet Force, with each person now posted according to the marks they had gained in a recent exam. Thereby, Captain Halsey became commander of No. 1 Platoon, Corporal Bennett, of No. 2, and Corporal Dowsett of No. 3, and on Sunday morning, December 6th, a tactical exercise was carried out. In a further exercise, divided into four patrols - each led by a corporal - on Wednesday, December 16th the Bletchley Company of the Army Cadet Force carried out reconnaissance patrols, which set off at intervals to reconnoitre an area expected to be defended by enemy paratroops, who were represented by flags. Indeed, the exercise proved a great success and with the advantage of moonlight they mainly managed to discover the defenders without being seen.



Early in January, about 45 Scouts and Guides attended a social evening in the Salvation Army hall for a presentation, arranged by Scout Laurie Moore, to Scout Albert Blackwell. He was now joining the Forces, and also during the month a short service took place in St. Martin’s Hall one Sunday afternoon for Bletchley youth, with representatives from all the local youth organisations present. Then, with entertainment provided by a conjuror, and also Jack Broomfield and his troupe of acrobats, one Tuesday, 456 A.T.C. Squadron held their first social evening in the Senior School hall, which, with the Melody Makers Band providing the music, also provided the venue for a Friday dance, arranged by the Company Adjutant, 2nd Lieutenant D. Cook, for the Army Cadet Force.

Regarding their social activities, some 120 Scouts, Guides, Brownies, and Cubs now attended a tea and Saturday evening gathering in the Social Centre, arranged by the Group Committee, and amongst those participating in the various games and dancing were two Scouts who had now joined the Forces, W. Stevenson and A. Barrett.

At the turn of the month, during the weekend the 200,000 members of the A.T.C. commemorated Foundation Day, with Bletchley 456 Squadron, under the command of Flying Officer Tranfield, parading on Sunday for a march to a special service in the Methodist church. In fact the Bletchley A.T.C. had been formed on February 28th, 1941, and with Flying Officer E. C. Jones as the first C.O., he served until October 23rd, 1942, when promoted to a school headship elsewhere. Nevertheless, he still remained as an officer of the Squadron, as well as being the Maths Instructor. Before his promotion to the position of Postmaster at Wokingham, for a short while Flying Officer Bliss then became the C.O., and the main class work of the Squadron was held at the Bletchley Road Senior School where instruction in maths, morse, navigation, aircraft recognition, elementary electricity, and P.T. was given. As for the training of flight mechanics and ground staff, a fully equipped workshop was available with not only an aero engine but also all the necessary tools and a model making workshop, which the cadets were free to use. In fact not surprisingly many cadets went on to join the R.A.F., which caused the continuous need to find replacements.

Yet while the nation’s youth was preparing for their part in the Nazi defeat, even in Germany there were elements opposed to the regime, and not least the Weisse Rose (White Rose) faction which, being a student led movement, centred around the University of Munich. Deeply involved were the brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl who, having refused to join the Hitler Youth, tried to raise public resistance to the Nazi ideals by distributing their ‘Leaflets of the White Rose’. Many students held a similar opinion but the open discussion of philosophy and ethics aroused Gestapo attention and Hans and Sophie were arrested on February 18th, condemned to death four days later by the Peoples Court, and executed by guillotine at Munich-Stadelheim.

Sophie Scholl

On Friday, March 12th the Assistant County Director for Youth, Lay Edward Hay, visited ‘Bletchley Youth Detachment Bucks. 530’ to give an interesting talk on toy making, and also during the month a whist drive by Bletchley Rangers raised £5 8s for the Baden Powell Memorial Fund. Joined in the entertainment by scouts of the Company, led by their Captain, Mrs. A. Yates, the 2nd Bletchley Methodist Guide Company then held a party one Saturday in the Bletchley Road church, and arranged by Mr. A. Gorman, the Welfare & Sports Officer, another dance was later held in the Bletchley Senior School. With music by the Blue Rhythm Band, the event intended to raise funds for 456 Squadron A.T.C.

‘A Cruise Round Africa’ was the title of a demonstration given one Saturday during the month by the 1st Bletchley Company Girls Life Brigade. They had decorated their H.Q. in the Baptist School Hall to resemble the deck of a cruise ship, the S.S. Pioneer, which having been ‘launched’ by Mrs. J. Lloyd Milne, the Girl Guide District Commissioner, then made ‘calls’ at several ports on the West African Coast. As for outdoor activities, these were staged in the later month by cadets of 456 Bletchley A.T.C. Squadron who, celebrating their anniversary, included during their four days of display gymnastics in Aylesbury Street, and drill displays in Bletchley Road.

‘Admission by Button-hole Badge only’, on April 17th in the Sports Pavilion, Albert Street, a Service of Youth dance took place from 7p.m. to 10.30p.m., and in early May Bletchley Scouts, Guides, Cubs, and Brownies held a St George’s Day service to commemorate Lord Baden-Powell. Later in the month the Bletchley Company A.C.F. celebrated their first anniversary with a series of parades, drill, and other demonstrations, and the week then concluded with a joint Empire Youth Day church parade, in which all the Bletchley youth organisations took part.

By now, the headquarters of the Bletchley Service of Youth, the ‘Barn’, had the benefit of a buffet which one Saturday evening was officially opened at the usual Barn Dance. Here, ‘Jive Five’ - a combination of players drawn from the various youth organisations - made their first appearance whilst for ‘proper’ dancing, classes were held on Wednesday evenings, at 6d a night.

For the Boys Brigade Diamond Jubilee, 1883 - 1943, on Saturday, June 5th at 7p.m. the District Scout Commissioner reviewed the 1st Bletchley Company on the Service of Youth ground. This was then followed by a brief display of competitive activities, and featured amongst the events was a performance of drill by the newly formed Old Bletchley squad, under the command of their N.C.O., Lieutenant Corporal Alan Coxage. The Pavilion then became the centre for a demonstration of fire fighting drill and ambulance work, and amongst the scenarios a team of three boys dealt with an incendiary bomb, a boy stranded on the roof was tied to a stretcher and lowered down a ladder, and another youngster received attention after ‘falling’ off the roof, and ‘breaking’ a leg.

By June, in conjunction with the Bletchley A.T.C. squadron Mr. D. Blane, of the British Gas Light Co., had designed and made a model airfield, complete with 12 Spitfires. For every £5,000 invested during Wings for Victory Week, one of the models would then ‘take off’, and be posted on the notice board!

In the mid month the Bletchley Youth Sports took place at 3p.m. at the Bletchley Park Sports Ground but although attendance the previous year had been good, there was now a need to search for participants, especially since the finalists would represent the town at Aylesbury in the County Sports.

The end of the month found the 1st Fenny Stratford Scouts, 1st Bletchley Scouts, and the Salvation Army Scout Guards, busily doing odd jobs, for which payment would be made in the form of savings stamps given by the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund. Then in mid July, at the morning service of the 135th anniversary of the Spurgeon Baptist Church the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Life Brigade paraded with the Colours, and observed a moment of respectful silence in memory of Brigadier Whiteley. Later in the month, a Tuesday meeting of the 456 Squadron A.T.C. Committee chaired by Mr. E. Cook was then held, and a recent and complimentary report from a visiting officer lead to congratulations for both the C.O. and Warrant Officer.

Employing their various skills, during the month the Bletchley Army Cadet Force carried out a tactical exercise, and in August no doubt military training had played a role in the actions of Private Reg Cooper of the 27th West Middlesex Company who, awarded the Brigade Diploma for Gallant Conduct, had during the recent Boys Brigade camp at South Oxford saved Ken Parker, of the 1st Bletchley Coy., from drowning. A weed strewn stretch of water had been declared unfit for bathing and a party of boys instead ventured out in a punt, but when this shipped water and sank, everyone struck out for the bank except Parker, who was unable to swim. Seeing him go under, Private Cooper immediately dived to the rescue.

It was now announced that Mr. N. Billington, Scoutmaster of the 1st Fenny Stratford group, was to join the Colonial Police. Mr. J. Hudson would take his position, with Mr. Harlock as group scoutmaster, and when Mr. Harlock eventually left the district, his place would be taken by Mr. H. Phillips, a solicitor of Rhondda House.

Under the care of Mrs. J. Lloyd Milne and Miss Payne, the first Bletchley Rangers and first Wolverton Rangers enjoyed a fortnight’s camp from August 7th - 21st in Claydon Park, and amongst the entertainments two trips to Oxford were included, and also a tennis tournament held, by permission of the rector, on the tennis court of Middle Claydon rectory.

The Jive Six would provide the music in early September for the Service of Youth Haunted Ball. This took place one Saturday at the Barn from 8p.m. until 10.45p.m., and on Saturday, September 4th the Bletchley Service of Youth staged the parade and display for Wings for Victory week, which had previously been cancelled due to bad weather. Marshalled on Leon Rec. by Mr. E. Callaway, the parade, including Army Cadets, the A.T.C., the Boys Brigade band, Life Boys and Girls Life Brigade, Scouts, Cubs, Rangers, Guides, St. John Ambulance Nursing Cadets, and the Red Cross Youth Detachment, marched to the Service of Youth ground in Albert Street, and after an inspection by Mr. W. Leonard, Bucks. Deputy Secretary for Education, a display then followed, to include bridge building, country dancing and first-aid. Tickets had been available from Dormary, or the Chiltern Library, Bletchley Road, and in the evening to the music of Fred Groom and his band the Service of Youth Dance was held between 8p.m. and 12p.m. at the Senior School hall. As for more permanent entertainment, a billiard table for the Service of Youth pavilion would soon be presented by Mr. and Mrs. Gaylor, of 18, Oxford Street.

With a talk on ‘The beginning of missionary work in South-West China’, Bletchley Road Methodist church Girls’ League held their first winter meeting on Monday, September 13th, and at the Council meeting on September 14th Councillor Maycock was reappointed for the ensuing year as the Council’s representative on the Local Youth Committee. A special recruiting night for the 1st Bletchley Boys Brigade Company then took place on Thursday, September 20th, with a Life Boy ‘transfer’.

The A.T.C. had now acquired ‘new and commodious’ premises in Aylesbury Street for use as a workshop, and under the supervision of Mr. V. Watson, of 56, Victoria Road, cadets would receive training in workshop practice, with an aero engine provided for instructional use. Born in the town, on leaving the High Street school Mr. Watson had taken up his father’s trade of carpenter and joiner, but during World War One he became an air mechanic in the R.F.C., and served in France and Germany.

At the end of October, at the annual recruiting evening 25 boys applied for membership of the 1st Bletchley Boys Brigade Company and with the active strength now around 60, some 30 boys under 12 were in the Life Boys. As for the other youth organisations in the town, due to being called up for duty with the Royal Armoured Corps, cadet 2nd Lieutenant D. Cook was now forced to resign his commission with the Bletchley Coy. A.C.F. but for the A.T.C. band, lead by Warrant Officer Atkins, after five weeks of training they made a first public appearance at a Sunday Church Parade in November. Meanwhile, to construct model aircraft etc. the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Group had begun a ‘Hobbies’ night on Wednesdays, and they were duly grateful to the Service of Youth for having secured Bletchley Junior School as their H.Q., since they might otherwise have been disbanded.

With an emphasis on the spiritual side of their work, towards the end of the month N.C.O.s of the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade attended a weekend training course at Chesham, whilst as for the A.C.F. Coy. they were now to be a part of a new Cadet Force Battalion. This would cover North Bucks., including Stony Stratford, Wolverton, and Winslow, and thereby the Company would no longer be self dependent for equipment etc.



On Saturday, January 15th, with entry by membership card, at 1s admission a dance was held for the Extension Fund at the Service of Youth Pavilion in Albert Street, and on the occasion of the third anniversary of the formation of the Bletchley squadron, the A.T.C. cadets paid a visit to Cranfield aerodrome on Sunday, January 23rd. In the afternoon, in a specially provided plane they were taken on 15 minute ‘flips’, except for Cadet Williamson who had now left the unit to join the R.A.F. as an air gunner. £1 being the top prize, at the Yeomanry Hall a whist drive in aid of the A.T.C. was held on Saturday, January 29th, and throughout the county this was the day that the Ministry of Labour and National Service had decreed that the next registration of boys and girls should take place. Using 12 centres, the work was undertaken by the local Education Authority, and children who since the last registration had reached the age of 16 - ie. born between November 28th 1927 and January 29th 1928 - were required to register. In fact many of the young people who found themselves liable were already undergoing some form of national service, or training, perhaps to include the Girls Training Corps which, with Mrs. B. Harlock as the Section Officer, would hold a whist drive in aid of funds at the Conservative Club on February 12th. However, if youngsters were not actively engaged in any form of training, then they would be invited to a ‘friendly interview’, where the various forms of service would be discussed.

Over a weekend in early February, a reunion was held of the lads of the Boys Brigade who had camped together at Oxford last summer. Being entertained at the boys’ home for meals, as guests of the 1st Bletchley Company 50 members from Didcot, Luton, and Watford were billeted in the Baptist School hall, and a football match was included amongst the various events.

At a recent inaugural meeting at The Barn, it had been decided by representatives of the various youth organisations to form an amateur theatre company which, to be known as the Youth Drama Group, was now contemplating a Wild West revue! Of perhaps more gentile pursuits, on Tuesday, March 28th at St. Martin’s Hall the Bletchley and District Girl Guides then held a public meeting to discuss the reforming of a local association, and in accordance ‘The Ideals and Aims of the Guide Movement’ would be the subject of a talk by Mrs. Banham, of Woking.

At the Bletchley Road Methodist church, as their first production the Bletchley Road Youth Circle presented ‘The Other Carpenter’, a two act play, on April 5th and 7th, and at 8p.m. one evening during the month, the annual inspection and parade of the 1st Bletchley Company of the Boys’ Brigade took place in the Senior School hall, where the Scouts served refreshments. Also refreshing was the display of semaphore signalling, P.T., first-aid drill, musical items and recitations, also given during the month by the Salvation Army Girl Guards.

At the Service of Youth Pavilion, at a social evening on Tuesday, April 25th the boys of the Army Cadet Force were presented with their band instruments, whilst for the girls, on the last Friday in April the Chief Guide, Lady Baden Powell, met North Bucks. Girl Guides at a rally in Bletchley Park. At the gates of the Park she inspected a guard of honour drawn from all the companies in North Bucks., and on the field, the Guides then paraded with their company standards and Union Jacks. Enlivening the occasion, at the arrival of the Chief Guide the Brownies formed a fairy ring and gave their Grand Howl, with the Guides marching past to music played by the Boys’ Brigade!

Described as ‘a first class Company’ by the Inspecting Officer, Mr. Harold Osbourne, (President of the South London Battalion), the 1st Bletchley Company Boys Brigade held their annual Inspection and Display in the Senior School hall on the evening of Friday, May 5th. Then, as ‘A Week of Activity’ the Methodist Youth Week took place between May 7th and 14th, and for erecting a modern Youth Centre to adjoin the Bletchley Road Methodist church, plans and suggestions had been the task set for two members of the Bletchley Road Youth Circle, which, with Don Holt in charge of the drawings, on the evening of Wednesday, May 17th considered not only two large scale plans that had been prepared, but also the presentation of a programme entitled ‘Our New Building - the Brycs Cry Out.’ Also crying out was the Bletchley Service of Youth, who at The Barn urgently needed a table tennis table, and a medium size billiard table.

General Sir John Shea, the County Commissioner for London, paid a visit on Friday, May 19th to the meeting of the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Troop. This now consisted of 40 scouts and five officers, and apart from the Friday meetings also held were athletic meetings on Wednesdays at the Vicarage Room. Including the scouts, many of the local youth organisations were then not surprisingly featured in a parade on May 21st for the Empire Youth Sunday Service, marshalled by Mr. E. Callaway. This proved an opportunity for the newly formed band of the Army Cadet Force to give their first public performance, and in fact in early June Adjutant R. Horton, of the Salvation Army, would pay compliment to their high standard of play, when he presented the bandsmen with their cases and bells.

The Girls Training Corps held a dance in the Senior School hall on Friday, May 26th. Music was provided by the R.A.F. Dance Band, who at the same venue from 8p.m. until 11.45p.m. on Friday, June 2nd played at the Flannel Dance of the Bletchley A.T.C., which was now divided into two flights, ‘A’ and ‘B’. On joining the squadron, cadets were placed in B flight until their ability had been determined, and to rise into A flight they had to pass tests on all the subjects including Morse, the class for which was held every Tuesday night for 45 minutes. Cadets opting to join the R.A.F. as aircrew were required to attain a speed of four words a minute, but for those hoping to become wireless operators a competence of 22 words a minute was needed, and it was therefore rather opportune that the instructor was a Post Office telegraphist, as also had been the squadron adjutant. No doubt glad of their training, (which included P.T. on Tuesday nights - the instructor being the P.T. master at the Senior School), no less than 51 ex members of the Bletchley A.T.C. squadron were now serving in the Forces. Four had gained their R.A.F. wings, and Sergeant Oliver would soon begin R.A.F. training as a meteorologist, with Corporal Stanley to embark upon general aircrew duties.

Duly inspected by Sir Walter Carlile, at Gayhurst nine members of the 2nd Bletchley Methodist Scout Troop camped during the Whitsun weekend on the County Commissioner’s estate, and towards the end of June Major W. Williams, the Divisional Youth Secretary, inaugurated the newly formed Salvation Army Cub Pack, which presently had 14 members. With readings to include extracts from Three Men in a Boat, one Wednesday a while later for the Bletchley Road Youth Circle Miss L. Hattan then arranged a ‘smiling programme’, and hopefully also smiling was Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles Burnett, Commandant of Central Command A.T.C., and formerly Chief of Air Staff, R.A.A.F., when one Wednesday evening in July he inspected Bletchley 456 A.T.C. Squadron.

The Youth Sports had been held at Bletchley Park on Saturday, July 8th, admission free, and in a Saturday competition held during August, the Bletchley Salvation Army Life Saving Scouts won the Sir Arthur Holland Camping Trophy at Gayhurst. Also at Gayhurst, in the Bath House Field during the third week in August a successful camp was held by the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Troop, and with many activities enjoyed a day trip to Northampton was included. Also enjoying a camp would be members of the 2nd Bletchley (Methodist) Scouts, who during the second week of September undertook various activities at Cow Common, to include cooking, wide games, and hymn singing around the camp fire.

Having for about three years been Leader in Charge of the Life Boys, on Saturday, August 26th Miss Maureen Davis married Ronald Cowley, an officer of the 1st Bletchley Company Boys Brigade. In fact having joined at the age of 12, he had served in every rank. On the previous Wednesday the boys presented the couple with a revolving book stand, and one Thursday in late September the newly wed Mrs. Cowley then conducted the ceremony to transfer to the 1st Bletchley Company of the Boys’ Brigade those members of the Bletchley Life Brigade who had reached the required age. Music no doubt to their ears, as were perhaps the Mendelssohn recordings to those of the Baptist Youth Fellowship members who, on Tuesday, October 3rd, attended a meeting given by Miss Gertie Weatherhead. Apparently enthused with her subject, she later in the month then arranged a gramophone performance of the composer’s ‘Elijah’.

Presided over by Mr. William Crisp, headmaster of the Junior School, there was a large and enthusiastic attendance at a youth gathering on Monday, 23rd October where, at the Senior School, annual reports were given regarding the Bletchley Service of Youth. One outcome would be the decision to pass a resolution to the U.D.C., stating that ‘This meeting of the youth of Bletchley notes with satisfaction the progressive attitude of the Council in regard to the future of Bletchley, and pledges it’s interest in and support for those plans’, and in fact that this attitude was being well appreciated was evidenced by the attendance at The Barn, which averaged 60 on weeknights, and 80 on Saturdays. Also well established was the Bletchley Road Methodist Youth Circle which, on Wednesday, November 8th celebrated the occasion of their first birthday with games and a supper, that included a birthday cake.

Introducing Douglas Blunt and his band, an A.T.C. dance was held at the Senior School hall on Friday, November 10th, and one Thursday in the later month in aid of the National Children’s Home & Orphanage Lady Baden Powell spoke at a conference of North Bucks. Guides, held at The Grange, Old Bletchley.

With a seasonal anticipation, the Bletchley Service of Youth were now making arrangements for carol parties to canvass the district, and as the subject of their Sunday programme also during the month ‘Post War Agriculture and Industry’ was debated between the members. As for a more general interest, as the first of a series provided by a Junior Committee for Barn members, the Service of Youth pavilion opened on Sunday, November 19th .

On Friday, December 15th the Assistant District Scout Commissioner, Mr. W. Saunders, visited the H.Q. of the 1st Fenny Stratford & St. Martin’s Scout Group. He recalled that when he first came to Bletchley six years ago there was no Scout Troop attached to St. Martin’s church although at the time the present Cubmistress, Miss Elliott, was doing valuable work in the training of boys to be Scouts. However, many had dropped out on reaching Scout age because no Troop was then available, and it was to recognise her 15 years involvement with Scouting that he had now come to present her with the Medal of Merit.

At 9d per session per member, concluding the year Miss C. Dell was now providing dancing lessons at The Barn every Tuesday from 8p.m. to 9p.m., but for those girls more nimble with their fingers than their feet, a Girls Knitting Circle would commence from Monday, December 18th, knitting garments for the liberated countries.