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© John Taylor. 2007.

As the third volume of a trilogy, this book recounts the story of everyday life in the town of Bletchley during the years 1945, 1946 and 1947.

Despite rationing, despite the ever present threats of enemy air raids and invasion, and despite the long hours of work, compounded by the need to tend allotments and also perform duties for Civil Defence, the population maintained a strong sense of community, and during the research for this book it quickly became evident that the ‘wartime spirit’ was indeed no myth.

Even when news from the battlefronts was far from encouraging the Council remained unperturbed, and not only carried on with planning the development of the town after the war, but also dealing with the more mundane matters of everyday life, to include cows straying across allotments, squabbles over billeting arrangements, and children swinging on shop blinds.

The study material for this book has of course included a wealth of prime source official documents and local news archives. Yet as equally invaluable have been the recollections of the many people who had been residents in the town before and during the war, or who came to the town as evacuees. Indeed meeting them proved a sincere privilege for, as soon became very apparent, they represent a Britain that had very different standards and values from those of the modern society. Attributes in fact that made the eventual outcome of the war not just an optimistic possibility, but an inevitable conclusion.




In January Mrs. Isabella Noble Wodhams, who for many years had been the infant headmistress at the Bletchley Road schools, died at the age of 81. Born as Isabella Walker, she had married the late Charles Wodhams, a local coal merchant, and being a resident of Church Street she would remain on the staff at the Infants School until her retiring age. On January 8th the pupils returned to Bletchley Road Senior School, and the following day the headmaster, Mr. Cook, attended an interview with the Committee of the Foundation of Educational Research in London. However, travel was hardly favoured by the weather, and on January 10th due to a severe snowstorm the school buses were very late, with none at all arriving from Great Brickhill. Even when a thaw began the roads were covered in slush, and a giant snowball outside the Bletchley Road schools resisted melting for quite a long while. At the Bletchley Road Senior School the attendance was now comprised of, 11 years but under 12 years, 23 boys and 29 girls, 12 years to 13 years, 54 boys and 61 girls, 13 years to 14 years, 62 boys and 58 girls, and 14 years to 15 years, 6 boys and 7 girls. This made a total of 300 pupils - 45 boys and 155 girls - and on the afternoon of January 30th they no doubt greatly enjoyed ‘The Young America Exhibition’ at which, being illustrated by films and pictures, Sergeant Elmore gave the children a delightful talk about his home country. This was followed by ‘an informative half an hour’, and on June 15th the Young America Exhibition would again pay a visit, with Sergeant Elmore and Sergeant Jones in charge. As for another informative occasion, on the afternoon of February 7th Mr. Kew, the County School Dentist, paid a visit to the school where, illustrated by films and charts, he gave a lecture on ‘The Care of the Teeth’.

At Aylesbury, on February 24th Mr. Cook attended a conference for all head teachers. This had been convened to consider the change of status of the school after March 3rd, but for Miss M. Brown, who for the past six years had been in charge of the nursery class at Bletchley Road Infants’ School, there was a change of status towards the end of the month, for she had now secured a position at a Slough nursery school. With the chairman of the School Managers, Mr. W. Brown, presiding, at a farewell ceremony she was presented with Savings Certificates, and it was therefore without Miss Brown that, on a following Wednesday, the Bletchley Road Infants’ School held their Parents’ Day. Adorned with springtime decorations the rooms had been made very bright, and on an even brighter note a collection for the Red Cross raised 30s. As for adult education, at 7.30p.m. on Wednesday, February 28th the W.E.A. A.G.M. took place. This was held at the Bletchley Road Senior School, being followed at 8p.m. by a public meeting on the subject of ‘Adult Education for Democracy.’

Closure came at the end of February for the London Senior Boys’ School which, quartered in Bletchley Park Pavilion, had been evacuated to Bletchley early in the war. Having originally travelled to Bletchley with the boys, Mr. Jackson had taught them until his transfer to the Yeomanry Hall last Easter, but when the headmaster at the Pavilion retired he was then appointed to fill this vacant position. However, he was also to now retire, and marking the occasion would be the presentation of a cheque at a social gathering in the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church. Here letters were read from both the former headmaster, Mr. S. Taylor, and a former colleague, Mr. Michael, and on behalf of the children and parents a moving tribute was also paid by the headmistress of the Old Bletchley and Yeomanry Hall schools, Mrs Zilpah Bailey. As for the lessened number of pupils now attending the London Senior Boys’ School, they would be transferred to St. Martin’s Hall, with Mr W. Davies as the headmaster. For a thesis on Edward Benlowes, (one of the less well known of the Elizabethan dramatists), in March it was announced that Harold Jenkins, M.A., the eldest son of Mrs. M. Jenkins of 18, Vicarage Road, had been awarded a D. Litt. by the University of Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg. In fact this was rather appropriate, since it was on the radio station of this city that Dr. Jenkins, the senior lecturer in English at the University, broadcast a regular review. Towards the end of March a jumble sale was held by the headmistress, staff and pupils of St Mary’s Church of England School, and of the £21 that was duly raised equal sums would be divided between the School Fund and the Overseas League Tobacco Fund. This had been established for the benefit of soldiers, sailors and airmen, and already the children had received many appreciative letters from the men who were serving in the fighting zones. With music by the Melody Makers, on March 31st the Parents Association held a dance at the Senior School Hall from 7.30p.m. to 11.45p.m., and on April 12th the pupils were no doubt also dancing for joy when, having closed on March 27th, the Bletchley Road Senior School reopened. However, due to the recent Education Act this would now be styled as a ‘Modern Secondary School’, and, having been written by the headmaster, Mr. E.C. Cook, the activities of the new order would be detailed in a two column article in the Times Educational Supplement.

From Thursday, April 19th, for a fee of 2s 6d Mr. N. Masterman, ‘one time lecturer at Budapest University’, began a local six week course in International Relations, whilst on Wednesday, May 2nd ‘Education in the Future’ was the subject of Miss I. Haswell, of Tynemouth. As President of the N.U.T., at 7.30p.m. she addressed a public meeting of the Bletchley and District Association of the N.U.T., with the venue being the Bletchley Road Senior School Hall. Elsewhere, the major scholarship held by Miss Bettine Hanks had now been extended for another year, although this was subject to her gaining admission to the London University Institute of Education. At the ‘Modern Secondary School’, from 8.30p.m. to 3p.m. two kitchen maids were now required, and the need had also arisen for a full-time male assistant caretaker. No accommodation was offered, but the position would pay £12 a month plus war bonus - presently £59 19s p.a. - and, supplying two recent testimonials, applicants were to contact Mr. Ernest Marchant, at The Elms, Bletchley. On May 8th V.E. Day was announced, and in consequence the school was closed for two days. Then in the presence of the chairman of the U.D.C., on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 16th a special Victory Celebration took place at the Bletchley Park sports ground and, featuring general sports, massed country dancing and a picnic tea, the events commenced with a fancy dress parade. With the blindfolded masters being lead by the mistresses, a teachers race caused much amusement, and it would seem quite appropriate that the headmaster, Mr. E. Cook, and his partner would be the winners! The obligatory effigy of Hitler was burnt on a bonfire, and in further celebrations on Friday, June 8th the Bletchley Road Primary School devoted the whole of the day to commemorating the Victory. Souvenir programmes had been prepared on the premises, and, after school prayers and a thanksgiving, a film programme at the County Cinema was shown in the morning, consisting of cartoons, wild west, comedy and interest features. The children were then addressed by the chairman of the Council, to whom a vote of thanks was expressed, and a vote of thanks was also expressed to the cinema manager, Mr. J. Betteridge, who was presented with tobacco. As for his wife, she received a bouquet, whilst the projectionist, Mr. R. Coley, was given cigarettes. During the afternoon a programme of country dancing and games then took place, and with contributions having been made by parents and friends of the school, this was followed by a tea in the Senior School Hall. In fact on the following day this then became the venue for the social of the Parents Association which, due to the Hall having been closed for a week, had been cancelled from May 23rd. Now, however, to the music of the Melody Makers Band the dance took place from 7.30p.m. until 11.45p.m. On June 11th, at the Bletchley Road Senior School for three hours a day Miss Timpson began as a clerical assistant, and in the afternoon Mr. Aycaster, the Organiser of School Gardens, paid a visit to investigate the growth of the various school crops. Meanwhile, at the Bletchley Road Junior School the headmaster, Mr. W. Crisp, had been asked to explain ‘Puppets in School’ to a wider audience, and in a brief and compact article for the 1944/45 Puppet Year book, (published by the Educational Puppetry Association), he duly recalled the reasons for having introduced puppets as a topic.

Throughout the war Miss Bertha Eden had been the headmistress of the Ecclesbourne Road Infants School, accommodated at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church. Yet with the war now at an end, on Wednesday, June 13th the people of the Church organised a social evening to bid both herself and the staff farewell. As the senior deacon, Mr. F. Bates J.P., presented Miss Eden with book tokens, (as also Miss Hancock, Miss Davis and Miss Easton), but regarding Miss Gray, she had sent a written apology for her absence. Since the schools at St. Martin’s Hall and the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church had now closed, the pupils of the latter were transferred to the Bletchley Road schools, whilst as for Miss Eden, on leaving Bletchley for London she would go to Rising Hill Street, and then, for the last few months of her career, to Sebborn Street. However, receiving a cheque to which many Bletchley people had contributed, it would be at Hargrave Park School, Islington, that her retirement function would be held in January 1947. Miss Eden had commenced her teaching career in London as an assistant at Queen’s Head school, and after becoming the head of Ambler Road School she was then transferred, in 1932, to the Ecclesbourne Road School. On June 16th from 7.30p.m. to 11.45p.m. the joint dance of the Bletchley Road Junior School and Senior School took place. With the music provided by the Melody Makers, this took place in the Senior School Hall, whilst on Wednesday, June 20th Bletchley Park would be the venue at 2p.m. for the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School annual sports, with Cowper House proving victorious in winning the shield. Schoolgirls from Bletchley were then sportingly distinguished on Friday, June 29th when, under the captaincy of Joan Cutler, on the athletics field at Wolverton they won the championship shield for the Senior Girls’ School, this being in fact the first post war sports meeting to be held under the auspices of the North Bucks Schools Athletic Association. Towards the end of June, Jean Greaves, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Greaves, of 172, Western Road, gained the award of a ‘Domestic Science Exhibition’, valued at £60p.a. for two, or possibly three, years. Jean, who had been educated at Bletchley Road Junior School, now hoped to enter the Domestic Science College at Leicester, but for Mrs. Naylor at least for a while academic matters presently assumed a lessened priority, since her husband had recently returned home on leave. Therefore on July 2nd she left her teaching duties for a week, and with her naval husband also being home briefly on leave, about a week later Mrs. Linnell would be granted a similar absence. There was also something to sing about on July 4th when Dr. Russell, the County Musical Director, visited the Bletchley Road Senior School, where he gave a musical recital at 11a.m. Assisting would be Miss Graham on violin, and Miss Mason on flute, but during the day it would be medical skills that were also needed when, having entangled her foot in the rope, a girl whilst skipping with her friends broke her arm, and had to be taken to Bedford hospital. Due to polling for the general election, the Bletchley Road Senior School closed on July 5th, but apart from those hoping for a political career candidates were now also required for the position of Correspondent to the Managers of the Bletchley Road Council Schools. The position paid a salary of £36p.a., and applicants were to contact the secretary, Mr. E. Marchant, at The Elms.

In July, those evacuees who had returned to London were invited to write essays regarding their time in Bletchley, although some of the comments would hardly prove complimentary! ‘Bletchley is all right for a holiday’, wrote one schoolchild, ‘but when you have to stick it for nearly six years well it gets a bit monotonous.’ However, ‘There are one or two advantages about Bletchley you have got a lot of space to play in and you get plenty of sun.’ A few additional advantages were then praised by a 13 year old; ‘I like its country surroundings, its beautiful woods, villages and its farms where we can see lambs and calves in spring. In London we see none of these beauties which nature alone can build, but things built with men’s hands, which, though beautiful with exquisite carvings and marvellous paintings adorning their walls, cannot be compared with the beauty of nature. I have missed the theatre and the big parks, picture galleries and museums so I have naturally felt rather dull. I am not sorry to leave Bletchley but I am sorry to leave the many friends I have made. Bletchley people have been very good to me.’ As for another reminiscence; ‘In some parts of London there are big tall flats that keep the sun from shining on to the gardens or on to the streets. In Bletchley the sun shines where it pleases.’ Yet of a more negative outlook, ‘There are a lot of grumpy old misers about but there are also kind people as well. My lady I’m living with is very nice to me and I don’t know whether I want to go back or not. You see I want to go back to London to see my family, and I want to stay here with my auntie so you see I am rather mixed up.’ However, for one pupil there was no such indecision; ‘We will be going back soon, thank goodness and three cheers.’ At Bletchley Park, the Bletchley Primary School Sports were held at 2p.m. on Wednesday, July 18th. At an admission price of 6d proceeds were for the School Sports Fund, and the inclusion of St. Paul’s evacuated school, Islington, which had lately joined the Primary from St Martin’s Hall and the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, proved an additional attraction. Over £20 would be raised by the sale of adult tickets, and this sum was then expended on sports equipment. Held for the first time since the war at Church House, Newport Pagnell, on Saturday there was also cause for celebration when, for schools in North Bucks, at the annual country dancing competition the Bletchley Road Primary School won the Junior Section cup.

From the Bletchley Road Senior School, on July 23rd three teachers and 53 children left for an educational week at Little Kimble. The school then closed on July 27th for the summer holidays, to duly reopen, despite the decorators still being at work, on September 10th. Then on Tuesday, September 18th from 7p.m. until 9p.m. the premises provided accommodation for the student enrolment of the Bletchley Evening Institute. This would re-open on Monday, September 24th, with the Education Committee having now announced that amongst the subjects would be included dressmaking Vocal Music, German and country dancing. On the afternoon of September 28th the school housed the Harvest Festival, at which Mr. Davies, secretary of the Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury, gave a short address. On Wednesday, with the arrangements being made by Miss E. M. Workman and her staff the Thanksgivings at the Bletchley Infants and Nursery School proved an enjoyable affair. Mr W. Brown, the former chairman of the managers, presented each child with a New Testament, and in return he received a Bible, as recognition for his devoted service to the school for many years. Unfortunately, the concert had to be cancelled, although during the afternoon a large crowd watched the fancy dress parade in the Leon Recreation Ground. Each child received a prize, and on behalf of the parents Miss Workman was presented by one of the children with a bouquet. For a performance of Henry V, by permission of the Education Authority the Bletchley Road Senior School attended the County Cinema on October 10th, whilst of a less visual means of education, on October 16th Miss Reynolds, of the B.B.C., paid a visit to the school to listen to a B.B.C. lesson. By the middle of the month there had arisen the need for a public hall in Bletchley, since - unless they came within the purview of the Parents’ Association - organisations had now been denied the use of the Senior School Hall. In explaining the decision, which had been taken by the local school managers, Mr. F. Bates said that the caretaker found it impossible to clean the premises in time for the schoolchildren, and with St. Martin’s Hall having been taken over by the County Education Committee, (and therefore only available for educational purposes), Wilton Assembly Hall remained as the only suitable venue for public entertainment.

Throughout the day, on October 18th the V.J. celebrations were held, and, with Mrs. Cutler as the teacher in charge, at the Yeomanry Hall R.S.M. Schofield, of the Intelligence Corps, and S.S.M. Shepheard, of the R.A.S.C., provided the 125 children with a really hilarious time. Supervised by Mrs. Gladwin, at the Old Bletchley school a sumptuous tea then followed. On the morning of October 19th Mr. E. Cook paid a visit to the Food Office. This was regarding the increased ration supplies for the school canteen, whilst on October 22nd Mrs. Edwards was granted leave of absence to meet her son, who had been recently demobilised. During the six months until the end of October, the Old Bletchley Church of England School, of which Mrs. Bailey was the headmistress, had sent 15,000 cigarettes to local men serving abroad in the Forces, and in the same period £173 9s had been collected as National Savings, exclusive of such special events as Wings for Victory. As for recreational matters, in the summer holidays Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Holdom, ‘a born camper’, had taken a party of pupils to camp for a week at Kimble, near Aylesbury, and apart from visits to many places of interest, 10 mile walks had been daily undertaken. As for other school activities, the harvest festival, conducted by Mr. Staniford and Mr. Payling, had realised eight guineas, and of this Northampton, Aylesbury, and Bedford hospitals each received two guineas, with a further two guineas being donated to the Bletchley Nursing Association.

Assisted by Mrs. Budd, of Bletchley Park, Miss E. Sinfield, a former headmistress of the Old Bletchley Church of England School, was now running the adult section of Bucks County Library, and she could thereby not only make weekly contact with her former pupils, but also learn of their academic progress. Progress was also being made by Bletchley pupils in the typewriting exams of the Union of Educational Institute, for although there would be five failures, the 16 successful scholars enabled Bletchley to gain equal second place with the Aylesbury centre. As for the educational progress of Miss Mary Jones, of Sandringham Place, she had now been awarded £50 p.a. for three years by the Bucks Education Committee, to attend the Royal Academy for Music. At the Old Bletchley Church of England School a caretaker was now required, and at the Bletchley Road Senior School on November 12th Mr. W. Puryer, the arts and crafts teacher, recommenced his teaching career, having been released under Class B from the Forces. Called up in July, 1941 until recently he had been a corporal in R.E.M.E., and although his service would be mostly stationed in England, where he was engaged on radar work, he had also spent a while at Bevenson, near Luneberg, in Germany. Being transferred from the Beds. and Herts. Regiment to R.E.M.E., also engaged on radar work had been his colleague Mr. K. Davies, the history teacher, who, with the rank of sergeant, was ‘demobbed’ on November 14th. In fact this was the date that from the Ship’s Adoption Society Captain Dalziel, the captain of the ship adopted by the Bletchley Road Senior School, would pay a visit to the school, having, accompanied by his wife, received the O.B.E. the previous day from the King. Also achieving renown were a team of children from Bletchley Road Primary School, who, on Saturday, November 24th presented a show at the London Conference of the Educational Puppetry Association. In fact giving prominence to the Conference several national newspapers would make a mention of the School, from which before a critical audience eight children presented a glove puppet show entitled ‘The Princess and the Swineherd.’ This was staged in the ‘College of Preceptors of the Educational Puppetry Association’, and earned a much deserved acclaim for the headmaster of the School, Mr. Crisp.

By the end of November the release of Elmers School from requisition was imminent, and, with the Bucks County Council Medical Officer having been given permission to use the building as a temporary home, at a meeting of the public health committee, held on a Tuesday, it was decided to recommend that Bletchley Council should purchase the premises. By now, on two nights a week the town’s library was being held at the Bletchley Road Primary School, and a worthy testament to the popularity could be regularly seen with the presence of the long queues. All being volunteers, the unpaid staff included a teacher in the nursery school, Miss Mary Timpson, and Miss Marjorie Wells and Miss A. Milsom, and twice a week from county library boxes they had to unpack and repack 1,600 books, since the present accommodation consisted of a schoolroom. However, Miss Marjorie Beattie, the county librarian, had made enquiries about more suitable accommodation in the town, and when this was secured a paid librarian would then be appointed. At the Bletchley Road Primary School, on Friday, Saturday and Monday, December 7th, 8th and 10th, an exhibition of work was shown in the school hall, and interestingly one visitor would be Louise Morley, of the American Embassy. She was the wife of an English army officer, and would in the company of Mr. D. Cooke, the chief education officer of Bucks, be presented with a leather posy, made by one of the children. On December 14th the Bletchley Road Senior School Carol Festival took place in the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church and, admission free, at 3p.m. the Bletchley Co-op Education Committee, Bletchley Women’s Labour Party, held a film show entitled ‘Song of the People.’ This was staged on Tuesday, December 18th and the schools then closed on the following day for the Christmas holidays. In fact this perhaps proved rather opportune for one person who, by accidentally knocking over a bottle of ink, had not only managed to spill the entire contents across an open page of the Senior School register, but thereby to also blot their own copybook!



Accommodated in a local school building, on Monday, January 6th the Bletchley Evening Institute reopened. However, during the war across the nation one fifth of school buildings had been destroyed, and also damaged by enemy action had been Elmers school which - the premises having recently been released from code breaking activities - would now commence the new term, under Mr. Still, on January 21st. As for the Bletchley Road Council Schools, applications were presently invited for an assistant caretaker, who would be paid £144 p.a. plus a current war bonus of £59 19s. By courtesy of the W.E.A., on Tuesday, January 15th adult students could look forward to a class at 8p.m. on ‘The Soviet Union in World Affairs.’ Mr. H. Short being the lecturer, this would be held at the Community Centre, but for the younger generation on Tuesday, January 8th they were back at the Bletchley Road Schools, where 355 pupils would attend the Modern Secondary, 213 the Infants and 362 the Primary. Then on the afternoon of January 15th Mr. Aycaster, the County Organiser for School Gardens, and Mr. Wallis, the County Organiser of Rural Studies, paid a visit to the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary. This was for a conference on the Development of Rural Subjects, and with various teachers in attendance the occasion had been convened by the Chief Education Officer. Following this, on January 25th another conference would then be held at Aylesbury regarding ex members of the Forces, and thus suitably qualified Mr. Puryer, Mr. Davies and Mr. Hinton, who had recently returned from five years service in the R.A.F., left the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary at 11a.m. to attend.

On January 31st the practice test for entrance to Grammar schools took place, and although an epidemic of colds and flu affected the attendance, on February 1st the Preliminary Test was taken. As for the Bletchley Road Primary School, on Wednesday, February 6th in the school hall 43 of the pupils would give a demonstration of puppet making, to include the mixing of the clay, modelling and baking the puppet heads. With the occasion to be filmed by Pathe Gazette, the building had been transformed into a film set, complete with lights and a camera, and whilst the film would only last for 15 minutes on screen, the cameraman nevertheless stayed for four hours! With Mr. Brann as the producer, (assisted by the educational adviser to Pathe Pictures, Miss Wilson), Pathe Gazette had first developed an interest following a successful demonstration of the craft in London, and, with a shortened version of the footage - Pathe Pictorial No. 77 - being screened in those cities on Sunday, March 2nd, audiences in Manchester and Birmingham would be the first to be shown the completed production. In fact on the day after the original filming, on Thursday, February 7th International Photos Ltd., an American company, had taken more than a hundred stills at the school, and, as a pictorial sequence, these were intended for distribution to magazines and journals in Britain and the U.S. Thus the pupils would once again become the focus of media attention, although Bletchley Park would not become a focus for media attention until 1974, when the achievements of the code breakers were finally revealed. However, on February 13th at least the grounds of Bletchley Park became the centre of attention for the headmaster of the Bletchley Road Senior School, Mr. E.C. Cook, when he paid a visit to the school farm. This was to investigate the progress of the Rural Science activities, and with the produce supplied to the school canteen, the enterprise provided an extension of the work being carried out in the school garden. Indeed, the rural science tuition at the Modern Secondary School was unique in the county, and, with a large tract of land having already been cleared for a poultry run, as well as a sty having been prepared for five young pigs, and the ground made ready for crops, it was therefore not surprising that, on Monday, March 13th, at the North Bucks Divisional Executive a unique application would be made, to supply wellingtons and overalls for the children. Approval was duly awarded, with the application then sent to the Education Committee.

Having been appointed to the Swansea Education Authority, on February 25th Mr. K. Davies, B.A., tendered his resignation. However, he would continue his duties until April 2nd, and was therefore able to experience not only the weekend Speech Training course for teachers, held on March 8th and 9th, (with lunch and tea provided by the school canteen service), but also a ‘delightful’ lecture on life in France. This concerned both the present time and also that under the Occupation, and the speaker, Hedwise Gillet, of 32 Boulevard Henri IV, Paris, was well qualified to speak upon the subject, for she had been a member of the French Underground Movement. During the summer term it was tentatively proposed to hold a Combined Musical Festival. Thus on the morning of March 14th Mr. E. Cook had relevant discussions with the County Musical Adviser, Mr. Dawes, and in consequence he and the teachers involved attended a conference on March 20th, in order to proceed with the arrangements Then regarding scientific matters, under the care of their teacher, Mr. A. Jones, the pupils of the Science Society, as well as those of the Geographical Society, travelled to London on March 27th. The former group visited the Science and Art Museum, Kensington, and the latter the Imperial Museum, whilst as for the Sports Section, their scheduled visit on April 5th to Gosford Hill Modern Secondary School, Oxford, to play soccer, hockey, and netball, had to be cancelled due to the weather. Yet of a more optimistic outcome, on the afternoon of April 9th in the House finals, held on their home territory, Cowper House proved victorious at hockey, and Penn House at football.

At the Old Bletchley Church of England School, following Mrs. Bailey’s appointment as headmistress a fund had been launched, in December, 1940, to send cigarettes to those local men serving in the Forces. In fact by the beginning of April 61,600 had been sent by the scholars and friends, with the detailed figures being 1,600 in 1941, 12,000 in 1942, 18,000 in 1943, 15,000 in 1944 and 15,000 in 1945. On returning from the Forces, at the end of April Mr. A. Richards and Mr. W. Rose resumed their teaching positions at the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School, although a couple of weeks later Mr. Rose had to be sent home with tonsillitis. As for Bletchley teachers from the past, on May 7th Joseph Henry Shardlow, who had been the headmaster of the Bletchley Boys school from 1897 to 1920, died at his home at 11, Eveson Road, Norton, near Stourbridge. After retiring he had moved to Clacton but when his bungalow, appropriately named ‘Bletchley’, was destroyed by wartime bombs, he then went to Norton. As the headmaster at Bletchley his successor had been Mr. Melton, and in 1924 he was then succeeded by Mr. E.C. Cook who, exploiting the modern wonders of technology, had recently acquired a new duplicating machine for the use of the School. In fact the decision had been deferred pending inquiries about the condition of the present machine, until it was then discovered that this belonged to the Parents Association! Also regarding the Modern Secondary School, on May 8th plans and estimates were received from the County Architects Department. These concerned the new dining hall and kitchen, whilst as for other matters needing his attention, Mr. Cook attended the Ministry of Education on May 14th to discuss with Mr. Hawkins, of the Inter Relations Department, the various details regarding a proposed educational tour of America. The following evening, attended by teachers from North Bucks, and representatives of industry, a conference at the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School was then convened to discuss science and crafts.

Agricultural matters were the subject on May 20th, when the boys of the Young Farmers Club spent the day at the County Farm, Stoke Mandeville. Also attending lectures, they were shown around the premises, as well as being given a demonstration of the latest types of farming machinery. On the afternoon of May 29th the Modern Secondary School closed to allow the pupils to compete in the North Bucks Sports Day, at which they won the Shield for Secondary Schools, whilst in the evening the school choir travelled to New Theatre, Oxford, for a performance by the D’Oyley Carte Opera Company of the Yeoman of the Guard. Continuing a musical interest, the following day Mr. Dawes, the County Musical Adviser, then brought a party of instrumentalists to the School to give a concert, and this perhaps proved an inspiration for the school choir, who, on Friday, May 31st, participated in the Buckingham Musical Festival. Also on May 31st Bletchley residents had the chance to watch their embryo film stars when, being additionally screened on the following day, Pathe Pictorial No. 77 was shown at the two local cinemas. At the County Cinema, during the afternoon 350 children of the Bletchley Road Primary School had great fun identifying themselves - or their schoolmates - amongst the puppet makers, and puppet making was perhaps also of interest to five young colonial educationalists when, making a tour of schools throughout the country, they paid a visit to the Modern Secondary School. Three of the visitors had ambitions to become education officers in various parts of Africa, with the other two hopefully destined to teach in the West Indies.

On June 3rd Mr. Clifford Parfit began his duties at the Modern Secondary School, and two days later, excepting Mr. K. Davies, who had now left for Swansea, in the school hall the Bletchley and District N.U.T. gave a welcome home lunch to Messrs. W. Puryer, Richards and Hinton who, as staff members, had now returned from the Forces. Also celebrating were the children of both the Bletchley Modern Secondary School and the Bletchley Road Primary School who, on Victory Day, Friday, June 7th, devoted themselves to ‘merry-making.’ Adding to the fun, the local magician, Bernard Brown, paid a visit to the Primary School in the morning, and in the afternoon the girls gave a display of country dancing on the school lawn, and also joined the boys in sports and games at Leon Recreation Ground. After tea a number of competitions were held in the School, with an ice cream being given to every pupil. As for the Modern Secondary School, following assembly the scholars walked to the playing fields at Bletchley Park, where in the morning sports and games took place. In the afternoon a fancy dress parade and other activities were then held, and having returned to their school for tea, the children retraced their steps to Bletchley Park where, having been borne on a bicycle, a seven foot high effigy of Hitler, prepared by members of the staff, was thrown onto a bonfire. From the Dramatic Art Society, the Historical Society, and the Choral Society, on June 12th 82 children and four teachers from the Modern Secondary School visited Stratford Upon Avon, where in the afternoon at the Memorial Theatre they watched a performance of Cymbeline. However, Mr. Cook, the headmaster, had his mind focussed on more distant horizons, for the following afternoon he travelled to the American Embassy in London, regarding a proposed educational tour to the United States.

On Wednesday, June 19th Mr. Ralph Morley, M.P., the President of the N.U.T., came to Bletchley to speak to teachers and other educationalists regarding the aim of the new Education Act. This, he explained, would provide ‘a system which gives equality of educational opportunity to all our children’, and he further added that ‘No child should be debarred by reason of the locality in which he lived or because of the financial and social position of his parents ---.’ Nationally, the majority of boys and girls had been educated via the so called elementary schools, and were thereby alleged to have suffered three handicaps; 1/ They left at the age of 14, ‘just when the horizon of their interests was beginning to widen.’ 2/ The classes were large. 3/ They suffered from low self esteem. The 1944 Act would therefore provide pupils with a unified national system in two stages; namely Primary, age 2 to 11, and Secondary, age 11 to 16. The first element would be the nursery school, or nursery classes, attached to infants schools for children aged between 2 and 5, and, although not compulsory, an attendance of 50% was expected, not least because all the children would receive proper medical attention, regular rest periods, sleep and recreation, furniture of a suitable size and educational toys. The next stage would comprise the Infants School for children aged from 5 to 7, and then from 7 to 11 the Primary, or Junior School; ‘a place to learn to read and write and to handle the tools of knowledge.’ At the age of 11 all children would then receive a Secondary education, and it was planned to raise the leaving age to 15 in April, 1947, and then, as soon as practical, to 16. Three types of Secondary School were planned; Secondary Grammar, with a bias towards academics and literature, Technical Schools, and Modern Secondary schools. During 44 weeks of the year it was then intended that young people from the age of 16 to 18 should receive part time education, by attending county colleges for two half days, or one day, a week and this would be in the employer’s time, and at his expense. However, despite all these grandiose plans, due to a lack of men, money and material, little had so far been achieved to implement the Act.

On July 3rd the Geographical Society of the Modern Secondary School enjoyed an outing to Oxford. In the afternoon they visited All Souls College and the Ashmoleum Museum, and on the following day the school choir, under the charge of Mrs. Holt and Mrs. Linnell, ventured to the King’s Theatre, Hammersmith, where they watched a performance of The Mikado by the D’Oyley Carte Opera Company. Then on the evening of July 8th the feeding at weekends, and other holiday times, of the school’s animals at Bletchley Park, (accommodated on a site now occupied by the fire station), was discussed at the North Bucks Education Division Executive Committee. In a letter, the headmaster of the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School, Mr. Cook, said that in connection with the rural studies of the school they had tried to employ a rota, but this had been unreliable, since many of the boys who lived in the villages were unable to travel at the times required. He therefore felt that it would be much better to ask the groundsman, Mr. W. Souster, to perform the tasks, for which, as had been the arrangement before the war, a special payment would be made, and at the chairman’s suggestion this was agreed in principle, with the details to be left to a committee. In the Bletchley and District Schools Musical Festival and Concert, held at 7.15p.m. on Wednesday, July 10th, those taking part were the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School, the Bletchley Road Primary School, Bow Brickhill Primary, Drayton Parslow Primary, Little Brickhill Primary, Old Bletchley Church of England, Stewkley Primary, Wavendon Endowed Primary, and Woughton and Simpson Primary. At the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School the large hall was used to accommodate the event, but as for the Old Bletchley Church of England School, problems of accommodation were now proving a concern for Mr. N. Hames, the Divisional Education Officer. Currently there were around 132 pupils on the roll, and - as was mentioned by Mr. Hames - during the early days of the war the pressure on school places at Old Bletchley had been so great that, in order to ease the situation, use had to be made of the Yeomanry Hall. However, it now appeared that the T.A. Association needed the building, and in consequence the chief education officer had asked the executive committee to consider the question of alternative premises. Yet at least for a while there would be a temporary respite, since on July 12th the summer holidays began. In fact not until August 26th would the pupils return, although for those at the Modern Secondary School, where Miss Thompson would now begin her duties, they were to find a complete reorganisation since, under the new educational system, two sections had been created, Academic and Practical, with seven forms in each.

Being the first educational outing of the new term, on September 4th the Dramatic Groups visited the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford Upon Avon, where they watched a performance of The Tempest. As for outdoor activities, on September 9th a party of children left Bletchley to spend a week of organised entertainments at Little Kimble Camp where, on September 11th, they were visited by the headmaster, Mr. E. Cook. Finding everything in order he reported that the pupils were having ‘a very happy and useful time together’, as hopefully were the pupils of the Natural History Society who, on the afternoon of the same day, enjoyed a trip to Bow Brickhill woods. Enrolment for the Bletchley Evening Institute had taken place from 7p.m. to 9p.m. on Tuesday, September 24th, and on Monday, September 30th the Institute duly reopened at 7.30p.m. However, by holding lessons at ‘moderate terms’ Mrs. M. Warne, F.C.T.S., could offer alternative tuition in shorthand and typing at 5, The Grove. At the Community Centre, on Thursdays from the end of September the W.E.A. Bletchley branch would conduct a ‘University Tutorial Class’ on ‘Great Britain in the Post-War World.’ The first meeting was to be held on September 26th at 7.30p.m., and interested persons were invited to contact the branch secretary at 59, Eaton Avenue. However, for those persons of a more artistic persuasion, they might be interested in the Art Class at the Community Centre which, to include drawing in pen, pencil, charcoal etc. and water and oil colours, would reopen on Thursday evenings at 7.30p.m. Persons wishing to enrol were asked to contact Miss N. Wells, at 68, Napier Street. Together with their parents, children of the Bletchley Modern Secondary School enjoyed a trip to Southend on Thursday, September 24th, but for the parents of those children from Stewkley and Dunton matters were proving less amicable, for one Tuesday they went ‘on strike’. Regarding the school bus service, this was due to the excessive delay in collecting those children aged 11 and over after school hours, but on the following Friday the parents were informed that they had won their case, and as from Monday the children would be collected at 8.35a.m., and then again on leaving school. Otherwise the children would have been left for 1 hour and 20 minutes every day, waiting both for school to begin, and then to be collected.

For a position paying a weekly wage of £1 1s, applications for a part time cleaner, for an average of 12 hours a day, were to be sent to Miss F. Davis, ‘Correspondent 5 Victoria Road.’ The employment would be at the Bletchley Road Nursery School, whilst at the Bletchley Road Primary School and Modern Secondary School their 9th annual Harvest Home was held at 3p.m. on Friday, October 14th. The beneficiary would be the Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury. On October 24th a concert was then performed at the Modern Secondary School by a party of ‘instrumentalists.’ This had been arranged by Mr. Dawes and Miss Bryer, the County Music Advisers, and also now arranged had been the choice of candidate to fill the position of Assistant Organiser of Rural Subjects, (for the Bucks Educational Authority), for, following his successful interview on September 26th, Mr. Hinton was to be appointed from October 31st.

On the morning of November 27th the annual Carol Festival for schools in North Bucks was held, accommodated in the large hall of the Modern Secondary School, where on Tuesday December 3rd, Thursday December 5th, and Friday December 6th an enthusiastic audience attended a Christmas concert. Apart from plays, the features would include acrobatics as well as Scandinavian dancing and - as an ‘outstanding item’ - the School Corps de Ballet. In fact having been trained by Mrs. M. Naylor and Mrs. M. Jones ‘the girls were worthy of a place in a professional pantomime.’ Also worthy of professional praise was Deirdre Barker, ‘a coming young actress’, for she had given an excellent portrayal of the Queen Mother. As for Norma Lewtas, she put over an entertaining ‘Albert’ monologue in her native Lancashire accent, which seemed quite appropriate since one of the participants in the production was a Grace Field! For Mrs. F. Cutts, S.M., A.V.C.M., L.V.C.M., of Lyndhurst, Cambridge Street, a seasonal satisfaction was provided by the musical success achieved by many of her pupils, and also proving a success was an exhibition of work at the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School. This was held on Friday, December 12th and Saturday, December 13th and with the major feature being a display of cookery, which was a subject taught to both boys and girls, as an interesting statistic during the previous year the school canteen had served 58,937 dinners.



For the benefit of those children living in the surrounding villages, it was now agreed to operate five buses to the Bletchley schools, and as a further benefit four modern oil heaters, at six guineas each, were to be installed in St. Martin’s Hall, for the primary school section presently accommodated at the premises. As the manager of the Bletchley Road Primary School, Mrs. W.J. Brown had now been nominated to replace Mrs. E. Staniford, who had resigned, whilst on Thursday January 30th at the Bletchley Nursery School a presentation was made, by the parents and staff, to Miss Mary Timpson, who, having been in charge for the past two years - and having been on the staff for the previous three years - had been appointed as a nursery school superintendent at Clevedon, Somerset. No doubt she would retain many fond memories of the town, as also perhaps had Sydney Howard Still, the former principal of Elmers school. Following the requisition of Elmers, during the war Mr. Still and his wife had resided at Highfield, Manor Road, and although with the end of the hostilities the school was again destined for an educational use, about five weeks ago Mr. and Mrs. Still had chosen to move to Dorchester, and the home of a married daughter at Silverdale, Edward Road. There, leaving a widow and two daughters, Mr. Still died aged 73 on February 20th, and of his estate of £3,358 18s 6d probate was granted to his widow, and also Ernest Thornley, of Hove.

Under the Education Act of 1944, on Thursday, February 28th the Education Development Plan, to be submitted by March to the Minister of Education, was adopted by the County Council, and seemingly not before time, since the following day in the wake of a school inspection, carried out by Mr. F. Bates, the children of the Bletchley Road Infants and Primary Schools had to be sent home, when it was discovered that the lavatories were frozen. The programme estimated a capital expenditure of £9,508 22s 5d from 1947 to 1965, and amongst the local details was included the ‘probability’ that the child population of Bletchley would be affected by the building of 250 new houses in 1947, and 300 in 1948. As for the proposed alterations to the Bletchley County Primary School, the costs from 1959 to 1962 were estimated at £600 for the site and £10,500 for the buildings, with the alterations to Bletchley Junior School for 1950 to 1953 envisaged as £500 for the site, and £6,000 for the buildings. For Bletchley Modern Secondary School the costings for 1956 to 1959 were set at £50,000 for building, whilst for the proposed new schools for the town the schedule anticipated the construction of the Primary, 1950 - 1953, Grammar, 1953 - 1956, Modern Secondary, 1953 - 1956, Secondary Technical 1956 - 1959, and Nursery school, 1959 - 1962.

Yet all this was for the future, and more immediate concerns were considered at a Monday meeting in late February of the North Bucks Educational Executive, when an application for a grant towards the purchase of a grand piano was submitted from Bletchley Modern Secondary School. Following discussions regarding the relative merits of a grand piano or an upright instrument, a recommendation was then made to grant an award of not more than £75. As for another key event, this occurred when Miss Workman, who since 1927 had been the headmistress of the Bletchley Road Infants School, resigned, prior to her impending marriage. In fact when she was first appointed the Infants School had been accommodated in the building of the present Primary Dept., and it would not be until 1938 that the move into premises which had previously been the senior girls building was made, with the nursery class - the first in Buckinghamshire - commenced in 1939. Due recognition of Miss Workman’s past service was made on Wednesday, March 26th, when, at a gathering of managers, teachers and children of the Bletchley Primary, Nursery and Infants Schools, Mr. F. Bates, the chairman of the managers, presented her with a cheque. Also receiving money was the Bletchley Modern Secondary School which, in early March, had been granted £100 by the Educational Executive Committee towards the cost of a Rural Studies Scheme. Should any profits be made then half would be applied to the committee, and half to the Rural Studies account of the school, but a financial statement of the Scheme showed that a loan had already been made to the school sports account of £150, of which £57 had been spent on equipment. As for other expenditure, stock and feed stuffs totalled £107, although £89 had been received from the sale of chickens and pigs. New teaching arrivals at Bletchley now included Miss G. Kinvig, Miss E. Brooks, (nursery class), Mr. J. Halsey, (Bletchley Primary), Miss S. Taylor, (Old Bletchley), and Mrs. L. White, (Bletchley Infants), and perhaps - since at 38, Bletchley Road a local teacher was urgently advertising for a daily help - the occupation was proving a little stressful. However, therapeutic swimming might soon be available, for, having purchased The Grange, Norman Green was now offering the local schools the morning use of the associated swimming pool! On April 1st the school leaving age was raised to 15, and on Wednesday, May 14th the Bletchley and District Schools Music Association Festival Concert took place. Admission was 2s 6d, and items included the massed singing of the choirs under the direction of James Dawes, who was the county schools musical organiser. The event took place at the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School, where for some ten years the scholars had been corresponding with officers and men of the Merchant Navy. In fact, accompanied by his wife and young daughter, on Thursday, May 15th one of the seaborne correspondents then came to visit the school, to give a talk on his maritime experience during the war. He was Captain David Pederson who, now being the captain of the S.S. Moses Gay, a vessel presently bringing pit props to the country, had formerly been first officer on the S.S. Chelwood which, under the British Ship Adoption Society, had been adopted during the war by the pupils, as also had the S.S. Goodwood.

A vacancy had now arisen at the Bletchley schools for a clerical assistant. Plus a cost of living bonus, the position would pay from £100 to £300p.a. for a male, and between £100 and £240 for a female, and applicants would need shorthand and typing skills. They would also need rather more commitment than that shown by the several parents who, on Tuesday, June 10th, failed to attend the A.G.M. of the Bletchley Schools Parents Association. This was held at 7.45p.m. in the Modern Secondary School Hall, although less disappointing was the comment by the headmaster, Mr. E.C. Cook, that because the pupils enjoyed their schooling so much, punishment at the premises was nil. In fact it was more of a job to ‘kick them out an hour or more after normal hours.’ At the A.G.M. a report was also given by the headmaster of the Primary School, and with the winding up announced of the Bletchley Schools Sports Association the credit balance, of £129, would be divided equally between the sports funds of the Modern Secondary and the Primary School. As regarding other matters, much interest had been attracted by the Wednesday club groups, when during the afternoons the normal grouping of the school into ages and classes was suspended, and, irrespective of age, groups of children studied subjects of their own choosing. Agriculture was also a school speciality, and on Wednesday, June 18th at 7.30p.m. the Bletchley Modern Secondary Agricultural Society presented a Grand Concert in the school hall, featuring amongst the artists Mrs. Z. Bailey as soprano, and Bernard Brown as conjuror.

As the successor to Miss E. Workman, Miss Winifred Perrin, aged 35, had now been appointed as the headmistress of the Bletchley Road Infants School, having previously been the headmistress of Gosport Infants School. Educated at Dewsbury Grammar School, she attended Hull Municipal Training College from 1929 until 1931, and this would be the year in which she passed the Teaching Certificate. Until 1940 she then taught at Dewsbury Junior and Infants School and, after an appointment as the headmistress at Morley Infants School, she then moved to Gosport. In July, work was ongoing at the rear of the Modern Secondary School to construct not only a new canteen and dining room, but also three additional classrooms and two craft rooms. This new accommodation would house the activities of the domestic science, woodwork and metalwork departments, etc., whilst as for the musical aspirations of the School, during the month twenty girls took part in a concert at the Temple of Music, at Tyringham House. Conducted by Mr. Moss, their items included Handel and Schubert, but matters were less harmonious for John Finn, for after a term teaching at Bletchley Modern Secondary School he was now returning to Portsmouth, having been unable to acquire a house in Bletchley. Also leaving, after more than 30 years of teaching in Bletchley, was Mrs. Mabel Edwards of Water Eaton Road, who retired on Friday, July 25th. Her father, Mr. W. Wilkins, had been the headmaster of a Wesleyan school at Sturminster Newton, in Devon, and at the age of 13 Mabel continued this educational tradition by training for the teaching profession. After passing her final exams she then moved to St. Albans, and came to Bletchley in 1909 on marrying Jesse Edwards, a builder. At the request of the authorities, being employed at the Bletchley Road schools she then returned to teaching during World War One, but three years after the death of her husband she left in 1922 for the Old Bletchley Church of England School where, until seconded back to the Bletchley Secondary Modern School, she would teach for the next 20 years. Music and arts and crafts were her chief interests, and she was also the organist and choirmistress at the former Albert Street Methodist Church.

By the beginning of September, on social, economic and other subjects correspondence courses of the Co-operative Union Ltd. were available to Co-op members and their families, with grants being available towards the cost from the Bletchley and District Co-op Society Education Committee. Interested applicants were to contact the secretary at 62, Eaton Avenue, and also on the subject of self education, having by permission of the County Medical Authority been transferred to the Clinic, the ‘County Library Bletchley Centre’ - with A. Milsom as the Honorary Librarian - would be open from September 16th on Tuesdays from 6p.m. to 8p.m., and from September 24th on Wednesdays from 2.30p.m. to 4.30p.m. In fact the facility would no doubt be greatly used by students of the Bletchley Evening Institute which, following an enrolment night held at 7p.m. on Tuesday, September 30th, reopened on Monday, October 6th at 7p.m., to include commercial, technical, and domestic subjects and classes for youth clubs.

At the Bletchley Church of England School, Mr. Morgans had now left for National Service, and his place would be taken by Douglas Pinckard, a former officer of the R.A.F. Just before Easter Mrs. H. Cutler had also left, and not only did she depart with the good wishes of the pupils and teachers, but also the £3 3s that, in recognition of her teaching work at the Yeomanry Hall, (the use of which had now been withdrawn), they had collected for her. As caretakers, also deserving of recognition was the twenty years of service given by Mr. and Mrs. T. Gladwin, who for their dedication would be presented with a wireless set by the managers. However, there was sad news for the headmistress, Mrs. Bailey, for on Friday, October 31st her mother, Sarah Denton-Ayres, of Chase Farm, Ramsey St. Mary’s, Hunts., had died at the age of 76. At the Bletchley Road schools Miss J.M. Smith was now appointed as a clerical assistant, whilst regarding other employments at £1 2s per five day week women cleaners were needed at the Modern Secondary School. This was for both the mornings and the afternoons, and they hopefully did a good job on Wednesday, November 19th, when the annual visit to the Bletchley and District Association was made by the N.U.T. president, J. Lawton, BSc. At 7.30p.m. the proceedings culminated in a public meeting in the school hall on ‘Problems arising from the Education Act, 1944’, and here perhaps the latest type of sound film projector was usefully employed, having been recently purchased from their own funds by the Modern Secondary School. On the occasion of the Royal Wedding, on Thursday, November 20th the schoolchildren enjoyed a days holiday. The flag was flown at the Council Offices, and as another cause for celebration at the annual house festival the new ‘Mrs Edwards trophy’ - for the best house at Bletchley Modern Secondary School - was won by Hampden House, with 19 points. During mid December pupils of the Bletchley County Primary School held their 7th annual exhibition of work, with the visitors being guided around by the enthusiastic pupils. On appropriate display were several portrayals of the Royal Wedding, although not on display for much longer would be Mr. G. Baker, the teacher in charge of rural studies at the Modern Secondary School. At the end of the term he was to leave for a teaching appointment at a school at Poole, and there his wife would also be employed. Becoming the leader of the local branch of the Young Farmers Association, he had arrived in Bletchley a year ago, having previously been on the teaching staff at Buckingham.




At the beginning of the year Captain Hubert Faulkner, well known for his local construction business, announced in a personal notice that he had returned home from hospital, and he thanked everyone ‘for their most kind enquiries and messages.’ The reason for his medical treatment had been that whilst recently riding with Mr Barbour and Mr Richardson, to a meeting of the Whaddon Chase, at Whaddon Hall, he had received a kick on the knee from Mr Richardson’s horse, and at Luton hospital his smashed kneecap was duly removed. Then on the morning of the first Sunday of the year another local casualty would be Miss Gertrude Pacey, the Aylesbury Street confectioner, who, having slipped whilst turning into Aylesbury Street from Denmark Street, had dislocated her thigh. Her injury was tended at Northampton hospital. Needing ‘no previous experience’ a cook was now required at the Garden Café and Restaurant, but elsewhere in the town other matters were cooking when, one Tuesday evening, an overheating stove set fire to the roof of Maclaren’s garage, in the High Street. Fortunately only minor damage was caused, and an N.F.S. pump quickly dealt with the incident. A member of the N.F.S. then had another incident to deal with towards the end of January, although this would not be related to his employment. He was Jacob Leigh, of 28, Napier Street, who, due to the noise of two sewing machines, and the smell of leather, claimed, in court proceedings, possession of the rooms in his property which were presently occupied by Max Freeman, a manufacturer of handbags. Mr. Leigh said that he needed the accommodation for his family, and Mr. Freeman, according to the rent book, was obliged to use the premises only residentially. The house contained four bedrooms, two living rooms, a kitchen and a scullery, and for the use of a living room, bedroom and a second bedroom, in which he had set up a workshop, Mr. Freeman paid 14s a week. For trade purposes, in one room he stored leather, but he had also installed two sewing machines, and it was due to the ensuing nuisance and noise that Mr. Leigh had made his complaint. Compounding matters was the fact that people treated the facility much like a shop, and in fact with customers calling every day the inconvenience had been only partially remedied by the installation of a bell, with Mr. Freeman’s nameplate. Apart from himself, his wife, his father in law and mother in law, Mr. Leigh’s family also included two boys, aged 9 and 11, and it was by an ongoing arrangement that one of the boys now slept in the ‘workshop’. In fact the origins of this ‘facility’ dated from the time that Mr. Freeman had been a tenant of Mrs. Minnie Smith, of 34, Brooklands Road, for it had been with her permission that he set up his equipment. Therefore the judge deliberated in favour of the defendant who, perhaps via Mr. Turner’s newsagents at 55, Bletchley Road, which was now a branch office for The North Bucks Times, lost no time in advertising ‘Send your Handbags, all Leather Goods for repair, to Freeman, 28 Napier Street, Bletchley. New ones are expensive.’ Perhaps he also took the opportunity to upgrade his equipment, for in May he would sell off a Singer treadle sewing machine, ‘in good condition’, for £5; ‘View between 11a.m. and 5p.m. except Wednesdays.’

Towards the end of February Mrs. Eliza Essen, of 19, Duncombe Street, died one Tuesday aged 79. She had come to Bletchley in 1902, when her husband, previously an employee of the railway at Willesden, opened in business as a coal merchant, and for a while she would carry on a business at the Corner Shop. However, she eventually relinquished this trade to help her husband in the coal business, and would continue in this occupation after his death in 1930. Presently there was little demand for bricks, and in consequence in early February the London Brick Company decided to temporarily close its works at Newton Longville. Nevertheless, for the accommodation of new machinery, being sent from London, in March plans were approved for the construction of a factory on the Watling Street for Messrs. Pacey & Co., although during early August disaster would threaten when, one Friday at 9.45p.m., the N.F.S. were called to a blaze at the factory. A heap of metal shavings and other rubbish had caught fire, but by midnight the blaze had been brought under control. In early April the Flettons brickworks required a temporary canteen attendant for not less than one month - ‘No special knowledge necessary’ - and perhaps this was cause for a cautious optimism in the industry. However, for obvious reasons in 1940 there had been no such expectancy for the civilian motor trade, and due to the lack of custom Walter Wright, for £145, had sold his garage business, in Bletchley Road, to Mr. Field, with an agreement that Mr. Wright could stay in the house for three months, whilst looking for alternative accommodation. Living rent and rates free, he would meanwhile be employed as a mechanic by Mr. Field at £3 a week, and although this situation expired on April 10th, 1940, nothing was said. Thus with three subsequent wage rises the arrangement continued, but now Mr. Field, who was presently resident at 119, Buckingham Road, had dispensed with the services of Mr. Wright, who was instead working as a toy maker and ‘doing pretty well.’ Therefore at Bletchley County Court on Monday, April 23rd Mr. Field claimed possession of 85, Bletchley Road, and the judge duly ordered possession in three weeks. A similar judgement was then awarded to James Fieldman Ramsbotham, of ‘Brooklands’, Bletchley, when, at Bletchley County Court, he claimed possession of 44, Windsor Street from George Selby, who had left his employment the previous October. The house was now required for the foreman appointed to look after the nurseries, but with Mr. Selby having become increasingly infirm the judge, in view of this situation, gave him a month to leave, instead of the usual three weeks.

Aged 68, on Saturday, April 28th William Fowler died at 8, Church Street. A native of Peckham, about 17 years ago he had come to Bletchley from Whittlebury, Northamptonshire, and after an eight years employment as foreman at the gasworks, for the next eight years he then worked as a water fitter for the Council. At the beginning of May a saleslady was needed at Hill’s shoe shop, in Bletchley Road. The position offered ‘good wages and prospects’, although possibly not good enough to convince Mr. Hill’s son, John, for, with his marriage impending, he had opted for a job at Bletchley post office! A strong, intelligent lad was now required at Hurst’s engineering works. This was situated in Denmark Street, and here also was the premises of Charles Dunbar, a blacksmith. At the entrance, small boys would often gather on their way home from school to watch the noisy activities, which one day then also attracted the attention of Charles Head who, with ‘demob kit in one hand and my demob papers in the other’, had decided to look around the town after missing his train connection. Having been in the Cavalry, following a ‘short stint’ with tanks he then became a mechanic in the Engineers, and he was now returning home to Newmarket from a demobilisation centre. At Bletchley station he dumped his ‘stuff’ in the waiting room, and during his subsequent perambulations called into the Bull and Butcher where, in conversation with the landlord, he learned that a blacksmith’s business was for sale ‘down the road.’ As Charles would later recall, ‘When I got to Denmark Street I saw a blacksmith’s workshop with plenty of banging and swearing going on inside’, and suitably impressed within half an hour he had bought the business! Thus from this chance encounter he would establish a successful business, which some ten years later he then transferred to Tavistock Street. Becoming a well known personality in the town, Charles played an active role on the local council, and in April 1960 he was made a Freeman of the City of London.

With more equipment now available, in May the Bletchley and District Co-op ladies hairdressing department required additional staff, whilst at the Bakery (Confectionery), in Park Street, girls aged 14 to 15 were needed. At the other end of the town, at the end of the month at 79, Victoria Road Mr. Johns now took over from Mr. E.C. Weatherhead, in a business that had been established for nine years, but for the more established business of the Co-op, at the end of June boys and girls aged 14 to 17 were required for butchery rounds. As for another of their departments this could now ‘supply your immediate needs in Utility Bedsteads’, but of somewhat different needs on Wednesday, July 11th, by order of Messrs. Richardson, Timmins and Co. Ltd. the surplus requirements of Henry Butcher and Co., at 126, Buckingham Road, were to be auctioned in lots at the Conservative Club. However, the equipment, which included well drilling and contractors plant, would be of little interest to Mr. K.H. Axford who, from July 30th, took over the business of newsagent, stationer and fancy goods at 61, Aylesbury Street. This had been previously run by George Austin and his wife, but, having acknowledged the patronage of their customers over the last 16 years, they had now decided to retire to Colchester for, as George had said, ‘Too active a life after 50 does tell. I had to do paper rounds myself because of the lack of newspaper boys.’ Mr. Austin had originally come from Dorking, whilst as for Mr. Axford, having been a representative for the well known firm of Spicers Ltd. he had 20 years of experience in the newsagents trade. A native of Devon, he had lately seen service in the N.F.S., and during the blitz of that city had occupied the role of Section Leader and Mobilising Officer at Exeter. Now settled at Bletchley he would start a new life, but unfortunately a tragedy would befall the family later in the year, when, during a visit by his parents from Bristol, towards the end of December his father died. On happier matters, one Sunday afternoon in late July at St. Martin’s Church the vicar, the Reverend Wheeler, solemnised the marriage of Miss Carina Tramontini, the younger daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Oswald Tramontini, of the Garden Café, (which adjoined the Studio), and Corporal Don Fullerton, of the R.A.F. With the reception being appropriately held at the Garden Café, the couple then left for a honeymoon in London. With good wages and prospects a ‘sharp lad’ was now required for warehouse and other duties at the British Gaslight Co. Ltd, 83, Bletchley Road, and elsewhere by the beginning of September Blackmore Patterns had a few vacancies for female part-time workers and juniors. However, it was the end of a career for Henry Keyte, who died aged 78. He had retired from his trade as a blacksmith five years ago, having begun his working life at the age of 11 in Leighton Buzzard. Upon his marriage in 1888 he then moved to Old Bletchley, where he worked for Mr. Meager.

A shorthand typist was now required by J. Root & Son, Tavistock Street, and to sport a healthy glow at the interview perhaps potential candidates might wish to invest in the Hanovia sun lamp, ‘used for three hours’, which was currently for sale for £15 at Cowley & Wilson, The Garage. After a legal battle, on Tuesday, September 25th at Bletchley County Court a Bletchley hairdresser, Miss Margaret Dorothy Taylor, of 47, Bletchley Road, obtained possession of her shop and premises, situated at 53, Wolverton Road, Stony Stratford, from Benjamin Dancer. Retaining an upper room, which she used as a ladies hairdressing saloon, at 10s per week she had initially let part of the premises to the defendant for the men’s saloon, but then subsequently let the whole of the accommodation for 25s 6d, which included light and rates. However, with it being alleged that the tenants were noisy and troublesome, she resorted to legal action, and in evidence it was said that although Dancer had left the house on May 20th, the following week another family moved in. Nevertheless, Dancer was said to have been responsible in 1943 for a number of anti social incidents, and his defence was hardly helped by the revelation that during that year a petition had been brought against him by the residents of Wolverton Road. This he then countered with an action for conspiracy, although this was not upheld. At 73, Bletchley Road, Weatherheads had now received a small supply of post war radio receivers and domestic appliances, and they could also offer a small number of bowl fires at 26s 3d, including Purchase Tax. Additionally, one or two of the first post war Murphy radios were also available - ‘Your early enquiry is solicited’ - but somewhat more unusual were the items now available further along the road at the showroom of the British Gaslight Co. Ltd. Here, in aid of the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund ‘Mr. Therm’ invited customers to buy a Victory Bell - ‘Very suitable for Christmas gifts’ - which, priced at £1 each, had been cast from the metal of German aircraft shot down over Britain.

At the end of September, on his 36th wedding anniversary Mr. A. E. Staniford of ‘Athelstan’, Staple Hall Road, retired from the firm of Rowlands. On leaving school he had joined the timber firm in 1891, but left after a few weeks to work on the railway. Three months later he was then persuaded to return, and with only one break through illness, and two years service during World War One, he thereon remained with the firm for 54 years. In the early days the office had been the small building currently occupied by the blacksmith’s shop, but alternative accommodation was then provided in more spacious premises across the road. Mr. Staniford and his wife were now to enjoy a well deserved week in Blackpool, whilst at Rowlands the need was not surprisingly soon advertised for an office boy. In early October Mrs. Lizzie Gamble of 40, Albert Street, died at the age of 86, her husband having died the year before. A native of Leicester, she came to Bletchley at the time of her marriage 48 years ago, and, being destined to serve for 12 years, she was elected onto the management committee of the Co-op in 1923. A one time secretary, and more recently President, she was also a member of the Co-op Women’s Guild. At James Root and Son a shorthand typist was still required, as well as girls to learn how to make paintbrushes; ‘Full wages paid whilst being taught.’ Otherwise there was an opportunity at Blackmore Patterns for a young girl with an interest in dressmaking, cutting, etc. - ‘a little knowledge an advantage’ - whilst for male employment, for a lorry delivery round the Bletchley Co-op needed a coal carter who, after a hard day’s toil, might care to visit the Co-op Hardware Department, since it presently offered to ‘Solve your washday troubles and supplement your soap ration by using KLORYDE, the Sunshine Bleaching Fluid’. ‘Makes the dirt dance out of your clothes.’ It was now announced that Mr. W. Billingham, the general manager of the Bletchley Co-op for 22 years, would retire early in the New Year. Having been appointed as secretary of the Society in 1918, he came from Northampton, where he had been an auditor for the C.W.S., and five years later he became the general manager. Yet in an additional occupation, since its inception early in the war he had been the District House Coal Officer on the L.M.S. railway system, with responsibility for an area that encompassed 16 depots.

Mr. A. Souster, it was reported, would be unable to complete his usual round with Christmas cards, but especially for the younger generation November 5th was perhaps more prominent in their thoughts, although due to a shortage of supplies fireworks were being strictly rationed by shopkeepers. However, the town would not be lacking a fiery spectacle for, on the night of Friday, November 9th, a blaze started in the shop premises of the Bletchley Fish Company, near the station. Spreading to overhead electric light cables, and consequently blacking out most of the town, the fire began as the manageress, Mrs. A. Ivory, of 24, Brooklands Road, had been dealing with the diminishing rush for fish and chips, having, assisted by Mrs D. Garner, of Western Road, been busy since mid-afternoon. In fact it was at about 6p.m. that the ladies first noticed smoke in the shop, and on opening the back door Mrs. Ivory was confronted by sheets of flame, which, issuing from the back of the fryer, quickly engulfed the whole of the premises. Having seen the glow whilst passing by, Mr. C. Flack urgently telephoned the fire brigade from the Co-op butchers shop, and meanwhile after ushering the customers out of the shop the ladies managed to rescue the cash register, scales, and several other items. Using a special foam, the fire brigade soon brought the blaze under control, and were thereby able to save the front structure of the shop, although not the adjoining cold fish store. With the power cut off for much of the town, at the Studio complimentary tickets were given to the audience as compensation, and the cinema then remained closed until some time after 8p.m., when the supply was restored. Not surprisingly, as the owners of the fish shop Messrs O. Tramontini and Mr. N. Green were soon advertising for estimates for rebuilding and redecorating, and in fact the café and ‘chippie’ would survive until the early 1970’s, when the premises succumbed to the development of the Brunel Centre. However, the business was subsequently re-accommodated in Weatherburn Court. Between April, 1940 and December, 1945 £1,891 had been raised in the Co-op Comforts for the Forces Fund, and by the end of November it was also a comfort to know that, having secured a quantity from the C.W.S. cabinet factory, the Bletchley & District Co-op Furniture Department were presently able to exhibit Utility bedroom furniture; ‘We can supply your immediate demands from this stock on surrender of units.’ Yet at ‘The Bazaar’, in Bletchley Road, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Bollen were now putting their business to bed, for they were making plans to retire to a bungalow at Cold Hill, one of the beauty spots surrounding Bournemouth. When they first came to Bletchley there had been hardly a dozen houses between Bletchley and Fenny Stratford, but much new development would take place during their 25 years in business. Since their son was a Flying Officer in the R.A.F., and their daughter was presently serving in the W.A.A.F., the business would consequently now leave the family ownership, to be taken over from December 1st by Mr. E. Neal, of Wembley.

Under new management. - After the retirement of Mr. and Mrs. Bolton, from December 1st 1945 'The Bletchley Bazaar' became 'The Bazaar', run by Mr. E. Neal. - Bletchley Gazette

As well as two clerks, Beacon Brushes now had 50 vacancies for learners, machinists, etc., and at Old Bletchley G. Chandler required a boy or girl, aged 16 to18, as a grocery assistant. As for Mr. H. Sweetland, of 74, Duncombe Street, having previously been the district manager for United Dairies he was seeking a position in Bletchley, or the local district, since, after 3½ years of employment as chief cashier, he had been recently released from the Bletchley office of the Northampton Electric Light Co., due to the return of staff from the Forces. At a Thursday meeting in late November, Bucks County Council decided by 38 votes to 24 to reinstate all those employees who had been registered as conscientious objectors. However, they would only be employed for as long as ‘rendered obligatory by statute’, after which they might perhaps be interested in the various vacancies at Roots and Beacon Brushes. More interested in poaching staff from these firms was the managing director of Cooper, Turner and Co. Brush Manufacturers, the head office of which was situated at 6, Broad Street Place, London, E.C.2. Despite the factory works being located at Barking, he now locally advertised for a works manager, and could offer ‘A real and progressive opportunity to live man.’ One Thursday in early December Mr. Edward Cecil Weatherhead, ‘the grocer’, died at the age of 39. The eldest son of the well-known Bletchley family, he began his working life in the Co-op bakery but then left to join the L.M.S. railway, where he stayed for seven years. After running a poultry farm in Stoke Road for 12 months, he then bought a grocery store in Victoria Road, but 10 years later in 1940 he took over his mother’s shop in Bletchley Road. Married in 1928, he left a widow and two young boys, David and Terry. Another sad death would be that of Walter Terence Harrison, aged 59, who one Wednesday morning in late December suddenly died at his home, ‘Bowden’, in Denbigh Road. After employment at Market Harborough he came to Bletchley as the manager of the Bletchley branch of Lloyds Bank, and would duly occupy this position for 14 years. Apart from his usual employment, often playing in local concerts he was well known in the district as a banjo player, and his son, John, was now studying at the Royal Academy in London.



Having recently returned from Japanese captivity, Carl Moser had now resumed his journalistic profession, being, with responsibility for the editorial control, appointed a director of the Bletchley Gazette. Also making the news was the Bletchley Fish Co. which, at 18, Bletchley Road, had now re-opened their fried fish and chip department although, due to a shortage of oils and fat, they could not fry every night. No such limitations were affecting Beacon Brushes, however, for they presently had 50 vacancies for learners, machinists, and other positions, as well as for two clerks. Meanwhile, at the rival concern of James Root and Son, in Tavistock Street, girls were needed to learn the trade of paintbrush manufacture. Thirsty work perhaps, and in a spirited decision on Thursday, January 3rd Bletchley magistrates granted the full transfer of the off beer licence at 22, Park Street, from Miss Dorothy Gammage to Adolph Ament, the secretary of the Victoria Wine Co., where shop boys were now required. As the replacement for the recently deceased Walter Harrison, Mr. Richard Platten, aged 47, had now been appointed as the new manager of Lloyds Bank. Descended from a farming family in Norfolk, he had begun his career at Guildford, and then moved to Beaminster, Dorset. After military service during World War One he was next employed at the branch in Downham Market, to be transferred in 1921 to Cambridge where, in 1939, he gained promotion to clerk in charge of the Cattle Market Office. A keen sportsman, he was married, with one daughter. Following the retirement of Mr. and Mrs. Bollen, under the new ownership of Neal’s their former premises, ‘The Bazaar’, Bletchley Road, was now apparently ‘The shop for all domestic needs’, and could thereby supply tobacco, stationery, hardware, glass, china, and fancy goods. Elsewhere in Bletchley Road, at the detached nos. 38 and 40 there was an opportunity for a hairdressing proprietor, for on Thursday, January 24th the vacant freehold possession of a salon, and also a shop, would be auctioned at 3p.m. at the Conservative Club by Wigley and Johnson. Mr. T. Sipthorp was presently renting the living accommodation at 15s a week, and with the sale being in compliance with the instructions of the will of the late Mrs. E. Frost, the premises would be duly bought by Cowley and Wilson for £2,200. Presumably they had no hairdressing ambitions, as opposed to Mrs. Millicent Joyce, of Wilton Avenue, who now invited potential customers to ‘Have your hair done by a qualified London hairdresser. Send your name and address on a postcard.’ Yet elsewhere in the town there was competition not only from the Co-op, who would shortly require a young lady to take charge of their ladies hairdressing salon - ‘must be proficient in Eugene waving and in all other branches of the profession’ - but also Phyllis Coopers hairdressing salon at 37, Aylesbury Street, where customers might be interested to know that Miss Pamela Brett was currently in attendance. As for additional aspects of personal grooming, from 11a.m. to 8p.m. Mr. Frederick Henry, the tailor, now paid a visit to 5, Bletchley Road, every Thursday.

At the Co-op Hall, in Albert Street, on Saturday, January 26th ‘a cordial invitation’ was extended by the Bletchley and District Trades Council. This was to attend a talk on ‘Health Aspects of the Factories Act, 1937’, and would be given at 2.30p.m. by Mr. J. Tecey, H.M. District Inspector of Factories. However, such matters were now of little concern to Mr. Jasper Cook who, after 26 years of service, was to retire at the end of the month as the Bletchley general manager and engineer for the British Gas Light Co. Ltd. In consequence, on Tuesday, January 22nd Wigley and Johnson were instructed to auction his surplus furniture and effects at 83, Bletchley Road, adjoining the Gas Offices, and with the workmen and staff making a presentation, at a farewell ceremony held at the works his wife received a table lamp. Mr. Cook had originally come from Herne Bay, where he had been on the staff of the local gas company for several years, and later he became assistant engineer at Bedford Gas Light Co. When he arrived at Bletchley, in 1920 the price of gas, from the then Fenny Stratford Gas Light Co. Ltd., had been nearly 7s per 1,000cu. ft. but now it was little more than 5s! Following the purchase of the gas company in 1928 by the British Gas Light Co., having been promoted to engineer Mr. Cook then became the general manager, and during the war he would oversee many new additions to the works. These included purifiers, a charging machine, coal breakers, a generator, washer/scrubber, condensers, a new boiler, new pump, and a booster, and despite a shortage of man power, (with Army personnel and Italian P.O.W.s having to be variously employed), throughout the hostilities a full supply of gas was always maintained. At Bletchley Mr. Cook had been a prominent Freemason, and now in retirement he and his wife would move to Clacton, where he intended to indulge his leisure by fishing and playing bowls. As for his daughter, Rose, she was presently nursing at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. Mr. Cook’s successor would be Mr. W. Mulley, previously in charge of the British Gas Light Co. stations at Holywell, and Flint, in North Wales, and there would also be a new appointment for Mr. D. Blane, for after 23 years of service with the firm he and his wife were shortly to move to Freshwater, Isle of Wight, where Mr. Blane would take up a position as Assistant Engineer and Manager at the Company’s works. At an informal gathering of the employees, on Tuesday, April 30th he and his wife were therefore bade farewell, being respectively presented with a leather wallet and a silver plated cake tray.

His wife having died two weeks ago, on January William Hing, now aged 70, retired after nearly 25 years as the Bletchley Co-op grocery manager. He should have retired in 1942, but stayed on because of the wartime conditions. Born at Slapton, for a long while he lived in Leighton Buzzard and began with the Co-op in a local branch at the age of 14. Moving to Watford 4½ years later, in 1899 he married Louie Geeves, of Linslade, and becoming a member of the combined expeditionary force, which landed at Murmansk to protect the Allied interests, he received a commendation during World War One from General Ironside, for his role baking bread. After the war Mr. Hing moved to Bletchley, where he soon became manager of the Albert Street grocery store, and in recognition of his service to the Co-op, on Thursday, April 4th at the Co-op Hall, at the first meeting of the Departmental Branch and Shop Managers Association he would be presented with a silver mounted umbrella.

Offering ‘good wages’, the London Central Meat Co. at 21, Bletchley Road, required a ‘smart lad’, and of a similar business in the town Mr. C.W. Tookey, the butcher and grocer of 74, Bletchley Road, now wished ‘to thank all customers for their support during my absence.’ In fact many local men were now returning from the Forces, and of little surprise house building became a national concern. Therefore, intending to shortly reopen their works at Newton Longville the London Brick Company had the consequent need for brick drawers, brick setters, press operators - male and female - and general labourers, whilst at the Water Eaton works of Flettons there would be a competitive requirement for all classes of brickworkers, general labourers, youths and women. In fact many ex servicemen would find employment at the brickyards, and thereby also a use for their ex army kit, especially the greatcoats and also the gasmask containers, which proved very handy for carrying sandwiches! For those just starting out on their working life, a boy aged 14 to 16 was required for a bread round by Stevens, Aylesbury Street, and boys could also find work at the sawmill of Rowlands, where the firm also had the need for a shorthand typist. Soon the need would also arise for a young man for the grocery trade at the shop of G.E. Chandler, Old Bletchley, and girls, or women, could find part or full time employment at Ramsbothams. By the end of February, Kingsway Garages, High Street, had been appointed as the sole agents in North Bucks. for Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Talbot, and Commer, and in a few weeks they would open new showrooms opposite their present premises at 45/47/49 High Street, formerly Berwick House. Meanwhile, at The Garage, High Street, business also seemed buoyant, for Mrs. J. Haynes now required a daily help. From Monday, March 11th Miss Pamela Brett would again be in attendance at the hairdressing salon of Phyllis Cooper, at 37, Aylesbury Street, whilst of other employments the month would find the need for an office cleaner, from 7.30a.m. to 9a.m., Monday to Saturday, at the British Gas Light Co. Ltd., (83 Bletchley Road). They also required a youth as a gas fitter’s mate, a collector for their slot machines, and someone to assist him, and later, during June, a lad of school leaving age would be needed for the weighing office at the Gas Works. Full training would be given, but for those applicants who were unsuccessful then at nearby Metalins vacancies would soon be available on a 47 hour week for chemical workers. However, their routine would no doubt be interrupted by a fire at the premises on the evening of Wednesday, May, 29th when a corrugated iron and wood building, used as a boiler house and store for workmen’s clothes, was burnt out. After 27 years of service, in early March to mark his retirement a cheque for £60 was presented to Mr. W. Billingham, at the quarterly meeting of the Co-op. Having been appointed as the first full time secretary to the Society in November, 1918, he had been the general manager since 1923, and in further appreciation in early April he would be presented with a gramophone, record cabinet and 25 records at a Saturday social, at which Mrs. Billingham received a handbag. Another employee of a long standing service was Hubert Eldridge, who died at his home at 33, Cottingham Grove, in late March. Performing much useful work on the local Food Committee, he had been employed for 30 years in the offices of the General Federation of Trade Unions, firstly in London and then, due to the transfer during the war, at Holne Chase, whilst as for his earlier career, following the outbreak of World War One he served for five years in India and Mesopotamia. He then spent three years in Singapore, where he joined the Singapore Voluntary Army, but on contracting malaria he had to be invalided home.

At 61, Aylesbury Street, K.H. Axford could now offer stationery, toys, games, fancy goods etc., fishing tackle, greeting cards, children’s books, and maps but possessed of wider ambitions was Mr. N. Green, who now asked the Council if he could establish a public market at the rear of his premises in Bletchley Road. In early April, as recognition for his 50 years of service the C.W.S. board of directors presented an illuminated ‘appreciation’, in a leather folder, to George Adkins of ‘The Indus’, Buckingham Road. As a boy, on March 22nd, 1896 he had begun his working life in the C.W.S. warehouse in Leman Street, London, but during World War One would serve for two years with the artillery in Mesopotamia. After the war, on his appointment as traveller in the London Boot and Shoe Department he then came to Bletchley in 1922. The Bletchley Co-op Hardware and Furnishing Department now advertised that ‘With the Steady return to production of Domestic Goods it will be worth a visit to these Depts.’, since distempers, oil paints, linseed and turps substitute, and paints were all available, as well as paintbrushes. However, the production of brushes at Beacon Brushes would be adversely affected when, on Friday, May 3rd, a quantity of ‘bass’ caught fire. Fortunately the Bletchley and Woburn Sands Fire Brigades were swiftly summoned, and the fire was soon brought under control. Yet the following Monday another blaze then broke out, in in which large quantities of scarce bassine and coca fibre would perish. As the first indications, whilst alone during the lunch hour Mr. Ashley Elmer had heard ‘popping’ noises, (which in fact were caused by the cracking of glass in the store shed), and having urgently attached the works hose to the hydrant in Denbigh Road, he then sent word to Mr. Maclaren to telephone the police. Meanwhile, being later assisted by Mr. Rose he tackled the blaze until the Fire Brigade arrived, with further help being provided by volunteers from the M. A. Cook brushworks, including two of the directors, Mr. Jack Cook, and Mr. Arthur Cook. Assisted by soldiers and P.O.W.s the firemen toiled away in 24 hour relays, but even so the smoke became so dense that traffic had to be guided along the Watling Street. Then, another tragic event befell the company when, after 42 years of marriage, on Good Friday the wife of Mr. A. Cook, a director of the firm, died at The Limes, Staple Hall Road. She was Mrs. Mabel Cook, aged 62, who had been the daughter of Mr. R. Dunkley, a well known saddler in the town.

Permission had been recently sought by Mr. C. Dimmock to develop, as a retail shop, a store building at the junction of Shenley Road and Buckingham Road, and although this would be allowed by the Council the permit was for a maximum of only three years, as a precaution against any interference being caused to plans for the scheduled new developments in the area. A similar permit would then be issued to Mr. H. Wardman, for a small building in a corner of the market field for use in a printing business. At The Corner House, Bletchley Road, Mrs. D. Perrin had now been registered to sell ice cream, and also successful was the application by Mr. V. Bunyan to convert 42, Aylesbury Street into a café. He might therefore be interested in the sale of various cooking equipment held on Wednesday, May 15th at the former British Restaurant, which included two solid fuel, ‘but converted to gas’, Yorkshire Range Units. Also to be auctioned by Wigley and Johnson were a hot plate for £24, and a gas café set for £10 10s, and of the 10 lots, nine would be purchased by Mr. O. Tramantini, and Mr. N. Green, for Greenways Café. In early May Walter Pacey, the son of the late Thomas Pacey, a local painter and decorator, died at the age of 57 in America, where he had worked as a florist. Having left Bletchley at the age of 19, as a football player for the Fenny Stars and Rovers he soon introduced the game to his adopted district, and in 1914 he returned to England for three months to visit his brother, Lawrence. Another sad death was that of Charles Haywood, who at the age of 83 died at Hounslow on Monday, May 27th. Having for many years been a warden and church councillor at St. Martin’s, for nearly 18 years he had worked as a blacksmith in Denmark Street, but left Bletchley in 1928 for Chalfont St. Peters, from where he later moved to Cromwell Road, Hounslow. By the end of May, having approved plans for a gas plant house at the Gasworks, for the British Gas Light Co. Ltd., the Council also gave permission for Mr. Price to erect a garage at 202, Buckingham Road, as well as allowing Harris Wardman Printing Co. to put up a temporary building in Oliver Road. However, there was sad news for the Blackmore Fashion Co. when, at 1, Mount Street, London, W.1, the managing director, Mr. William Blackmore, died after a long illness at the age of 49. The firm had origins in North West London, and having taken over the business from his uncles, in 1940 to escape the Blitz he transferred the company to the old Fenny Stratford Town Hall, in the High Street. He lived with his wife, Vera, and their two children, Jeanette and Roy, in Woburn Sands, and when in 1944 they moved back to London, he would then divide his time between there and Fenny Stratford.

Priced at 27s 6d each, Bletchley Co-op had now received a stock of strong deckchairs with ‘sturdy frames’. They could additionally offer Junior models at 18s 9d, and also on the subject of leisure at 51, Bletchley Road, Williamsons could supply amplifiers for any indoor or outdoor event. As for Weatherheads, as well as their shop at 73, Bletchley Road, from Monday, May 27th they would also trade from premises at 33, Aylesbury Street holding, to coincide with the re-opening of television programmes, television demonstrations on Friday, June 7th. On the following day, at the Assembly Rooms of the Conservative Club they would then hold further television demonstrations which, being watched by an audience of around 600 people, featured the Victory Celebrations in London. In fact the spectacle no doubt encouraged an increased demand for television sets, for which, despite the cost, there was now a waiting list. Including those from the Northampton Brewery Co., and Flitton and Co., Bedford, the firm of Stanifords, in Bletchley Road, were currently able to supply ales and stouts, in bottles and casks, from their premises in Bletchley Road, but at 86, Bletchley Road the premises were now under new management, for Mr. W.H. Thurlow had sold his fish business to the Co-op. Being survived by one son and a daughter, at his home in Denmark Street on Saturday, June 29th James Page, a special constable, and one of Bletchley’s oldest tradesmen, died aged 75. As a newly married couple, he and his wife moved to the town 55 years ago, and having set up as a shoe maker he had continued in this business until around last October. During the First World War, in which he lost two sons, he served as a special constable, and for similar service in World War Two he had been recently presented with the special constable certificate. Now back in ‘civvies’, Arthur Holdom was able to once again offer his expertise tuning and repairing pianos, ‘Any distance’, and also returning to ‘civvy street’ was Mr. J. Brookes. With many years experience he was a professional photographer, and, having now been released from his photographic instructional duties in the Forces, had opened a photo studio at 43, Bletchley Road. However, for the thousands of service personnel who were presently returning to domestic life, the financial realities were emphasised when, by the authority of a permit dated 18th June, granted by the Minister of Fuel and Power, the directors of the British Gas Light Co. Ltd. announced that, from the reading of the meters for the June quarter, the price of gas would be increased by 2d to 15d a therm. Nevertheless, business remained sufficiently brisk for vacancies to be created for stokers, stoker-labourers, and general labourers, and later in the year a works maintenance fitter would also be required, ‘able to do acetylene welding and forge work.’

For a young lady aged 14 to 16, a job opportunity was presently available in the footwear department of J.E. Wells, in Aylesbury Street. An assistant was also needed for Gilroy’s dress shop, whilst for boys, a youth was needed to train as a shoe repairer at Hill’s shoe shop. Elsewhere, clean, homely lodgings were required by a saw mechanic employed at Rowlands, and on Saturday, July 27th for Mr. C. Pacey, the Aylesbury Street ironmonger, there was cause for celebration when the wedding was solemnised of Mary, his only daughter, with Roger Roberts of Baldock, who was presently on ‘demob’ leave from the R.A.F. However, for the Pacey family the mood was then tempered by the death on Saturday, August 17th of Mr. Charles Brooks, aged 85, at his home of 79, Bletchley Road. In 1912 he had married the daughter of Mr. H. Pacey, the ironmonger, and for many years he would work as a painter and decorator in the town, where he lived all his life. A keen and well known bowls enthusiast, in 1941 at the age of 79 he had won the Allder Cup competition at Bletchley Conservative Club, whilst in other pursuits he was for many years the solo cornet player for the old Fenny Stratford Town Band. At ‘The Bazaar’, 51a, Bletchley Road, E.S. Neal had recently received a large consignment of distemper - ‘fawn, canary, green etc.’ - but it was perhaps red that the employees of M.A. Cook intended to paint the town, when, on Saturday, August 24th, about 130 of their number, plus many of their friends, enjoyed an outing to Southsea, where visits to warships would be included. The party had left during the early morning in four coaches, and also on motoring matters Wadsworth and Silvester Ltd. could presently offer a 1935 Lagonda 30h.p. saloon for £600, jerry cans at 5s each, and part worn tyres, ‘3.25 x 19’, at 30s each. As for Cowley and Wilson, agents for Bedford trucks and vans, Vauxhall, Morris, Austin, and Ford, they declared that ‘any make of car you wish to purchase can be dealt with’, and to further keep the wheels turning at Pacey and Co., in Denbigh Road, intelligent youths were needed for spark plug manufacture, as also for light engineering employment. The positions would pay 9d an hour aged 15, and 1s an hour aged 18, although comparable amounts were also being offered to young girls and boys, aged 15 - 16, for light work at the County Salvage Co., 128, Buckingham Road. At 28, Napier Street Mr. Freeman continued to offer a leather repair service. He could also supply leather handbags, and one of these might have perhaps been an appropriate gift when, one Saturday, the wedding took place of Winifred Shepley, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. Shepley, of Glossop, Derbyshire, and James Mortimer, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer, of Victoria Road. A popular member of the Conservative Club, James worked as a collector for the Northampton Electric Power Co., and his bride, who had lived with Mrs. Cook at 30, Westfield Road, had first come to Bletchley in 1938. Having made the handsome three tier wedding cake, she worked as a confectioner for the Bletchley and District Co-op in the bakery in Park Street - for which the Co-op had now received permission to use for boot repairs! As for the Old Bletchley grocery branch of the Co-op, this, managed by Mr. S. Cook, had been awarded 1st prize in a window dressing competition, organised between 41 shops by the North Bucks Joint Co-operative Education Committee. Of the other well known groceries in the town, in September Mr. H. Moss, the managing director of Messrs. W.B. Moss and Sons, in Aylesbury Street, presented a cheque to Mr. J. Plumb, in recognition of his long service with the company. Aged 14, in 1894 Mr. Plumb had begun as a grocer’s boy with the late Mr. J. Coles, making his deliveries on horseback, and when three years later the business was taken over by Messrs. W.B. Moss and Sons - the Hitchin grocers and provision merchants - he then joined them.

Owing to a shortage of bricks, in early October the Northampton Electric Light Co. was granted permission to erect a temporary building for a period of 12 months. Here the sub station equipment at Water Eaton would be accommodated, with the purpose of the facility being to serve the new housing development. In fact the residents might then provide lucrative custom for whoever purchased the corner shop and house at 2, Duncombe Street, plus the adjoining shop and house at 2, Bletchley Road, which, by the direction of the surviving trustee of the late Mr. B. Carpenter, would, together with five freehold brick and slated dwellings - 4,6,8,78,80 Duncombe Street, be auctioned at the Conservative Club on Thursday, November 7th, at 3p.m. At the end of October the Co-op introduced a 44 hour week, with the grocery, butchery, confectionery, nursery and tobacconist shops now closing at 5.30p.m., instead of 6p.m. No doubt this was good news for those members of staff who were now returning from the Forces, and in further good news they were entertained at a Welcome Home party at the Assembly Hall on Saturday, October 26th. The music was provided by Lew Keay’s Embassy Orchestra. 107 men and three women had been called up, but tragically five employees had been killed; Guardsman Thomas Barden died in hospital on February 23rd, 1943, Private D. Bull died of wounds on May 6th, 1943, Private F. Eastaff drowned at sea whilst a Japanese P.O.W., A. King died whilst a Japanese P.O.W., and Fusilier Frank Breedon was killed in action May 10th, 1943. During early November, Mr. A.E. Harrington was granted the use of a woodwork shop at the rear of 3, Victoria Road. However, this was only for a period of three years, although of a more extended longevity was the service of Mr. J. Eames, of Staple Hall Road, who, having after his first 50 years of employment been presented with a Westminster clock, had now recently retired after 59 years of employment with the timber firm of Rowlands. In fact his father had also been an employee, and as the present foreman carpenter his son had worked at the firm for some 30 years. Mr. Eames had begun working at Rowlands at the age of 10, and in fact in order to reach the bench he had to stand on three boxes! His first job was to make cases for packing tin plate, but later he progressed to higher grades in carpentry, and for many years would specialise mainly in wheelwright and lathe work. Having originally extended from 6a.m. to 6p.m., the hours of work were now 7.30a.m. to 5p.m., but despite his long years of toil, as a means to supplement his pension Mr. Eames intended to still work for one day a week, although not perhaps on December 23rd, when he would celebrate his golden wedding. Due to the illness of the regular employee, for one month at the Garden Café, 97, Bletchley Road, a cook was now required to provide daytime relief, and there was also relief for some of the competitors in the recent window dressing competition, organised by the Bletchley, Newport Pagnell, and Wolverton Co-ops, when, one Tuesday evening, prizes were presented to the winners. Indeed, it would also be at the Co-op Hall that the Bletchco Players staged the one act play ‘The Cage’, in which the producer, Tom Cloran, appeared, and in fact the enjoyable production had already won 1st place in a drama competition, held at Banbury.

At ‘The Bazaar’, Bletchley Road, local residents were now invited to shop early for Christmas. However, of hardly the expected response thieves then broke the large plate glass window, and stole a quantity of cigarettes. As for the other stock, of this they seemed less impressed, despite the inclusion of not only a recent consignment of ‘Pinchin’s Hard Gloss Paint and Naylor’s Distemper’, but also a good selection of handbags, lighters, cigarette cases, tobacco, sundries, plastics and fancy goods of all kinds. For the more law abiding of citizens, for those wishing to earn some money for Christmas a variety of local vacancies were on offer, ranging from a fish rounds man at 97, Bletchley Road, ‘able to drive’, to a shorthand typist at Metalins, a young lady shorthand typist and clerk for the showroom and offices at the British Gas Light Co., an invoice clerk, with ‘some typing experience’, at James Root, and - approval for the use of the premises having been granted for one year - at 28, Buckingham Road, (next to the Eight Bells), a book keeper, to start up a set of books and keep accounts for a small business at Lithmans tailors and outfitters, ‘Specialists in Control Commission Outfitting’ - ‘All work carried out promptly by our staff of London Tailors.’ In fact one of the partners was Alfred Lithman, of 9, Denbigh Street, London S.W.1. The Co-op had positions for bakery rounds men, whilst at the Castle Wool Stores there was the need for both a junior assistant, aged about 18, and a girl of 14 for shop and clerical work. Those preferring a more manual toil could answer the advert for shift workers, required at the Retort House at the gas works, and at Charles Franklin a lorry driver was needed for coal deliveries. Elsewhere, a girl aged 14 - 18 could train as a shoe sales assistant at E.T. Hill, where a boy was needed to train as a shoe repairer, and vacancies were also on offer at Flettons, Water Eaton, where men were required to train as brick burners. Additionally, the firm required brick yard hands, bricklayers, a garage fitter, and chauffeur, and in fact as an indication that the economy was becoming more buoyant, the brick companies had now submitted proposals to dig clay from large areas of local land. Flettons were planning to excavate at Water Eaton and Skew Bridge, and perhaps to enclose these workings they might be interested in the 1,000 angle fencing stakes ‘6 ft long, notched for wire, 1½in by ¼in angle, 2s’, being offered for sale by Charles Head at the ‘Denmark Street Forges’, where a good selection of wrought iron gates of all sizes could also be obtained.

For the musically minded, Christmas bargains to include second hand pianos, £11 - £90, violins, banjos, ‘ukes.’, spares, etc., were currently available at the premises of the Music Box, at 89, Bletchley Road, where there was also a service for the repair, re-polishing, and overhaul of all types of musical instruments. Meanwhile, Gilroy, 101 - 103, Bletchley Road, had a selection of outsize coats, suits and dresses - with ‘customers own material made up in our work rooms by experienced dressmakers’ - and at the Bletchley and District Co-op, where a male clerk for a 40 hour week was needed, the furnishing and hardware department could offer toys, British made clocks of oak, (‘in 5 modern designs’), a large selection of Utility chairs, kitchen cabinets, and also loom chairs, which beneficially were ‘Now Unit-free’. Elsewhere, Fortescues at Fenny Stratford required a shop assistant at 80, Aylesbury Street, ‘able to dress windows and be generally useful’, and they additionally needed a motor cycle and cycle mechanic. They also required a book keeper, whole or part time, although such matters were now beyond Mr. Thomas Dimmock who, having retired about eight years ago, after being employed for 45 years at Mr. Benford’s butcher’s shop, died on Sunday, December 8th. He was aged 79. From Wing, he had moved to Bletchley as a child, and for about 70 years would live at his home in Denmark Street. At a public enquiry, conducted by Mr. W. Lockhart of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, the subject concerned a communal wash house for four cottages. The hearing was held because the Council had objected to the building being converted into a cycle repair shop, whereupon Mr. W. Fortescue appealed against their decision. As the owner of 66-72, Aylesbury Street, which adjoined his garage business, since the wash house had not been in use for some 18 months he had begun to use the facility for cycle repairs and storage. However, in July he was then informed by the Council that planning permission was necessary, and this could not be granted on the grounds that an industrial use of the building would ‘injure’ the amenity of the adjoining cottages. Nevertheless, with one of their number being happy to accept a lower rent, the four tenants were willing to reach an agreement with Mr. Fortescue, who in three cases was quite prepared to install a gas copper in the kitchens. In the event the inquiry was adjourned, pending the outcome of the inspector’s report to the Minister. Permission had also been refused for Mr. Coggin of West Winds, Phoebe Lane, Wavendon, to convert 7,9,11 and 13, High Street into a café and restaurant, for on seeking the advice of the Council the local Food Control Committee had not received a favourable response.

With the party season now approaching, for partygoers personal grooming was the province of the Bletchley and District Co-op hairdressing department, which could offer no less than the ‘Permalette’ machineless wave - ‘It ranks as the highest achievement in machineless waving today.’ At Pacey’s, the men’s hairdresser in Bletchley Road, ‘best prices’ were being offered for second hand Rolls and Wilkinson razors, and a clean shaven and smart appearance would no doubt be essential for those hopefuls seeking a job interview which, as the year came to a close, included that for a reliable youth to learn the pharmaceutical trade at Ruston chemist. Good wages and full training were offered, although candidates might soon be tempted by the rival new pharmacy of National Co-op Chemists Ltd., who were currently inviting applications from qualified pharmacists for the appointment as branch manager. The year then drew to an alphabetical conclusion when, in a children’s competition, the Castle Wool Stores offered prizes to those participants who could find 26 selected articles in their shop window display. Each item began with a different letter of the alphabet, and a prize was offered for both boys and girls in two sections, 5 years to 10 years, and 10 years to 14 years. Entries were to be sent to a local newspaper. On the afternoon of Thursday, December 19th A.G. Cowlishaw, in Aylesbury Street, then became the scene of an unusual ceremony, when the draw took place for 36 pairs of nylons. During the previous three weeks 950 hopefuls had sent in their names, and - with quite a few of the applicants being present - at 3p.m. Brian Tew, the grandson of Mr. Cowlishaw, drew the winning numbers from a specially made drum. Miss K. Carter, of the Red House, would be the first lucky recipient.



On Monday, January 6th a small and distinguished company braved a blizzard for the opening of the new showrooms of Tompkins and Moss. These were situated opposite their Kingsway Garage, at Fenny Stratford, and on an acre of land at the rear of the premises plans were in hand to build a repair garage, in which all the latest equipment would be installed. Capable of displaying six cars, the new addition had formerly been the shop of Berwick Brothers, and was then used during the war by firstly the Ministry of Works, and later the Army, for billeting. Purchased in October, 1945 by Mr. R. Tompkins, the property had now been completely renovated, and as a suitable feature at the opening would be ‘Old Faithful’, the 1941 Humber Super Snipe staff car of Field Marshall Lord Montgomery. (The car was later displayed at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, in more recent years at the Museum of Army Transport, Flemingate, Beverley, and presently at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford). From El Alamein to Berlin, throughout all the victorious campaigns the vehicle had provided transport for Field Marshall Montgomery, but it would now be Mr. R. Tompkins who stood on the footplate, to address the potential customers of his firm. This had become a limited company in 1941, and apart from Mr. Tompkins, on their return from the Forces Harry Tompkins and William Moss would also be appointed as directors. With the company being the main agent for the Rootes Group, of the three cars sold at the opening of the new showrooms the first would be a Sunbeam Talbot saloon, in maroon and chrome, and appropriately the purchaser was Mr. Edgar Daniells, of Loughton, since, having served his apprenticeship with the company, (at their garage opposite), it was he who had sold their first car 34 years ago - and that went to Loughton! As for another of those present, Mr. Hedley Clarke recalled that his association with the premises began 33 years ago when, as a boy, he had served behind the counter of Berwick Brothers. Thus it had given him great pleasure to eventually buy the property, and to then insist that Tompkins and Moss should become the subsequent owners.

Aged 70, John King of 51, Windsor Street, now retired after 52 years of cobbling at the same shop, owned by Mr. J. Flint in Bletchley Road. Crippled from birth in both feet, he had been born at Water Eaton, but as a boy moved to Stoke Hammond, where he would later work with his father on the farm of Mr. Turney. When John was aged 17 his father died, and his uncles and aunts then raised £10 to have him apprenticed for three years as a boot repairer to the late Frank Hill, a position for which he was paid 2s 6d a week for the first year, 5s for the second and 7s 6d for the third. At 25s a week, at the end of the apprenticeship he was then kept on by Mr. Hill, and so began an association that would last until Mr. Hill’s retirement in 1928, whereupon the ownership of the business passed for about 12 years to Amies, and then to Mr. Flint. In fact, passing on his skills to his apprentice, (Mr. H. Eames, of Duncombe Street), Mr. King would cobble for both, whilst as for men with lesser skills, part time positions for those ‘with a slight knowledge of shoe repairs’ were presently available at E.T. Hill, which from March 1st would be known as A.G. Irons Ltd.

'Old Faithful' may now be seen at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. - J. Taylor

‘Fill the ships to fill the shops’, announced the Bletchley and District Co-op, and in the Co-op Hall on Friday, January 17th ‘A Topical Problem of Foremost Importance’ would be discussed at 7.30p.m. by James Bowker, of the Central Office of Information. Indeed, the economic needs of the country were now of the foremost importance, and the various job vacancies in the town were of especial interest to Mr. E. Fryer who, having previously been at Reading, was now in charge of the Bletchley employment exchange, as the replacement for Mr. K. Lambert, who had been transferred to Chesham. As for those seeking employment, a book keeper was needed at A. Pollard, Bletchley Road, a man for circular saw work, plus a strong lad, at J. Root and Sons, a competent motor mechanic on a 5 day week - ‘London rate and commission according to ability’ - at the Central Garage of Fred Field, and a young man to train as a carpenter and joiner at Flettons - ‘Pay at full labouring rates until proficient.’ With the incentive of ‘Free transport from surrounding villages’, Beacon Brushes were seeking learners, machinists, dressers etc., and elsewhere J. Tetley and Co., of Osborne Street, required women and girls for packing duties, ‘full time, few part time vacancies. 8a.m. - 6p.m., 5 days.’ They also needed a part time cleaner, 8a.m. - 11.30a.m., whilst perhaps of interest to those hoping to start their own business might be the second hand lathe that the firm had for sale; ‘6 inch centres, 18 inch traverse. Best offer.’ Also useful in a workshop would be the reconditioned water grindstone - ‘all iron frame and trough, new 18in pre-war stone, handle and treadle, £7’ - for sale at Sewell’s Cycle Shop, Church Street, whilst for the maintenance of tools, Pollards could offer a prompt and efficient service grinding and overhauling all types of hand mowers, shears, etc.

By the end of January Mr. Garner, of the building firm Garner and Son, had been elected vice president of the Aylesbury and District Association of Building Trades and Employers, the decision having been taken at the annual meeting of the Association at Aylesbury. Then on the first day of February, from 8p.m. to 11.45p.m. the Grand Dance was held at Wilton Hall of the (W.O. Peake Ltd.) Rodexicon Cricket Club. Music was by the Rhythm Aces dance band, and on the same day at 3, Victoria Road the business trading as ‘Margery’ (M.F. Harrington), (which had been established in 1937), began a new existence as Harrington’s Handicrafts - ‘The small shop with a very large stock.’ As purveyors of handicrafts, materials, and modellers accessories etc., they had astutely invited applications to form a model makers club, but at 61, Aylesbury Street, Mr. K.H. Axford was rivalling their business acumen, for he was soon to be appointed as the sole distributor in the district for Manufax Engineering outfits, ‘for the serious model maker’. Having been established for about 12 years, the manufacturers of industrial electrical heating equipment, Barlow, Whitney Ltd., of Coombe Road, Neasden Lane, London N.W., had recently submitted plans for a factory on the Watling Street, and these were duly considered at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday, February 11th. Intending to concentrate their heavier work at Bletchley, the company hoped to initially employ 25 people, although for the meanwhile the prospects for industrial output seemed bleak, since industrial consumers of electricity were now asked to use the supply only for food production and essential plant maintenance. In fact there had been an electricity cut in the Bletchley area from 8.12a.m. to 8.32a.m. on Friday, February 7th, which perhaps affected the paper pattern manufacturers, Blackmore Fashion Co. Ltd., the marriage of whose secretary, Mary Moss, was solemnised at Simpson church on Saturday, February 15th. Mary was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Moss who, having last March left the White Horse, Stony Stratford, were now the proprietors of the Swan Hotel. As for the groom, he was Stanley Regen, the only son of Mrs. Regen and the late Mr. Regen, of St. Marks Crescent, Regents Park, London.

In the King’s Bench Division, on Wednesday, February 19th Mr. J. Brookes, aged 30, of Drayton Road, was awarded £1,500 damages against the London Passenger Transport Board. During his early career he had been an advertising and industrial photographer and commercial photographer in Birmingham. However, in 1935 he then joined the R.A.F. photographic section and, having as a schoolboy reached the finals of the Midland Counties Schoolboys Championship, he would later in the year again exploit his skills by boxing as a featherweight for the R.A.F., not only winning the Lord Wakefield gold medal, but also representing the R.A.F. against the Army. In 1942 he gained a mention in despatches for his aerial photography, being also commended for making a ‘considerable contribution’ to R.A.F. photographic work, but his abilities were suddenly curtailed in August, 1945, when, including a fractured skull, he sustained severe injuries whilst travelling on an underground train. Having been standing, he was thrown through the open door of the carriage when the train gave a violent lurch, and although he had considered continuing his R.A.F. career, (having reached the rank of Flight Sergeant in the photographic section), because the incident had left him with double vision he was consequently unable to continue with his highly specialised work. Presently receiving medical attention, he had therefore been discharged from the Service in June, 1946, but at least he could now set up a portrait and press photography business in Bletchley, having been awarded substantial damages by a judge, who ruled that responsibility for the accident lay with the Transport Board. Thus they got their just desserts, as did the Bentima Co. Ltd. of 19, Bletchley Road, when granted permission for their premises to be registered for the manufacture and sale of ice cream. Mr. Luing Cowley, a director of the Cowley and Wilson garage, and Mr. R. Tompkins, the managing director of Tompkins, Moss and Co. Ltd., were now standing as Conservative candidates for the forthcoming B.U.D.C. elections. Aged 51, Mr. Tompkins was a native of Dunstable and, interspersed by Army service during World War One, had been employed for a long while at the Vauxhall works. He then started a garage business in Dunstable, and later came to Bletchley to re-open the former High Street garage as the Kingsway Garage, opposite to which the new showrooms had been recently opened. As for Mr. Cowley, who was aged 24, he had been demobbed last May as a Flight Lieutenant. During the war, in the North African campaign he flew Spitfires and Hurricanes, but would be later transferred to instructor duties in Rhodesia, where he was to meet his future wife. On the night of Friday, February 28th the fire brigade was called to Greenways café, Bletchley Road, when the fish frying department caught fire. Fortunately only slight damage was caused, and any electrical systems could no doubt be repaired by the electrical contractors Ritchie and Co., of 109, Bletchley Road, for whom ‘no electrical installation is too large or too small - distance is no object.’ In fact they had now been appointed as the accredited dealers for Radiomobile, automobile radio, and were soon to also acquire the business of The Mid Western Electrical Co. (Leighton Buzzard) Ltd. 17, Old Road Linslade. Thereby they could offer their services in Leighton Buzzard and the surrounding district, and also cleaning up were Weatherheads (H.C. Weatherhead), who would be appointed as agents for Hoover vacuum cleaners; ‘Supplies are limited but demonstrations will be given and orders taken for early delivery.’ Having retired after 24 years on the management committee of the Bletchley Co-op, one Tuesday in early March a presentation was held at the quarterly meeting for Mr. A. Hill, of 87, Western Road. As for another long standing association with local employment, this sadly came to an end on Thursday, March 6th, when Mrs. Clara Field died at 10, Simpson Road. Born 76 years ago at Aspley Guise, she had been one the old Buckinghamshire lacemakers.

In the canteen of the Wico Pacey factory, in Denbigh Road, at 7.30p.m. on Friday, and Saturday, March 28th, 29th the Castlethorpe Dramatic Society presented ‘Double or Quit’, a farce in three acts. Proceeds were for the sports club, a facility which perhaps might be joined by those young boys and girls applying to join the firm, after leaving school at Easter. Good opportunities and excellent wages were offered for light engineering work and spark plug assembly, and for females ‘Union rates plus production bonus’ would be paid for full or part time. The company also had a vacancy for a female office clerk, with preferably short hand and typing skills, and elsewhere a female school leaver was needed as an assistant at the Kandy Stores. As for work of an entirely different nature, a boiler man or stoker could find employment at James Root and Son, at £4 10s a week. At 83, Bletchley Road Mrs. Mulley required domestic help for two hours a day, four days a week, Cowley and Wilson needed an experienced mechanic, a strong lad could be of benefit to Bridge Granaries, Victoria Road, the position of assistant at the Bletchley Fish Co., Railway Approach, was presently available, and at the Industrial Magneto Co. an ‘intelligent youth’ could find interesting work in the Bakelite and Plastic Moulding Department.

Doggy business was now afoot at 41, Leon Avenue, where Cocker Spaniel puppies - ‘6 weeks old’ - were offered for sale by Mr. Flemons, who proudly announced their pedigree as being ‘grand specimens by Springbank Elmhurst Gay’, winner of over 200 awards. No doubt such prestige helped to put the business on the right tracks, as did, at the beginning of April, the latest 00 gauge model railway accessories at Neal’s Bazaar - ‘watch out for electric train sets soon’ - where, offering ‘modelcraft’ plans and planbook, and Astra Galleon and Wilson lorry kits, a model section had just opened. At Rowlands, Mr. Eversden had now been appointed as the new office manager, and the firm needed two intelligent youths, respectively for the stores and for general office duties. Two sawyers were also required, with, following the firm’s appeal to landowners that ‘If desirous of disposing of your windfallen trees, please communicate with Rowland Bros., Timber Merchants, Bletchley’, the potential of being kept gainfully employed. Also at Rowlands, in April a Westminster chiming clock was presented by the staff and employees to Mr. S. Rowland, who in 1936 had single handedly taken over the company when his partner, Mr. Lailey Rowland, retired. In 1942 he then stayed on as executive director when the business passed to James Latham Ltd., the firm from which he now received a cheque to commemorate his association with the company. After the presentation he then entertained the assembly to a social in a local pub, with his son, Peter, recording the proceedings with a cine camera. Regarding Mr. Fortescues recent appeal, to use the communal wash house of his properties in Aylesbury Street as a cycle repair shop, during the month the Minister of Town and Country Planning duly gave permission, although the change of use would be only allowed for a period of 10 years, with the additional provisos that no machinery would be installed in the building, and that the existing doorway on the south side into the yard was bricked up. By early May local vacancies in the town included that for a chief storekeeper, ‘able to control staff’, at the Industrial Magneto Co., a young lady for a 40 hour week as an usherette at the Studio, an engine fitter, ‘good all-round man’, able to do reboring and small lathe work’, at the Kingsway Garage of Tompkins, Moss and Co., persons to repair tea chests at Tetleys, and a chauffeur/handyman, at Simpson, for Mr. Mells, ‘Apply office, Flettons Ltd., Water Eaton.’ Should any of these positions offer evening hours, then this would seem ideal for two students who, ‘resident in Bletchley’, had advertised their expectations as ‘anything considered.’ Other vacancies would include that for a waitress at the Garden Café, a sales lady at A.G. Irons, a junior assistant, male or female, at Wilkinson’s groceries in Victoria Road, and a cleaner at the Post Office garage in Duncombe Street, a position for which 91s would be paid for a five day week, 7.45a.m. to 5.45p.m. At Smiths Bookshop a young lady was required for the library, whilst for the bookstall a girl aged between 14 and 16 was needed, as also a youth aged 16 to 18 to learn shop and news work. However, should any of these opportunities seem too humdrum, then at least for women and girls the more adventurous could apply to the Skegness Steam Laundry Ltd., which enticed them to ‘Come and enjoy yourself at the seaside.’

In a move consequent to Mr. Wigley leaving the firm, and becoming principal of Messrs. Wigley and Son, auctioneers and estate agents, of Winslow, the title of the Bletchley auctioneers and estate agents Messrs. Wigley and Johnson had now been changed to Messrs. W.S. Johnson, with Mr. W. Johnson assuming full control. However, still intact was the business of the Co-op, where the wages bill presently totalled £1,070 a week. With the membership standing at 7,523, £352,750 had been the total sum for the trade last year, whilst for the quarter just published the Committee of the Bletchley and District Co-op reported a further substantial trading increase, with cash sales of £93,172, as opposed to £82,373 in the previous quarter. In fact there was a potential for further sales, with the recent arrival of a stock of fancy glassware, hard gloss paint, galvanised buckets, and baths, as also the soon to be acquired Cotswold Range of Utility bedroom suites in limed oak, each with ‘a bedstead to match.’ Towards the end of May, at £2 5s a week an intelligent youth, aged 16 to 17, was needed at the Gas Works, High Street, for weighbridge and general clerical duties, and at Bletchley Printers Ltd., requiring some office experience a position awaited a young man as an invoice clerk. Meanwhile, a vacancy had arisen at the London Brick Co. for an office wise young lady, ‘typing essential’, but for young ladies without typing skills James Root and Son needed girls and women to work full or part time on ‘productive processes’, which would pay from 1s 2d to 1s 6d an hour. However, there was bad news for those children aged under 13 who were hoping to make some money, for by a notice from Buckinghamshire County Council it was stated that, consequent to the raising of the upper limit of the compulsory school age to 15, from April 1st changes in the law had meant that no child may be employed who was under 13, the limit having previously been 12. With the premises situated at Water Eaton Mills and Orchard Mills, the milling business of his late father was now being carried on by Eric Smith, who on Saturday, June 28th at St. Mary’s Church married Janet Staniford, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Staniford, of Beacon House, Bletchley Road. Being the treasurer of the daughter church at Water Eaton, Mr. Smith had served in the photographic section of the R.A.F. for five years, and for seven years his bride had been in the A.T.S. Prior to flying to Southern Ireland for their honeymoon, the couple held their wedding reception at Coronation Hall, where having gathered her unmarried friends around her Janet threw them her bouquet of lilies, since by tradition whoever caught the flowers would be married within a year. Thus this potential might await Miss N. Hale, of Derby, who was presently studying at London University. Dressmaking orders could now be received by Mrs. Walker at 50, Napier Street, and if she wished to expand the business then ‘a fairly large workroom’, suitable for a small light industrial concern, was available near Bletchley station at 25s a week; Apply Lithmans, 28, Buckingham Road. Yet Lithmans, ‘Specialists in Control Commission Outfitting’, were also in the tailoring trade and could carry out alterations and repairs at 2, Bletchley Road, next to the Park Hotel. Then adding to the rivalry, at 9a.m. on Thursday, July 10th Gilroy’s would begin a sale of dresses, costumes, coats etc., with ‘a number of garments at half-coupon rate for early buyers’ However, should Mrs. Walker start tearing her hair out with all this competition, then a trip to Dorothea’s, at 47, Bletchley Road, might prove beneficial, where an experienced ladies hairdresser was now required. Regarding the alleged nuisance of noise, smoke, and dust from the ‘coffee factory’, a petition had been recently raised by the residents of the Osborne Street district, and on making enquiries the Bletchley Medical Officer was informed that with a dust extraction machine on order, the firm intended to eventually transfer their operation to new premises in Denbigh Road. Pollution might also have been a problem from the local brickworks, of which Flettons, at Water Eaton, presently had a vacancy for not only a junior clerk and an invoice clerk, both to be good typists, but also an experienced maintenance electrician.

During August, Mrs. W. Gaskin would sell her confectionery and tobacconist business at 71, Aylesbury Street to Mr. R. Smith, whilst for James F. Smith the company had now acquired the goodwill of the business at Bridge Granaries, following the death of William Brinkler who, with probate granted to his widow, and also Charles Brinkler, of Cobbs Mill, Hurstpierpoint, left £10,364 8s 7d. Also ending a local association was Eric Thomas Ridding Wilkinson who, leaving a widow and a son, died aged 64 at Northampton hospital on Thursday, August 7th. He had been ill for some time. A native of Yorkshire, in 1932 he came to Bletchley to takeover the Victoria Road premises of Cutlers Stores which, now continuing to trade as Wilkinsons, required a capable senior male assistant. The vacancy, ‘some warehouse work involved’, offered a half day off on Saturdays, and one Saturday off in every three, and candidates would need to be able to drive. At the Tompkins, Moss and Co., Kingsway Garage, in the High Street, this was no doubt also a requirement for the ‘smart lad’ chosen to work as an assistant in the paint and body repair shop, and elsewhere on application to the manager at 83, Bletchley Road, there were still a few vacancies at the British Gas Light Co. for shift work stokers. After training the work would pay £6 2s 10d per six shift week, with two weeks holiday, and sick payment after 12 months service. In Denbigh Road, at the factory of W.O. Peake, (where Rodex coats were manufactured), accommodation was urgently required for some of the young women and girls joining the Company on a five day week. Canteen facilities were provided, and also available was the opportunity to join the social club. Meanwhile, at the Industrial Magneto Co., in Denbigh Road, two first class toolmakers were required, ‘able to design and make jigs and fixtures’, and around the beginning of September members of the Council and their wives then visited the nearly complete WICO factory and offices, the construction of which had been first commenced about two years ago. Being survived by a brother and daughter, aged 88 at 82, Duncombe Street Mrs. Elizabeth Gayton died on Thursday, September 11th. Having come to Bletchley 61 years ago, she was the widow of the well known hairdresser Billy Gayton, who had died four years ago. Supplied by the Northampton Electric Light and Power Co., and coming under the North Midlands regional board for industrial needs, on Thursday, September 25th the town narrowly escaped a total electricity cut, and at the beginning of October industrial users in the Bletchley district were asked to submit their plans for reducing demand during the autumn and winter. Owing to the enforcement of County By-Laws, which affected the employment of schoolchildren, there was also a potential disruption to the morning delivery of newspapers, and W.J. Turner, of Bletchley Road, advised his customers that in certain areas their papers might not arrive at the usual time. However, deliveries would be made as soon as possible, and not surprisingly ‘Pensioners and other adults able to undertake a short morning newspaper round are urgently required.’ Sadly this would not include Mrs. Emma Tongue of 48, Aylesbury Street, for on Saturday, October 4th she died at the age of 77. The eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Saunders, of Leighton Buzzard, she had come to Bletchley 52 years ago but her husband, ‘Jimmy’, a fitter on the railway, died in 1921. Five years later she then began in business as a confectioner and tobacconist, and in this trade she would continue for 20 years. However, on Thursday, November 27th the premises - a freehold shop with living accommodation - would be purchased by Mr. J. Grace.

Saturday, November 30th had now been set as the date of the marriage at St. Mary’s Church of Gerald Giltrow, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Giltrow, of Wandsworth, and Kathleen Farwell, the eldest daughter of Mr. R. Farwell, of 298, Bletchley Road. For the past few years he had been employed by the Federation of Trade Unions Approved Society at Holne Chase, but although their offices were still occupied much of the work had been taken over by the Ministry of National Insurance. They had moved into offices in the High Street, but soon to leave the town, or more especially Bletchley Park, was the Foreign Office (German Section) Control Service Depot and Training Centre, whose date of departure had been set as no later than October 16th. Therefore the Assistant Commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Blenkinship, O.B.E., R.A., required all tradesmen to submit their outstanding accounts etc. for analysis, and analysis would also be a major role for the boy, or young man, selected to train as a laboratory assistant at Valentin, Ord and Nagle, where plans for additions and extensions would shortly be approved. As for an employee of a more advanced status, during the year Lieutenant Colonel E. Hall would join the firm as a director. Born in London in 1899, after an education at Brighton College he joined the Marines as a second lieutenant in 1916, and would subsequently serve for 30 years. Then as a director of Valentin, Ord and Nagle he would serve for 20 years, before retiring from Green End Cottage, Great Brickhill, with his American wife to Palma, Majorca. He was in fact a nephew of the founder of the firm, Mr. A. Valentin, who, as chairman, would retire the following year and move from his home at Stoke House to firstly the Channel Islands, and then to North Wales. (When he died in 1950 his son then became the managing director). Mr. Ernest Marchant had now removed his office to Shirley House, 72, Bletchley Road, and also on legal matters an appeal by Mr. Hector Grace, of 23, Lennox Road, had been granted at a recent inquiry by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, conducted by the Inspector, Mr. W. Lockhart. This regarded the refusal by Bletchley Council to allow a garage to be erected in Tavistock Street which, since they were presently and primarily engaged on carrying building materials to the new housing developments, Mr. Grace needed to accommodate his vehicles. With no alternative sites available, and with few objections raised, permission was therefore granted, but only as long as the activities were confined to normal hours. The site, with a 50 foot frontage, would be ‘the second plot beyond the last house on the south side’, and in fact the area, bordered by the railway, already included a brush factory, two nurseries, a small light engineering works and a rubbish tip, beyond which lay the Council’s destructor and dump. Commencing on September 27th the grant would apply for two years, but no more than six lorries were to be kept at a time, and no power driven machinery could be used. In fact only maintenance and repairs could be carried out, but probably beyond repair was the car of Mr. Angel Dindol, the well known draper, which caught fire on Monday, October 27th. He had put the vehicle into the garage beside his house and shop at midday, but whilst he was having lunch with Mr. J. Watson smoke was seen issuing from the garage. On opening the garage doors Mr. Dindol then found that the car was on fire, and since it contained between £200 and £300 worth of drapery he pushed the vehicle out and rescued as much of the ‘couponed’ material as possible. The flames were doused by the fire brigade, and for a replacement vehicle Mr. Dindol might then have been glad that in Bletchley Road Tompkins, Moss and Co. Ltd. had acquired Fred Field’s business and premises known as The Central Garage, the intention being that this new branch - additional to the firm’s existing premises in the High Street - would serve Bletchley, Old Bletchley and the immediate district. Definitely an astute move, and also hoping to not put a foot wrong was Mr. A.G. Irons who, concerning his footwear business at 1, Bletchley Road, and 33, High Street, announced ‘It is with pleasure that, owing to new machinery and additional experienced staff, I am able to resume the Two-Day Service.’ This was under the title ‘E.T. Hill Ltd. (proprietor A.G. Irons)’, whilst at 9, Bletchley Road J.W. Flint, ‘Bletchley’s Leading Shoe Stores’, required a ‘good all round boot and shoe repairer’, who would be paid at ‘Board of Trade piece-work rates.’ As for other employment opportunities, at 97, Bletchley Road a fish rounds man was needed, and nearby at 109, Bletchley Road two smart youths could ‘learn a good trade’ with Ritchie and Co., electrical contractors.

At ‘Jaysons’, 83, Eaton Avenue, customers could now have their own material made up into frocks, skirts, and blouses, whilst for ‘Immaculate menswear accessories’, ‘All Coupons Free’, these were available as Christmas gifts for men and boys at the Mans Shop of A.G. Cowlishaw, 7 Bletchley Road. For women and girls, their Christmas gifts could be obtained from their premises at 33/35 Aylesbury Street. In fact towards the end of October, at the church of The Holy Child and St. Joseph, Bedford, the Saturday wedding had taken place of the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Cowlishaw, Douglas, and Joan Catherine Pincher, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Pincher, of 3, Clifford Avenue. A luncheon party for the guests was held at the Swan Hotel, and on their return from honeymoon the couple would live at Little Brickhill at the Clock House where, as an additional wedding gift, on removing some floor boards Mr. Cowlishaw obtained about 15lb. of honey from a hive of bees. With an attempt to re-house the colony having failed, the boards were then replaced! Having the incentive of being ‘all coupon and docket free’, a special offer of Government surplus clothing, including leather gloves, oilskin coats, R.A.F. leather flying helmets, and flying suits, pure silk parachutes, U.S. Army sleeping bags, and camp beds, could now be obtained from Lithmans. As for the motorcyclist, at 95s ‘New Buoyant Flying Suits’ were deemed ideal, and those with the need could no doubt make use of Land Army corduroy breeches at 15s 6d, and A.R.P. blankets at 12s 6d and 14s 6d. These could be viewed at 28, Buckingham Road, or else every Thursday at the market. By the end of November, according to a letter sent to firms and local authorities the development of swathes of local land by Flettons Ltd. had been approved, including 106 acres at Water Eaton, and 317 acres at Skew Bridge. Broadly, the Ministry had refused permission for clay workings on land to the east of the L.M.S. railway, but, with a couple of minor variations, had approved proposals for works in the west.

Christmas cards and calendars were now available at 25, Victoria Road from J.E. Freeman, ‘newsagent, stationer, librarian’, and by the beginning of December Christmas gifts to include electric irons, kettles, barometers, hot water bottles etc., and ‘a wide range of aluminium domestic utensils’, could be obtained at the Co-op. They were also awaiting an ‘anticipated delivery of roll ball writing instruments’, which might have been useful to write out the cheques, for £50 each, presented on the night of Friday, December 5th to two employees of James Root and Son. Henry Cooper, of 4, Tavistock Street, had been employed by the firm for 51 years 3 months, whilst Mr. G. King, of 40, Eaton Avenue, had completed 50 years. In fact he was presently in charge of the inspection and despatch department, having earlier in his career been a van boy and warehouseman at the London branch, until the whole business was concentrated at Bletchley 14 years ago. For all the employees, from 7.30p.m. to 1p.m. the firm would hold their annual Christmas party at the Coronation Hall on Monday, December 22nd, but hardly in a festive mood were 40 employees of the Industrial Magneto Co. Ltd. They had recently lost their jobs, although most would be absorbed into other employments, including perhaps that as a panel beater and cellulose/spray painter at Cowley and Wilson, a young lady shop assistant at Fortescue, 80 Aylesbury Street, or, for females, full or part time positions at M.A. Cook. As for applicants for the position of junior female clerk/typist at Rowlands, a Premier 30 typewriter was now for sale at 13, Leon Avenue, should they feel the need to practice.




About a month ago, an outbreak of foot and mouth in the town had been discovered, although if no further incidents were reported then the market would be shortly re-opened. The beginning of the year had also been a disturbing time for Captain W. Mells, a member of the Bletchley Urban District Council, for on being attacked by a bull he was only saved from serious injury when a farm worker came to his rescue. Animal temperament was doubtless also a topic of especial concern to the Bletchley and District Young Farmers Club, the enrolment for which took place on Monday, January 29th at the A.G.M., held at 7.30p.m. at the Bletchley Road Modern Secondary School. Then of interest to farmers young and old, given by Dr. K. Blaxter, of the Ministry of Agriculture Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge, from 11a.m. to 3p.m. on Monday, February 26th, the Bucks War Agricultural Executive Committee held a one day course on husbandry. In fact this was the same day that for hot snacks, tea, coffee, etc., the British Restaurant would commence opening until 10p.m. every evening, except Sundays, with the revised hours of opening now being 11a.m. - 2p.m. for morning coffee, lunch, etc., and 4.30p.m. - 10p.m. for light tea, hot snacks, tea, coffee, etc. The progress of the Restaurant would be duly monitored, but in late March it was then reported by the Ministry of Food that the improved income was still lower on the quarter than the increase for the three months ended 1944. Therefore they recommended that the premises should be closed, but with the facility still being used by soldiers, who had asked if more magazines and papers could be provided, the Council decided in April to continue the Restaurant on a monthly basis. However, the original enthusiasm seemed to have been lost, for although ‘In the early days, the kitchen staff seemed keen to serve you and to give you what you wanted. Today there is too much of the “take it or leave it” attitude. The spirit of adventure …… the thrill of “something new” has gone.’ Yet to perhaps help enthuse the situation, an extra assistant would be appointed in July.

In late March the Co-op had ‘Fleet’ garden frames available. Supposedly they were ‘ideal for seedlings’, and, should he be interested in home gardening, they perhaps might be ideal for Mr. W. Foll, of 50, Church Green Road, who had recently received planning approval for a toolhouse and vegetable store. In fact home gardeners might also be interested in the outdoor tomato plants which, at their Tavistock Street premises, were available from Deighton & Co., who could also supply stocks and asters. As for the storage of home produce, preserving jars at 9s a dozen would be shortly available from the Bletchley and District Co-op Hardware Dept., whilst for persons keeping poultry, Smiths, at Orchard and Water Eaton Mills, were the people for Karswood Spice for hens, at 1s 3d per packet. Indeed, this perhaps helped to produce the Maran’s dark brown hatching eggs offered at 42, Windsor Street by Mr. E.T. Hill, whose neighbour, Mr. Souster, boasted at number 23 the services at stud of a prize-winning ‘Blue Beveren Buck.’ Despite the end of the war being imminent, the need for agricultural workers remained paramount, and at Cow Common Farm Mr. A. Price presently needed a good farm labourer for milking and general farm work. However, the availability of labour would soon be threatened by the actions of the Women’s Land Army, whose Honorary Director had resigned during February in protest at the exclusion of members from post war benefits and privileges. The rank and file of the W.L.A. were also in a mood to protest, and their discontent in April became manifest by not only strikes staged at Mentmore, Linslade, Aylesbury, and High Wycombe, but also the stoppage of work towards the end of the month by the members at Harcourt House, Leighton Buzzard. Only following an assurance that the Minister of Agriculture would receive a deputation did they resume their duties, and as further encouragement, at Eton College in recognition of the wartime contribution of the W.L.A. the Duchess of Kent, on Saturday, May 12th, presented Service Armlets to Buckinghamshire Land Army Girls, who would now benefit from various Government Training schemes, including Further Education. In fact perhaps in preparation during the month the headquarters of the Women’s Land Army returned from Balcombe Place, Haywards Heath, Sussex, to London, at 6, Chesham Street, S.W.1. In June, at a wage of £4 5s a week the North Bucks Joint (Rodent) Committee invited applications, from men and women, for the temporary appointment of a Foreman Operator, as well as for two operatives at £3 15s per week - ‘No previous knowledge of rats and mice extermination is necessary.’ During the war the control of pests had been extremely important, since each year a hundredweight of food could be eaten by a single rat, and it had therefore been for good reason that they were known as ‘Hitler’s helpers.’ Now, however, although the European war was at an end the food situation nevertheless remained critical, and for those personnel appointed to the rodent control positions a car allowance would be paid, or else transport would be provided. The positions would be subject to notice of one month in writing on either side, and the appointed persons, who were not to be liable for military service, would work under the direction of the Chief Sanitary Inspectors of the Authority, comprising the Joint Committee.

The Fruit Preservation Advisory Centre held an exhibition in front of the Studio car park on Thursday, June 21st. Experts were in attendance from 10a.m. to 4p.m., and on the same day from 11a.m. B.W.A.E.C. staged a Maintenance Operation and Surplus Repairs Binder Demonstration at Bletchley market where, on Thursday, July 19th, a quantity of useful timber, hencoops and runs, and six galvanised iron huts would be sold. At 6.30p.m., on the last Wednesday in June Bletchley N.F.S. began tackling a blaze at Shenley Den Farm, and it would not be until midnight that, with a hayrick and farm implements on fire, the blaze was brought under control. With much damage caused the outlook seemed far from rosy, although this would not be so for Mr. P. Underwood, of Staple Hall Road, who at the National Rose Show won a 1st and a 2nd prize. Then later in the year at the Horticultural Hall at Westminster he and Mr. W. Beckett, of Albert Street, would win five first prizes. However, sadly on Saturday, June 2nd the funeral had been held of another gardener of local renown, Mr. H. Souster, who died at the age of 67 at 68, High Street. From 1921 to 1926 he had won the Royal Horticultural Challenge Cup for his show exhibits, whilst for a future gardening generation a local branch of the Horticultural Section of the N.F.U. was now to commence which, covering the north of the county, would cater for market gardeners ‘and all who grow produce for sale.’ Presided over by Councillor S. Maycock, chairman of B.U.D.C., during July at a general meeting in the Council Chamber the programme for the August Bank Holiday Show, to benefit the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, was discussed. In consequence one of the highlights would be a boxing tournament, and the details were duly outlined by Mr R. Farwell, the promoter, who said that with attempts to involve amateurs having failed, it would be therefore comprised of professionals. For a seated accommodation of 450, the Bletchley Park recreation ground was to be the venue for the Show, but although several decorated airmen of the town had been asked to open the event, all had chosen to decline, which lead Councillor Johnson to jokingly remark that ‘These boys who could bomb Berlin could not face opening the show.’ In order to keep the small car park in the recreation ground for the show officials and entrants, it was decided, with the permission of Mr. Jackson, to open the market field for all the cars belonging to the visitors, but unfortunately on the day of the occasion, (which was in fact the third to be held on behalf of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund), a freak thunderstorm swept over the ground during the mid afternoon. Yet with the opening ceremony performed by Lieutenant Colonel A.C. Newman, (‘the hero of St. Nazaire’), there was an attendance of 7,000 people, despite half an inch of rain having fallen since 9a.m. Not that this greatly dampened the enthusiasm of the organisers, for thereby they earned £500 in insurance! In fact despite the weather there were 90 entries in the baby show, and about 500 entries in the horticultural section, with Mr. E. Claridge, of Western Road, being presented with the Challenge Cup, by the Bletchley Allotment Association Ltd., for the most points gained in the vegetable classes. Apart from various sideshows, the activities also included rolling the penny, ringing the silver, skittles, and, by courtesy of the Boy Scouts’, ‘knocking the nail in.’ However, for the first three bouts of the Boxing Tournament the rain had not surprisingly made the canvas extremely slippery, and the weather conditions had also proved hazardous elsewhere in the district, for during the day a 25 ton clover rick, in Mr. Johnson’s field at Denbigh Hall Road, was struck by lightning. Fortunately, using a mobile dam unit Bletchley N.F.S. were able to save 10 to 12 tons. A major pump unit from Woburn Sands had also been in attendance, as it had one Monday evening in late July, when a small haystack caught fire at Staple Hall Road. On that occasion the fire was quickly put out, with most of the hay salvaged.

At the Women’s Land Army hostel, in Church Green Road, there were now vacancies for a cook and domestics, and in late August continued employment for the staff at the British Restaurant seemed more secure when, at a Tuesday meeting of the Council, it was decided to keep the premises open throughout the winter months. This was due to the food situation, and the Clerk of the Council, Mr. R. Sherwood, reported that 439,075 meals had been supplied during the two and a half years of operation, with the accumulated loss, after providing for all capital repayment charges, having amounted to £187 10s 9d. Against this, the income received by the Council in regard of the rent was £379 7s, whilst supervision charges in respect of the clerk and surveyor totalled £302 11s 8d. Bletchley Market was now the collecting centre for fat stock, and this had to be penned by 10a.m., for any stock arriving after 11.30a.m. would be refused. As for poultry keepers, they might be interested in the auction of five poultry houses and equipment at Westfield Pit Field, just off Bletchley Road, which, on the instructions of Mr. E. Hill, would be conducted on Thursday, August 30th by Wigley and Johnson. On Friday, September 7th the Bletchley market annual show and sale of sheep, lambs, and rams was held. The judging took place at 10a.m., and the auction at 11a.m., and continuing the market activities the Bletchley Market Stock Shows’ Committee, under the presidency of Major L. Marler, then announced the holding of a show and sale of attested and tuberculin tested dairy cattle on Wednesday, September 26th, with the auction to be held at noon. On Friday, September 21st Wigley & Johnson auctioned the whole of the stock and implements of Mr. W. Tibbetts, who was giving up farming, and also giving up farming, due to retirement, was Mr. W. Beavington, who instructed Wigley and Johnson to auction Slad Farm, Water Eaton, on September 28th. Perhaps prospective purchasers might then have been interested in the services of Ritchie & Co., for ‘we specialise in electrification of farms.’ Having been made on the evening of Monday, October 1st, the offer from B.W.A.E.C., which would allow the nomination of members to serve on that Committee, was refused by Bletchley farmers, who would take no action until the N.F.U. had the right to elect, and not just nominate, members. Nevertheless, as the first in a winter series B.W.A.E.C. invited farmers and herdsmen to a one day course on dairy husbandry which, with Walter Beesley as the chairman, was held on Wednesday, October 17th in the Conservative Club room. For a cost of 2s, hot meals could be booked in advance. On the following day the second sheep fair then took place at 1p.m. at Bletchley market, and with sixty Light Sussex pullets also included, perhaps a few of these had come from W. Mattinson, of Manor Farm, Old Bletchley, who was now advertising the same at 25s and 30s. On Thursday, October 25th Bletchley market was then the venue for a sale of implements and tractors etc., although the number of available acres for farming in the district were soon to be reduced, for at a Tuesday meeting in October the Council decided to purchase the Manor Farm estate which, comprising some 100 acres, stretched from the riverbank at the urban boundary to Aylesbury Street. As reported by the Clerk of the Council, Mr R. Sherwood, the Ministry of Health had given their sanction to the scheme, and he would communicate with the District Valuer to ask him to negotiate for the purchase of the whole of the land. On half the extent it was proposed to build housing between Aylesbury Street and the canal, with the rest of the acreage being left as a public open space, for playing fields and sports. Also in October, a committee of the Council met representatives of the Allotment Association. This was regarding the provision of alternative plots of land on the Eight Belles field, and, especially concerning one particular plot ,they would accordingly make enquiries, and then report back. Meanwhile, at nearby Bletchley Park Stud Mrs. Ingram required a daily ‘Cook General’, who was to be a ‘good plain cook’, to live in or work part-time.

Farmers had now been told to keep their corn in a reasonable condition, for if they did not comply they would face a fine. Also on agricultural matters, in November the Bucks War Agricultural Executive Committee notified farmers that P.O.W.s, allocated to work for the Committee, were available for the same hours as civilians, namely 7.30a.m. - 4.45p.m., with half an hour for lunch, and 7.30a.m. -11.45a.m. on Saturdays. As for farmers with milking difficulties, the Committee hoped to organise a service of Relief Milkers in most districts, to be supplied at a charge of £1 a day for males, and 16s for females. The annual show and sale of dairy cattle and bulls took place on Friday, November 23rd, and, at a crowded Conservative Club, one Thursday in late November farmers from all over North Bucks expressed their gratitude to Mr. F. Hodson, for the work that he had put in as their longstanding key official. After 27 years he would now retire as organising secretary of the Bletchley N.F.U., and was presented with an oil portrait of himself by Mr H. Sellen, plus a wallet full of notes. In advance of the bulk of the Royal Bucks Yeomanry, Mr. R. Kemp, of Bengal Farm, had now returned from military service in Burma, and with his son having now also returned from the war, towards the end of November William Gurney, at Sycamore Farm, held a celebration one Saturday both for the safe deliverance of his son, and for the delivery of a full harvest. His employees and their wives were suitably entertained to an evening of dancing and merriment, and Land Army Girls would soon also have cause for merriment, when in December a Release Scheme came into operation.



Cattle had been in short supply during December, although in the New Year pigs, at the first fat stock show held in Bletchley since the war, were fairly plentiful. Yet on the Continent the prospects of mass starvation were a serious concern, and with the wartime slogan ‘Dig for Victory’ having now been adapted to ‘Dig for Victory Over Want’, the local ‘Dig for Victory - Over Want’ exhibition week - sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, and arranged through the Co-op Education Committee - was officially opened on Tuesday, January 1st by Richard Sudell, gardening editor of the Daily Herald. The venue was St. Martin’s Hall, and here the event would be staged until, and including, Friday, January 4th. As the Minister of Agriculture, Tom Williams had telegraphed his best wishes, and perhaps one of the features would be poultry keeping, on the subject of which two dozen pullets, ‘5 months old, 15s each’, were now available from New House, Denmark Street. Elsewhere, pullets could also be viewed on Saturday, January 5th at Bletchley market, when, from noon, the L.M.S. poultry, pigeon, and rabbit show took place. The need for a general farm worker, as well as the need for a cowman to attend a herd of pedigree attested Ayrshires, (a position which would include the accommodation of a cottage), had now arisen at the Galley Lane farm of Mr. R. Barbour, who the previous year had suffered the unfortunate loss of a threshing machine, when it caught fire on Tuesday, September 18th. The Bletchley N.F.S. promptly attended the blaze, but despite the use of a mobile dam unit they had proved unable to save the machinery. Due to the considerable distance from the market to the main office, at a meeting on Monday, January 14th Bletchley farmers decided to ask that the Barclay’s bank branch office, at the corner of Bletchley Road and Park Street, should be reopened. However, although being sympathetic to the request, due to a shortage of staff the Bletchley manager, Mr. O. Hart, replied that for the moment this could not be done, although in due course the branch would re-open on Monday, March 4th.

Apart from farming, in view of the food situation there was now also the need for domestically grown produce, and in consequence orders for seed potatoes could be placed at any Co-op Society grocery store. In fact in February the Co-op grocery manager, Mr. F. Holloway, would be appointed as trade representative on the Urban food control committee, and this was subsequent to the resignation of Mr. W. Billingham. However, another resignation would be that of Mr. F. Hodson, the treasurer to the Bletchley branch of the N.F.U., who, after three months in the position, announced his decision on Wednesday, February 20th, at a meeting held in the Conservative Club. As the reason, he said that he alone had to fight for conformity in the rebate of subscriptions paid by the local branches of the N.F.U., (a matter which involved the question of grouping and higher subscription rates), and a further farming dissatisfaction would be expressed on Saturday, March 2nd, when, at Aylesbury, a Bletchley branch resolution was presented to the Buckinghamshire executive of the N.F.U. This involved the payment for work undertaken by P.O.W.s, who despite being paid the minimum rate were alleged to need more instruction and supervision than local labour, quite apart from not arriving until after 8a.m., when all the milking had been done! Yet on February 15th in the House of Commons the Minister of Agriculture had already announced that farmers would be required, on and after April 1st, to pay for any such prisoners at a rate equivalent to the minimum wage for regular adult male workers which, as fixed by the Agricultural Wages Board, would for ordinary time be 1s 5½d per hour for all hours worked, (up to 8½), on Monday to Friday inclusive, and a greater amount per hour on Saturdays. As for overtime, payment would be at 1s 10d per hour Monday to Friday, and 2s 2d per hour on Saturday, and any work on Sundays and public holidays would also qualify for this rate. The rates for billeted P.O.W.s were therefore set at 70s per 48 hour week, excepting those weeks which contained public holidays, when the hours would be accordingly less. As for the deduction allowed to farmers for providing board and lodging, this would remain at 23s 6d per week, whilst on and after April 1st the reduced rate for the first three months of service of a billeted prisoner would cease, with all billeted prisoners being charged from that date at the rates set out. If all this seemed rather mind boggling, then on March 20th farmers perhaps had the chance to seek a clarification when, with Major L. Marler as the question master, at 7p.m. at the Conservative Club the N.F.U. Bletchley branch held a Brains Trust. Further explanation was also available from B.W.A.E.C., who at the beginning of March had transferred their head office to 5, Church Street, Aylesbury, with, from March 4th, the Feeding Stuffs and Supplies Department operating from the County Farm Offices, Stoke Mandeville. Then on Saturday, March 9th Mrs. C. Jenkins, the chief administration officer of the Women‘s Land Army, paid her first visit to Buckinghamshire, where at Aylesbury she presented long service awards to those members who were, or had been, employed in the county. Four year armlets were thus awarded to, amongst others, Miss M. Brindle, of Bletchley, (who before the war had been a ‘silk twister’), Miss E. Sullivan, also of Bletchley, who was employed by Mr. Cowell, of Furzen Farm, Verney Junction, as a kitchen maid, and, although she was unable to attend, Mrs. B. Spence, employed by Mr. J. Ramsbotham, of Brooklands Nursery, as a folder in the printing press.

At the open pen show of the Bletchley Fur and Feather Club, held at Bletchley market on Saturday, March 16th, of the 476 entries some had been brought from as far away as the Isle of Wight. Resident at Turpin’s Cottage, Bletchley Park, Mr. D. Fitzgerald was the chairman of the Club, and rabbits, due to the national shortage of food, were now providing an important supplement to the meat supplies. As for an important supplement to the national agricultural effort, the Women’s Land Army would begin a recruiting campaign from April 1st, and perhaps a Land Army girl might suffice as the general farm worker now needed by Mr. W. Gurney, at Water Eaton. For advice on making the best use of foodstuffs, Miss Osborne, of B.W.A.E.C. Rural Domestic Economy, gave a cookery demonstration to the Water Eaton W.I. on Wednesday, March 27th. Using an oil cooker, she made various dishes from lunchtime left overs, and also demonstrated how to make a ‘Swiss Breakfast’. Under the presidency of Major L. Marler, at the Conservative Club on March 28th the first general meeting since 1943 of the Bletchley stock shows committee was held, and in early May local farmers were advised by B.W.A.E.C. that ploughing grants of £2 an acre were payable a) on land which has been under grass for seven years or more at the time of ploughing, providing that ploughing was complete by Dec. 31st 1946. b) other land sown to grass at any time during 1943, or earlier, provided ploughing was begun after February 1946 and completed before July 31st. As for lawns, the Co-op had now received the first delivery of the ‘renowned’ Qualcast Panther lawn mower, complete with grass box, but if - as they anticipated - ‘demand will exceed supply’, the reconditioning and repair of old lawnmowers and machinery could be carried out at the works of Albert Hurst, in Denmark Street. Meanwhile, at 34, Mill Road ranging from 3 inch to 9 inch ‘Norman’ had 500 surplus flower pots available. These could be purchased by anyone wishing to brighten up their gardens, but it was her bicycle that Helen Grannell, of the Women’s Land Army, should have brightened up, since for riding without lights she was stopped by police sergeant Saunders on Thursday, May 2nd, and consequently fined 10s.

On Wednesday, May 8th, at the annual show and sale of horses, held by the Bletchley Market Stock Shows Committee, there was a good attendance of buyers, and this was possibly also the situation when, on Thursday, May 23rd, at 2.30p.m. the annual sale of farm implements, machinery, and cars took place at Bletchley market, since a similar event was then planned for Thursday, July 18th. On Wednesday, July 10th Bletchley farmers sent a resolution to County headquarters, asking that because an average yield of seven tons an acre was now required to break even, the whole system of potato marketing should be revised. They also suggested that farmers should be allowed to sell their potatoes to retailers, and do away with the wholesalers £2 a ton - plus the associated cost of sacks and delivery - since a member had reported that, whilst still drawing their £2, some wholesalers were colluding with growers, to have the potatoes delivered without ever handling the produce! Another cause of farming annoyance was the alleged lack of discipline of the working gangs of German P.O.W.s., and in fact Mr. W. Gurney concluded that they were ‘a dead loss.’ ‘We had a dose with the Italians and don’t want it to start with the Germans.’ Yet the billeted prisoners appeared more conscientious, although rumours that in Germany former members of the Nazi party were ‘walking about as civilians’ caused understandable discontent. Lady Cadman, who in connection with the Economics Committee had been involved at the London N.F.U. headquarters, had now been appointed as the Bletchley representative to the County H.Q., and thereby replaced Captain J. Fitzgerald, who had retired on the grounds of health. As for Edward Skelton, who had come to the town in 1927, on retiring from the position of borough gardener for Richmond Corporation, he sadly died at 76, Church Green Road on Thursday, September 19th, aged 84. Having been associated with Kew Gardens Wesleyan Church, on moving to Bletchley he joined the Freeman Memorial church and not surprisingly, having been professionally involved in horticulture for 36 years, continued to maintain an interest in the subject. Now such standards of horticultural competence would be maintained by Mr. W. Beckett, a railway worker of 29, Albert Street, who, being originally a native of Sheffield, had first exhibited in 1922. As for the present day, on Friday, September 20th he would gain the highest awards in the amateur section in the National Rose Show, held at the Horticultural Hall, Westminster, by the R.H.S. Also of a high standard was the first class entry of 77 cows and heifers, ‘in excellent condition’, at the annual show and sale of attested, supervised and T.T. dairy cattle, which was staged on Wednesday, September 25th by the Bletchley Market Stock Shows Committee. In fact the show would be unanimously acclaimed as the best so far, and also meriting a well deserved acclaim were the ten pumpkins which, of a total weight in excess of 1 cwt., had to be brought by Mr. Vaughan from his allotment at Denbigh Road in a truck! He had grown the examples from a three penny packet of ordinary seeds which, as a rather good advertisement for his business, had been obtained from his shop in the High Street.

A general farm worker - ‘house available’ - was now required by W. Gurney at Water Eaton, and a van salesman ‘for fruit and veg.’ was needed by R. Johnson. However, work was the last thing on the mind of Ellen Glenn, of 67, Water Eaton Road, when on Saturday, October 12th she married Harold Hancock, a railwayman. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Hancock of 72, Western Road, and, despite having lost an eye during wartime Army service, was now the trainer of the Bletchley Sports Football Club. As for Ellen, who had been brought up from a small child by her uncle, Mr. R. Bates, for several years she had been a member of the Women’s Land Army, and since she was latterly employed as a cook at the W.L.A. hostel, her white wedding dress was one of an especial ten, which had been presented by America during the war for the sole use of W.L.A. members. Bletchley N.F.U. had now accepted a challenge by Bletchley Young Farmers Club to an agricultural quiz. This would be held at the Conservative Club at 7.30p.m. on Monday, November 4th, and with Mr. O.G. Williams, the B.W.A.E.C. Technical Development Officer, as the question master, perhaps the subjects might have been of interest to Miss J. Fairy, of 11, Mill Road, who was the local secretary of the Water Eaton branch of the Agricultural Workers Union. However, how to use a milking machine was a subject of more pressing concern to applicants for the position of a cowman, who was required by Mr. Ramsay at Windmill Farm, Old Bletchley, and as an incentive a ‘good cottage’ in the town was available for the successful applicant. With members perhaps being interested in the 20 gallon galvanised bins, ‘useful for garden’, which were currently available from the Denton Cycle Co., at the annual meeting of the Bletchley Horticultural Branch of the N.F.U. Mr. J. Ramsbotham, of Brooklands Nurseries, was unanimously re-elected as chairman, and Mr. D. Deighton as vice chairman. As for Mr. W. Walduck, secretary of the Bletchley Fur and Feather Society, he had lately won several prizes with his 4½ month old Havana rabbit, and on Wednesday, December 11th he was then awarded three 1st prizes, plus a 2nd prize, in the grand challenge at the Kings Lynn show.

On Monday, December 16th the Women’s Land Army hostel, in Church Green Road, was full to capacity when the 6th annual Christmas dinner and party was held. The dining hall had been beautifully decorated by the girls, with pride of place being given to a Christmas tree adorned with not only a very small Father Christmas but also an ‘immense fairy’, hanging from the branches. Responsibility for cooking and serving the dinner lay with Mrs. Payne, assisted by Miss Lloyd, Mrs. Halsey and the hostel staff, and, as well as the Warden, Miss Burt, the latter were amongst those to whom during the proceedings Miss Barber, the W.L.A. Welfare Officer, presented gifts. In the evening guests from the R.A.F. stations at Stoke Hammond and Hogpound were then entertained at a dance, with a particular feature being an ‘outstanding’ display of novelty tap dancing, given by Miss Doreen Davies With the year now drawing to a close, attracting a large company of farmers, wives, and friends, on Wednesday, December 18th the first post war dinner of the Bletchley branch of the N.F.U. was held in the Assembly Hall, and in fact this was the first such occasion for eight years. For the contribution that he had made to the young generation of farmers, especial thanks were expressed to Mr. E.C. Cook, and not least since - as being fairly radical for the time - his was the idea of forming a close alliance, between the teachers and the ideas of the people amongst whom they lived.



At the beginning of the year, home gardeners might have been interested in a two windowed 8 foot by 6 foot shed, which was offered for sale in good condition at 4, Victoria Road, but on the national scene, in view of the food crisis the Ministry of Agriculture addressed a New Year letter to all members of the Women’s Land Army, urging them to stay in the organisation. However, having laboured for 3½ years as a Land Army girl Lorna Logan, the only daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. E. Logan of 31, Park Street, had other ideas, for on New Year’s Day at St. Mary’s Church she married Kenneth Kemp. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kemp, of Bengal Farm, and being a veteran of Dunkirk and Burma had served in the Army for seven years. As for Lorna, she had been employed at Water Eaton by Mr. W. Gurney who, offering ‘a good cottage on main road’, now required a reliable man to look after young stock, and generally assist on the farm. Despite the bad weather, on Saturday, February 1st there were 80 exhibits and 175 entries at the Bletchley Fur and Feather Club table show, and the young bucks of the Bletchley branches of the N.F.U. and Young Farmers Clubs were also on show when, on Wednesday, February 26th, from 8.30p.m. to 1a.m. the dance held by the Bletchley branches took place at the Assembly Hall. Aubrey Smith’s band provided the music and, including a buffet, admission was priced at 12s 6d, with J. Landon of ‘The Black Boy’, Oving, being responsible for the catering and licensed bars. Intending to keep the enrolled strength at a figure of around 30,000, during March a Spring Recruiting Campaign for the Women’s Land Army was launched. Yet with the war now at an end, many girls began to prefer family life to farming, as evidenced by a double wedding which, held at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, took place on the afternoon of Saturday, March 1st. The romance had origins from during the war, when whilst employed near Aylesbury a Land Army girl, Marion Haywood, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Haywood of 24, George Street, met Norman Bovey of Aller Park Estate, Newton Abbott. Serving in the R.A.F., Norman was stationed locally, and when Marion’s youngest sister, Betty, later met his eldest brother, Ronald, the double wedding would be the eventual result, with 85 guests attending a reception held at the High Street schools.

Doe eyes were again in evidence in the later month when, at 50, Water Eaton Road, two ‘lovely English does’, aged five months and four months, were offered for sale by K. Rowe at respectively 10s and 7s 6d. Elsewhere, offered for sale at The Leys was dairy shorthorn ‘Clayden Prince Seraph’, and perhaps further offspring of the renowned sire ‘Hunter’ would be amongst the attested dairy cattle which, on Thursday, March 27th, were included in the first special periodical sale. This took place in the new dairy market, where the plans for Wigley and Johnson to extend the shed had now been approved. ‘Did you see our show of flowers last summer’, asked Mr. Potter during the month, for if so there was a possible temptation to purchase his Giant Waved Sweet Pea Seeds, now being offered for sale at 2s 6d and 1s a packet from The Chestnuts, Water Eaton. With Major L. Marler being re-elected as president, the A.G.M. of the Bletchley Market Shows Committee had taken place on Thursday, March 20th, with Mr. J. North presiding. Unfortunately the financial statement showed a loss on the year of £78 2s 5d and Mr. Johnson, the secretary, said that there had also been a loss for the previous year, and the year before. In fact since the beginning of the year a number of members had not rejoined, and it was therefore suggested that a drive should begin to regain their loyalty, as also an attempt to obtain new members. With the subscription at £1 1s, and the entrance fees to remain the same, at 3s 5d, a review by the Committee would then be undertaken after six months. Regarding domestic poultry re-registrations, at the end of March customers were asked to immediately re-register at the Food Office, to ensure adequate supplies of Balancer Meal for the new ration period. There was also to be no horsing around on Wednesday, April 9th, when Wigley and Johnson held the annual horse show and sale. Yet due to the severity of the winter, and the wet late spring, there were only a few entries, and with very few horses having been worked since the last season, a second show and sale would be held in May. However, for those farmers more mechanically minded, on Thursday, April 17th Wigley and Johnson staged their annual spring sale of farm equipment, which included not only tractors, implements, cars and lorries, but also a 1941 Cletrac diesel crawler. With delivery arranged, measuring 14 feet by 9 feet open ended Nissen huts - ‘for garden or garage’ - were now available at £9 each from the garage of Wadsworth and Silvester, in Duncombe Street. They would be possibly ideal for local allotment holders, regarding which those at the Staple Hall Estate had now agreed to relinquish, by the end of April, a portion of their allotments for building purposes. Accordingly, the Council was to seek a suitable plot as a replacement, and also at the end of April, at 8p.m. on Wednesday 23rd an interesting American colour film was shown, entitled ‘Science of Milk Production’. Projected at the Conservative Club, to a gathering of the Bletchley Branch of the N.F.U. and Young Farmers Club, this was ‘one of the best films dealing with milk production’, and with the occasion being held in conjunction with B.W.A.E.C., Dennis Gurney, presiding, said that for the local effort to implement the Farmers’ Food Distress Fund, the support of all agriculturists in the district was now needed. A special prize show and sale of pedigree Shires took place on May 13th at 1p.m. A silver challenge cup was presented by Flight Lieutenant R. Kilby for the best pedigree Shire, and there were cash prizes at a Special Show and Sale of carthorses and ‘vanners’. On Thursday, May 15th, in the covered premises of the market at 11.30a.m. Wigley and Johnson then held a Special Sale of T.T. dairy cattle, and their produce might perhaps be required at Bengal Farm, where a smart lad would soon be needed on a milk round, and to also generally assist on the premises.

It was now announced that the Water Eaton Grand Flower and Vegetable Show would take place on Saturday, August 30th, and for anyone keen to make preparations an ‘Ideal boiler, suit 16ft. greenhouse, complete with chimney’ could be purchased for £4 from 21, Regent Street. As for the spade work, Bletchley Gardening Services offered to undertake any mowing, digging and general garden work; ‘Apply ‘Gardener’, 42 Leighton Street, Woburn’. However, if anyone cared to do some of the labour themselves, a two feet Ransome reconditioned motor mower, and several hand mowers, were now available at A. Hurst, Denmark Street, where lawnmowers could be repaired and ground. At Great Brickhill church, on Saturday, May 10th the wedding took place of Margery Alderman, the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Alderman of the Priory, Great Brickhill, and John Bonham. He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Bonham of Meadows Farm, Shenley Road, and amongst the wedding gifts was included an electric kettle, as a present from the bride’s colleagues at Valentin, Ord and Nagle. Instead of being used to grow vegetables, the open spaces and recreational areas of the town were now being returned to a more decorative use. Thus the tender of £37 8s from Ramsbotham and Co. was accepted for planting the flower beds in Central Gardens, as well as the balcony boxes at the Council Offices, but nevertheless there were still national food concerns, and for the Agricultural Disaster Fund the N.F.U. horse show and gymkhana was held on Saturday, June 21st. With admission priced at 2s 6d, or for children under 16, 1s, the event was staged at Bletchley Park, and the £185 raised enabled a cheque for £260 to be sent to the Fund, as the combined sum from the recent efforts of the Local Farmers Union. Domestic gardeners were now catered for by the Bletchley and District Co-op hardware department. They could not only supply Tonkin canes for tomatoes, but also garden tools and rustic garden furniture, whilst Bletchley Printers Ltd. had just received a large supply of Portland Kraft Bags, which, being supposedly ‘ideal for fruiterers’, were offered for sale at 16s per 14lb. parcel. At the Galley Lane farm of Mr. R. Barbour a tractor and general worker was currently required, and also - ‘must be good hand and machine milker’ - a single cowman. However, no longer single was a former Land Army girl, Margaret Willis, the only daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. A. Willis of Salford, Lancashire, for, with the honeymoon to be spent on the Isle of Man, on Saturday, July 19th at St. Mary’s Church she married Ronald Alderman, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Alderman of 26, North Street. As for another Land Army girl, Miss A. Tarbox, she was employed at Eaton Leys Farm, Water Eaton, and had recently received her six year armlet, at a party held at Stoke Mandeville to honour the winners of special awards.

Black Dutch rabbits, three months old, were now for sale at 5s each from K. Rowe, 50, Water Eaton Road, and on Saturday, July 26th there was high praise for the annual cup show of the Bletchley and District Fur and Feather Society, with one judge moved to remark that ‘The show is obviously under good management and the open air conditions are ideal. Blue Beverens are exceptionally good and it is the best show I have judged for some time.’ Having been an original member of the Bletchley Horticultural Society, on Tuesday, July 22nd George Sear died aged 82 at 1, High Street, being survived by his wife, aged 85. Elected in 1895 as the workingmen’s representative to the former Fenny Stratford Urban Council, he had also been the senior trustee of the local Oddfellows Lodge, and amongst other offices held the position of librarian of the Bletchley Social Club. ‘Purchaser to remove’ was the stipulation for those sufficiently brave to buy the beehive, containing a stock of bees and about 20lb. of honey, presently available for £15 at 28, Bletchley Road. Then by the end of the month the Bletchley and District Co-op had fresh fish available, which could be obtained from the Central, Water Eaton, and Old Bletchley butchery departments every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. As for other produce, at Coronation Hall on Saturday, August 30th the flower and vegetable show, fete and dance took place, with prizes on offer worth over £70. A few days later on Friday, September 5th the 12th annual show and sale of sheep, lambs and rams then took place at Bletchley market, where the annual autumn show and sale was held of attested and T.T. dairy cattle on Friday, September 26th. For persons seeking agricultural employment, Mr. A. Benford, of Station Road, presently needed a good all round farmhand. The successful applicant would have the accommodation of a new house, and there was also a house available for the person hired as a tractor driver at Galley Lane Farm. Domestic gardeners might now be interested in 200 Chrysanthemums, ‘November and December flowering’, which were on offer at 56, Tavistock Street, where a 12 feet by 50 feet greenhouse, ‘including 200ft of 4in hot water piping’, could also be had. In fact for the storage of home grown produce, ‘Refrigeration’, at 70, High Street, now invited customers to visit their showroom, where, with ‘immediate delivery’, the latest examples of household and commercial fridges could be viewed, as well as second-hand models. At Galley Lane Farm, on Thursday, November 6th at 2.30p.m. a demonstration of hedge cutting was given, perhaps being of interest to the Bletchley Young Farmers Club which, at 7p.m. at the Conservative Club, held an Agricultural Brains Trust on Monday, November 10th. More head scratching was then caused at the end of the month when, due to a power cut in the district, the milking machines on the farms suddenly stopped working. A great deal of milk was thereby wasted, and the cut, which lasted for 35 minutes, specifically affected No. 5 district of the Northampton supply, in which Bletchley was included.

With applications to be sent to Bletchley Flettons Ltd., accommodation with full board was now required in, or near, Water Eaton for a Land Army girl who, if she needed a replacement uniform, could, for 15s 6d, obtain Land Army velvet breeches from the Government surplus at Lithman’s, in Buckingham Road. Just down the road the annual Christmas Fat Stock Show of the Bletchley Market Stock Shows Committee took place at Bletchley market on Thursday, December 4th, and on the same day at 3p.m. at the Old People’s Club Miss Helen FitzRandolph spoke about ‘The Food Situation.’ Yet this was hardly a concern for Mr. and Mrs. F. Stephens of 42, Saffron Street, for they had just won £300 on the football pools. There was also good news when Weatherheads announced that for ‘Home Entertainment this Christmastide’ they could offer ‘Radio, T.V., records, portable gramophones H.M.V. and Columbia, and fairy lights by Mazda’, and there was also cause for celebration for Mr. F. Woollard, the chairman of the Bletchley branch of the N.F.U. He had now been elected as the county vice chairman, a matter no doubt for discussion when on Monday evening, December 15th, members of the Bletchley Young Farmers Club met at Coronation Hall for a lecture and social.




In a letter from the Regional Officer, during February the A.R.P. Committee was informed that the Commissioner proposed to de-prescribe Bletchley under the Fire Guard Orders. Thus in March a notice was issued by B.U.D.C. formalising the closure of the Fire Guard scheme;

‘Fire Guards in Street Parties: The Southern Regional Commissioner has now caused the area for which BUDC is appropriated with to be de-prescribed. Fire guards in street parties are therefore notified that as soon as they have returned their equipment, helmets and eye shields they are released from obligation.’

The Fire Guards were to ensure that their name and address was marked on all the returned equipment - since a failure to comply would render them liable for the cost - and stirrup pumps on loan were to be returned either to the Council Offices, or else left in a convenient location for collection by a council representative. However, for anyone who wished to purchase a pump, the cost would be 7s 6d. With the Fire Guard Plan no longer in operation, the Council, and occupiers of business premises, were relieved of all fire watching obligations, and the A.R.P. committee duly recommended that, as Fire Guard Officer, the services of Mr W. Warner should be terminated by the Council from April 30th, when he would be thanked for his work, as also Mrs. K. White, the Honorary Assistant Fire Guard Officer. She would receive a gratuity of £5, although because their salaries were grant aided, war service gratuities did not apply to the two full-time A.R.P. personnel in Bletchley. With the Fire Guard Plan now cancelled, the N.F.S. would be called out in emergencies, and they certainly had the experience, for during the war the Bletchley section had answered over 200 call-outs in the town and district, as well as many reinforcing calls at the height of the Blitz to large cities such as Coventry, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Southampton, Exeter, Bath and London. Yet fortunately despite such an active involvement the brigade suffered no casualties. Usually the extent of a ‘call’ was 48 hours, but an exception was made at Southampton, where the members spent 14 days at different times for the reinforcement of the base at Totton. As for Bletchley, apart from serious fires at Root’s brush factory, and at a furniture shop - which was put out in a 70m.p.h. gale - callouts had been invariably to chimney and hayrick fires, and, consisting of a lorry carrying a canvas tank, (filled with 500 gallons of water), the ‘mobile dam unit’ had proved especially of value during the previous summer, when used to extinguish a heath fire at Bracknell. In 1939 the Bletchley Fire Brigade, as it was then termed, had only been 10 strong but the war brought about not only a complete reorganisation of the fire service, but also an increase of the local section to 50 personnel. The old A.F.S., first recruited in April, 1939, had been at that time in the charge of Captain J. F. Brooks and following its formation, in February, 1942, for seven months the N.F.S. was taken over by Section Leader S. Blake, Section Leader Ronald Culley, and Leading Fireman V. Cook. As for Leading Fireman Palmer, now attached full time to the station, he was an ex-member of a potential ‘overseas outing’ for, having been at Liverpool during the Blitz, he later went to Maidenhead in preparation for D-Day. In the company of six others, he duly travelled with his own column to Southampton to await embarkation to the Continent, but in the event only one column was ordered to sail, with all the others disbanded.

By the end of March persons wishing to summon the Fire Service had to either telephone, and ask the operator for Bletchley 33, or the fire station, or otherwise ring the call bell outside the fire station in Church Street, and wait for an answer. The Home Guard was also winding down, and about 130 members attended an old time dance on Friday, March 2nd at the Modern Secondary School hall. As for the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle & Social Club Grand Easter Competition, this included a small-bore competition on No. 2 Platoon range at the Bull Hotel, and, with the entrance fee being 1s 6d, (to include ammunition), took place at 7.30p.m. inclusively from Monday, March 26th to Saturday, March 31st. At the Assembly Room of the Park Hotel, the N.C.O.s and men of B Company Home Guard were entertained to a buffet supper, at which the officers acted as hosts and waiters, and during the interval every member was presented with the King’s Certificate of Home Guard service. In fact to continue the comradeship the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle & Social League would shortly propose the formation of a small-bore league, and interested persons were asked to contact the secretary, at 29, Brooklands Road.

The A.R.P. expenditure had now been reduced from £1,000 to £550, and although the A.R.P. posts were unmanned at night, the wardens would still turn out should an alert be sounded. However, the Control Centre was still manned, and Rescue Parties continued to carry out night duty in rotation, each squad being called upon once every 15 nights. In fact the Rescue and Demolition squads were to maintain their night duty until the first week in May when, as throughout the country, on the morning of Wednesday, May 2nd the Civil Defence personnel ceased their duties. Thus for the first time since August 18th, 1939 the Report Centre, the hub of all the Civil Defence activity, was unmanned, having for almost the whole of the past six years been staffed, mostly by volunteers, with personnel who stood by the phones night and night. In fact originally the little room had been crowded with at least six people on duty including, in case of emergency, representatives of the Civil Defence and police. However, the number of staff was then gradually lessened to two, and then one, and of the original members it would be Mrs. C. Moser, (who had voluntarily worked the first shift in August 1939), who, as the Civil Defence assistant, worked the last shift, and sounded the last siren. The final meeting of the A.R.P. Committee then took place on Monday, May 7th, and after this the Council gave seven days notice of their intent to close all Public and Communal domestic shelters in the district, in accordance with instructions from the Ministry of Home Security.

One Saturday in early July a Bletchley fireman had a narrow escape when, whilst cleaning windows in George Street, he fell off a 15 foot ladder. He was Mr. F. Ebborn, of 9, Napier Street, who, although being 6 feet tall, and weighing 14 stone, managed to jump clear. Since no Bletchley doctors were in residence, his wrist and arm were bandaged by Mr. Maclaren, of the garage in the High Street, and after being taken home he was then conveyed by ambulance to Northampton General Hospital, where his arm was set in three places. Attended by Mrs. Colgrove, assisted by the secretary, Mrs. Maclaren, and the treasurer, Mrs. Staniford, the closing meeting of the Bletchley Working Party took place on Thursday, July 12th. Presiding, Mrs. Whiteley announced that over 9,000 garments had been made, and of these over 2,000 had been cut out by Mrs. Goldsworth, whom she duly thanked. After payment for the material, the balance of £94 0s 5d had been handed over to the funds of the Red Cross, (the work of which, since there were now sufficient hospital supplies for the Japanese war, was closing down), but the R.A.F. and Army had asked that all home knitters should still continue their work, and in consequence this would be given out from the Conservative Club on Thursday between 3p.m. and 4p.m. The meeting was then followed by a concert and a tea, and during the proceedings it was announced that with Mrs. Rumbelow having run the savings group, the total Red Cross savings during the past five years had amounted to £3,045 19s 0d. Also saving was Mr. J. A. Sinclair, of Bletchley, who, in a letter published in a Sunday national newspaper, stated that it was his ambition to deposit money into his Post Office Savings account at as many different post offices as possible; ‘This has a double benefit for it makes me vary my routes on my days off and it makes me put something away each week.’

One Friday evening in July, the Bletchley N.F.S. part-timers celebrated their stand down with the regulars at a ‘social’. This was held at Fenny Stratford in the reception rooms of the Swan Hotel, where the members gave various entertainments including, accompanied by Leading Fireman and Mrs. H. White, of Woburn Sands, on drums and piano, a display of tap dancing by Betty Stevens and Miss Yvonne Dunbar. Under the direction of Leading Fireman Vic Cook, the choir of the Brigade contributed several numbers, and the P.T. demonstration by the ‘awkward squad’, under Fireman Ebborn, caused great amusement, before dancing then brought the evening to a conclusion. On Saturday, August 25th the official stand down of the N.F.S. part-timers in the region would then take place at Reading, with, after a parade at which the Home Secretary took the salute, demonstrations of drill being staged. However, only Fireman Tofield would be able to represent the Bletchley N.F.S., which had to remain at base due to the seasonally high risk of rick fires. Also celebrating their stand down were members and wives of the Observer Corps, who, to mark the end of their duties, held a ‘Stand down sit down’ supper at the Conservative Club on the evening of Thursday, July 26th. The entertainment had been organised by police sergeant Phillip Lloyd, and amongst those present were Mrs. Lloyd, police constable Norman and two members of the Corps, Mr. Blackmore and Mr. Northwood. The Bletchley Observer Corps had been originally formed in 1935 by Hedley Clarke, and for many years he would hold the position of Chief Observer. His five original colleagues were Mr. Reg. Staniford, Mr. J. Bushell, Mr. D. Swain, the late Mr. R. Fisher, and the late Mr. R. Pollard, and with Mr. J. Ramsbotham joining soon after the inception, by the beginning of the war there were 20 members. The hut, situated on high ground rising from the canal in Hammonds Field, off Aylesbury Street, had been subscribed for, and erected by the members, and a direct telephone line provided a link to the police station. Under the control of the Air Ministry, the primary duty of the Observer Corps was to track enemy aircraft for Fighter Command, and the first successful observation in daylight was made of a Dornier 17 by Mr. Ramsbotham and Mr. K. Grigg, who had the satisfaction to later learn that the raider had been brought down on the Surrey hills. Training for the members had initially been voluntary, but as the work increased in importance so it became necessary for the members to be fully trained in aircraft recognition. They also had to pass a compulsory test, and in preparation an invaluable source of reference would be The Aeroplane Spotter, which was founded by Peter, (later Sir Peter), Masefield, who continued as the editor until 1943. With the hut at Bletchley having been manned night and day, some of the personnel had been engaged full time for 48 hours a week, whilst the part time members averaged 12 to 16 hours a week, working in four hour shifts.

Towards the end of July, the Fire Force Commander wrote to the A.R.P. Committee asking if, for the purpose of calling part-time members of the brigade to any fires that occurred between 8a.m. and 10p.m., the Council would transfer the siren above the Council Offices to the N.F.S. On condition that the N.F.S. saw to the repairs, the request was granted, although whilst the siren would remain in the present position, the control point would be transferred to the police station. At 9.30a.m. on Sunday, 23rd September at the Newton Longville range the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle & Social Club championship took place. This was for the novices and inter-section cup, and the entrance fee of 2s 6d covered all the events. Then at the end of the month after five years with Bletchley N.F.S. it was announced that Jacob Leigh, of 28, Napier Street, was leaving the fire service to take up a business in the Isle of Man. Working as a furniture manufacturer, before the war he had lived in London, and served during the first six months of hostilities as a volunteer part-time member of London A.F.S. Then on coming to Bletchley he became a full-time member, under the command of Captain Brooks. As for Fireman F. Ebborn of 9, Napier Street, after 13 weeks on the sick list he had now received his discharge from the N.F.S. on medical grounds, and also regarding staff matters, Fireman J. White, who had recently transferred to Bletchley N.F.S. from the headquarters at Aylesbury, would soon leave for the N.F.S. at Dover. For nearly four years he had been a despatch rider in the A.F.S. and N.F.S., and was therefore not surprisingly known as the ‘motorcycle king’. For Bletchley Thanksgiving Week, the Bletchley & District Co-op would invest £10,500 in Savings & Defence Bonds, and in addition the C.W.S. would invest a sum of 10s each per local member. In fact the overall target for the Thanksgiving Week was £50,000, and on Saturday, November 10th at the opening ceremony, held in St. Martin’s Hall, Brigadier General Gambier Parry was the speaker. With a dance for the youngsters staged in the Modern Secondary School hall, in the evening a whist drive took place, and on Monday £4,595 was revealed as the amount of monies raised to date. For the daily ceremony of raising the target indicator, many interesting local personalities had been engaged, and these included Bletchley’s beauty queen, Vicki Stanton, and Lieutenant Carl Moser, who would be the speaker on Tuesday. During five years of campaigning, Mrs. W. Grove, as secretary of the Duncombe Street and Osborne Street savings groups, had contributed over £5,000 to the Bletchley total, and at the final indicator ceremony she duly received a special mention of appreciation from the president of the local savings committee, Mr C. Collins. However, he had less praise for members of Bletchley Urban District Council, whom, for their alleged lack of support to the savings campaign, he publicly attacked. Yet no accusations of lethargy could be levelled at the efforts of the St. Mary’s Church knitting party which, having now closed, had sent no less than 1,500 ‘comforts’ and gifts of money to members of the Forces.



At the range behind the Bull Hotel, the small bore championship shoot of the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle and Social Club took place on January 7th, 9th, and 11th, and with the lessened need for such items, on Wednesday, January 30th Civil Defence equipment - to include lockers, electric fires, kettles, wheelbarrows, tools etc. - were auctioned at 11a.m. by Wigley and Johnson. This took place at the County Council Depot, Denbigh Road, and a further sale of surplus equipment was then held at Bletchley market on Wednesday, January 30th, although a gale played havoc with the lots, which numbered in excess of 400. Also to be disposed of, as soon as possible, were the public surface shelters in the town, and for their demolition and clearance in September the Council would accept a tender of £447 from McCarthy, Lloyd and Co. Ltd. As for the wartime air raid siren, it was now announced that from Monday, February 4th the All Clear signal would be used to summon the part time firemen, but only during the day. On Wednesday, February 13th the Council gave notice that, to be conducted on the premises of the old British Restaurant, a sale of evacuation equipment would take place at 10a.m. However, ‘Persons will be limited to obtaining one article of each class of equipment and payment must be made before such article is removed at the sale.’ As for the goods available, there would be a choice of 65 blankets in good condition, 17 blankets soiled or damaged, 204 sheets in good condition, 60 pillow slips in good condition, 63 soiled pillows, 110 mattresses in good condition, 9 damaged mattresses, 15 camp beds in good condition, and 37 damaged camp beds.

By now the Civil Defence organisations had been disbanded, and at the Conservative Club one Saturday in March there was a large attendance of old comrades at the first reunion dinner of B Company, 12th Battalion Home Guard. The company commander had been Major Leonard, O.B.E., (who in civilian life had recently been appointed as the district auditor of the L.M.S. at Blackpool), and during the proceedings he, when ordered to do so by ex Sergeant N. Lewtas, dutifully left his chair, marched forward, and was presented with an engraved silver cigarette case, as a token of appreciation from the members. Then towards the end of the month the fire service would change to a purely part time establishment and, until alarms were installed in the firemen’s homes, as a temporary arrangement fire calls were to be routed through to the police. They would then summon the part time firemen by sounding the ‘All Clear’, and in fact the first such occasion would be just after 8a.m. on Friday morning, March 15th, when at the Council’s incinerator, in North Street, all the waste within the brick built confines was found to be ablaze. Yet despite the roof of the building being damaged the callout system was deemed a complete success, and the response time of all the nine part time firemen had been less than three minutes. The initial intent had been for the siren to sound only during the day, but commencing from March 31st the Council decided that it should also be activated at night. This would then continue until the bell system had been installed in the homes of the firemen, a task scheduled for completion in July.

The Council Offices had accommodated the wartime Report Centre, and at the end of March it was decided that the present entrance to the Bletchley Council Chamber should be bricked up, with new doors to lead from the Report Centre room, and the landing near the balcony. However, remaining untouched was a 36 yards roll of ribbon, (currently reposing in a drawer at the Council Offices). This had been acquired for the Defence Medals, to which more than 700 civilians in Bletchley were entitled, and persons wishing to claim a medal would need to obtain from a post office Form DM1 (Conditions of Eligibility), and Form DM2 (Claim Form). On completion, these were then to be submitted to Mr. J. Smithie, at the Council Offices. Each medal required 2½ inches of ribbon, coloured green, for the green fields of England, flame, for the Blitz, and black stripes for the blackout, and, as long as they had served for three years, former members of the Civil Defence and Fire Guards were entitled to the award. Nevertheless, only 20 applications had been received, and in fact there had been a greater success in shifting the 2¼ tons of bleach powder which, having been stored at Fenny Stratford for civil defence purposes during the war, had now been sold off at £4 10s per ton. During early May, the Council made a request that young children’s Mickey Mouse and hospital gas masks, as well as babies gas helmets, should be returned to the Council Offices. Morrison shelters would be collected at a later date by the local authority, although they could be purchased at a cost of £1 10s each. As for brick surface shelters, with an entitlement to keep the materials these could be demolished by the householder, or the owner of the premises, at their own expense. Otherwise, the structure could be adapted for alternative use, and in fact the air raid shelter in the front garden of 175, Water Eaton Road would remain until 1950.

The siren at the Council Offices was now well established in the new role of summoning the part time firemen, but unfortunately this upset Mr. A.G. Rawlings of 27, Oxford Street, who in a letter to the local press complained; ‘Sir, may I, through your columns, make a protest about the sounding of the Siren for Fire Alarms.’ ‘I was at work with some onions when all at once the Siren went. Quite unconsciously I fell flat (I was on my hands and knees) and lay thus for two or three minutes, as I had been accustomed to during the war of getting out of sight.’ It was therefore rather ironic that on the afternoon of Friday, May 31st he had cause to summon the fire brigade by siren, having discovered a serious blaze at the Fenny Stratford vicarage! By mid June eight voluntary helpers, headed by Mr. F. Bates and Oliver Wells, had dealt with over 500 cases at the Bletchley Citizens Advice Bureau. The service had been set up in 1942, but although the wartime Home Guard was no longer in existence, ex members of the 12th Bucks Battalion could still practice their skills at the rifle range behind the Bull Hotel, where, at an entrance fee of 2s 6d, a competition for the Bert Cook Cup would be held from Monday, October 14th to Friday 18th inclusive.



N.F.S. fireman Ernest Poole, of 49, Eaton Avenue, met with a puzzling incident on Friday, March 14th, for whilst walking past the Register Office he was suddenly stopped by a soldier, who explained that the best man had not yet arrived for a wedding, and would Mr. Poole agree to deputise. With this duty complete, 10 minutes later Mr. Poole was still none the wiser as to who had been married! A ‘most convivial evening’ was spent on Saturday, March 29th, when around 75 members and friends of Bletchley L.M.S. ‘B’ Company, 12th Bucks Home Guard held their second reunion dinner at the Conservative Club. After an excellent meal the Loyal Toast was proposed by the chairman, Major A. Leonard, M.B.E., and after this his second in command, Captain W. Smith, said that although he could recall many amusing incidents, he felt it was something deeper that had prompted them to hold the reunion. However, there would be a sad announcement on Monday, July 21st, when it was revealed that in a railway accident at Polesworth, one of the fatalities had been 46 year old Mr. Melville Cassels. A former valued and respected member of No. 2 Platoon, ‘B’ Company, he was the eldest son of the late Reverend G. Cassels, and, following a change of employment, had returned to live with his mother at St. Albans. From 1940 to 1946 he had been Inspector of Signals, L.M.S., Bletchley, and in other activities was from 1943 to 1945 the Choirmaster at St. Martin’s Church and also, for a while, first aid instructor to the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout Troop. After the resignation of Mr. E. Cox he had also been their Scoutmaster and it was therefore appropriate that representatives, accompanied by those from St. Martin’s, attended his funeral, at St. Alban’s Abbey, on the afternoon of Friday, July 25th.




After paying well in the early months, the British Restaurant had more lately been losing money, and by a decision of the Council it was now intended to transfer the premises on a 12 months tenancy to the Y.M.C.A. who, apart from the rent of £50p.a., would also pay the taxes. However, the agreement was dependant on meals being provided for a limited number of war workers, with the facility to close at 10p.m. every evening. Whilst there was no longer an acute shortage of coal in Bletchley, due to labour difficulties, (and the recent state of the roads), merchants were behind with their deliveries, and wood merchants had accordingly been inundated with orders, to such an extent that supplies were exhausted as soon as they became available. By the end of January, despite a lessened number of calls the Emergency Relief Fund, which provided assistance to evacuees, continued in operation, and meetings were still being regularly held. In fact many garments had been made for the evacuated children, and 1944 had seen the Fund benefit by the sum of £21 5s, raised by the sale of programmes at the Studio. Conversely, a financial loss would be suffered by Angel Dindol, a local draper, when, at Bedford market, on February 10th for insufficient coupons he supplied ladies underwear to Elsie Lambourne. Unfortunately she happened to be a Board of Trade inspector, and on March 20th his transgression resulted in a £50 fine, imposed at Bedford Borough Sessions. However, as proof that the regulations were rather complicated, the defence would take 20 minutes to read just one sentence!

Towards the end of February the Council informed the Ministry of Food that if, as had been recently considered, the British Restaurant was transferred to the Y.M.C.A., then industrial and war workers must still be able to use the facility. The Council would otherwise continue to run the operation for a further period as a British Restaurant. Yet whatever the outcome, from Monday, February 26th the premises would be open from 11a.m. to 2p.m. for morning coffee, lunch, etc., and 4.30p.m. to 10p.m. for light teas, hot snacks, tea, coffee etc., although on Sundays all day closing was to apply. In fact with the provision of a supply of books and games the facility was presently attracting an even greater custom, mainly from members of the Forces, but nevertheless in late March the Ministry of Food announced that, despite the improved income, the revenue was still lower on the quarter than the increase for the three months ended 1944. However, although they therefore recommended an imminent closure, the Council instead decided to continue the centre on a monthly basis, and were possibly persuaded by such comments as those of Signalman F. Stapley of Little Horwood, who, penning the expressed wish of many, had written that ‘Rumours are circulating that the British Restaurant in Bletchley will shortly be closing down. I certainly hope this is not so, as we Forces girls and boys in this area very much appreciate such an establishment. No one but Service folk can realise fully what a blessing it is to have an almost homely place to go to in the evening, where you get so good a meal at so small a cost. There are admittedly, a few small cafes, but they are not capable of handling, on an average, more than a dozen people at a time. Then, again, the price would limit a member of the Forces visiting often.’

In consequence of a change of ownership, during March persons registered with Mrs. Gladys Clarke, of 26, Aylesbury Street, were - unless they expressed an objection - to be automatically transferred to Miss Eva Matthews, at the same address. Then also in consequence of a change of ownership, at the end of May persons registered for their rationed foods with Mr. E.C. Weatherhead at 79, Victoria Road, were automatically transferred to the new proprietor, Mr. W. Johns. Yet at least there would be some relief from the hardships of rationing when, from June 15th, family allowances were introduced, whereby the family budget would be augmented by 5s a week after the first child. In fact as a further portent of the welfare culture, on July 26th Labour won the General Election with a sizeable majority of 173. As for the reason, it was alleged by some that returning servicemen were no longer content with the old order of ‘tugging the forelock to capitalist employers.’ In July an extra assistant was appointed to the British Restaurant, and also during the month the Council announced that for the Red Cross Show they would contribute £15 15s, partly towards providing refreshments for the band members at the premises. In fact due to the food situation, at a Tuesday meeting of the Council it was decided to continue the British Restaurant throughout the winter months, and reporting on the situation to date Mr R. Sherwood, the Clerk of the Council, said that 439,075 meals had been supplied during the two and a half years since the opening, plus countless cups of tea - although consumption of the latter was perhaps likely to decrease, since for domestic use the tea ration was now being raised to 2½ ounces a week! After providing for all capital repayment charges, it was duly revealed that the accumulated loss at the British Restaurant amounted to £187 10s 9d., but this was against £379 7s received by the Council as the income in rent, although supervision charges, in respect of the Clerk and Surveyor of the Council, had amounted to £302 11s 8d.

In view of the current shortage of coal, to augment the supplies for the coming winter the Council was to now co-operate in a scheme for storing and distributing wood, and in fact as a further measure, in mid September the Ministry of Fuel & Power asked that the street lamps in the town should be turned off at midnight. Nevertheless, despite the shortage of coal there seemed to be no lack of an associated bureaucracy for, regarding the administration of Coal Distribution Order, 1943, and the Retail Coal Prices Order, 1941, on October 19th a claim was made by the Council, (via form AG1, ref. the Ministry of Fuel and Power, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire), for the repayment of the expenses incurred during the period April 1st, 1943 to March 31st, 1944. The remuneration of £50 was to be paid to the Local Fuel Overseer. Apart from a lack of coal, there was now also a shortage of shopping bags, although by the end of the month Mrs. Potter, of 16, Park Street, had made her own - from 104 cardboard milk bottle tops and raffia! Yet at least some commodities were becoming more plentiful, for not only were Vienna Rolls once again available in the Co-op shops, but here supplies of bread could also be obtained; ‘eat more Co-operative bread made in the most modern bakery in the district.’ As for the chore of domestic laundry, at the Bletchley & District Co-op Hardware Department customers could ‘Solve your washday troubles and supplement your soap ration by using KLORYDE, the Sunshine Bleaching Fluid’. ‘Makes the dirt dance out of your clothes.’

An anticipated influx of labour into the town had proved an additional reason for the Council, at a Tuesday meeting in November, to decide that the British Restaurant should be kept open. The question of buying the equipment installed by the Ministry of Food was also discussed, as well as the wording of a minute, which stated that the Ministry of Food would not agree to the Council accepting any loss subsequent to June 30th, 1942. This was queried by Councillor O. Wells, whereupon the Clerk then agreed that this should read ‘prior to June 30th’. He further stated that regarding a loss of £180, which had been reported to the finance committee, this had been due to overcharging the trading account for supervision by the Council’s staff, and an adjustment to be made in the current financial year would ensure that the Council took over neither a profit nor a loss. The only remaining question now concerned the amount to be charged by the Ministry for the use of the equipment, but the matter would soon be superfluous for, despite over 400 dinners being ‘turned out’ every week, it was shortly announced that the British Restaurant was to close at 10p.m. on Friday, December 21st, since the Council had decided that the terms offered by the Ministry of Food did not justify taking over the premises. Therefore Mrs. E. Wigley, who, assisted by Mrs. R. Sims, had been the supervisor, would return to Bournemouth, where she had long been in the catering trade. As for Mrs. C. Clarke, the cook, Miss P. Guess, the vegetable cook, and Miss E. Napthine, the cashier, they would have to seek alternative employment, but despite the closure of the British Restaurant there was at least a contemporary measure of good news, for Bletchley had been sufficiently fortunate to obtain a share of the Christmas puddings sent as a gift by South Africa. In fact the town had been amongst those picked at random, and pudding preference would be given to those persons who were aged over 80.



With a continuing shortage of household furnishings, no doubt the 70 white bed sheets, and 150 pillow slips, recently stolen from the store at Bletchley Park, would have been destined for the black market. They were the property of the Ministry of Works, and the two men arrested for the crime would be shortly detained at His Majesty’s pleasure. Hopefully it had also been a pleasure for his majesty, the late King George V, when the firm of Charles Franklin, coal merchants, had gained a royal appointment. Also trading as a builders merchants, they could supply coal and coke from their premises in Station Approach, Bletchley Road, as also from the L.M.S. coal depot at Fenny Stratford, but in the amounts they were able to obtain people were now restricted - except by licence from the Local Fuel Overseer - to no more than 8cwt. of coal, including coalite, during the two month period January/February 1946. Yet for any premises even this amount was not permissible, should it cause the supplies to exceed the maximum of 34cwt. for the 12 months from May 1st, 1945 to April 30th, 1946. As for coke, anthracite, Welsh dry steam coal and - excepting coalite - manufactured fuels, subject to the availability of supplies the maximum total supply would be 20cwt., for the six months from November 1st, 1945 to April 30th, 1946. Shortages were also affecting industry, and whereas the London Brick Company usually had a stock of 100 tons a week, there was presently only a quantity of 40 tons. Valentin, Ord and Nagle were coping ‘hand to mouth’, but the situation was slightly more favourable at the gas works, although even their reserves had diminished. Fortunately the situation was more optimistic regarding Christmas puddings, for of the recent supply shipped as a gift from South Africa, amongst the 72 chosen recipients would be 96 year old Mrs. Elizabeth Collier, of 11, Railway Terrace. She personally received her pudding from Councillor Maycock, and another lucky recipient was Mrs. B. Bates, of 32, Church Street, who received one of the 100,000 parcels of butter, bacon, and cheese, which, in appreciation for the liberation of their country, had been sent to Britain by the women of Denmark.

On March 1st the Bank of England passed to public ownership, but with the need for continued economies for most people this was perhaps of little interest, as also it seemed was a salvage conference held at Aylesbury, since only four of the 20 invited local authorities bothered to attend. Elsewhere, at the Council Offices a further consignment from South Africa had now been received. This consisted of ten 25lb. cases of sultanas, and on Friday, March 5th a lorry loaded with bananas - (mostly green!) - then drew up at the Westfield Road depot. of Messrs. R.W. Johnson and Sons, fruiterer wholesalers. These were the first to be available in the town since the beginning of the war, and, having never seen a banana, many children watched in amazement. However, when from March 12th the bananas, packed in straw, were distributed, many of the youngsters seemed less than impressed, and in fact ‘some frankly ejected the first mouthful’, despite their mothers having formed long queues on Tuesday, March 12th and Wednesday, March 13th to obtain the first quantities. As a consequence, especially since the controlled price was 1s 1d per lb., many mothers mashed the bananas with sugar, and also cream, in an attempt to make them more palatable! Desirable or not, for the holders of children’s ration books there would be a three day reservation period, commencing from the date that a retailer received his supply, and after that any surplus of bananas could be made available to holders of the RB2 or RB4 ration book. As for apples, according to an answer given in the House of Commons, Bletchley, during the 12 months ending on May 11th, had been one of the few areas in London and the South East to receive an allocation.

Unsurprisingly, with the continuing need for ration books there was presently a serious shortage of waste paper. Accordingly, the Ministry of Supply had urged an intensive salvage drive, and the issue of the necessary posters would be arranged by the Surveyor of the Council, which had now decided that, since they required the premises for their own use, the British Restaurant would not be let. However, the fittings and fixtures would be disposed of, and Wigley and Johnson were consequently instructed to auction on site on Wednesday, May 15th ‘The Valuable Heavy Cooking Equipment’; 2 S.F. (converted to gas 72” Yorkshire Ranges Unit with 6’6” - 9” S.I. Flue Pipe and Canopy over Model GB 563784, 2 Gas 6’ x 30” x 2’ 10” Hot Cupboards with ‘Bain Marie’ 2’ x 2’ x 7” doors one side. 1 Gas ‘Ewart’ 400 ft. Café Set, 1 Gas Steaming Oven 7½ cu ft, 2 S.F. (converted to gas) 30 gallon boiling pans. 1 electric peeling machine 7/10lb and waste tank model B.P’. The sale would commence at 2.30p.m., with viewings having been held on Tuesday, May 14th from 10a.m. to 4p.m. The campaign to urge the salvage of wastepaper was now to be launched in the Bletchley area, where the new ration book could be obtained from the Food Office, at The Creameries, 76, Bletchley Road, from 27th May to June 14th; ‘A-Z hours of attendance Mon. to Fri. 9.30-12.30, 2.30-4.30. Fill up page 4 of the present ration book and leave it in the book. Take the ration book and I.D. card to the distribution centre’. As for bread rationing - a measure ironically and partially caused by the need to feed the malnourished German population - when in connection with a new scheme representatives of the National Association of Master Bakers confronted John Strachey, the Food Minister, they were fortified by thousands of telegrams and petitions, including one from the Master Bakers of Bletchley, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Loughton, and Newton Longville. With the meeting held on Friday, July 12th, their protest concerned the complicated nature of the bread rationing scheme, ‘which has many anomalies and would be unworkable’, and although the local branch of the Master Bakers had not functioned for a number of years, several local bakers, including Clifford Stevens of Bletchley, said that they wanted to do something to strengthen the hand of those officially opposing the scheme, especially since they felt that the amount of flour saved would hardly justify the time and trouble. In fact the Bletchley Master Bakers informed their customers that there would be less trouble if pages of coupons were handed in at their shops, or given to rounds men, during the coming week. In return, showing the total number of Bread Units available for each four week period the customer would receive a card, which would be duly marked each time a purchase was made. A balance would then be calculated each weekend. At the Bletchley & District Co-op Society, where there was now an urgent need for a bakery rounds man, male or female, persons were advised that for ‘bread rationing made easy’ they should take their ration books to the Co-op Hall, or hand them to one of the van men between July 15th and 20th, ‘and deposit your units in exchange for a bread, flour and cake card.’ Indeed, the situation seemed very confusing, but nevertheless by the end of the month the local bakers, by ‘quick organisation and foresight’, appeared to have accomplished the changeover to bread rationing as efficiently as possible, and although on one Saturday there had been a rush for extra bread at certain shops, matters were otherwise normal. However, although there had been no real need, since a fortnight’s extension had been granted, late August would witness a rush to change Bread Units for points, and in fact the local food control office, under the management of John Elliott, the Food Executive Officer, would run out of points on half a dozen occasions. Not that the situation caused problems for everyone, for some traders were now at last able to unload stocks having a high points value, such as quantities of Grade A meat, including salmon! As the final word on the matter, on August 20th at the quarterly meeting of the Bletchley & District Co-op the President, John Goodwin, would comment that the bread rationing scheme had undoubtedly caused considerable work and expense. They had to supply Bread Units to 4,000 customers, and ‘There is no doubt we have saved flour, but not the decrease we would have expected in face of the Minister’s figures.’

Earlier in the year, at the end of April the sultanas received in the town from South Africa had, after being packed into bags by the Co-op, been distributed to some 250 people, each of whom received two 2lb. bags. Now in a further gift from overseas came the arrival of nearly 400 tins of jam from the Dominions, and with preference given to those persons receiving supplementary pensions, the W.V.S. would subsequently distribute the supplies to O.A.P.s. Previous gifts from the Colonies had included 48 tins of peaches, 192 tins of steak, 48 tins of cheese, 108 tins of jam, and 336 jelly crystals, and pensioners would again be fortified following the arrival at the Council Offices of an Australian consignment of tins of jam, canned steak, tinned cheese, jelly crystals, and four dozen tins of sliced peaches, all of which had been received on Thursday, July 11th. Following their show on Saturday, June 1st, the members of the Bletchley and District Fur and Feather Club held their last open pen show of the year at Bletchley market on Saturday, October 12th, there being 197 exhibits, and a total of 430 entries. By the end of February the membership of the Fur and Feather Club had totalled 114 adult members and 14 juveniles, whilst as to the advantages of joining, ‘Domestic poultry keepers can obtain wire-netting permits from this Club.’ For those regular customers who were perhaps short of fuel, the Bletchley and District Co-op could now supply two tons of ‘ovoids’ in addition to the coal allocation, ie. 20cwt. from May 1st - October 30th, and 20cwt. from November to April, and also in readiness for the winter at the end of October the Council announced that the public could obtain logs from the Ministry of Fuel and Power dump, at Bletchley Park. At 85s a ton, or 4s 6d a cwt. for lots of five cwt. or less, supplies were limited, and customers had to place their orders with their regular coal merchant, or other retailer. As for retail coal merchants and wood fuel dealers, they could obtain full particulars of suppliers from the Wholesale Distribution Agents, Charles Franklin Ltd., Station Approach, Bletchley Road.

Despite the maximum amount of gas being produced, in November it was announced that during the winter the gas pressure in the town might have to be drastically reduced, due to a shortage of labour. In fact it seemed that this would become an ongoing situation, for upon the lifting of the Essential Works Order last May several employees had left, and the Ministry of Labour had been unable to secure any replacements. At the moment production relied heavily upon German prisoners of war, but with repatriation now in progress, even this availability appeared uncertain. As for other forms of fuel, also in November the Reverend Allan Campbell, Messrs. H. Elmer, F. Fairey, L. Alderton, and W. Gurney, were appointed as trustees of the Water Eaton Fuel Charity, and continuing a charitable theme, on Thursday, December 5th further gifts from the Empire were received at the Council Offices. The eight cases contained 48 tins of Nestles milk, 56 tins of peach jam, 56 tins of melon and lemon jam, 36 tins of marmalade, 36 tins of blackcurrant and apple jam and 24 tins of green peas, and many pensioners consequently received Christmas gifts on Monday, December 16th, when the numerous tins of foodstuffs were distributed. A Council lorry had been packed with cases, and at various points in the district members of the W.V.S., assisted by the Boys Brigade, then unloaded the produce, although some of the gifts had been set aside for the New Year party.

With Christmas now imminent, if they applied before Saturday, December 14th customers of the Bletchley Co-op were invited to ‘TAKE your ingredients to any of our shops and secure a delicious CHRISTMAS CAKE for 2/6 per lb.’ Yet being the season of goodwill it was also a time to think of others, but in view of the continued rationing it was not without a certain irony that the Temperance Hall, in George Street, had now become a centre where people could bring ‘points’ foodstuffs for Germany. Already tins of powdered milk, eggs, beans etc. had been received by the warden, Miss Challenger, and further gifts could be left any morning or evening, as well as on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. With the collection having been taken over by an official body, a good response was anticipated, and in fact this proved to be the case for, each weighing 15lb., the first gift parcels were despatched to Germany on Wednesday, December 18th, via the ‘Save Europe Now Fund’.



On January 1st the nationalisation of the coal industry became effective, but on January 8th steel works then closed because of a lack of coal. In fact due to the fuel situation the production of bricks had declined, and the Flettons group of 13 works, which included Newton Longville, was now down to a four days stock of coal. As for domestic supplies, with priority being given to those houses without any other form of heating Mr. J. Hobbs, the house coal officer for the Bletchley district, said that as fairly as possible supplies were being distributed by the merchants, who now included the newly expanded Bletchley Coal and Haulage Co., which had taken over the business of Mr. C. Essen - ‘enquiries to 36 Bletchley Road’. Apart from a shortage of coal - (and on April 24th the Government would ban the use of coal and gas until September) - there were now food shortages due to a hauliers strike, but at least there was good news for the Bletchley and District Fur and Feather Club, for at the annual general meeting, held on Wednesday, January 8th, the secretary, Mr. W. Walduck, reported a year of successful working, emphasised not least by the fact that the credit balance of £2 17s 5d at the beginning of the year had, by December 31st, 1946, been increased to £72 7s 2d. Due to the adverse weather the meeting had been sparsely attended, but for Robert Dindol, of 91, Bletchley Road, there would be no excuse for non attendance on Friday, January 31st, when at Wellingborough Magistrates Court he was fined £30, with £5 5s advocates fees and £3 witnesses expenses. This was for having sold on August 21st, 1946, 3½ yards of Utility crepe for £2 2s, and since this happened to be a price in excess of the permitted maximum, it was just his luck that the goods had been bought by Dorothy Martin, a Board of Trade inspector!

The first meeting of the year of the Bletchley Food Control Committee had been held on Friday, January 17th, and being re-elected to the position of chairman, Mr. H. Dimmock, expressed his wish that before the end of the year the need for the Committee would have passed. Being re-elected as the vice chairman, in fact Mr. E. Callaway jokingly pointed out that he was never given anything to do by the chairman, who then pointed out that ‘the remuneration is just the same!’ Elected to the Enforcement Committee were Mrs. Mercer, Mrs. Bolton, Mr. E. Callaway, Mr. J. Bushell and Mr. C. Stevens, but, since ‘the traders of Bletchley were respectable people’, the body had little to do. As for the Licensing Committee, the members would be Mr. Dimmock, Mrs. Mercer, Mr. Allen, Mr. Holdom, and Mr. Stevens, whilst for those trades not represented on any of the Committees, a letter from headquarters now advised that a person associated with that trade should be called in as necessary to provide advice. Therefore on catering matters Mr. O. Tramontini would be called upon, and in fact he had originally asked to be included on the Committee, but at a time when no vacancies had been available. Confusion arose in February when, following the announcement by the Minister of Fuel of a drastic cut in electricity, local factories and works complained of a lack of precise information from higher quarters. However, they would willingly co-operate with the local electric power company in reducing consumption wherever possible, and fortunately until noon on February 10th the local supply had been generally maintained, apart from a total cut the previous Friday. With 200 entries, all of a high standard, during one Sunday in March at the Co-op Hall the Bletchley and District Fur and Feather Club held another successful table show, and with Bletchley market as the collecting centre, by the beginning of April also on show each Thursday was fat stock. This had to be penned by 10a.m., and regarding other markets, those for dairy and store stock, poultry, eggs and produce would be held weekly. Then at 3p.m. and 4p.m. respectively, the A.G.M.s of the Bletchley and Aylesbury Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Distribution Committee, and the Aylesbury and Bletchley Tomato Distribution Association, took place on April 14th at the Conservative Club, where the new Committee members were elected, and the work of the year reviewed.

By the end of April eight cases, each containing twentyfour 2lb. tins of golden syrup, had been received as a gift from Australia but, since there might be more ‘exotic’ gifts on the railway system, the tins had not as yet been distributed. Also exotic would be the application considered by the Bletchley Food Control Committee on the evening of Friday, May 30th, when they considered the request to grant a catering licence to a local Lido and Sports Company, who hoped to open a lido in the town! As an indication of the high standards of the Bletchley Fur and Feather Club, during the year within the space of three weeks Mr. H. Skilleter would gain three cups with his fine ermine rex rabbit, which was perhaps one of the 133 exhibits displayed at the Club’s open pen show at Bletchley market on Saturday, May 24th . With the judging by Mr. J. Copping, of London, (Fancy), and Mr. F. Maynard, of Edgeware, (Normal fur and Rex), this was the first show of the year, and on Saturday, July 12th at Coronation Hall the Club would then hold a Benefit Dance for Mr. W. Sedgwick, featuring Georgie Wood and his Old Vic Dance Orchestra. As a welcome supplement to the rations, by the end of the month at the Council Offices a consignment of gifts would be received from New Zealand, comprising 108 1lb. tins of steak and kidney, 60 12oz tins of steak and onions, 48 1lb. tins of corn beef and cereals, 72 1lb. tins of casserole steak, 21 1lb. tins of milk powder, 6 1lb. tins of meat and vegetable rations, 40 tins of various pies, and 18 tins of condensed milk. However, for the more usual supplies the new ration books could be obtained from the Food Office in Bletchley Road between 9.30a.m. and 12.30p.m., and 2p.m. and 4.30p.m., from Monday to Friday, June 16th to 20th. In fact the books were being issued at the rate of 1,000 a day, and earning the congratulations of the authorities the exercise would be complete in 10 days, as opposed to the three weeks taken by some offices. Queues were nevertheless inevitable - although expectant mothers could have slips for queue priority - and hold ups were mainly due to ‘people failing to complete Page 4, and because some queuers brought as many as eight or ten books.’ At the end of each day’s issue, with the key handed to the Superintendent the books were then locked in a cell at the police station, and this was perhaps not surprising since they could each command a price of seven guineas on the black market. However, with regards to milk there would be some confusion, for since there was to be no re-registration for milk when the new rationing year began, the Ministry of Food had issued instructions that the milk counterfoil should not be removed and handed to a milk retailer, but left blank in the book.

Regarding their communication on wool prices, on Thursday, June 19th the Bletchley branch of the N.F.U. was informed that the Ministry could not accede to any increase. Yet this was conversely the case concerning gas, for by the authority of a permit dated June 26th, granted by the Minister of Fuel and Power, the directors of the British Gas Light Co. Ltd. announced that their prices, from the reading of the meters for the June quarter, would be increased by three half pence a therm, bringing the cost to 1s 4½d per therm. Householders seeking an alternative supply of fuel might then care to visit 75, Buckingham Road, where logs were presently for sale, ‘large or small loads’, but on the wider scene hopes for an abundant source of future energy were raised on August 15th, when the first British atomic reactor opened at Harwell. On August 10th the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, had made a radio broadcast urging a wartime style national effort to cope with the national crisis, and the national crisis was certainly not lessened when, on Wednesday, August 27th, a blaze destroyed a large quantity of sugar, and other rationed food, at the Co-op warehouses off Albert Street. Having begun around 10.30p.m. the fire took some four hours to control, and for quite a while anxieties were expressed regarding the welfare of the warehouse cats, Ginger, Snooky, and Bimbo. In fact it was feared that Bimbo’s latest litter had perished, but fortunately they were all found safe and well in their box several hours later, despite having been less than a couple of yards from the seat of the inferno. Covered in cinders, and bedraggled by water, they presented a sorry sight, but Bimbo soon had them spick and span. Also safe and sound was a tabby cat at ‘Rosemary’, the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Garrett of Buckingham Road, which, having recently appeared ‘out of the blue’, had the same markings, and exhibited the similar habits, as a cat which, about a year ago, had moved with its owners, Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins, from ‘Maon’, Buckingham Road, to Bournemouth. After nine months or so the moggy had then gone missing, and having answered to a variety of names the recent arrival at ‘Rosemary’ appeared to respond to the same! Perhaps it could then teach its navigational skills to a two month old tabby kitten, which had now gone missing from 37, Tavistock Street.

The goods salvaged from the recent Co-op fire had now been dumped near the pits in Western Road, and with pieces of burnt soap amongst the spoil, youngsters, ‘by dint of much raking and cutting and scraping’, quickly made the most of the opportunity by sculpting the scraps into useable bars! Fortunately the National Co-op Bakery Exhibition had been held at London earlier during the month, for otherwise the fire might have claimed the supplies which enabled the entries submitted by the Bletchley and District Co-op to be lavishly commended. Indeed, those for confectionery were ‘Very Highly’ commended, and those for bread ‘Highly Commended’, and the Government also deserved to be highly commended when, on September 30th, as a means to conserve cloth supplies women were asked to wear shorter skirts. At the beginning of the year Mr. F. Bates had been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Bletchley Food Control Committee which, after discussing the scarcity of half pint bottles, decided on Friday, October 10th that if they wanted milk in half pints, and their present milkman was unable to comply, then consumers would be allowed to change their milk retailer. Yet some consumers had already changed their milk retailer, for in mid July those persons registered with W.H. Gurney, of Leys Farm, Water Eaton, had been transferred to Messrs. Hankins and Turner, Rectory Farm, Great Brickhill, since they were now the new proprietors. Unfortunately there was no consumer choice regarding the Bletchley Fuel Charity, for with the Trustees having been unable to secure the necessary permit from the Fuel Overseer, the usual gift of coal to 39 people in Old Bletchley had to be replaced by a supply of wood, as had indeed been specified in the original bequest. The gas works now had the benefit of additional manufacturing plant, and perhaps to recoup this expense was partly the reason for the directors of the British Gas Light Co. Ltd. to announce, at the beginning of November, that due to an increase in the price of coal, from the next reading of the meters the price throughout the Fenny Stratford district would increase by 0.8d per therm. However, this was possibly all too much for John Palmer, the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Palmer of the Gas House, for having gained admission to Sheffield University, he was now off to take a three year course in the Faculty of Pure Science. In fact the rise in the price of gas seemed hardly a festive gesture, and also lacking a seasonal goodwill was an announcement by local shopkeepers that the Christmas holiday was too long, and ‘In these days of rationing, hand-to-mouth consumption, and poor keeping qualities of foodstuffs, it is a public need that shops shall not be shut for long periods.’ Nevertheless, for Mr. and Mrs. Tom Pacey, of Windsor Street, the Christmas spirit was restored when a parcel of sugar, dried and crystallised fruits, and fats, arrived from the Knight family of Pythias, Penticton, British Colombia. Unfortunately, they had no idea who the Knight family were! Without the worries of war, this Christmas could be more fully enjoyed by the townspeople, although reminding of the previous hardships the Council, due to an urgent need for waste paper, now urged people to save their Christmas present wrappers for a special salvage drive, which would be held from December 29th to January 17th.




At St. Mary’s Church, as part of the Christmas collections the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society had been able to benefit by £9 11s 7d, and although the Emergency Relief Fund in the town was still in existence, there had been fewer calls for assistance. During the war, on occasion the Bletchley Community Centre had accommodated evacuees, but having been derequisitioned the premises would now reopen, for the potential of peacetime purposes, at 8p.m. on Saturday, January 13th, with a social and dance. No admission fee would apply, and with the new warden, Mr. E. Halsey, acting as M.C., Mr. Papworth’s band was to provide the music, with games and competitions included amongst the entertainments. During March a letter was received by Miss Audrey Hughes, of 32, Cottingham Grove, from Sonya Muchina, a Russian pen friend who lived about 25 miles from Moscow. Also corresponding with a girl in the U.S., and a girl in France, it had been via the ‘Anglo Soviet Youth Friendship’ that Audrey had been put in touch with Sonya, who began her letter ‘Dear friend Audrey, how good it is to know that this short letter is to fall into the hands of one of our Allies.’ As an evacuee from London, four years ago Mrs. Eva Haynes had arrived in Bletchley to live with her eldest son, Reginald, in Tavistock Street, but after 12 months she then moved to 35, Brooklands Road. However, she had been involved in an accident some three months ago, and it was possibly due to the long term effects that she died, aged 75, during April. As for billetees in the town, rumours that the billeting allowance was being stopped were denied at the end of the month by Mr. H. Jones, the Billeting Officer. He urged evacuees not to return to London until the proper arrangements had been made, and with these duly in place by early May, prior to leaving the town the remaining child evacuees enjoyed a communal party on Thursday, June 14th. With each child being presented with a book, this was held at St. Martin’s Hall, where on Wednesday, June 27th the children assembled to have labels affixed to them, a different colour representing each of the London reception centres. With some of evacuees carrying Union Jacks, and one a bunch of flowers, they were then taken by coach to Bletchley station, to be met by adult escorts who had been sent from London the previous day. According to the colour of their label, the children were directed to the correct railway coaches by an efficient train marshal, and in fact some of the evacuees had been amongst those who had arrived on the first evacuation trains in September, 1939. Now, however, they were all going home aboard the ‘Evacuation Special’, and as one London mother wrote on behalf of herself and her family; ‘We all want to thank the people of Bletchley for opening up their hearts and doors, for the kindness and love they have given to my children. They are a real credit to their foster parents and I would very much like you to thank them for me for being so good and kind to the children.’ For the care of the children from their area, thanks were also expressed by Willesden Borough Council who, in a letter to Bletchley Council and the Council officers, expressed appreciation for the welfare of their evacuees. By the end of July only 23 adults and 25 children remained on the billeting allowances in the town, and also in the town remained Mr. & Mrs. Burbury, of 124, Bletchley Road, who had moved to Bletchley on being bombed out of their London home. Their wedding having taken place in St. David’s Cathedral, Tasmania, during their married life they had travelled to many parts of the world, and on Sunday, July 29th would celebrate their golden wedding.

In November it was officially announced that householders could now let their homes to whom they wished, and although billeting powers would remain the same as for the rest of the country, from November 17th lodging restrictions would be lifted. Therefore with a much reduced need for billeting the Bletchley billeting officer, Henry Jones, who had occupied the position for the past four years, would leave at the end of December to become the assistant housing manager at Twickenham. However, the billeting office would still remain open, although no longer would the volume of war workers seeking billets entail having to spend three days a week filling in forms! As Mr. Jones recalled, ‘Small householders accepted the position, but the bigger householders were generally stubborn.’ Bletchley Urban District Council now completed the Ministry of Health form on which to record the statement of the expenditure for the financial year 1944 - 1945. On this was included a section regarding ‘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’, and with there presently being only one family in requisitioned housing, and with houses being required for only three families of transferred war workers, the salaries and wages of the staff and helpers had totalled £873 2s 9d.



On February 13th at the British Restaurant at 10a.m. a sale of evacuation equipment took place, including 15 camp beds in good condition, and 37 damaged. The Waifs and Stray Society’s flag day in Old Bletchley then raised £9 3s 1d on Saturday, March 9th, but there now seemed little need to provide further funds, and with only three unaccompanied evacuee children still left in the town, on Tuesday, December 10th the Council agreed to play Santa Claus, and grant each child 5s as a Christmas gift.



Evacuation was now becoming a distant memory, but with the post war needs there was still a requirement to provide accommodation in Bletchley, and any householder willing to let furnished or unfurnished rooms was asked to contact Mr. F. Benjamin, the Billeting Officer, at the Council Offices. Also, the Bletchley Reception Committee had a continuing need to accommodate young people visiting from the former occupied countries, and applications were invited from those householders willing to give Belgian children, aged 7 to 14, free hospitality for one month beginning July 22nd. Ration books would be supplied and ‘certain necessary’ expenses met, although by July only two offers had been received. Nevertheless, in a reciprocal move the World Friendship Association then offered a fortnights holiday in Denmark for local children, with the cost being £13 13s for those aged under 18, and £15 15s for those aged over 18. This would cover everything except the spending money in Denmark, and, with the ship due to sail on July 15th, interested persons were invited to write to Ken Bennett who, as the local youth leader, and secretary of the reception committee, would be granted the necessary office accommodation at the Community Centre. Refugees from London had been frequent arrivals during the war, but someone who had made her home in the town many years earlier was Mrs. Ellen Smith of 73, Church Green Road. As Bletchley’s oldest resident, she unfortunately died following a fall at her home on Wednesday, July 2nd, and a verdict of accidental death would be recorded at the inquest. Born at Old Windsor, where her husband was employed on the estate, she not only had personal contact with Queen Victoria but also other members of the Royal Family, and when her husband died 41 years ago, she came to live with her son, Mr. S. Smith, at the Leon Estate. When this was broken up on the death of Lady Leon, she then moved to one of the Noel Cottages.

At the Little Brickhill camp, during July German P.O.W.s made a large number of toys for the Bletchley Hospitality Committee. These would then be sold to raise funds for the entertainment of Belgian, French, and Austrian children who, in the next few months, would visit the town, and pleasingly there were now plenty of hosts, although another six were nevertheless required. With many still harbouring bad memories of the war, at the end of July 13 Belgian children - 9 boys and 4 girls - were duly welcomed to Bletchley under the World Friendship Association scheme, and after being greeted at the Community Centre by Mr. W. Johnson, chairman of the Council, they were then introduced to their foster parents; Mrs. Elliott of 10, Victoria Road, Mrs. Duncombe of 74, Tavistock Street, Mrs. Atkins of 36, Cambridge Street, Mrs. Garrett of 18, Aylesbury Street, Mrs. Evans, of 171 Buckingham Road, Mrs. Baker of 17, Eaton Avenue, Mrs. Cloran of Staple Hall Road, Mrs. Alderman of 36, Windsor Street, Mrs. Phillips of Leon Park Gardens, Mrs. Caldwell of 15, Clifford Street and Mrs. Odell of 11, Tavistock Street. Amongst many activities, during their stay the guests would visit London Zoo, Bletchley locomotive sheds, Wicksteed Park, and also Thornton College, where the nuns entertained them to tea. Leaving for home on Wednesday, August 20th, the children and their leader, Mlle. Raymonde Focan - who was shortly to be married -were entertained to a farewell party in the schoolroom of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, and here, on behalf of the local reception committee, Mlle. Focan was presented by Mr. F. Bates with a small silver dish, as a wedding gift. From the children she received a cigarette case, and in return the Belgian boy who made the presentation received ‘a resounding kiss’. Thereupon Mr. Bates declared ‘And what about me?’, and received a suitable embrace for his boldness! Mr. Bates then presented each boy with a pocket knife, and each girl with a brooch, and the programme for the evening consisted of games, various concert items, and, as part of the refreshments, a large decorated cake on which in pink icing had been written ‘Bon voyage’. Concluding the occasion, the gratitude of all the children was then expressed by the words of a Belgian boy; ‘We will never forget what you did for us. It was the nicest holiday we could have had.’

Having arrived by bus, at the Community Centre on Monday, September 8th five Austrian boys and five Austrian girls were welcomed by Mr. W.S. Johnson. As guests of the Friends of Austria Society they were from a party of about 100 children who, subsequent to their arrival in Britain three weeks ago, had been accommodated at a camp at Fairford, Gloucestershire. Their leader, Herr Herbert Zieglen, would give several talks in the town, and whilst he was to stay with Dr. and Mrs. Morphy, at their home in Bletchley Road, the children were to be fostered with Mrs. A. Bates, of Western Road, Mrs. West, of Sandringham Place, Mrs. Duncombe, of Tavistock Street, Mrs. Berry, of Victoria Road, Mrs. Hurst, of Eaton Avenue, Mrs. Ottery, of Western Road, Mrs. Grosvenor, of Chestnut Crescent, and Mrs. Alderman, of Windsor Street. With winter clothing also being contributed, by the end of September about £11 had been donated as pocket money for the children, and throughout their stay they would attend a Bletchley school. However, this did not prove an unqualified success, for fights would often break out, partly because they spoke mostly in German, and partly because they appeared to stay ‘aloof’ in the playground, tending not to mix, but to stay within their own groups. Yet this impression was mainly due to their previous indoctrination, and on a more positive theme all the children enjoyed a visit to London on Friday, October 24th. The year then drew to an appropriate close on Boxing Day, when the wedding took place at Enfield of Jean Hankins, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hankins of 10, Brooklands Road. She was formerly employed at the factory of W.O. Peakes, and had met her husband, James Saunders, of Enfield, as a result of a wartime pen friendship.




Tragedy struck on the first Wednesday of the New Year, when three U.S. soldiers were injured when their army vehicle, skidding on a glycerine spillage on the Watling Street, collided with a lorry. As for the footpaths in the town, regarding the way from North Street to Denbigh Road it had now been decided, due to the cost, not to lay a flagged footpath and concrete cycle road, but to instead only patch the surface. However, in early April tenders for the construction of concrete roads elsewhere, (an area comprising approximately 42,500 square yards), were invited, as well as quotations for soil and surface water sewers, as needed for the proposed new housing in the town. The Bletchley P.O.W. fund had recently received the sum of £27, as the contents of the collecting boxes filled by users of the Bletchley Voluntary Car Pool, and for anyone presently hoping to purchase a car a Morris 8 deluxe four door saloon, ‘40m.p.g.’, could be viewed at 27, Tavistock Street. As for suitable accommodation, a lock up garage could be rented from Mr. E.T. Hill, of 42, Windsor Street. In fact perhaps anticipating a more widespread car ownership, in April the Council agreed to Mr. T. Waine’s offer to allow a portion of his front garden, in Church Green Road, to be used for road widening, and thereby obviate ‘a nasty bend.’ The Surveyor would arrange for the work to be done, and this would include the erection of a substantial wooden fence on the new boundary line. At Bletchley station, at the L.M.S. staff canteen in Station Road a cook and canteen attendant were required, whilst at the Y.M.C.A. canteen a position involving light duties, ‘Suit O.A.P. £2 for 30 hour week’, was available. Here there was also the need for a part time assistant, in fact perhaps the same worker who, on the night of Thursday, May 3rd, would bring a jug of coffee to 12 dejected looking high ranking German officers, who had apparently been dropped off at Bletchley station from a northern express. Having spent most of the night in an unheated waiting room, in the early morning they were then put aboard a local train, possibly bound for Boxmoor Station. Also having good reason to feel dejected was a member of the W.R.N.S., who at Bletchley magistrates court on Thursday, June 7th was fined £1, with £1 11s 4d costs, for travelling on the railway without paying a 4d fare. Giving evidence, William Roff said that on March 14th the accused had handed in a platform ticket dated December 13th, but when challenged to stop she took no notice. He then ‘fetched her back’ from outside the station, but when following her admission of having travelled from Woburn Sands - a fare of 4d - he duly began to take her details, she threw a £1 note on the table and retorted ‘Take it out of this.’

At the beginning of July, a tandem bicycle with Sturmey Archer three speed was for sale at 75, Duncombe Street, whilst on Bank Holiday Monday potential cyclists then had the chance to buy one of the first £10 three speed B.S.A. cycles to be manufactured since the end of the European War, for with this and other goods to be paraded around the town, tickets for their purchase would be sold in the Bletchley Park recreation ground. Unfortunately a cycling tragedy then occurred at Bletchley station on Victory Day when, whilst pushing her bicycle across the barrow crossing from Platform 8, a 17 year old college girl was cut to pieces when, between Platforms 3 and 4, she was struck by the 3p.m. express from Euston to Heysham. Returning from her Cambridge college, to be with her family on Victory Day, she was Joan Ford, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. Ford, lived at Elm Farm, Marton, near Rugby. Until the express was stopped at Wolverton the train driver remained unaware of the horrific incident, and hopefully safety at the station was now to be enhanced by the removal of the blackout on the skylights of the goods shed, especially since there had been no improvement in the system of artificial lighting. For flagging the local footpaths, the tender of the Hadsphaltic Construction Co. Ltd., of £2,290 11s 10d , would soon be accepted by the Council, and by the end of July it had been announced that, by an order from the Ministry of War Transport, the speed limit would be retained between Staple Hall Road, and a point 340 yards to the north-west. This would thus promote road safety, and also promoting road safety was Superintendent F. Bryant, who during September presented ‘safe driving’ awards to 21 drivers of Bletchley Post Office. Also during September came news that when a new service was introduced, no extra trains were to serve Bletchley. It had been hoped that between 7a.m. and 10.30p.m. one more train would run between Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, and Euston, but as for the current rail traffic, one Tuesday early in the month at around 8.30p.m. two railway coaches were derailed, whilst being shunted onto a siding in Bletchley station. Nevertheless, they were back on the track by 11.30p.m. As to whether the Y.M.C.A. canteen for the Forces on Platform 3, Bletchley station, would be kept on track was another matter, and indeed the subject of a meeting at the Conservative Club on Wednesday, September 26th. This was held by the lady helpers and ‘interested persons’, and with the question being ‘Shall we close or carry on?’, it was decided to carry on, and keep the premises open during the night. With more volunteers needed, a committee would be formed to arrange the necessary shifts, and the necessary vigilance would also have to be maintained, since due to pilfering there was now a shortage of cutlery and crockery, which in the post war austerity were difficult to obtain. In fact ‘nearly every man in the Services must by now have a souvenir from Y.M.C.A.’, and in most homes ‘little Jimmy’ would be found drinking from a Y.M.C.A. mug, each of which cost 1s 7d to replace. Yet apart from that caused by the disappearing crockery, the Y.M.C.A. leader in charge of the canteen, Mr. F. A. Harwood, suffered additional distress on Monday, October 1st, when at about 12 noon he cycled into Brian Dennis of 11, Park Street. The boy had suddenly run across the road, but fortunately he did not suffer any serious injury. Mr. Harwood had been brought up and educated at Bradford, Yorkshire, but although at the age of seven he had lost all his right hand fingers in a machine accident, at an engineering works, he nevertheless became a marine engineer, and then a civil engineer. Being a founder of East African Breweries, Nairobi, he would spend 14 years in Kenya, three years in East London (Cape Province), and, where he ran three hotels for junior officers of the Royal Navy, four years in Durban, where his wife and family would remain when, at the age of 56, he decided to come to England to help with the war effort. However, he would have to work his passage, and duly signing up as an assistant steward for 62 days he began his daily routine at 5a.m. scrubbing decks. In fact adding to the discomfort, due to the mutinous behaviour of a foreign crew, (regarding some weevil infested rice), the ship missed the convoy, and, with the ever present danger of a U boat attack, had to sail alone. Fortunately it arrived safely at Liverpool, and since November 1944 Mr. Harwood had been in charge of the canteen on Bletchley station.

On Wednesday, October 10th six people were injured when a car, a utility brake, and two cyclists were involved in a collision in Buckingham Road. Driven by Sergeant Charles Pike, of Whaddon S.C.U., the car had passed the cyclists near the entrance of the military camp, but then collided with an army utility van coming in the opposite direction. The passengers in the van had been men from Little Horwood, but fortunately only minor damage and injuries were incurred. With the war now at an end, an application had been made to reopen those footpaths in the parish of Fenny Stratford which, due to reasons of security, had been closed. In consequence, during October the Clerk of the Council reported that the Air Ministry would lift the prohibition on three of the public footpaths, although at the other end of the town a restriction would still remain for that footpath leading from Rickley Lane to Shenley Road. On Sunday, October 21st, Mr. A.E. Felce, at a meeting of the Bletchley branch of the N.U.R., was elected unopposed as secretary, in succession to Mr. H. Goldsworth, who had resigned due to impaired health. However, rather more dramatic railway changes were now scheduled, for under the new scheme of organisation the Bletchley L.M.S. Control Office, which covered about 235 miles of track, would cease to function. Now 19 operating districts would replace the existing 42 Control Offices in England and Wales, and the new scheme meant that part of the Bletchley Control Office would be allocated to the London (Western) district, with the other part transferred to the Rugby operating district. As for the 34 staff, they were to be incorporated within the change, although it was not presently known if they would have to move. Yet one man who certainly had to move was a Bletchley Road pedestrian, whose umbrella suddenly burst into flames. A discarded cigarette was thought to be the cause.

At Bletchley market, on Thursday, October 25th a sale took place at 2p.m. of implements, tractors and second-hand cars, whilst for commercial vehicles Commer 4-5 ton heavy-duty lorries were now available, against a Ministry of Transport licence, from Kingsway Garage. As for pedal powered transport, at the 60th birthday celebrations of the North Road Cycling Club, Eric Wilkinson, the record breaking local cyclist, was presented in London with the North Road 24 hours cup. The guests included Mr. G. Strauss, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, and the B.B.C. sports commentator Raymond Glendenning, and at the end of the event Eric was chaired around the hall to the strains of ‘He’s a jolly good fellow’. Being the winner of many cups, as well as shields, and over 100 medals, in addition he held two tricycle records, and had broken his own record three times, and although now retired from racing, he had been a longstanding member of the Luton Wheelers. Regarding suggestions made by the Ministry of War Transport, at the end of November Bletchley Council was to discuss methods of road safety with the police, a subject then emphasised when, whilst motorcycling through Newport Pagnell, one Wednesday Reserve Constable W. Golding, of Aylesbury Street, was dazzled by oncoming headlights and hit the grass verge. He was taken to Northampton hospital with a severe cut to the left knee and other injuries, and should he need a replacement motorcycle, a B.S.A. 557cc example, ‘in perfect running order‘, was now being offered for sale at ‘£40 o.n.o.’ by A. Warren, at the Wilberforce Hotel, ‘apply after 6p.m.’ At Bletchley station, by mid December nine coaches, in the sidings that bridged the Water Eaton Road, formed part of the solution both to the problems of the L.M.S. Railways freight traffic, and the shortage of Bletchley accommodation. Assisting the running shed foreman, the warden for this ‘railway coach camp’ was Mr. L. Adney, and in the coaches lived and slept the men brought from the North to relieve the shortage of crews. For their accommodation the 75 firemen, guards, control and signalmen each paid the company 4s a week, and no doubt being allowed to return home about once every five weeks proved a much welcomed respite since, apart from a radio, games, and the regular delivery of newspapers and periodicals, there seemed little else to keep the men occupied. Heating for the carriages was ducted from a boiler in the coach shed through a pipe, (which sometimes froze), and with there being initially no baths, the men had to use an outside water tap. Mrs. B. King was the chief cook, and utilising a kitchen car in the coach shed a 24 hour service was maintained by three women, who would shortly also cater for 20 more men, and two extra coaches. As for motorists in the town, from Saturday, December 22nd to Thursday morning, December 27th all the garages in Bletchley would be closed, except for the sale of petrol on Monday, December 24th to 4p.m.



In co-operation with the police, local authorities, and press, a national road safety campaign was now being waged by the Government, and in association the North Bucks Times launched a Road Safety Slogan competition for schoolchildren in Bletchley and the district. With two sections - juniors aged 5 to 11, and seniors, aged 11 to 16 - each entrant would be asked to produce six slogans, and for the purpose a well known artist in the town, Mr. H. Sellen, had created a ‘Buster’ character, ‘whose well-meant advice will be seen to prove ineffective when applied to himself.’ For private motorists a Singer 8 was presently offered for sale at 11, Tavistock Street, and elsewhere a selection of vehicles could be viewed at 6, High Street. However, for commercial requirements, against a Ministry of War Transport licence Tompkins, Moss and Co. Ltd. could now supply a Commer 8cwt ‘Supervan’, which during February might have perhaps been of interest to B.U.D.C., who invited tenders for the supply of a 10/12 cwt Bedford van. As for the railways, at Bletchley station by March there would be an immediate need for porters, ‘of good physical appearance’, to train as goods guards - ‘Apply in person to the local station master or Mr. Worsley, District Controller, Bletchley.’ However, regarding the station announcer a national accolade would appear in ‘John Bull’. Indeed, as read the appreciative article; ‘Ah, but Bletchley. There you have, not a loud lady, but a voice as soft and comfortable as the country round the station. A calm voice, a voice of sympathy. Especially when it says, ‘Next stop Euston. Close the doors please.’ In fact these honeyed tones belonged to Mrs. Alice Collyer, the wife of Harvey Collyer, who was the son of Fred Collyer of Western Road. She had come to Bletchley nine years ago from Seghill, near Newcastle, and began on the railway as a ‘porterette’, until, for reasons of health, she was offered the job of announcer last September. Having trained herself in just two weeks, she was now working an alternating shift with Mr. S. Gray.

Whilst crossing the High Street opposite Martell’s Coal Office, on Tuesday, January 29th John Masters, a retired roadman of 1, Denbigh Hall Cottages, was hit by a car. He was taken to Northampton General Hospital, but there he would unfortunately contract bronchial pneumonia and die, aged 79, on the following Monday. Then in another accident slight injuries were sustained by Mr. Frank Pearson, of 37, Water Eaton Road, when, at the junction of Clifford Street and Water Eaton Road, his invalid carriage collided with another vehicle. Thus both incidents emphasised the contemporary need for the road safety competition, for which the inspired slogans had so far included ‘Look out, look out, a car is about’, ‘A quick look each way, you’ll be O.K.’., and ‘Don’t do a ‘diver’, in front of the driver.’ Yet diving was something that Mr. F. Harwood sincerely hoped would not be on his agenda when, on May 14th, aboard the troopship ‘Winchester Castle’ he embarked on the long sea voyage back to South Africa. At the Y.M.C.A. canteen, at the farewell ceremony he had been presented with a cheque in appreciation of his services, and having previously been a billeting officer for the Bletchley Park organisation, Miss Skeath, who had arrived early during the war from a bomb damaged house in London, would now take over his position. However, as an indication of the standards she would have to maintain she was told by a soldier that, ‘especially the sausage and chips’, the canteen specialities were often ‘lovingly discussed’ by Forces personnel many thousands of miles away. In fact in due course they would perhaps also be discussed by Mr. Harwood in South Africa, where following his arrival he would become secretary of the Durban Y.M.C.A. Yet he still harboured memories of his time in Bletchley and, the following year, would send the editor of a local newspaper an interesting South African press report of the Royal Tour.

New rail services had now been introduced on the branch line to Bedford, and everyday from Bedford to Bletchley there would be a train at 10.15a.m. and 5.15p.m., with a service at 9.30p.m. on Saturdays for the convenience of late shoppers. In the reverse direction there was a new introduction at 11.15a.m., thus making an hourly service, and another at 3.40p.m. excepting Saturdays, when there would be a service at 8.35p.m. Additionally, there was also a new train service on the Bletchley to Cambridge run, with two new times on the service to Oxford. Indeed, the new additions would perhaps prove to be popular, for due to the limitations on petrol from June 9th only one garage would be open each Sunday, commencing with Cowley and Wilson. The hours would be 10a.m. to 4p.m., with an hour for lunch, but perhaps in anticipation of a more copious fuel supply a 1938 Triumph Speed Twin was presently offered for sale, for £120, o.n.o., at 11, Manor Road. Also available was a 1938 350cc Ariel Red Hunter motorcycle, and a Francis Barnett 150cc motorcycle, ‘ready to ride away’, at Staniford, Beacon House. Otherwise, having been ‘just overhauled’ a Morris Major was available for £125 at 11, Drayton Road. For those people choosing to travel by bus, due to recent agitations the Eastern National Omnibus Co. had recently revised their timetable, which would now include a service between Newport Pagnell and Bletchley on Tuesdays and Fridays. As for the United Counties Bus Co., signed by 233 householders they had received a petition from residents of Newton Longville and Far Bletchley who, having put their case to the Regional Transport Commissioner, had asked for a bus from Newton Longville to arrive at Fenny Stratford before 9a.m. Not that this greatly concerned Princess Elizabeth who, ‘charmingly dressed in blue’, one Tuesday morning in late July passed along the High Street to the cheers of a small crowd, on her way to Northampton. She was escorted through the county by a Buckinghamshire police car, and would hopefully also be appreciative when, on her 21st birthday, the bells of St. Martin’s Church were rung in her honour. By now tyres could only be purchased against permits, although, since they were able to supply the necessary application form, Cowley and Wilson would be pleased to accept orders. Yet rather more than tyres were needed for ‘Bertha’, a 1926 12h.p. Humber saloon, which was not only held together in places by wire, but also employed a piece of wood to help with the gear change! Bertha had locally been an interesting sight for the past 12 months, but in late August the owner, Mr. Albert Ward, of Oxford Street, decided to sell the vehicle since, before the winter, he would be going to the South of France as chauffeur to an 85 year old lady, for whom he had first driven 41 years ago. On her behalf he had purchased Bertha the previous year, but the replacement would now be a Ford 10. However, for anyone requiring a Ford 8, at 7, Denbigh Cottages a saloon was for sale - ‘New battery, good tyres’ - whilst for a more athletic form of transport, a three speed Claude Butler tandem could be purchased at 150, Newton Road.

In September, in view of a less than adequate bus service officers of the Bletchley Council decided to obtain, for the preparation of a report, detailed information concerning the measures necessary for the Council to operate public service vehicles. Their findings would then be submitted to the Council, but meanwhile for those for whom personal transport was a preference a 1932 Morris 8h.p. 2 door saloon could be purchased, for £120, at 36, Windsor Street. Otherwise, being ‘ideal for contractors, farmers etc.’, unregistered 4 wheel drive, 30h.p., Chevrolet utility vans - ‘under 500 miles, as new condition’ - were available from Water Supplies Ltd., 124, Buckingham Road. Yet should status be a consideration, then the only choice was a 2½ litre, 1937, SS Jaguar, reluctantly offered for sale at 61, Eaton Avenue - ‘Sacrifice £550 or near offer.’ For mortals of more modest means, ten ‘Chico’ tricycles, ‘sturdy tubular frames’, had just been received by the Co-op, (who urged ‘buy now for Christmas’), or else new and second-hand bikes could be viewed at Sewell’s Cycle Service, operating from the ‘Cycle Shop’ in Church Street. Elsewhere, with the incentive of hire purchase at 107, Bletchley Road the Denton Cycle Co. were the local Royal Enfield agent, and could additionally offer not only ‘brazing and frame repairs’ but also motorcycles on occasion, such as a 1932 Raleigh 350, ‘suitable for a mechanic’. In fact displaying a commendable business acumen they would also very shortly become an agent for the Quick Service Window Cleaning Co. Yet bikes remained their main business, and it was now time for a disgraced dog to get on its bike, for having been advertised as a ‘Handsome, nicely marked wire fox terrier dog ------- best guard and ratter living’, when confronted with three rats the fearless pooch had promptly scarpered. The dog - in fact ‘more a mongrel than anything else’ - had been purchased for £3 by a Bletchley railway guard, but when he took the animal to the back of the railway to test its abilities, he was hardly impressed when, on moving a pile of wood, the sight of three rats scurrying away caused ‘the best ratter living’ to take immediate flight. In fact it was only coaxed back when grudgingly given a meal by its owner who, with little regret, then swiftly despatched it back via the 8.30p.m. Derby train to the dealer, who was subsequently given 14 days to refund the £3. Private traffic was now becoming increasingly more common on the roads, and in November the Council suggested that a ‘filter left’ light should be provided for north bound traffic at the Fenny Stratford crossroads. However, since the Watling Street did not accommodate three traffic lanes, the Ministry of Transport found it impossible to adopt this recommendation.

With Christmas now imminent, female staff were required for the L.M.S. canteen at Bletchley station, where for the ticket collector, Mr. W. Roff, of 44, Napier Street, the year would progress to a happy end when, on Saturday, December 28th, at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church the wedding was solemnised of his only daughter, Rosemary, and Thomas Donnelly, of Jarrow on Tyne. Having met her future husband when he was stationed in the district, during the war Rosemary had been employed at Bletchley Park, before becoming a secretary/ book keeper at the Haynes and Goodman garage of 6, High Street. In fact perhaps a suitable vehicle for the journey to their Hastings honeymoon would be the 1938 Studebaker Commander saloon, now offered for sale by the firm, although at the Wadsworth and Silvester garage, in Duncombe Street, the rival attraction of a 1935 Lagonda Rapide 30h.p. Tourer was available, and reassuringly the firm could also provide a prompt breakdown service, possibly by virtue of the mechanic for whom they had advertised earlier in the year. Elsewhere in the town a 1936 Standard 9 was for sale for £300 at 28, Bletchley Road, and a 1946 Scott Auto cycle, ‘120m.p.g. as new’, could be viewed at 80, Victoria Road. As for the railways, during the winter for keeping track of the many railway regulations the Bletchley L.M.S. Rules Class, to be held for 2½ hours every Monday, would be accommodated above the Coffee Tavern, in a room where a model rail layout had been installed, comprising two toy engines, a few pieces of Hornby rolling stock, and cards representing signal boxes, placed alongside black tapes to indicate the track. The voluntary membership now totalled some 200, but because of the shift working patterns the usual attendance was about 40, so obviating any problems of accommodation.



As told in ‘Business as Usual’, on Monday, January 6th a small and distinguished company braved a blizzard for the opening of Tompkins and Moss new showrooms - opposite their garage premises at Fenny Stratford - but apart from showroom models, several vehicles were privately for sale in the town including, in good running order, a Vulcan 1938 50cwt low loading lorry from Clarke, of 43, Bletchley Road, a 1936 Morris two seater tourer, with a reconditioned engine, ‘new king pins etc.’, at 135, Bletchley Road, and, because of the need for a larger vehicle, a 1937 Austin two seater, at £195, from The Bungalow, Bletchley Park. As for those preferring two wheel transport, an ‘almost new’ lady’s Triumph bicycle could be viewed at Dauphin, Leon Park Gardens, and for £80 a one owner 1945 Army type Ariel motorcycle, ‘350cc, with usual accessories’, was offered for sale by Mr. Bradford, of Cottingham Grove. Perhaps to obviate any further fines this might have been of interest to the motorcycling trio who, at 11.55p.m. on January 11th, were stopped by police constable Jones for riding three up on a motorbike. Claiming ignorance of the law, the male driver said that ‘the ladies must get home’, but a fine of 10s each would be the consequence of his gallantry. On the railways, a manageress and staff were now required for the L.M.S. staff canteen, but due to a lack of helpers the Y.M.C.A. canteen, on platform 2, was closed at night, much to the inconvenience of passengers. In fact as a further inconvenience, on January 19th the 7.21p.m. from Bletchley to Euston was delayed by 55 minutes, and for a Coldstream Guardsman the frustrations were heightened when, on calling at the canteen to buy some cigarettes, he was told that these would only be available if he also purchased something to eat and drink. Having eaten a full meal before setting out for the station, he was hardly amused.

Apart from motorcycles, at Wadsworth and Silvester Ltd. a choice of vehicles were now on offer, and at £9 each they could also supply a number of ammunition shelters which, being ‘easy to assemble’, would, they claimed, make excellent garages. In fact this seemed a tempting proposition, since for several weeks there had been very icy weather, as indicated outside the Council Offices by the thermometer, which on Tuesday, January 28th recorded 23 degrees of frost. Not surprisingly the conditions made driving hazardous, and following an earlier episode, when a lorry had skidded and demolished an electric lamp standard near the Repeater Station, on the afternoon of Thursday, January 23rd road users on the Watling Street had been inconvenienced when, of a combined weight of about 80 tons, again near the Repeater Station a laden tractor and trailer experienced difficulties on the icy surface. As the driver tried to pull up, he then collided with a lorry going the other way, and by blocking the road broadside on so caused a 12 mile tailback. For an hour and a half six policemen were consequently needed to direct the traffic through Fenny Stratford. Yet despite the weather, volunteer ‘taxi’ drivers were required to ferry disabled guests to the Old Peoples Party at the Community Centre, where the festivities were staged between 4.30p.m. and 8p.m. on Saturday, February 1st. Two days later there was great excitement when, drawing a cart loaded mostly with empty milk bottles, a runaway horse galloped along Aylesbury Street. Noticing the crisis from the offices of a local newspaper, 16 year old Peter Trunkfield swiftly commandeered a bicycle and gave chase, and fortunately as the horse and cart neared the crossroads the traffic lights turned to green. Urgently, Peter pursued his quarry along the Watling Street until, just before the Bow Brickhill crossroads, the cart mounted the kerb and spilled several crates. Quickly riding in front of the horse Peter tried to grab the reins, but when startled by a passing lorry the animal renewed its gallop Undeterred, Peter leapt on the horse’s back, and by seizing the reins brought the animal to a gradual halt. Also brought to a halt was the car in which the pursuing milkman, Don Burridge, had been given a lift, for the broken glass punctured the vehicle’s tyres. With milkman and milk cart at last reunited, Peter returned to his daily employment, having now made the news, instead of reporting it. Due to the shortage of coal a number of train services were being withdrawn from Bletchley, and apart from the problems on the railways, and also the roads, the wintry conditions were causing large ice floes to form on the canal. In fact not least because they were laden with prefabricated parts for local house building, a canal ice breaker had to be used to free several barges. Then on the first Tuesday and Wednesday in March heavy snowfalls caused the biggest hold up of transport in living memory, and, with many villages isolated in North Bucks, to fetch the shopping for herself and the villagers a farmer’s wife even drove a tractor from Swanbourne to Bletchley. As equally enterprising, wearing an Alpine outfit a Wavendon man reached Bletchley on skis, and at Winslow market place there was a huge cheer when the Co-op bread van got through. In fact the only communication with London was by rail, but even so the newspaper train, due to pass through Bletchley at 3a.m. on Thursday morning, was five hours late, whilst for the special post office train, which normally arrived at 3a.m., there would be a delay of an hour. Nevertheless, the local postmen performed an excellent task, and delivered the mail on time.

Yet slowly a thaw began to set in, although matters became rather more heated on the evening of Friday, March 7th, when, between Berkhamstead and Tring, smoke and flames were seen issuing from the 4.45p.m. Euston to Blackpool express, from the connecting canopy between two coaches. After an R.A.F. officer pulled the communication cord the train pulled up at Tring station, and with N.F.S. crews from Tring and Aylesbury, (assisted by station staff), having put out the blaze, the train then proceeded to Bletchley, for the two coaches to be detached. There was more train trouble on Thursday, April 3rd, when a lady, intending to travel north on the 10.50a.m. from Euston, left her 18 month old son in a compartment, and her luggage in the guards van, before setting off to buy some reading material. However, during her absence the train departed for Bletchley, to where an urgent S.O.S. was passed to Mr. A. Herring, the railway service representative. He then met the train, and finding the baby quite content in a corner seat, acted as nursemaid for an hour, until the mother arrived on the 11.37a.m. service. In April, six seater Bradford utility vehicles, by Jowett, were available from the main agents, E. Vaughan, at 12-14 Aylesbury Street. The seats could be removed, allowing the vehicle to be used as a van, although if additional loads had to be carried, then Cowley and Wilson had now been appointed as distributors for Jumbo Trailers. Elsewhere, ‘for road and farm’ a light duty trailer, with a new spare tyre, was offered for sale at 164, Newton Road, as also a 1936 Ford 8, in good condition. Meanwhile, complete with chassis frame, doors and screen, at Haynes and Goodman, 6, High Street, Hillman Utility bodies, and several hundred lorry bodies, were presently for sale, and could perhaps benefit from the re-cellulosing service now being offered by Tompkins Moss and Co.

Imposing a fine of £5, on Thursday, April 22nd Bletchley magistrates endorsed the licence of a prospective parliamentary candidate, who was also associated with a large group of factories. He had been driving in Fenny Stratford at 63m.p.h., and although he slowed down at Stag Bridge to 35m.p.h. his fate was sealed when, in court, he confessed that ‘I must admit I was going rather fast.’ Should he have lost his licence, at least there was a gents tricycle for sale at 150, Newton Road, where for £25 a Saxon gents three speed tandem, complete with dynamo and speedometer, could also be had, as well as a Claude Butler tandem. As for other forms of conveyance, at 22, Park Road a boy’s cycle was for sale at £4 5s, a Dawes gent’s tandem with 531 tubing for £25 o.n.o. at 69, Duncombe Street, an A.J.S. 250c.c. motorcycle in ‘perfect showroom condition’ for £95, ‘cash only’, at The Cycle Shop, Church Street, a B.S.A. three wheeler at Fortescue Bros, for £120, a B.S.A. 350, 1937, in perfect condition, ‘available to the best offer’ at 112, Buckingham Road, a 1938/39 1½ litre MG saloon at 71, Aylesbury Street, and a 1935 12h.p. Armstrong Siddeley, with pre-selector gears, from Williamson, 51 Bletchley Road. Here would also soon be available a Raleigh three wheel van, taxed and insured, but this needed mechanical attention, in contrast to an Austin 7 saloon, in good condition and ‘in daily use’, now for sale at the Blackmore Fashion Co., High Street; ‘Apply Works Manager’.

As part of an amusement park convoy bound for Rhyl, on descending the hill from Stag Bridge a two wheel trailer, carrying the three ton centre piece of a fun fair ride, lost a wheel on the evening of Monday, May 19th, and after crashing into a road sign smashed into the fence of Mr. C. Gough. Whilst taking particulars of the accident, a policeman then heard a commotion behind him, and on turning round found that having crashed into the rear of a vehicle being driven by Mr. Fuller, of Ropley House, a car had overturned. Fortunately the driver escaped unhurt, but since his passenger had sustained head injuries, a call was swiftly made for the Bletchley ambulance. However, when the vehicle failed to arrive an R.A.F. ambulance was summoned, but just as the injured man was being put aboard at last the Bletchley ambulance came into sight, some 45 minutes after the original call. It then transpired that the location given to the driver had been distorted from Denbigh Road to Buckingham Road, and on the afternoon of Thursday, May 29th there would be another accident when, due to the distortion of the rails, hundreds of passengers had an amazing escape when, between Denbigh Bridge and Loughton, the six rear coaches of the Euston to Manchester express were derailed. On board were many troops on leave, and they quickly assisted the rescue operation which, following a full ‘call out’ from Bletchley, involved the police, the local ambulance, the ambulance from Bletchley Park, and three Bletchley doctors; Lufkin, Carter and Gleave. Fortunately only a few injuries were sustained, and soon to also recover from a traumatic experience would be the Bletchley railway ticket inspector, Mr. William Roff, of Napier Street who, having been troubled by his left leg for some 17 years, had been admitted to Charing Cross hospital for an amputation above the knee. In July, at the L.M.S. staff canteen in Station Approach female staff, aged over 18, were now required for an employment that would provide not only ‘excellent’ wages and conditions, but also offer cheap, and free, travel. As for bus travel, an offer to provide shelters for bus passengers had been made to Bletchley Urban District Council by a London firm, but with this being in exchange for the right to advertise on the shelters, the Surveyor would be asked to make a report. In August, by telephoning Bletchley 364 holidaymakers could arrange trips by H.& H. Car Hire Service. With ‘coast trips a speciality’ they had three cars available, but for anyone wishing to set up a rival business, at 41, Church Street a 1935/36 14h.p. Wolseley 5 seat saloon was now for sale, or else at 32, Buckingham Road a 1934 Morris 10, priced at £210, and at 7, Denbigh Road Cottages, a Morris 15cwt van.

Louis Reneau, a naturalised Frenchman, who for 11 years had been the stationmaster at Fenny Stratford, with later employment in the Bletchley Food Office, died aged 66 on Wednesday, August 27th. During World War One he had been an interpreter with the Army, but tragically one of his sons was killed in the war, and another died of illness. After the war Louis became an inspector with the railway bus service at Watford, and, having subsequently gained a position as a stationmaster in Wales and Shropshire, he then moved to the Bletchley district, where he had been living with Mr. and Mrs. Mayle, at 13, Windsor Street. At Fenny Stratford Motors, in the High Street, fitters, coach workers, painters, car washers, and greasing-service men were urgently required, ‘even if you can do only two or three hours a day, or week ends’, and there was also a night vacancy for a male petrol pump attendant. During the day, however, for the latter position ‘attractive girls’ were needed, and they would no doubt have also enhanced the Council yard for which, in September, the tender of Messrs. Beck and Co. Ltd., of £197 10s, was accepted to supply and erect an electric petrol pump, and install a 500 gallon tank. For their highway services, perhaps the Council might then be interested in a four wheel drive Fordson six wheel lorry with only 7,000 miles on the clock, presently for sale at 150, Newton Road, unless they had already snapped up the similar lorry recently available at the Fenny Stratford Garage, behind the Kings Head. For commercial duties of a lighter nature, with viewing permissible between 10a.m. and 4p.m., Monday to Friday, at the G.P.O. garage in Bletchley was offered a Morris Minor van in good condition, which was perhaps a testament to the skill of the post office drivers who, on Wednesday, September 10th, were presented at the Repeater Station by police superintendent B. Lord with safe driving awards. Indeed, during the previous year they had covered 150,000 miles without a blameworthy accident, and road safety was now also a matter concerning the Bletchley councillor, Mr. E. Callaway, who had reservations regarding the traffic lights at the Fenny Stratford crossroads. In fact he made his dissatisfaction known at a Council meeting, at which he said that the use of time switches, instead of automatic controls, created a danger by causing long traffic queues on the Watling Street. However, the Surveyor replied that the time control was in use because of a lack of spare parts for the automatic system, but he would ask the highway authority if the time delay could be shortened. Yet traffic regulations were probably of little concern to a mechanically minded thief who, under the cover of darkness, stole a car from outside The Chestnuts. This quite impressed the owner, since he had spent most of the day trying unsuccessfully to start the vehicle, but when the car was eventually found abandoned, in St. Albans, his grudging admiration was quickly lost, for not only was the engine ruined, but the rear bodywork had also been damaged.

Having for the last two years been the assistant locomotive superintendent at Bletchley, Mr. W. Legg had now been appointed assistant in the divisional operations manager’s office at Crewe. From Derby, Mr. W. Bramley would be his replacement and also being replaced was the Y.M.C.A. canteen on Bletchley station which, with the railway company keen to have the hut removed, and with the military authorities keen to have the site derequisitioned, would close on October 31st. Throughout the war, for countless passengers the canteen had been a welcome and familiar sight, but not so familiar - and for traditionalists not so welcome - was the first appearance at Bletchley in late December of a diesel passenger locomotive, which, as an example for main line working, stopped for half an hour on its way from Derby to Willesden. With many thoughts now turning to the question of gifts for Christmas, for sale at Fortescues for £19 was a Hornby clockwork train set, plus accessories, and about 100 rails, which was perhaps of interest to the person at 54, Park Street, who had recently advertised the need for just such a layout. However, to snap up this bargain people would need to get on their bikes, possibly the tandem on offer for £10 o.n.o. at Garner’s flat, Denmark Street, or otherwise the enclosed comfort of a 1947 two seater sidecar, available at Dimmock’s Nurseries, Tavistock Street. Indeed, perhaps Ruby Essen would look sweet on a bicycle made for two, for on Saturday, December 20th at St. Martin’s Church she married Robert Walton, of Wigan. The eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Essen of 21, Duncombe Street, she had been previously employed at the L.M.S. railway hostel, and her husband was an employee of the London Brick Company at Newton Longville. The year then came to a quiet close, for due to the reduction in the basic petrol allowance there was a lack of heavy goods traffic during the holidays, which made the Watling Street seem unusually ‘as quiet as a country lane.’




On Thursday, January 4th Jane Faulkner, the widow of the late George Faulkner, a local builder, died at Hillbrow, George Street, aged 86. A native of Stewkley, she had moved to Bletchley in 1887, five years after her marriage, and of her five sons and two daughters, two of the sons, and a daughter, now lived in Canada, and of the other sons the well known local builder, Captain Hubert Faulkner, of Staple Lodge, had recently returned home from hospital, following a riding accident. In consequence of discussions between the Surveyor, Mr. J. Smithie, and the Northampton Electric Light & Power Co., it was now recommended that regarding the all night lighting of public lamps an immediate start be made, and, with 13 new lamps to be lit, the clock on the Council Offices would also be illuminated, as possibly also the telephone kiosks, in accordance with the particular wishes of one resident. In fact later in the year, during October the Head Postmaster would promise that the letter box and stamp machine at the Head Office would be illuminated at night, and this was an intention contemporary with a likewise request from the Council regarding the stamp machine in Bletchley Road, and in Aylesbury Street. However, concerning other expenditures the cost of making a flagged footpath, and concrete cycle road, on the footpath from North Street to Denbigh Road, was deemed too expensive. Therefore the roadway would only be patched, and indeed such projects were also being hampered by a severe shortage of labour, since the Italian P.O.W.s were soon to be deployed for refuse collection in the town. With there presently being little demand for bricks, the London Brick Company had decided to temporarily close their Newton Longville works, but at least there was some cause for optimism when, with the area intended for housing, the Council signed a contract for purchasing land in Westfield Road. However, for the £1,200 asking price they had decided not to buy four cottages - numbers 1 to 4, in Water Eaton Road - which adjoined the Brooklands housing site, although as a site for a sub station on the Chestnuts estate, for £25 the Northampton Electric Light and Power Co. had purchased a small piece of land.

For private buyers, on Wednesday, February 7th they had a choice of property when, at the Conservative Club, Wigley and Johnson by order of the executors of the late John Hill auctioned ‘Holly Bank’, 3, High Street, 71, 73, 75, and 77, Victoria Road, 46, 48, Victoria Road, 30, 32 Tavistock Street, and the semi detached ‘Hazeldene’, 13, Windsor Street, which was presently let to Mr. Mayle at 10s a week, ‘inclusive of rates’. Should any of the properties be purchased by young couples, then the Co-op furnishing department could conveniently supply Utility Nursery Furniture, including cots priced at £2 4s, whilst for room decoration, ceiling paste was available at 2s, and distempers, ‘good shades’, at 3s per 3½lb. tin. Nos. 71 and 73, Victoria Road were duly purchased for £695 by Captain H. Faulkner, nos. 75 and 77, Victoria Road for £500 by Mr. W. Fortescue, of Aylesbury Street, and nos. 46 and 48 Napier Street for £475 by Mr. W. Gammage, of the New Inn. As for 3, High Street, this was purchased by Mr. J. Betteridge for £440. As for another sale, also at the Conservative Club on Thursday, March 8th Wallace A. Foll auctioned, by the direction of the executors of the late Mr. T.E. Rowland, 77, Church Green Road, an old fashioned detached cottage, but, with the bidding failing to reach the reserve price, the property was subsequently sold to a private buyer. By late March the reconstruction work in Shenley Road was nearly complete, and work on Water Eaton Road had now been started. Slab footpaths were being provided in front of the corner of Buckingham Road, Water Eaton Road, and from Saffron Street to the allotments, and another footpath four feet in width was to be laid in the old Cemetery, from the chapel to the centre path. As for the funding of civil expenditure, B.U.D.C. had adopted a rate of 6s 6d in the pound for the half year, and being an increase of 6d this was the first rise since 1939, caused by the heavy demands of Buckinghamshire County Council. The development of the Westfield housing estate had now been postponed by the Council, because a tenant occupying four acres of the land had claimed £287, via his agent, as compensation for the immediate termination of his tenancy. The relevant Committee, however, recommended that not only should the Council refuse, but that they should also serve notice on him to terminate his tenancy on June 24th, in accordance with his agreement with the present owners. With the imminent prospect of new housing developments, and with the Bletchley waterworks presently pumping 474,000 gallons a day, the need had arisen for new boreholes and pumps, and B.U.D.C. now gave notice of having applied to the Minister of Health for consent to borrow £11,000, as the necessary sum for sinking two extra boreholes at the Sandhouse waterworks. Thereby they would hopefully obtain at least 300,000 gallons daily, and the Minister had accordingly directed that an Inquiry should be held. With Mr. C. Spens AMInstCE, appointed as the Ministry of Health Inspector, he would attend at 10.30a.m. at the Council Offices on Thursday, April 5th, but including members of the Council, no more than 12 people turned up. Nevertheless, the proceedings lasted for about an hour and a half, during which Mr. Sherwood, the Clerk, said that with the population having risen from 5,531 in 1921 to - excluding the civil servants who worked in the town - around 8,926 at present, the loan would be paid off in 30 years. In 1938 the water consumption had been 80 million gallons, but in 1944 this had risen to 139 million gallons, and in fact since 1942 water had even been supplied to the Buckinghamshire Water Board. Additionally, matters had been hardly helped by the increased pumping, which caused sand to get into the well, and the object of raising the loan was thus to obtain water from additional points, and to have the scheme commissioned by early summer.

Apart from the water inquiry, Thursday, April 5th also saw evidence being heard by Bletchley magistrates. This concerned an alleged assault by one woman on another, with the charge being brought by Mrs. Emmy Faulkner of 30, George Street, against Mrs. Gertrude Swan of the same address. Having the use of two upstairs rooms, a living room, and scullery, Mrs. Swan, a forewoman at the Peakes factory, had lived at the house for about five years, and during the ownership and occupation by old Mrs. Faulkner there had never been any trouble. However, on recently occupying the property Mr. and Mrs. Faulkner served notice on Mrs. Swan to quit, whereupon they supposedly noticed a change in her attitude. In evidence, it was stated that on April 4th when Mrs. Faulkner had put her baby to bed Mrs. Swan had slammed a door, and on requesting that she ‘please shut the door more quietly’, Mrs. Faulkner was promptly told to mind her own business, and again the door was slammed. Even Mrs. Swan’s son remarked that this was unnecessary, whereupon he was curtly told to go to the pictures! The prosecution further alleged that Mrs. Swan then struck Mrs. Faulkner on the cheek, but the defence alleged that Mrs. Faulkner had tried to make Mrs. Swan’s life a misery, and the blow was a trumped up charge. In fact allegedly Mrs. Faulkner had gone into the room after Mrs. Swan, who, when going to close the door, pushed the door curtain and accidentally touched her face. Nevertheless, the Bench found the case proved, and the defendant was ordered to maintain good behaviour, and pay costs of £1 5s. In early April tenders were invited for both the construction of concrete roads, (an area of approximately 42,500 sq. yds), and soil and surface water sewers to accommodate, in the urban district of Bletchley, and elsewhere, approximately 880 houses. At the Council Offices, on payment of a five guineas deposit copies of the specifications and bills of quantities could be obtained from the Group Engineer, Mr. J. Smithie, MIM & Cy. Engineer & Surveyor, but it was a different type of paperwork that appeared regarding the proposal to lay slab footpaths in Shenley Road, in fact a letter to the newspaper. This stated that slab paths were also needed at Park Street, Albert Street, Oxford Street, and Bedford Street, etc., and when the first slab path had been laid from Fenny Stratford to Bletchley, the Council announced their intention to also pave the side streets. Yet although some of the streets were slabbed, the others had to ‘put up with tarmac’, perhaps a matter to be borne in mind by Roy Hughes when, at the Community Centre at 8p.m. on Sunday, April 15th, he began a series of public lectures on various aspects of town planning.

At the Conservative Club, on April 19th Wigley and Johnson auctioned 114 and 116, Church Green Road, and also for sale, by application to 19, Duncombe Street, was a piece of freehold land, on which was included a substantial brick building used as store rooms and a garage. Approximately 800 square yards in extent, the site had a frontage of 55 feet, but on a wider scale the possibility of larger planning problems for Bletchley was raised when Mr. A. Prince, the Buckinghamshire County Planning Officer, presided at a Sunday lecture on Town Planning, given to members of Bletchley Community Centre. Under Professor Abercrombie’s plan for Greater London, the plans intended to increase the town to accommodate a population of 60,000, and it was possible that the Council could purchase the whole of the land surrounding Bletchley for future developments. In fact this could be a future concern for Sid Maycock and Mr. W. Johnson, who, on the evening of Tuesday, April 24th, were respectively elected as the new chairman and vice chairman of the Council. The usual meeting of the Council took place on V.E. Day, and the proceedings began with the appropriate remarks of the chairman, the newly elected Mr. Maycock, who said that ‘We meet on VE-Day. I am sure you are all happy about that - it being V.E. - Day, that is. Whether you are happy about meeting on that day, I do not know. This is the day we have all been looking forward to, and we all hope it is the first step towards the end of the war with Japan. I am sure we shall not want to meet on that day.’ In fact the dropping of the atomic bombs would soon mean that the days for the Japanese were numbered, and the days would soon also be numbered for the addresses from the railway bridge to Leon Avenue, on the south side, since the houses were scheduled for a renumbering scheme. Not that this would affect 12, Manor Road, where the tenancy was to be transferred to Miss F. Jarman. An hour after the declaration of Victory Day, it was decided that in the northern division of the county all post offices would close for counter service and telegram business. A final collection from all boxes would then be made as soon as possible - within two or three hours - with these letters to be delivered the same day. As well as there being no further collections on Victory Day, there would also be none on the day after, whilst on the following day there would be no deliveries at all throughout the district, with the head post office only being open from 9a.m. until noon. However, throughout all of this period the telephones would still continue to function, although without the benefit of cheap rates.

By the end of the war 60,595 civilians had been killed in Britain by enemy air attacks, and 86,182 seriously injured. As for housing, before the flying bombs it had been estimated that one house in every five had been damaged, or destroyed, by enemy action, but after the V-bombs that figure became one in three, and with a total of 222,000 houses destroyed, and five million damaged, accommodation was now a paramount need. In fact even in Bletchley, which had escaped any widespread bombing, 40 applications had been received for one vacant Council house and in the words of Mrs. Waller, one of the lecturers on aspects of town and country planning at the Community Centre, ‘It is tragic to think that servicemen, who have given their all, should have no home to call their own when they return.’ She dismissed as ‘rubbish’ the objections by some that new housing schemes would destroy the beauty of the countryside, and perhaps the veracity of her claim could be confirmed by those who attended a talk on ‘The Preservation of the Countryside’, which would be given on Sunday, May 27th by Mr. A. Prince, the Bucks. County Planning Officer, at 7.45p.m. at the Community Centre. Yet with labour in short supply, there were now concerns about the ability to meet the schedules for post war housing, and towards remedying this situation via circular 90/45 on May 17th the Ministry of Health, in Whitehall, allowed local authorities to consider the use of German P.O.W.s. Under a guard provided by the War Department, they would be required to work for up to 54 hours a week, and with it being envisaged that ten P.O.W.s would be under the charge of a general foreman, and also a leading hand, they would be employed on ‘sites which form part of the local authority’s programme for the erection of permanent houses during the next two years.’ For potential investors in property, by the direction of Mr. H. Hedges two brick and slate cottages, 29 and 31, Park Street, were to be auctioned at the Conservative Club on Monday, May 28th, and perhaps in order to keep them in the family they would be purchased for £350 by Mr. R. Hedges. Also on property matters, at the Conservative Club Wigley and Johnson, in conjunction with Messrs. Jas. Martin and Co., were instructed by Sir Everard Duncombe to auction at 4p.m. on Friday, June 1st The Chestnuts. This would be bought by Mr. F. Fairey, of Water Eaton, for £570, and also on the same day the auction took place of ‘Iona’, 15 Eaton Avenue. From the Northampton Electric Light and Power Co., at the beginning of June about half of the householders in Bletchley received a polite notice, with a reply paid postcard, asking them to read their own meters, which in view of the impending development of the town was no doubt an astute move. In fact the town’s development was the basis of a talk given at the Bletchley Community Centre on Sunday, June 10th by the chairman of the Council, Mr. Maycock, who, speaking on ‘Bletchley’s Post War Housing Plans’, revealed that the sites for the post war municipal housing, and the costs for the land, had now been decided, being namely;

Brookdale (Water Eaton) stretching from Manor Road behind the Plough and the village of Water Eaton towards the canal. £2,625, 78 houses.

North Street, opposite the present houses, and reaching to the railway and the Co-op field. £1,500, 64 houses.

Chestnuts, Water Eaton, stretching from Water Eaton towards Brooklands Road. £1,000, 50 houses.

Westfields, stretching from Westfield Road to Water Eaton Road and linking with the former estate. £2,900, 102 houses.

Eight Bells. The present allotment field reaching from Buckingham Road towards the railway. £4,000, 92 houses.

Indeed, the preparation of the town’s housing sites would soon be under way and - as accepted by the Council on behalf of the group of local authorities in North Buckinghamshire and South Northamptonshire - a tender of £89,509 11s 3d, from Hadsphaltic Construction Company Ltd., was to be approved, with German P.O.W.s employed on the work. As for existing properties, by the direction of Miss Ede, ‘Kamrys’, a detached three bedroom property in Church Green Road, was auctioned at the Conservative Club on Thursday, June 14th by Wallace A. Foll. Built in 1939, it would be purchased by Mrs. Spooner for £2,075.

At a salary of between £60 and £185p.a., a female shorthand typist was now required by the Bucks County Council North East and North West Bucks Joint Planning Committee, which, under the new district planning officer, Mr. W. Graper, was to be temporarily situated in the rented Committee Room at the Council Offices. Elsewhere, with the receding uncertainties of wartime romance had been in the air at the Post Office, and on Saturday, June 30th two Post Office employees were married at St. Mary’s Church. Respectively a writing clerk and an overseer, they were Cherie Keep, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. Keep of 2, Park Street, and John Hill, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. E.T. Hill of 42, Windsor Street, and at the Conservative Club the reception was attended by 60 guests. After a honeymoon at St. Ives, Cornwall, the couple would make their new home at 69, Victoria Road, and perhaps the Bletchley Co-op could be of consequent assistance, claiming that ‘We can supply your immediate needs in Utility Bedsteads.’ On Thursday, July 5th, throughout the day there was a steady stream of people voting in the General Election. The best turnout in living memory had no doubt been encouraged by the hot weather, but perhaps also heated were the debates between two of the election sub agents in the town, for they were a brother and sister! Mrs. C. Butcher of Corranmoor, Buckingham Road, was secretary of the Bletchley Women’s Conservative Association, and, also being a councillor, Mr. H. Goldsworth was secretary of the Bletchley branch of the N.U.R. In consequence of the decision to restore the normal pre-war summer lighting, the street lamps would at last go on in Bletchley on Sunday, July 13th, and at a Tuesday meeting in mid July a recommendation of the Highways Committee was then approved, that the institution of full street lighting should be made on September 22nd. This extent would be the same as before the war, with the only exception being that all the lamps, excepting the all night lamps, would be left alight until 1a.m. instead of 11p.m.

The sub-committee of the Council had now inspected the footpaths in the area, and agreed an order of priority for repairs. Work would be immediately be carried out on paths in Napier Street, Park Street, Albert Street, Oxford Street, Oliver Road, Church Green Road, Bedford Street, and George Street, as well as Tattenhoe Lane, although there could possibly be a delay, due to a dispute between N.U.P.E. and the Council regarding the workmen’s wages. Therefore a sub committee, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Labour, would discuss the position with a representative of the employees’ union. For suggestions as how to officially recognise next month’s jubilee of the Council, a sub-committee of B.U.D.C. had now been formed, but Mr. Dimmock felt that ‘while they still had boys away’ the event should be held over until the end of the Japanese war. However, regarding certain housing conditions in the town the Council had little to celebrate, since a family had been living in Bletchley in conditions of absolute squalor for almost five years, having been bombed out of their London home in 1940. With her husband serving in the Forces, on coming to Bletchley Mrs. Field and her children had been housed in the Rest Centre, as one of the party to be moved on to Kettering, but, since she did not want to leave her children, Mrs. Field chose to remain in Bletchley, where, at 7s a week, plus rates, she was offered a property at Water Eaton. Yet even two years before the war the property, not least through a leaking roof, had been condemned as unfit for human habitation, and this seemed of little surprise, since it merely comprised a series of railway coach sections, joined together to make a number of hutments. In one, which measured about 10 feet by 6 feet, Mrs. Field slept with her three girls aged 18, 12, and 10, and in another, about 6 feet square, slept her son, aged 24. There was no sanitation - all waste being buried in holes in the limited amount of derelict ground - , and no water, excepting a tap about 50 yards away, and with no gas or electricity all the cooking was carried out on a coke stove. Nevertheless, despite their predicament there seemed little chance of the family being allocated a Council house, for Mr. Field was now employed by a firm of L.M.S. contractors, and his work took him to many different parts of the district. At a Monday farewell gathering of colleagues, in late July Mr. W. Unwin, the head postmaster, presented Mr. S. A. Wilkins with a cheque, on the occasion, after 33 years service at Bletchley, of his appointment as assistant postmaster at Bournemouth & Poole. A native of Bedford, he had come to Bletchley as a learner, and subsequently progressed through the ranks of sorting clerk, telegraphist and overseer. Married with two girls and a boy, in recent years he had been actively engaged with the Bletchley A.T.C., of which he was Adjutant, and at Bletchley, as assistant superintendent his replacement would be Mr. W. Sargent, lately the overseer at Bournemouth post office. Then continuing the association with Bournemouth, in December would sadly occur the death of Mr. G. Duncan, who had been the head postmaster at Bletchley from 1907 until his retirement in 1914.

Adopted in 1939, it was now decided to scrap the Bletchley town plan. A new one had been approved, in principle, by the Council, and at the Council meeting on Tuesday, August 14th it was decided that regarding those buildings not yet commenced, all plans passed by the Council before April, 1942 would be deemed inoperative, since they might not fit in with the proposed development of the town. Fresh plans would have to be submitted although there seemed no need for an immediate urgency, since at present only 20 houses could be built in the town. Perhaps this then accounted for the interest shown in the brick and tile detached ‘The Bungalow‘, in Staple Hall Road, which would come up for auction by Wallace A. Foll at 2p.m. on Thursday, August 16th. For viewings, the key could be obtained from the adjoining ‘Shalima’. In late August applications from youths, aged 16 to 17, were invited for the position of junior clerk in the Surveyor’s Department of the Council. Candidates would need an interest in figures and office work, be able to use a typewriter, and be willing to learn shorthand, and perhaps the person selected might accompany the Surveyor when, very shortly, he would investigate cases of flooding in Western Road and Cambridge Street. Also to be investigated by the Council was the possibility of purchasing two cottages in Water Eaton Road from Mr. J. Ramsbotham, and in consequence it was decided to pay £600 for the properties. The Council would also finance the legal and survey costs, whilst in other housing matters on Thursday, August 30th at 3p.m. Wigley and Johnson auctioned Westfield Pit Field, including five poultry houses and equipment, wire netting, coops, night arks etc. as well as 50 Pure Maran and R.I.R. hens, 19 geese, 13 ducks and 30 chickens. The sale had been conducted on the instructions of Mr. E. Hill, and since plans would shortly be approved for garages in Westfield Road, (and also Denbigh Road), in view of all the new developments this probably proved a good investment. Indeed, work was at last beginning on the new housing sites, for on the morning of Wednesday, September 12th at the Water Eaton location a preliminary batch of German P.O.W.s arrived, one of their contingent having fortuitously been a civil engineer in Germany.

In mid September the Ministry of Fuel & Power requested that street lamps in the town should be extinguished at midnight, to save fuel during the coal shortage, and plans were now approved for an overhead electric line from Buckingham Road to the urban boundary, at the Red House. Not that such matters concerned Mr. Oliver Wells, a member of B.U.D.C. for many years, for he had decided not to seek re-election. However, for the present chairman there was sadness on Monday, October 15th when his brother, Horace Maycock, of 21, Osborne Street, died after a long illness. An active worker for the Bletchley branch of the N.U.R., and a member of Bletchley Horticultural Society, Horace had been employed in the L.M.S. Engineering Department, and served during World War One in the Royal Engineers. At a Tuesday meeting of the Council, in October the Clerk, Mr. R. Sherwood, announced that the Ministry of Health had given their sanction to the Manor Farm estate, of about 100 acres. Stretching from the riverbank at the urban boundary to Aylesbury Street, the land would now be purchased by the Council, and Mr. Sherwood would communicate with the District Valuer requesting that he negotiate for the purchase of the whole of the area. Of this, it was then proposed to use half for housing - between Aylesbury Street and the canal - and employ the rest as a public open space, for playing fields and sports. As for the restrictions imposed on local access during the war, the Air Ministry no longer required the closure of three public footpaths in Fenny Stratford, although that from Rickley Lane to Shenley Road would continue to remain out of bounds. Following the conference of the Central Counties District Council, which was held at the Council Chamber on October 27th, in November the Ministry of Health approved the price of those Council houses to be built on the Chestnuts Estate. They would each cost £1,129 9s 3d, with extras, and to furnish their properties tenants might be interested in a large sale of furniture and surplus equipment which, including blankets, steel cupboards, metal folding beds, etc. would be held at 11a.m. at Bletchley market on Wednesday, November 14th. Elsewhere, having secured a quantity from the C.W.S. cabinet factory the Bletchley & District Co-op furniture department could now offer Utility bedroom furniture, and were able to ‘supply your immediate demands from this stock on surrender of units.’

Being at present the assistant engineer to Rawenstall Borough Council, at a salary of £850p.a., plus a cost of living bonus, Mr. Omerod Ashworth, aged 29, had now been appointed by the Council as temporary engineering assistant. He had been selected from the three candidates interviewed, and possibly one of his first duties would be to deal with an incident when, on the Brookdale Estate, a drainage pipe was torn up by excavators. Sewage was now seeping through the ground, and in fact during the summer sewage had also been oozing from the ground at locations where the brook had been straightened and filled. As for Stoke Road, here a septic tank stood higher than the houses it served, with an obvious consequence when the tank was full! Therefore, since it had now been 11 years since the houses at Water Eaton had been taken over from Newport R.D.C., who built them, this seemed an opportune time to put in a new sewage system. On the morning of Monday, November 26th work began on the first two new houses in Bletchley, when Horace Tranfield took possession of one of the sites on the new Chestnuts Estate at Water Eaton. With huts erected, digging of the foundations began but with a shortage of labour the firm urgently needed a bricklayer’s apprentice, and to ease the manpower situation German P.O.W.s, housed in a camp near Bedford, were brought in to undertake the building work. The roads would be constructed by the Hadsphaltic Co., and with 16 houses initially allocated, a contract for the next four would be awarded to whichever firm completed their quota first, the competition being between Tranfield and Co., Howard Bros., J. Garner and Son, and W.J. Elliott. However, Mr. Elliott’s daughter, Joan, whose parents lived at ‘Wilton’, Sandringham Place, would probably not require one of her father’s houses, for on Tuesday, December 11th at St. Martin’s Church she would marry Robert Hayes, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Hayes of Hamilton, Ontario.

At the Conservative Club, at 6p.m. on Wednesday, December 5th Wigley and Johnson auctioned 31, 33, and 35, Duncombe Street, 4,6,8,10, Napier Street, and also 21, Duncombe Street, let to Mr. C. Essen at 13s a week. For £1,000, 31, Duncombe Street would be sold to Mr. A. Dickins, of Stewkley, and he also purchased no. 33 for £500. As for no. 35, this was purchased by Mrs. E. Rowe, the present tenant, for £550. Mr. Bessell, of Newport Pagnell, bought 4,6,8,10, Napier Street for £900, and in other property transactions Oaklands, 113, Bletchley Road, owned by Mrs. M. Pollard, was sold for £3,300 to Mr. C. Watson, of Stony Stratford. For the allocation of the houses now being built by B.U.D.C., by mid December a system of classification, instead of points, had been adopted, and applications would be arranged in a series of categories, beginning with; ‘Families with children who are living in seriously overcrowded conditions or have insufficient bedroom accommodation to permit the proper separation of sexes.’ Concluding the year, with the Bletchley district now part of the Bedford Telephone Area, it was announced that, without a single blameworthy accident, Bletchley telephone workers had driven 131,930 miles in their 22 vehicles. The 13 Morris Minors had each run an average of 7,739 miles, with the nine other vehicles each averaging 3,480.



On the morning of January 1st the Council house allocation scheme came into operation, and with a small queue having formed outside the Council Offices, during the first hour 30 cases were dealt with. In fact 120 application forms had been received, plus around 80 from the Forces, and the Council, in view of this demand, had not surprisingly decided to ask the Minister of Health to sanction the advance preparation of further housing sites in the urban area, under the present contract with the Hadsphaltic Construction Co. Already the housing contract with Garner and Son had been sealed, and as a further convenience plans had been approved for a lavatory at the rear of 24, Victoria Road, for Mr. Clarke. Then as another source of relief, for homemakers it was good news that the Bletchley Co-op furnishing department now had an exhibition of Utility bedroom furniture, secured from the C.W.S. cabinet factory, and with the items manufactured from seasoned timbers; ‘Our PRINCIPLE is to study your INTEREST and your future security.’ Future security was possibly also on the mind of William Busler, of 34, Tavistock Street, who at the age of 74 had now retired after 30 years as a sweep. During his earlier years he had been employed as a bricklayer, but when he commenced sweeping chimneys he had to get up at 4a.m., ready to clean the chimneys at Bletchley Park at 5a.m. Initially his early transport was a pony and cart, but after World War One he then purchased a car for £30. Since 1917 he had run the local branch of the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society, whilst as for the chimney sweep business, this would be continued by his son, Mr. L. Busler. Perhaps one of his customers might have been Mr. E. Callaway, on whose instructions ‘Belmont,’ 143, Bletchley Road, was now to be auctioned by Wigley and Johnson. Hedley Clarke would subsequently purchase the property for £2,000, whilst as for ‘The Chestnuts’, which on the instructions of Mr. F. Fairey they would also auction, this would be purchased for £1,600 by Mr. W. Potter, of Coursers Farm, Colney Heath. Occupying a corner site fronting Water Eaton Road, with a return frontage to Manor Road, this was a three bedroomed property, as also was 7, Oliver Road, auctioned at the Conservative Club on the instructions of Mr. and Mrs. Gurney on Thursday, January 24th.

In Stoke Road many houses still had earth closets. Overflowing cesspits were therefore a frequent inconvenience, and also an inconvenience during the Christmas week had been a disruption to the water supply at Water Eaton. However, at least on that occasion a message had been chalked on the pavement, in contrast to Saturday, January 12th when, for six hours, the supply was again cut off. Supposedly this was due to connections work to the new housing estates, and it was fortunate that no reoccurrence took place on Monday, January 28th when, just after 2p.m., a fire broke out in a first floor back bedroom at 170, Water Eaton Road, the home of Mrs. Burbeck. Yet so quickly did the Fire Brigade respond to the call that they arrived before the messenger had returned, and with the help of workmen from the housing estate, who used stirrup pumps to tackle the flames, put out the blaze within 20 minutes, despite the smoke having been so dense that the firemen were obliged to wear breathing apparatus. Tenders - to be received no later than February 12th - were now invited to build 10 two bedroom houses on the Chestnuts estate, but as a potential worry for house builders the birth rate had been falling, and in connection with a Royal Commission, the purpose of which was to investigate the situation, during the past few weeks two men and a woman had been calling to collect the forms which had been issued to one housewife in every ten. However, some of the 330 women had not even been married! On Thursday, February 28th on the instructions of Mrs. Freeman 12, Albert Street was to have been auctioned at the Conservative Club at 3p.m., but before this could happen a private sale was arranged. Then on Wednesday, April 28th the Berwick Brothers shops in the High Street saw frantic activity, when a sale of the furniture and effects took place. In fact one woman fainted in the packed rooms, and amongst the items sold was an oak bureau for £25, Witney blankets at £10 10s a pair, and a parrot cage for £4! A decision had now been taken that concrete lamp posts should be supplied for the streets of the new Council estates, but by mid February two contractors had still not begun work, and with the matter being duly referred to the Building Association the Surveyor, reporting to the Council, said that action would be taken. For private buyers, in early March they had the opportunity to purchase 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 Aylesbury Street; ‘Apply Brooks, 79 Bletchley Road’, and no doubt this was a good investment, for in the House of Commons on Tuesday, March 5th it was announced by the Minister of Town and Country Planning, Lewis Silkin, that the Government had now approved the Greater London Plan.

With music by the Kemsley Band, in the Yeomanry Hall the annual social and dance of the Bletchley branch of the Union of Post Office Workers was held on Saturday, March 9th, and also good news for postman was the news that the public footpath between Church Green Road and Shenley Road was to be shortly reopened. Yet there would soon be the potential for postal rounds to become much larger, following the opening at the Council Chamber on March 18th of The Bigger, Better, Brighter Bletchley Exhibition, which featured many of the activities of Local Government, and included a relief map of the Bletchley district. Since several homes in Bletchley were presently unoccupied, the owners would be given seven days to state their intentions, which if deemed unsatisfactory would lead to the properties being requisitioned, with the Council selecting the tenants. However, this would not affect Mr. N. Swann who - the day after an auction of furniture, which was removed for convenience to the High Street schools - was to sell through the same agents, Wigley and Johnson, the three bedroomed 164, Water Eaton Road. At the Conservative Club the sale took place at 3p.m. on Thursday, April 4th, and the purchaser, at a price of £1,200, was Mr. H. Austin. For Mrs. E. Gibbons, ‘unless privately sold’ Wigley and Johnson would also auction at the Conservative Club the three bedroomed ‘Caldebank’, in Staple Hall Road, and although the property was hopefully in good repair, should there be any need for remedial attention then, with estimates given, Mr. G. Dunnicliffe - ‘Tarmac and Plumbing are our specialities’ - was the man to contact at The Holmes, Staple Hall Road; ‘We have the Right Men for the Right Jobs.’ As for the new houses being built at Bletchley, costing the ratepayers another 9d in the pound it was officially estimated that over the next three years Bletchley would spend £657,900, of which the 450 Council houses would account for £548,000. As for the occupants of 12 Council houses in Buckingham Road, and 20 in Newton Road, their rent would increase by 3d a week, to finance the laying of flagged footpaths, at an estimated cost of £423. In fact for this work at 11s a super yard the tender of Messrs. Stanley Raymond and Co. would be accepted.

For the immediate needs of Bletchley, the Ministry of Health had approved the building of 50 new Council houses, and with 20 already under construction, of the remaining 30, 10 would be three bedroom and 20 two bedroom. Also helping to ease the housing shortage was Mr. H. Baker, who had now submitted plans to the planning officer to convert Rhondda House into three flats. If approved, the accommodation might then be suitable for two married couples, each with two children, who were presently living in a four room house at 98, Church Green Road, and it was therefore hardly surprisingly that the Medical Officer had written of the overcrowding. In 1940, having no children at the time Mr. and Mrs. Denis Coley had become the tenants of the property, and when Mr. Coley was called to the Forces, in October, 1941, Mrs. Coley allowed Mr. Dowson, his wife, and two children - a girl and a boy - to occupy the largest room, with joint use of the kitchen, and the combined bathroom and w.c. However, having recently returned from the war, and with two boys in the family, Mr. Coley had now sought possession of all the rooms, and his claim was supported by the evidence of the Medical Officer, who said that the situation contravened the Housing Act. Yet on the notice to quit being served, Mr. Dowson argued that the arrangement was not a tenancy, but just a sharing of rooms, and with his wife now pregnant the couple had been promised the allocation of a Council house in about a month. In view of this, the judge then made an order for possession at that time. Complaints from a number of residents were now being received that the beauty of the trees in Eaton Avenue, Leon Avenue, and Clifford Avenue had been spoilt through the lopping of branches, which had obscured the windows of certain houses. Nevertheless, Mr. A. Ward, of Oxford Street, who had carried out the work for the Council, seemed quite unperturbed, and with 40 years experience of tree pruning declared that ‘Nature will put them right soon enough.’ Via Wigley and Johnson, at the Conservative Club on Thursday, May 2nd Mr. F. Kent auctioned 5, Oxford Street, a three bedroomed semi detached property. This was duly purchased by Mr. W. Thurlow, of Aylesbury Street, for £1,060, and on Thursday, May 23rd also at the Conservative Club Wigley and Johnson auctioned Cliftonville’, 33, Newton Road, which fetched the useful sum of £1,225. However, with local accommodation still being in short supply this plight even came to the attention of a Los Angeles newspaper, which now reported that ‘At Bletchley, England, 75 recently moved into railway cars. The coaches are too old for active service, but they keep out the wind and the weather.’ In fact regarding the railway coaches, situated on land purchased at Water Eaton by the Council, at a forthcoming meeting the Clerk of the Council would submit to the Finance Committee a card from the owner, asking them to reconsider their purchase offer of £10. However, a reply would be sent that no increase could be made, and the offer would only remain valid for seven days.

According to the Abercrombie Plan, ‘The exact location of an expanded Bletchley is a matter for careful consideration, the best site will probably be found on the north west or the 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.’ At a Tuesday meeting of the Council, in May the newly elected Councillor, Mr. H. Price, then suggested that a telegram might be sent to Mr. Silkin, saying that if Stevenage and Redbourne did not want to be ‘satellised’, then Bletchley would volunteer to be first. In fact the Council discussion referred to minutes recommending specific alterations to the Bletchley Master Plan which, despite having yet to be revealed to the public, was nevertheless approved. However, this was still subject to certain alterations, ‘which are recommended without prejudice to future detailed planning’, and the wording further included ‘The provision of a suitable area for religious and communal buildings in the Fenny Stratford Neighbourhood Unit at the junction of Drayton-road and Stoke-road, Water Eaton.’ At the side of the public footpath from Eaton Avenue to Manor Road, (on the site of the Eaton Avenue wartime allotment), a chestnut pale fence was to be erected, and also by May it had been decided to name the new housing estate Chestnut Crescent, although the four houses of the estate which fronted onto Water Eaton Road would be included in that numbering. Meanwhile there seemed a need for highways development at Old Bletchley, for at a Council meeting on Tuesday, May 14th complaints were made about the condition of several footpaths. During winter, Church Walk had puddles over 20 feet long, and other paths needing attention included those from the school, along Church Green Road, and also across the recreation ground from Buckingham Road to the school. However, despite the questions raised at a Council meeting regarding the cost, at least paving around the Council houses was being treated as a priority, and defending the expense of a tender to lay, at 12s 3d per super yard, flagged pavements to and around the houses, Mr. Smithie, the Surveyor, explained that concrete paths had been considered, but since they might sink - whilst flags could be relaid - the cost would be accepted, to be eventually recovered from the rates.

Plans by the Northampton Electric Light Co. had now been approved by the Council for a sub station on the Chestnuts Estate, and by the end of May 40 tenants, to occupy the new Council houses now under construction, had been provisionally selected, with 20 to occupy three bedroom houses, and 20 the two bedroom type. With the first tenants scheduled to move in during the next three weeks, the highest priority would be given to families requiring urgent preferential consideration on medical and other grounds, ie. a man and wife and family living in one room, in a house occupied by others, and for this group there had so far been 55 applications, with another 10 who considered that they also should be included. Additionally, 69 applications had been received, (plus 30 more ‘hopefuls’), regarding the high priority group for families with children who were either at present living in overcrowded conditions, or where there were insufficient bedrooms to separate the sexes. In fact, overall there had been in excess of 500 applications for the 450 houses which, under the Council’s development plan, were to be built during the next three years. The rent had been estimated at 17s 6d a week, although by a recent decision of the Council tenants would have to pay for interior decoration, at an approximate cost of £20. Should this seem too expensive, then tenants had the alternative options of undertaking the work themselves, or possibly contacting Mr. H. Faulkner who, presently having the need for two tradesmen painters, (to be paid at ‘union rates’), could perhaps be justified in charging a little extra for his services, from the prestige of having recently been awarded the M.B.E. Otherwise, the expertise of Campbell and Kelly, painters and decorators, at 12, Brooklands Road, might prove economical, although with Mr. Kelly to soon disappear off the scene, Jackman and Doyle, at 56, Bletchley Road, would shortly be able to offer an alternative service.

Where necessary, street name plates in the urban area were now to be renewed, although when that for Aylesbury Street was positioned just inside the closed churchyard, the St. Martin’s Parochial Church Council would unsuccessfully apply to have it re-situated outside. Made from aluminium alloy the signs, of a pattern to conform with the Ministry of Transport design, would be nine inches in length, and, having black letters and a black border, would thus enhance the new estates for which, in June, the provisional list of 40 tenants was officially approved by the Council. It now being agreed that electricity would be installed in six Council houses in Simpson Road, the work would be paid for by weekly instalments, spread over 14 years, and tenders were then invited for the complete electrical wiring of 20 two bedroom houses on the Chestnuts Estate, with that of £330 from Messrs. Williamson eventually accepted. As for laying sewers at Water Eaton, having quoted a price of £1,786 the contract would be awarded to Asphaltic Ltd., at a meeting of the Council. Witnessed by about 150 spectators, on Friday, June 21st at 4p.m. the first of the new Council houses, 176, Water Eaton Road, was officially opened by Flight Lieutenant Aidan Crawley, to whom was handed the key by the builder, Mr. Horace Tranfield. After the ceremony and inspection of the property the official visitors then proceeded to Coronation Hall for refreshments - and more speeches - and during the evening members of the public were then invited to inspect the house. However, whilst the houses may have been of an adequate standard, in other respects standards were not so satisfactory, with the grass verge at the junction of Water Eaton Road and Buckingham Road nearly two feet overgrown, and full of thistle and cornflower. The pathway in Cottingham Grove was also overgrown, and since there was a law against the spread of ‘injurious weeds’, this was a matter to be addressed by the Council, who also addressed the need for a part time cleaner/caretaker at the Council Offices by offering £3 a week, with the position eventually being filled by Mrs. Ethel Bruce, of 20, Saffron Street. As for the shortage of dustmen, to address this problem an application for an increase in pay would be made, although as a temporary measure an increase of 2¾d would bring the wage to 2s 1d an hour. With a minimum need for two, the Surveyor had been authorised to advertise locally for additional staff, and the need was indeed acute for, with the pre-war strength of three collectors, a driver, and men for both the destructor works and salvage having been severely depleted by the war, it had only been due to the ‘sterling efforts’ of Mr. J. Essen, Mr. A. Tarbox, and Mr. J. Whatley, that householders were spared from having to do the work themselves. Yet at least the Council had purchased special trolleys, to transport the bins from the house to the kerb.

On the evening of Sunday, June 23rd one of the most violent thunderstorms in living memory broke over the town and district, with part of the roof and a chimney stack demolished by a lightning strike at 44, Victoria Road, and animals killed at Water Eaton. The deluge was caused by the amalgamation of three storms, and with a ‘rushing river’ in Bletchley Road waves lapped against the brickwork of the Park Hotel. Near Bletchley station lightning struck telephone wires, damaging underground cables, and with the electricity supply cut off to Mr. Gurney’s farm at Water Eaton, his 50 cows had to be milked by hand. Mr. Wilfred Underlin, the Head Postmaster, retired on Saturday, June 29th, and to mark the occasion the Bletchley Post Office staff held an evening dinner and smoking concert at the Conservative Club. As a parting gift Mr. Underlin received a cheque, and his wife a travelling bag, whilst as for another presentation the event proved opportune to award Mr. C. Burt, the late Assistant Inspector, with the Imperial Service Medal. In September, 1897 he had commenced his postal career at Woburn Sands as a telegraph messenger, but then moved to Aspley Guise in 1900 as an auxiliary postman. His next move came in 1907 to Bletchley as a postman, and with only one bicycle available ‘I had the pleasure of wearing it out.’ Promoted to head postman in 1942, in 1944 he was made Assistant Inspector, and although having reached the age limit he nevertheless volunteered to remain in service due to the war conditions, before eventually retiring for reasons of health in January, 1946. However, sad news would be received within a few weeks when on Saturday, July 27th Mr. William Sargent, who was acting Head Postmaster at Bletchley, died aged 48, having been suddenly taken ill. He began work with the Post Office in 1912 as a boy messenger, and from a position as overseer at Bournemouth came to Bletchley, to live at 25, Tavistock Street, in September, 1945, being Assistant Superintendent and second in command to Mr. Underlin. He then acted as Head Postmaster following Mr. Underlin’s retirement. His funeral took place at Bournemouth on Wednesday, July 31st, and with his wife having died three or four years ago, he left a son. As for Mr. Underlin, on Sunday, May 11th, 1947 he would sadly die aged 61 at Hitchin, where he was buried. Arthur Bates, formerly the Bletchley Surveyor and A.R.P. Officer, had now been made County Planning Officer to Durham County Council, having been attached to the Ministry of Town & Country Planning. At Bletchley he had played an instrumental role in the preliminary planning of the new estates, but regarding private housing, to be purchased for £920 by Mrs. Fields, of London, the sale took place at auction on Thursday, July 25th of 45, Osborne Street, one of the established developments in the town. However, anticipating future growth, in August a report by the political correspondent of the daily national newspaper, the Observer, stated that Bletchley had been scheduled for immediate development under the new towns scheme. Whilst planning officials at Bletchley had received no new information, the Observer correspondent declared that the plan under consideration was to move factories out of Oxford, and create a new town some distance away; ‘It is Bletchley which has been put down for immediate development, and Basingstoke will probably come next. These recommendations will now go before Mr. Silkin, and if he approves they will be placed before the Cabinet.’ It was therefore just as well that with reference to the Public Health Act 1936 - ‘Notice of intention of local authorities to carry sewage mains within their district’ - the Council now intended to provide the relevant area, (for both public and private purposes), with an improved system of sewerage, and six weeks after the expiry of the first publication of their notice they would then prepare to construct ‘A Conduit consisting of one or more lines of pipes denoted on Ordnance Survey Sheet Bucks XV 10(scale 1/2500) and referred to by a blue line and lettered B.C.’ All no doubt a lot of extra work, in fact possibly for the person, aged over 16, who would be chosen for the position of junior clerk in the Council surveyor’s department, an appointment that would pay £65 a year; ‘Apply in own handwriting’.

On Monday, July 29th the tenancies began of the first two Council houses on the Chestnuts Estate, allocated to William Roe, formerly of 14, Grange Road, and Mr. R.J. Storey, formerly of 52, Newton Road. Mr. Leslie O’dell, and Mr. H. Parker, would be the respective tenants of the 3rd and 4th houses, 161 and 163, Water Eaton Road, but for Mr. and Mrs. Procter, a young Bletchley couple, they were now living at Bow Brickhill in a disused Army hut of the Pioneers, one of five in Rectory Field. They had gained entry through an unlocked door, and ‘The cat came with us, and has now forgotten that she ever lived anywhere else.’ Married for four years, when the couple came to Bletchley they had to live in rooms, whilst as for their new accommodation the local police constable proved sympathetic, and even the rector had paid a visit. Presently employed as a lorry driver for the licensee of the King’s Head, Mr. Proctor had been in the Army Service Corps for six years, and during this period had seen duty with the B.E.F., and, following D Day, in Europe and Germany. As for Mrs. Proctor, she had been a Land Army girl in Lincolnshire. Yet their present plight was not unique, and they would soon be in the company of two more families, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis White of 164, Simpson Road, and Mr. and Mrs. Tarbox of 5, Rhondda Crescent. Despite the impending appointment of temporary full time and part time sorting clerks, as well as a full time and a part time night telephonist, no doubt organising the delivery of post to these unscheduled residences would pose a problem for Mr. John Wilson, who on Tuesday, August 3rd, took up his duties as Head Postmaster at Bletchley. Having joined the Post Office in 1915, after service during World War One he went to Levin, Fifeshire, where he eventually became overseer and second in command, and then moved to regional headquarters, Edinburgh, where he reached the position of Postal Traffic Superintendent.

Tenders having been invited to erect six three bedroom, and six two bedroom type houses, during August the Surveyor had been instructed to purchase 400 flush doors, at a cost of 35s each, from the Ministry of Works. These were for use in those properties to be built on the Brookdale Estate, but in view of the slow progress being made with the construction of Council houses, at a Tuesday meeting of the Council it was suggested in September by Mr. F. Bates that, with no temporary accommodation available at Bletchley Park, the provision of temporary houses in the town might be considered. However, local builders proved less than enthusiastic since, especially regarding the lack of soil pipes, gutterings, grates, casements and lead flashings, the delays would still be the same as for permanent houses. Yet despite such reservations something would need to be done, for by the end of the month the Bow Brickhill site had additionally become home to Mr. and Mrs. R. Cosby, and Mr. and Mrs. W. Sykes. A native of Halifax, in fact Mr. Sykes had been at the camp with the Army for two years, and having during this period met his future wife, Dora Clarke, of Simpson, following his demob the couple then lived in lodgings in the village. Fortunately, concerning the Bow Brickhill ‘camp’ there would soon be certain grounds for optimism, when Newport Pagnell R.D.C. announced that they would take over the site, and provide lavatory facilities, a water supply, and possibly an electricity supply. Then at a meeting of the Newport Pagnell Council, on Wednesday, September 18th, the Clerk reported that when news of the squatters had been made known he immediately reported the matter to the Ministry of Health who, by a reply received that morning, had informed him that, with the camp having been declared redundant by the War Department, the site was now available for a permanent transfer to housing purposes.

Nevertheless, the shortage of local housing remained acute and on Saturday, September 21st at the former R.A.O.C. camp at Skew Bridge Mr. K. Bradbury, who had been demobbed two weeks ago from the R.A.F., claimed for himself and his wife one of the Nissen huts, as evidenced by his slogan chalked in white on the wall, ‘Squat and rest’. Yet despite having moved some effects into the hut, finding it cold and damp they would choose not to sleep there, and on Sunday evening moved back to their rooms in Newton Road with Mrs. Higgs. In fact their names were already on the list for a Council house, and so their decision was also swayed by having been told, albeit unofficially, that if they remained at the camp they would lose their housing priority. The couple had married two years ago, and whilst Mr. Bradbury was a native of Bletchley his wife was Canadian, and therefore had it not been for the expense of the travel they would quite probably have begun a new life in her home country. Also somewhat disenchanted with the camp were Mrs. H. Goom and her mother, Mrs. C. Short, of 63, Victoria Road. Having brought amongst other articles feather beds, coal, coke, wood, dustpans, and brooms, they spent one night in a hut ‘to see if it would do’ for Mr. and Mrs. Goom and their two children, Richard, aged four, and Patricia, but eventually Mrs. Goom decided against the move. For others, the desperation for accommodation seemed greater, and two families were still living there a week later. Following his ‘demob’ last October, Mr. O. Stevens and his wife and their two small sons had lodged at 1, Elm Terrace, but having now moved to the camp they were presently occupying a hut that had been partitioned into two separate rooms. Nearby, in an unpartitioned hut were their friends, Mr. and Mrs. W. Guntrip, who, with their three year old child, had previously lodged at 105, Church Green Road. Both being ex service personnel, the men cycled daily to their work and although Mr. Stevens was a bricklayer by trade he was now employed at Wico, whilst Mr. Guntrip worked at Bletchley Park. During their absence the isolated camp, which had the provision of running water and electricity - albeit from a somewhat obscure source - was protected by a guard dog, and with the families seemingly quite content at the camp, the cookhouse - complete with stove and boilers - was now being converted into a communal kitchen, which they duly intended to whitewash. In fact perhaps for an additional homely touch they might like to purchase an oak bureau bookcase, presently for sale at 34, Church Street.

Resident at 90, Eaton Avenue, by now Frank Dimmock, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Dimmock, of 7, Denmark Street, had been appointed as Assistant Postmaster. Having left Wolverton Secondary school in 1925, he began work with the Post Office at Bletchley as a sorting clerk and telegraphist, and for any ex servicemen now wishing to pursue a permanent career as a local postman, they were invited to apply to the Bletchley Post Office. During October, members and officers of B.U.D.C. paid a visit to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, assuring them that the idea of Bletchley becoming one of the new towns that the Government wished to create would be welcomed by the Council. In fact concerning the growth of the town, the Council would now consider proposals regarding specimen prefab houses at St. Pauls Waldren, near Hitchin. These findings had been presented following a recent inspection made by members of the Public Health Committee, and in other matters this body had now reported that, within the meaning of Section 58 of the Town and Country Planning Act, the District Valuer had asked the Council to notify him if they considered that Mr. R. Herring was deemed to be owner of Manor Farm. With the matter dating back to a meeting in August, 1944, little progress had been made, and with the area scheduled as the next site for development they obviously needed to get a move on. The Committee duly recommended that in view of the terms of the letting of the land by Mr. Herring to Mr. R. Barbour, the Council was of the opinion that Mr. Herring was indeed the rightful owner. As from the week commencing October 7th, Council employees, whose rates were governed by the Joint Industrial Council, would receive an increase in the weekly basic rate of pay ranging from 9d to 3s, which would perhaps be justified if the persistent complaints about the single light at the Shoulder of Mutton corner were promptly attended. Since the other lights were not so bright, motorists coming over the hill were suddenly dazzled, and the matter was to be passed to the Highways Committee. On Wednesday, October 30th an auction at Bletchley market of ‘useful’ household furniture probably proved very opportune, for with three more Council houses in Chestnut Crescent at last ready for occupation, the new tenants - George Young, of The Caravan, Denbigh Road, William Pursell, The Apiary, Simpson, and Herbert Nightingale, Lock View, Simpson Road - would shortly move in.

Perhaps in line with the town’s expansion the Council, which presently had the need, at £8 a week, for a temporary Clerk of Works, was to become a member of the ‘Southern Provincial Council for Local Authorities, Admin., Professional, Technical and Clerical Services’, and also in view of the expansion of the town by the end of October the Ministry of Health had approved a tender for the first 12 houses on the Brookdale Estate. At a total cost of £14,114 10s these would be six three bedroom types, at £1,233 each, and six two bedroom types, at £1,118 each, and with the construction to be undertaken by the Bedford firm of Messrs. Russell, Hayes and Co., (who would shortly in fact change their name to Haywin Ltd.) Ministry approval was now being sought for a further 42 houses on the site. These would be similar to those on the Chestnuts Estate, although with the exception of a separate downstairs w.c. in the three bedroom type, the upstairs w.c. and bathroom to be combined, and, by dispensing with the dining room recess, an all in one dining room and kitchen. 76 houses was the eventual number planned for the Brookdale Estate, and with four having four bedrooms, to accommodate large overcrowded families, 18 single bedroom houses would be built for old people. On land in their possession off Newton Road, Tranfield and Co. had - in accordance with a scheme recently announced by the Ministry of Health - offered to build 64 houses for subsequent sale to the Council. However, the present time was considered unsuitable, although 29, Chestnut Crescent, a three bedroom property, had now been occupied by Charles Orchard and his family. In fact this was the 8th Council house to be occupied, and of their quality ‘You are building villas, not Council houses’ was the remark made by one sufficiently impressed visitor. Mr. Orchard had been previously living at 12, Grange Road, whilst his family had stayed with Mrs. Higgs of Lower End, Newton Longville. During the first week in November, the second delivery of post was resumed throughout the rural areas in the Bletchley postal district, and also during the month preliminary operations were being carried on at the Westfield Estate, where regarding an existing footpath an application to have this partly stopped up was made by B.U.D.C. At a special court, their request would then shortly be granted by Bletchley magistrates, for subsequent consideration at the Quarter Sessions at Aylesbury. Off Westfield Road, it was now intended to convert the waterlogged pits into sunken gardens, complete with a bandstand, but presently getting bogged down was the progress of the house building, due to the Bletchley Labour Exchange, under an Essential Works Order, having to direct a high percentage of the workforce to the task of building a new brick kiln at the Ridgmont brickworks.

Conferring with directors of the steel corporation, having on Friday, November 15th inspected steel frame houses at Oxhey, Watford, four councillors and officials were greatly impressed by both the planning of the houses, and the speed of erection, and at the Tuesday meeting of the Council the 11 councillors present therefore decided to recommend the purchase of 200 houses, at a cost of £260,000. A representative of the firm, Trusteel Corporation (Universal) Ltd., of Heath Road, Oxhey, duly confirmed that delivery would not be a problem, and supposedly the system claimed a timesaving of 45% on that for houses of a conventional build. Initially, the process involved bolting to the foundation of a concrete raft a plate, on which was then erected the special steel frames. These, giving complete rigidity, could be easily manhandled by the workers, and after every six courses of brick, by the use of galvanised ties the outside brick wall - or cladding - was tied to the steelwork. In fact if, as recommended, the four and a half inch type was used a considerable saving in the usual number of bricks could be made, whilst internally the linings of the wall were steel framed and braced plastic panels, having glass wool quilt ‘stuffed’ between the lining and the steel frame. Since this method ensured a substantial saving in wood - which was now in short supply - the Trusteel houses, despite the recent reduction in the amount of wood allocated to a new house, could have a wooden floor of boarding, or blocks, whereas homes of a conventional build could have only a suitably sealed concrete floor.

As for the location of these new houses the first site, since the Council were presently negotiating for in excess of 18 acres of land, was likely to be in Newton Road, on the left hand side approaching Newton Longville, just past the turn to the sports ground of the London Brick Company. Indeed, a large proportion of the Trusteel houses would be allocated to transferred brick workers, although their numbers might soon be depleted, following a visit to Bletchley by Mr. Walpole. He had been sent by the Australian government to recruit a limited number of skilled brick makers and, with there presently being a housing shortage in Australia, applicants, whose passage would be paid, had to be unmarried ex servicemen under 30. However, since the scheme had not been widely advertised Mr. Walpole would fail in his local recruitment, whilst for other trades sufficient workers had already been secured. After Newport Pagnell R.D.C., Bletchley Council now had the second best record in housing progress, and presently possessed 208 sites which had not been developed, and 78 sites which had been developed, (but with no houses erected). Yet only four licenses had been issued for house building by private enterprise, and although one of these homes was currently under construction three were complete, and the occupants might therefore be interested in a new three piece dining room suite in Rexine, offered for sale at £35 by ‘Parrott‘, of 65, Bletchley Road. With Mr. L. Randall having now been appointed as temporary Clerk of Works to the Council, approval was given by the Ministry of Health to build four houses of the four bedroom type on the Brookdale Estate, but for the first time in the housing programme the Council had to ask for an overdraft of £20,000, pending receipt of loan monies during the next two months. They had also applied to borrow £18,200 for sewerage purposes at Water Eaton, and not surprisingly in November no objections were raised at the associated public enquiry, held by the Ministry of Health, since one resident declared that the smells were terrible, and something had to be done. The matter dated back to 1936, when a public enquiry was conducted into the Council’s application to borrow £13,400 for a similar scheme, but at the time the Council were having trouble at the disposal works due to trade effluent, and the application was refused. It was then suggested that the trade effluent could best be dealt with by reorganising the existing works off Simpson Road, and although the outbreak of the war intervened, in 1944 Messrs. John Taylor and Sons, civil engineers, submitted a report on the reorganisation of the works, suggesting an expenditure of £62,000. However, since a large part of the increased population of the town was due to two service camps, and the Allied Control Commission at Bletchley Park, the enquiry was closed, and the decision of the Ministry would be reported at a later date.

At the end of November homeowners might have been interested in a six foot mahogany sideboard, with wine ‘cellarette’, two cupboards and three drawers, offered for sale for £7 10s by Mrs. Cameron, of ‘Melrose’, Denbigh Road, whilst for repairs and decorations to their property, Henry Faulkner, builder and decorator, was available at 30, George Street. In December, John Greaves, the 20 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Greaves of 172, Western Road, qualified for Associate Membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, but after three years as an articled pupil in the Bletchley Surveyors Department it was pastures new for Stephen Kilner, who had been appointed as technical assistant to the Brackley R.D.C. Surveyor. Soil pipes and cookers were presently holding up the completion of Council houses at Water Eaton, although four cookers had recently arrived - after 25 days - from Glasgow. Meanwhile, since the Council was still continuing negotiations for some 18 acres of land, the proposed 200 new ‘Trusteel’ houses at Bletchley would probably be built on the triangular piece of land between Newton Road and the L.M.S. Oxford railway line, and tenders were now invited to erect two pairs of four bedroom houses on the Brookdale Estate. A tense atmosphere then prevailed at a Tuesday meeting of the Council, when the chairman, Mr. S. Maycock, reported on a conference that, on November 21st, had been called by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. This was regarding proposals by Flettons Ltd. for brickworks at Loughton Manor, Shenley, Water Eaton, and also Skew Bridge, where they proposed to feed the kilns with clay from other workings, but since Captain Mells, who was associated with the Company, had spoken in favour of the plans, this caused conflict with the Council. They had approved an application and plan submitted by the London Brick Company, to excavate clay in the Council approved zone between the L.M.S. main line and Oxford branch, but whatever the outcome, if all the proposals were adopted ‘That would strangle Bletchley like an octopus.’ Further brickwork concerns would then be expressed at a Council meeting by Mr. H. Dimmock, who, with it having been revealed that of the 200 Trusteel houses only 60 would be for Bletchley families, said ‘It is not fair that Bletchley should have to pay exorbitant subsidies to provide houses for people who will be chiefly imported’, ie. brick workers. The Council would accordingly seek the sanction for a loan of £246,000, and try to enlist the help of the Ministry with the subsidies.

On a more positive theme, for the Council houses now under construction the list of prospective tenants - 18 for three bedroom properties, and 25 for two bedroom properties - was approved by the Council who, since medical grounds were the sole criteria, based their decisions on the advice of the Medical Officer. Yet for one established tenant, because he was now working and living at Peterborough, and his wife only returned to Bletchley every other weekend, a choice of two alternatives was given. Either the couple immediately gave up the tenancy of 152, Western Road, or else they stored the furniture in one room and paid, until removal could be arranged, 2s 6d a week to the new occupier Mr. Ottery, who was currently living at 124, Western Road. During the first week of December, for two pairs of four bedroom houses on the Brookdale Estate tenders, to be submitted to the Clerk at the Council Offices, were invited, and additional accommodation in the town was also a possibility when the Council approved a plan, submitted by Norman Green, to convert The Grange, for many years the residence of Mrs. Whiteley, into four flats and three maisonettes. However, this was only on condition that the ceilings of the ground floor rooms were lifted to bye law height, and the drainage conformed to the satisfaction of the Surveyor, which was no doubt also a requirement for the house planned - and provisionally approved by the Council - for Mr. H. Cowley on the Eight Bells field. As for other Council matters, for reasons of expense instead of employing their own workmen they had now decided to enter a three year contract with Messrs. Contract Gully Cleansing Ltd., London, for cleansing the gullies three or more times a year at ½d each. With Christmas now approaching, the Post Office announced that on Sunday, December 22nd there would be one delivery of parcels and letters in the town and country districts, and on Christmas Day one delivery of letters and parcels. No collections or deliveries would be made on Boxing Day although on Christmas Day the principal post offices would be open from 9a.m. until 10.30a.m..Yet despite the appeal of the Post Office to post early for Christmas, (with the provision having been made of a stamp machine outside the Bletchley Road sub post office), few people had taken heed, but nevertheless with additional transport brought in, and the help of schoolgirls and boys, who comprised the town’s entire delivery force, all the deliveries would be made. Due to the volumes involved, the pavilion at Bletchley Park had to be used as the parcel depot, but when the central heating system broke down oil stove heating then had to be employed. Undoubtedly the temporary postal recruits had ensured the smooth running of the seasonal operation, but for the longer term some of the regular postmen would find a forthcoming change to their route, for on December 30th B.U.D.C. applied to the Quarter Sessions, held at Aylesbury, for an order to stop up and divert part of a footway from Brooklands Road to Lennox Road, across a piece of land known as Westfield Estate.



For a youth aged 16 to 17, who had obtained a School Certificate, there was now a vacancy to become an Articled Pupil to the Municipal Engineer, and applicants were to contact the Surveyor at the Council Offices, where for some 20 years Miss Annie Louisa Mead and her sister, Edith, had undertaken the caretaking duties. Unfortunately, in the autumn of 1945 Annie had been involved in a road accident, and it was no doubt the effects of this hastened her retirement some 12 months ago. The Council then arranged that the sisters should have the council property at 11, Abbey Road, Simpson, on condition that the wife of the existing tenant, Mr. L. Odell, undertook, (for £2 a week), the caretaking duties at the Council Offices, and if they complied, then they would be allowed the attached house rent free. As for Annie, she died at her home in Simpson aged 78, on January 6th. Born at Leighton Buzzard, Miss Mead had been a daughter of the late William Mead, a parcels carrier, who had moved to Bletchley over 50 years ago. Having been a confectioner in his younger days, he was well known as a toffee maker, and when he became ill in 1920 Miss Mead moved to Bletchley to look after him. Living on the premises, after his death two years later she and her sister then began employment as caretakers at the Council Offices. On Monday, January 6th work began on the 200 Trusteel houses, to be built for the Council at Newton Road, and although the contractors had brought in a number of their own workmen, they also hoped to recruit locally. At £210 per acre the L.B.C. then offered the Council land for the additional Newton Road housing, and, subject to approval by the District Valuer, this would be accepted.

Forwarded by Messrs. Tranfield, only one tender had been received for the construction of four houses of the four bedroom type on the Brookdale Estate, but, being costed at £1,376 9s 4d per house, this, albeit subject to approval by the Ministry of Health, would nevertheless prove satisfactory. Meanwhile, at the Chestnuts Estate the first of the two bedroom Council houses was now complete, to be offered to Ernest Chambers, of 116, Victoria Road. As for private buyers, with vacant possession F. Sear offered 14, Wilton Avenue for sale. Described as a modern house, in good condition, with three bedrooms, this perhaps might have been a good home for the second-hand three piece suite which, at a cost of £25, o.n.o., was available from N. Richardson, at 28, Bletchley Road. For other furnishing requirements a browse around Bletchley market on Wednesday, January 22nd could prove beneficial, where Wigley and Johnson would auction, from various owners, ‘superior household furniture’, to include an Alba fridge, H.M.V. gramophone, 10 large workshop benches from the M.O.W., and also canteen equipment. By mid January the Council scheme for a new sewage plant and pipes, estimated at £18,200, had been approved by the Ministry of Health, and approved by the Council were plans for two houses to be built in Brooklands Road for Mr. J. Ramsbotham. As for the latest tenants for the two bedroom Council houses, these were Maurice Aldridge, of 4, Woodbine Terrace, and Reg Sellars, of 120, Western Road, for whom it was perhaps opportune that the Bletchley and District Co-op furnishing department could now offer a re-upholstery service, as well as furniture renovations, recovering and repolishing; ‘Bedding can be remade in some cases. Estimates free.’ During February, Bletchley Council were asked by the Ministry of Health to reconsider their decision not to take over the Skew Bridge camp, but for the moment the Council decided to adhere to their original decision. Also marking time was the clock at the Council Offices, which, because the machinery for correcting the variations would cost £30, had been stopped until the electricity supply returned to normal. However, although Major L. Marler, of Wavendon, would offer to pay for the necessary equipment, when the Council refused to accept his gesture he was moved to remark ‘If they prefer politics to punctuality that is their own affair.’ Household clocks were also being affected by disruptions to the electricity supply, and in fact due to the fuel crisis the use of electricity for domestic purposes was now illegal between 9a.m. and noon, and 2p.m. until 4p.m.

Perhaps in view of the new housing developments, in the Bletchley district the Post Office Engineering Department, for the Bedford Telephone Area, now required labourers aged between 21 and 35 as Skilled Engineering Workmen, on ‘Telephone Construction’ and line maintenance works. The successful applicants would be paid a starting wage of 91s a week, whilst as for other career opportunities, Messrs. Tranfield, at 60, Buckingham Road, urgently needed an apprentice to learn the trade of plumber and hot water fitter. Of the 54 tenants for the Chestnuts Estate, 12 were now occupying their new accommodation, and of those selected 35 were ex servicemen. Yet towards the end of the month less pleasing was the criticism at a Tuesday meeting of the Council regarding the condition of Tattenhoe Lane. However, despite having received letters on the matter, the Highways Committee were apparently unable to take any action, even though Mr. E. Callaway, the chairman of the Highways Committee, had reported that when visited by members of the Committee the road was impassable. Since on March 6th fifteen towns in the country were cut off by snow, with the subsequent floods being the worst ever known, there seemed little hope of any foreseeable improvement, although more optimistically there was at least now a pavement four or five feet wide as far as the houses went. Nevertheless, ‘to cycle along the road was purgatory, to walk along it was a penance, and the road was enough to wreck the guts of any mechanical vehicle.’ Therefore it was eventually decided that the road should be put in a ‘reasonable’ state of repair’, but although the Highways Committee would do what they could, it would be a burden on the taxpayer to modernise the whole of the roadway. Hopefully more immediate would be the measures to provide a better water supply to the Staple Hall Estate, where, at a cost of £250, 250 yards of new three inch main was to be laid from Simpson Road. Elsewhere, remedial attention was also necessary at the refuse destructor where, with urgent repairs needed to the chimney, the quote of W.J. Furze Ltd. for £210 was accepted.

By the executors of the late C. Boyes and W. Boyes, on Friday, March 21st Wigley and Johnson were instructed to auction, unless privately sold, 6,8,10, Park Street, 2, 12,14,16, 18, 20, Park Street, and 23,25,27 Park Street. This would take place at 3p.m. at the Conservative Club, and, on behalf of Norman Green, also to be auctioned was Grange Lodge, which, being a well built detached residence with two reception rooms, kitchen, three bedrooms, and bathroom etc., also featured an excellent range of modern farm buildings, plus some 10 acres of pasture land, all within a half mile of the main line. If this should not appeal, then on the instructions of Mr. J. Monk they could also offer the semi detached The Limes, 70, Bletchley Road, with two reception rooms, kitchen, scullery and three bedrooms. Otherwise, as directed by the administrators of the late Ellen Coles the block of four freehold cottages, 178, 180, 182, 184, Buckingham Road, were available, each with two bedrooms. On completion, no.178 would have vacant possession, and being tenanted the rest produced a rent of £35 15s p.a. In fact the bidding for Grange Lodge and the farm began at £1,000, to rise firstly by increments of £250 to £3,250, and then in smaller amounts to £3,500, at which price it was bought by Hedley Clarke. With the initial offer being £600, for £800 Mr. C. Watts, of Oving, purchased 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20, Park Street, producing an annual rent of £87 2s, but with a rental of £55 18s for nos. 23, 25, 27 there was only one bid, by Mr. C. Dunbar. This was for £500, which was deemed acceptable. For nos. 178, 180, 182, and 184 Buckingham Road bidding began at £300 and eventually closed with the bid of £1,020 from Mr. E.T. Ray, on behalf of Mrs. Turner. As for The Limes, commencing at £1,200 the cost would rise to £2,000, paid by Mr. N. Green. No doubt the purchasers were well pleased with their properties, but less content was William Weaver, at 66, High Street, for he had discovered, and reported, that there was only one dry wall in his house. In protest he had therefore refused to pay his rates and water charges, but when it was pointed out by the Surveyor that this action was not valid, he said the only reason for withholding the payment had been to draw attention to his predicament.

The town's official crest and seal.

With many houses losing their roofs and slates, on the evening of Sunday, March 16th a 70 m.p.h. gale swept over North Bucks, and not only blew down the scaffolding on the houses being constructed at Water Eaton, but left those poles that remained in the ground at rather ‘interesting’ angles. Costing £50 to insure, and, if required, £100 to copyright, also interesting was the newly arrived seal of office for the chairman of the Council, which, bearing the crest of the town, he would retain for use at official functions. In fact the first occasion would be at a meeting in April, when worn by Mr. Maycock on his return from a week at the seaside. However, as for the £49 3s cost of the seal, although an anonymous donor had offered to defray half of the expense, even by May no subscriptions were forthcoming for the remainder. This was despite an appeal having been made in the Council Chamber which, as an experiment, was now being lit by four fluorescent tubes which, according to the Surveyor, would effect a two thirds saving in electricity. An application had now been made by Norman Green for the land between his shop and the Workingmen’s Club to be used as a public meeting place but, when referred to a meeting of the Council, this request was refused. In explanation Mr. E. Callaway, chairman of the Highways Committee, stated that although on viewing the land he and other members had recommended their approval, the Planning Committee were against, because of questions of entry and associated aspects. As for another matter of contention, the request by Messrs. Haywin Ltd. to the Council for payment of guaranteed periods, in respect of their employees engaged on house construction, was also refused. Instead, the attention of the firm would be drawn to the relevant clause in the contract, although it perhaps seemed best not to upset the employees, for labour was presently in short supply. Indeed, Messrs. Tranfield and Co. urgently needed plasterers and building labourers, and any suitable candidates were asked to apply on site at the Chestnuts Estate.

For anyone keen to ease their household chores, a Gas Wonder washing machine, ‘with Acme wringer’, was now for sale in good condition at 18, Leon Avenue, but at the end of March a more personal service was required at 30, Church Green Road, where for one or two mornings a week a woman was needed for housework. However, with references and experience required, should the successful applicant fall short of the expectations then a spell in the doghouse might loom, a sectional example of which - ‘suit large dog, separate sleeping place’ - could be purchased via Box A202, 43, High Street. On Thursday, March 27th four Bletchley councillors, including three members of the Housing Committee, accepted an invitation from the Bletchley branch of the British Legion to discuss, in a general meeting, the housing problems of local ex servicemen. Begun a year ago, the points system was still in operation, and if an ex serviceman and another person were equal, then the ex serviceman went a point ahead, or two points if he had served overseas for more than three years. Additional to the Council’s programme, as yet there had been no allocation of the 200 Trusteel houses, which had only been allowed on condition that 140 would be used for the accommodation of brick workers, with the remaining 60 provided for local residents. Overall, despite internal fittings being a reason for delay 20 houses had already been completed, and with 78 ordinary and 20 Trusteel houses being built, tenders were approved for a further 108. The approximate cost of a two bedroom house was £1,150, a three bedroom house £1,250, and a Trusteel three bedroom house £1,210, but in addition was the cost of the land per house, at £40, and sewers, water mains etc. at £120. The sites presently in progress were the Chestnuts, (50), Brookdale, (78), Westfield, (144), and Newton Road, (134), and it was proposed to later build 92 houses at the Eight Belles, and 64 at Napier Street, with there also being space for about 280 at Manor Farm. So far 55 people had been allocated a house on completion - as long as their circumstances did not change - whilst as for the financial logistics of renting a Council house, needing £400 as a deposit a workingman who wished to buy a private house would need a mortgage of £1,100, which, at current rates of interest, would entail a payment of 37s 6d a week for the next 20 years. Thus for 15s a week the Council was allowing him a house which would otherwise cost him £2 a week, and this was solely because at 2½% they could borrow money over a longer term. However, it was the question of house insurance that was more a concern on Easter Monday, April 7th, when during the early hours Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Brown, of 23, Bedford Street, were disturbed by loud noises. On investigation they then found that the carpets and furniture were alight in the back sitting room, but from an outside window by throwing down pails of water the fire was contained. Eventually the blaze would be doused by the Bletchley Fire Brigade which, with Mr. R. Culley now in charge, consisted of 14 members who variously worked on the railway, at Wicos, M.A. Cooks and Beacon Brushes. By day they were summoned by the siren, activated by the police, but at night they were roused by an alarm bell, fitted in their homes.

With Wigley and Johnson conducting the proceedings, during April at the covered dairy section of Bletchley market ‘Well kept and superior household furniture’ was sold by auction, including 16 metal rubber wheeled tea trolleys. Yet it had not been via a legal purchase that an oil lamp found its way to a squatters hut at Skew Bridge. Originally purchased in 1946 from Pollards, and having undergone repairs just before Christmas, the lamp had been in continual use at Bletchley Flettons Farm, but it suddenly went missing. During the course of his subsequent investigations, Detective Sergeant Strong then paid a visit to the squatters camp on February 28th, and on questioning the 29 year old occupant of one of the huts was told ‘If you know anybody who has more right to the lamp then you may take it.’ Stating that on first moving to the camp he had purchased the lamp in January from Pollards, when further questioned the following day the man then admitted that this was a lie, and he asked for his wife not to be blamed, since she had not been involved in the deception. Duly revising his original story, he then confessed that with the deal having been arranged at Perrins café, he bought the lamp from a soldier in the R.A.O.C., and at 7s 6d considered his purchase to have been a good bargain. Of good character, he had been demobilised in February, 1946, and with a family to support had from April until October worked at a brickworks in Leighton Buzzard, before gaining employment as a drawer at the London Brick Company. The case was duly heard by Bletchley magistrates on Thursday, April 10th, with the accused bound over for two years, and ordered to pay 15s costs. At the Council meeting on Tuesday, April 8th Mr. F. Bates had asked why some old residents of the Fenny Stratford ward were not on the voting register, and in reply Mr. Sherwood, the Clerk, said that before the war the register was compiled from a house to house canvas. Thus a form when completed showed all the people in a house who were entitled to vote, but this system had ceased during the war. However, there was now a move to revive the arrangement, and people should have taken the necessary steps to ensure that their names appeared on the register. In fact many names were no longer relevant, and in the Bletchley ward of 1,400 people it would be necessary to remove 300 straight away, including those of Irish labourers, and persons who had now left the district. Yet in a reversal of this trend, following the delivery on Thursday, April 17th of the first consignment of steelwork for the Trusteel houses, (the foundations for 10 of which were now complete), during the last week in April 35 workers from Liverpool were scheduled to arrive in the town. They would be accommodated in a hostel at Bletchley Park, but regarding other matters of accommodation, less straightforward were the requirements of the Council house tenant at 10, Grange Road, who had applied to sub let a part of his house to a married son, his wife and child, and another part to another son, who was soon to be married. Whilst the Council approved the first request, until new information eventually reversed this decision, they refused the second.

Subject to approval by the Planning Officer, the construction of three houses in Denbigh Road for J. Tetley and Co. was now approved by the Council. They also approved the plans for a conservatory for Mr. Walpole’s bungalow in Staple Hall Road, and on the wider scene negotiations for the purchase of Manor Farm were complete. The extent, of some 93 acres, lay behind Aylesbury Street, on the east side of the road as far as Valentin, Ord and Nagle at one end, and the brook bounding the Brookdale Estate at the other, and although the cost totalled £9,000, the Council, to cover certain fees and the price of fence repairs, had applied for a loan of £9,500. Yet if proposals to fix a national rate were confirmed by the Joint Industrial Council, then further expenditure would be incurred by the rates of pay awarded to general labourers, who, being presently paid 84s 6d a week, would qualify for 88s a week from April 7th, and 91s per week from the 6th of October. During April, plans were approved for alterations to the billiards room at Ropley House, but for Stoke House more drastic measures were now in hand, for Mr. A. Valentin had decided to sell the entire contents. With catalogues available from Harrods Ltd., Estate Offices, 34/36 Hans-crescent, Knightsbridge, the sale would be held on the premises at 2.30p.m. on May 12th and 13th, and amongst the diverse range of items were included a motor mower, ‘French salon appointments’, 18th century chairs, and the elegance of a Sheraton sideboard. In fact to perhaps be used in the manufacture of elegant furniture was the destiny of the elm trees in Newton Road which, having been deemed a safety concern, were now to be felled. Also cut down was the application to erect a hut and workshop at 4, North Street by a Council tenant, and further meeting with the Council’s disapproval was the action of the tenants of 7, Chestnut Crescent, who had taken in a married couple as their lodgers without permission. At the end of April it was announced that the Public Health Committee were to receive from the Surveyor, Mr. J. Smithie, a detailed report on conditions at the Skew Bridge camp which, following use as an ordnance depot by the military, had for some months been taken over by squatters. Some while ago the Council had decided that the best policy would be to seek authority to demolish the buildings as and when they became vacant, and thereby clear the site altogether, but at the Council meeting on Tuesday, April 22nd the Clerk, Mr. Sherwood, said that a telephone call had been received from the Ministry of Health asking - in accordance with the Ministry’s wish - if the Council had decided to take over the camp. However, since conditions at the site were ‘appalling’, and to attempt improvements would be a ‘hopeless task’, the Clerk had informed the Ministry that the previous decision remained unchanged, and therefore the liability of the Council would cease when all the buildings had been demolished. In fact the Council had little choice, for with the Ministry having no authority to step in, and the War Office showing little interest, the only body they could turn to was the local authority, but as the Clerk reported ‘I said that the Council felt it would be just a waste of money to buy any of the buildings, but if the Council took over they would do so without any responsibility for the provision of better accommodation. The Ministry will be responsible for the payment of any compensation for the requisition, which will be transferred to the Council’, who would not charge rent, but merely make provision for a water supply etc. and charge the tenants accordingly. Six huts were presently occupied, and Mr. S. Maycock moved that the question be referred to the Public Health Committee, especially in the wake of an informal visit that he and Mr. Price had made shortly after the bad weather. Indeed, ‘They had all our sympathy for having to live in such terrible conditions’, but he also understood that some of the people had been allocated a Council house, and there was therefore a danger that squatting might be viewed as a ‘jumping ground’ to such an acquisition. Obviously this would upset the previous arrangements regarding the selection of Council tenants, although perhaps not the three who had received recent confirmation of being allocated two bedroom Council houses in Chestnut Crescent, and might therefore be interested in a 15 cu. ft. Prestcold electric fridge ‘no purchase tax’, which was being presently offered for sale, at £145, by Ritchie and Co. at 109, Bletchley Road. Elsewhere, a 2ft. 6in. narrow gilt frame mirror, a cabinet with drawer, and a green/gold bedroom chair, were being sold by Betts, 21, Regent Street, whilst at Bletchley market on Wednesday May 21st the contents of 40, Park Street, and 15, St. Martin’s Road, would come up for auction by W.S. Johnson and Co.

Due not least due to a short survey in the latest edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, the status of Bletchley was gaining renown, and on Saturday, May 3rd the Minister of Town and Country Planning paid a visit to the town. Despite being less than forthcoming about Bletchley’s future as a satellite town, he was nevertheless able to confirm that ‘We are casting covetous eyes’, whilst as for a change in planning legislation, by which owners of land compulsory purchased would be compensated at the present market price, and not at 1939 values, on this he could provide a definite assurance. He could also give assurance regarding other compensation, and in fact of the War Damage Insurance paid out by the Council, so far £363 15s of the £450 had been refunded by the Board of Trade. The 6p.m. postal collection in Bletchley would be cancelled from Monday, May 19th. With the time to be changed from 3p.m. to 11p.m., there would also be no afternoon delivery, the reason given being that ‘In common with other government departments, the Post Office has been asked to release part of its staff for employment on production.’ Also illuminating was the reason why the trial of a new system of street lighting in the district of Buckingham Road was not to proceed. Due to the cost of £1,044 the Highways Committee had decided to withdraw from the scheme, at least until the results of further experiments were known, but for domestic users they could conduct their own trials for, according to Ritchie and Co., at 109, Bletchley Road, ‘By replacing one 100 watt coiled Coil filament lamp with a 40 watt Fluorescent Tube you can save 60 per cent consumption and obtain 250 per cent more light.’ In view of her recent marriage, at 5, Manor Road Mrs. B. Bryant had obtained approval to transfer her council house tenancy to her husband, whilst of the new batch of council housing, a three bedroom property had been recently allocated to Amos Walduck, of 75, Buckingham Road. A new two bedroom council house at Water Eaton would then be shortly let to Ralph Sands of 133, Bletchley Road, but regarding a two bedroom council property at Water Eaton, which was to be let to Mr. Stanley Towers, who presently lived at 66, Aylesbury Street, at a meeting of the Public Health Committee a letter from his brother was read, asking why this choice had been made in preference to his father. The Council would reply that a consideration of merits had been the reason, and although a veil may thus have been drawn over the matter, Council tenants were now having trouble in drawing their curtains, or more specifically securing the curtain fittings. The Council therefore decided to include such fittings in the construction of future houses, and for anyone wishing to further enhance their home, one Wednesday in late May W.S. Johnson held a very successful furniture auction, including, from The Manor, Passenham, several Victorian chandeliers, which fetched £150. In order to meet the monthly certificates of payments, due to building contractors, the Council had now agreed to transfer £20,000 to the wages account of the Clerk. As for the question of housing repairs, a general report, to include means to finance the cost through an increase in the weekly rents, was to be prepared by the Surveyor, who would perhaps be assisted by the Chief Clerk, ‘Higher Clerical Division’, who was now required to work at Bletchley by the Buckinghamshire County Council Highways and Bridges Department, in the office of the Divisional Surveyor.

Having taken the exam in March, among the successful candidates for membership of the Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute was John Foll of Bletchley, a partner of Messrs. Foll and Parker, auctioneers at Woburn Sands. Yet it would be W.S. Johnson who, at 3p.m. on Thursday, June 5th, was to auction, unless privately sold, the three bedroom detached 15, St. Martin’s Road at the Conservative Club. This was on the instructions of the executors of the late Mr. A. Snoxall, and by the instructions of Mrs. N. Taylor they would also auction the three bedroom freehold semi detached ‘St. Albans’, 68, Bletchley Road. Respectively the properties would be sold to Mr. S. Bennett, for £1,500 and Mr. H. Roberts, of Nottingham. Also for sale was another three bedroom property, no. 40, Park Street. In fact as for the street, tenders were now invited for approximately 1,859 super yards of concrete carriageway, plus incidental works, and similar work was also required for an area off Buckingham Road. However, the two tenders received were deemed too expensive, and new tenders would then be sought. On the understanding that, except for the water supplied, no rent would be charged, the Council had now offered to take over the Skew Bridge squatters camp, as long as the Ministry of Health agreed to reimburse all expenses, including the estimated cost of £145 for a ‘reasonable’ water supply, and Elsan closets. Also the Council would need to be absolved from any liability of compensation at the derequisition of the site, with authority to demolish the buildings as each became vacant. Therefore the potential need for additional permanent housing became even more acute, and in fact the Council was receiving so much correspondence from prospective house hunters that a ‘pre-fab’ reply had to be drafted, since it was not possible to send an individual response to each enquiry. However, with the 26th Bletchley council house - a two bedroom property at 58, Chestnut Crescent - now let to Thomas Connolly, at least the needs of one hopeful had been satisfied, especially since his previous accommodations had included 28, Cambridge Street, and 148, Buckingham Road. Very shortly the aspirations of Mr. Cyril Osmond of 14, Brooklands Road, and Jack Gander of 73, Buckingham Road, would also be met, for each was to be allocated a two bedroom council property. As for those seeking a private purchase, at the Conservative Club W.S. Johnson, on the instructions of Mrs. A. Sedgewick, would auction, unless privately sold, the detached freehold property, ‘Tachbrook’, 8, Lennox Road. The buyer being Mr. G. Brown, of Rochdale, (who paid £2,100), the sale was held on Thursday, June 5th, and this was the same date that during the night a shed belonging to Ernest Phillips, at Leon Park Gardens, was completely burnt down, destroying a tractor and valuable tools. R.A.F. men had raised the alarm, and it was therefore appropriate that the blaze was eventually put out by the R.A.F. fire engine, as well as the Bletchley brigade. In fact due to the recent hot weather fires were now a particular hazard, and although people had been asked not to waste water, consumption had increased alarmingly in the town. Indeed, some areas received little or no supply during parts of the day, and in remedy water was fed into the mains from a different direction, although deposits stirred up in the pipes caused discolouration. Such shortcomings would therefore need to be permanently addressed, especially since under the Greater London plan the ‘bigger Bletchley’ was to now become even bigger, with the requirement having been recently announced to accommodate 10,000 more people than originally envisaged. At least that was according to proposals explained by an official of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, yet progress appeared to be slow, and in fact at a public meeting in St. Martin’s Hall, on Wednesday, July 11th the prospective Conservative candidate for North Bucks, Major S.F. Markham, said that the population should go ahead with their own plans, and not wait for ‘the most dithering Minister the Labour Party possesses.’

There was also another hindrance for, at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday, June 12th, a report from the gas company pointed out that the Government had imposed a purchase tax of £3 0s 5d on fires, £1 18s 4½d on wash boilers, and £8 on cookers, and because of the prohibitive cost of the latter they had suspended their purchase for pre payment installation. Yet these were a necessary part of the fittings for a council house, and, with the capital cost having now increased by about £13, the Public Health Committee not surprisingly recommended that a letter of protest should be sent. Also, the Council decided that, in view of the gas company’s suspension, an application would be made to the Ministry of Health for authority to increase the cost of each house by £19 7s 1d, so enabling a gas cooker to be purchased and installed in each new property. However, soon to be removed was the Purchase Tax on refrigerators, which, if required by a tenant, could be installed in Bletchley council houses at 1s a week. A three bedroom council house at Chestnut Crescent had now been let to Mr. Ivor Lowry, of 23, Manor Road, whilst as for the construction of private houses, the Council wanted to increase the quota of licences from 12 to 20. They had already approved plans for 10, and regarding additional accommodation it had now been confirmed that the Skew Bridge squatters camp would be taken over by the Council since, as reported by the Clerk at the meeting of the Council on June 12th, the Ministry of Health had agreed to the Council’s terms. Meanwhile, work continued on the town’s permanent housing, and with M.M. Drabble Ltd. having a need for ‘first class’ bricklayers on the Newton Road development, applicants could apply to the general foreman on site. At the end of the month carpenters would also be needed, and could have, if required, the benefit of hostel accommodation. On the instruction of Mr. W. Burnham, on Thursday, July 17th at the Conservative Club W.S. Johnson were to auction, unless privately sold, 37, Tavistock Street, ‘a superior modern style freehold villa’ having three bedrooms, ‘two with fireplaces’. For £1,225 the purchaser would be Mr. J. Fairey, whilst for 134, 136, and 138 Buckingham Road, these were purchased by Mr. W. Gammage for £570. For local homemakers the Bletchley and District Co-op Hardware Department now had washable distempers for sale ‘in lovely rich shades’, as well as enamel stewpans, kettles, bowls, flour crocks, roasters etc. In fact according to their advert ‘It’s the little things that matter’, and as for other little things, a playpen, baby bath and stand, Karicot and stand, ‘all non utility’, were presently for sale at 8, Beechcroft Road.

Regarding the North Street tip, from now on the Council would take proceedings against any persons dumping waste without permission, and as a saving on the labour costs for street cleaning they would decide to purchase a mechanical road sweeper for £1,580, and a refuse collection vehicle, of a 10 cubic yard capacity, for £857. Indeed the need seemed imperative, for regarding conditions under the Bletchley Road railway arch one irate lady reported that ‘if the appropriate authority removed the filth presently accumulated there, they will earn the gratitude of many.’ In fact her views were similarly echoed by another disgusted ratepayer, who let it be known that ‘I have noted the dirty state of the streets in our town where sand and decomposing vegetation abound.’ Fortunately, two or three men had recently been taken on for road sweeping duties, and through the Labour Exchange the Council had also applied for Polish workers, although a reply was still awaited. Using the sweeper, in three days most of the roads could be cleaned, and also in need of a good clean would be Mr. W. Souster who, one Friday in July, whilst on duty at the sewerage works fell into a septic tank. He had to be rushed to hospital with injured ribs. A convalescence would no doubt be justified, and perhaps near the seaside where, three miles from the East Suffolk coast, a pair of brick and tile cottages could now be offered by Hedley Clarke, of The Estate Offices, Bletchley. With a large garden of over four acres the premises would be possibly ideal for a poultry farm, and at £1,100 were allegedly ‘a bargain’. As for those seeking accommodation in Bletchley, Mr. William Guntrip and his family had now left the Skew Bridge squatters camp to occupy a new two bedroom Council house on the Chestnuts Estate, where another example was being let to Mr. Francis Mason, of 9, Albert Street, and a three bedroom house to William Weaver, of 66, High Street. As for the Council tenant of 149, Western Road, if he was willing to bear the cost he would be allowed to fix an extra window in his living room. For a short while only, the Council tenant of 163, Water Eaton Road had been granted permission to accommodate a lodger, who, if he was a brick worker, and in need of longer term accommodation, might be pleased to know that for the housing of their employees in the allocated Trusteel houses, the brick companies had been asked not to submit the names of childless couples to the Council, unless the couples were prepared to take in a brick worker as a lodger. This was therefore unwelcome news for the several employees of Pacey and Co. Ltd., in Denbigh Road, who were presently seeking full board and accommodation in the town and district, but their plight might shortly be eased if a precedent was set by the Council’s recent decision to allow the tenants of 16, Chestnut Crescent, and 176, Western Road, to respectively take in a Polish brickworker and a policeman as lodgers.

Two new types of street lighting were demonstrated in Vicarage Road and Bletchley Road on August 12th. With one being a treble tube pink fluorescent, and the other a form of mercury discharge, the relative effects were initially studied from the middle of the road by the appointed councillors, until one nearly had his hat knocked off by a passing cyclist. Thereupon they all trooped onto the pavement! Due to a shortage of cement for concrete, roadways were now having to be made of brick rubble covered by tarmac at the Newton Road building site, where plasterers and labourers were currently needed by West Brothers. Nevertheless on Thursday, August 28th at 4.30p.m. the first pair of Trusteel houses on the Newton Road estate, (on which German P.O.W.s had been engaged), was opened by Mr. E. Durbin M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Works. He was presented with the key by James Drabble, of the builders, M.M. Drabble Ltd., and spoke appreciatively of the standard of construction, declaring that Bletchley was the first town in the country to complete houses especially for the accommodation of brick workers. Of somewhat grander proportions was The Dutch House, in Buckingham Road, set within grounds of one acre and thereby ‘enjoying semi rural privacy.’ Complete with six bedrooms, and a maid’s sitting room, the property was to have been auctioned at 3p.m. at the Conservative Club on Thursday, September 18th, but was withdrawn when privately sold a few hours before the sale. However, on the instructions of Mrs. Buck at the same sale the chalet bungalow, Park Lodge, erected in 1886 as the lodge to Bletchley Park, was auctioned, and with the buyer being Miss Laura Earl, of Bletchley, the bidding had begun at £2,250, and continued to £3,350. Perhaps of use to the domestic staff, for sale at 55, Bletchley Road was a 16 inch Acme wringer, ‘complete with stand’, and put through the wringer at the Council meeting on September 16th was the question of naming Bletchley’s new housing estates, it now being decided to dub the Brookdale Estate as Larch Grove, to prevent confusion with Brooklands Road. With Mr. R. Moseley of 71, Victoria Road to be the first tenant on the estate, the name had been chosen to retain a trees association with the new developments - Chestnut Crescent having been the first - and there had been three votes for the name Larch Crescent, and six for Larch Grove. As for dealing with sewage from the estate, since a considerable time would elapse before the permanent Water Eaton sewerage scheme came into operation, not more than £1,000 was to be spent on equipment by the Surveyor, who had now been vested with the authority to engage and dismiss all Council workmen.

In Bletchley, the Ministry of Health was now only prepared to grant licences for house building where applications were supported by certificates from the War Agricultural Committee, but for those constructions already underway, at £112, plus 6s a house for built in aerials, the tender of Williamson and Son for the electric wiring of four houses of the four bedroom type at the Brookdale Estate had been accepted. In contrast, not accepted was the plan for a garage behind 53, Bletchley Road, which the Council rejected since there was no means of secondary access. Neither had the new owner of 66, High Street had any success, when he asked permission to spend £300 on repairs and fittings, to allow him to let the premises. Not that this seemed very surprising, since a demolition order had already been made! Also refused was a recommendation that the Clerk of Works, Mr. F. Ashworth, should be granted the temporary tenancy of the first house on the Newton Road housing estate, which would normally be allocated to an incoming brick worker. Instead, James McKittick, of the National Service Hostel, Bletchley Park, would become the tenant of the first house available, and other selected tenants were to be given 21 days notice before the completion of their property, to allow them to collect their furniture. In fact plenty of time to effect any furniture repairs, perhaps employing the services of D. Meuleman, ‘guaranteed upholsterer’, of 5a Bletchley Road, who, after a free estimate, could also carry out French polishing and woodwork restoration. At the end of September it was announced that Arthur Bates, formerly the Surveyor of Bletchley, had been appointed as the Planning Officer to West Riding County Council, and having been much involved in the new Bletchley developments, he might have been interested to know that a three bedroom Council house on Chestnut Crescent had now been let to Ernest Henson, of ‘Sunnyside’, Brooklands Road. A two bedroom house had been let to Harold Cobb, of 6, Oxford Street, but there seemed little prospect of immediate tenancy for about 700 other Council applicants, who were now informed by letter that all applications made before the 1st of October were to be withdrawn from the records. This, since their circumstances might have changed, was because of the length of time that they had been on the list, and in fact apart from the housing list the layout of the new Westfield Road estate was also being revised. Where possible, three bedroom houses were to replace the two bedroom types, whilst in other matters the Council was to invite tenders for laying a new eight inch water main in Buckingham Road, from the junction of Water Eaton Road to Trees Square.

Aged 97, on October 2nd the death occurred of Jane Macburnie, who was buried in Fenny Stratford cemetery. A native of Slapton, for some years she had been a court dressmaker in Regent Street, and it would be in London that her husband, William, died. With there having been no children from the marriage, in 1915 she went to the United States, and on her return in 1920 then came to Bletchley where, as her lifelong ambition, she designed her own home, The Orchard, which was duly built by Perry Bros. At the Council meeting on Tuesday, October 14th, for the coming winter at a cost of £32 11s it was agreed to purchase from Marton R. Moser Ltd. six tons of salt for snow clearing, and another matter that required clearing up arose when Mr. S. Maycock took exception to the renaming of Water Eaton village as Mill Road, despite it having been informally known as such for a long while. Yet no mention of the renaming had been made when the renumbering of the houses was discussed, which perhaps caused confusion for the Post Office, whose annual ball would be held at 8p.m. at the Assembly Hall on Saturday, November 8th. With Joe Lovesey and his orchestra providing the music, J. Moss, of the Swan Hotel, would be the organiser of a full licensed bar. Edwin Price, of 102, Western Road, had now been granted the tenancy of a three bedroom house in Chestnut Crescent whilst Peter Hughes, of 2, Railway Terrace, and Arthur Stevens, of the Skew Bridge squatters camp, had been allocated properties on the Newton Road estate, where the London Brick Company employees would be housed. In fact with four Trusteel houses already allocated to ‘imported’ brick workers, of the 200 Trusteel properties at Westfield and Newton Road, 140, as previously mentioned, would be for brick workers, and 60 for other residents, although local workers were to be accommodated before ‘imported’ people. For those sufficiently affluent, on Friday, November 21st on the instruction of Miss M. Gains W.S. Johnson were instructed to sell the freehold property of ‘Highbury’, 14, High Street. The sale was to have been held at the Conservative Club, but in the event the premises were sold privately with vacant possession, and also remaining vacant was the plot of land on which Mr. A. Goom had hoped to construct a bungalow, since the plans were rejected by the Council as not complying with the by-laws. Being paid 11 guineas a week, plus £1 a week lodging allowance, Mr. C. Simpson of Barry, Glamorganshire, had now been appointed as resident engineer for the Water Eaton Sewerage Scheme, but having for 23 years been the engineer in charge of the power plant at Fenny Stratford repeater station, John Sundewall, of Norfolk House, Staple Hall Road, died on Wednesday, November 12th aged 64. In 1923 he had come to Bletchley from Norwich, and before the opening of the new building had worked for a year at the old repeater station.

Due to the lack of materials, Mr. T. Cloran realised that it would not be possible to provide a footpath all the way to Simpson, but he nevertheless asked for the provision of a footpath in Simpson Road, between the railway level crossing and the White Hart bridge. This was in view of the restricted lighting of the route, which proved a danger to pedestrians, and indeed the provision of a footpath had been scheduled by the County Council before March 31st. However, as was the opinion of the Surveyor the southern half of the county always seemed to be given preference, and in his reply to the complaints regarding additional areas of inadequate street lighting - in Napier Street, Mount Pleasant, and elsewhere - he pointed out that for every new light, one had to be taken from somewhere else. As for other matters to occupy the Surveyor’s attention, in the Surveyor’s Department applications would now be invited from females, aged 18 and over, for the position of junior clerk, at a salary of £76 per annum, whilst at the Council meeting of November 11th an enquiry was made, by Mr. C. Flack, regarding the decision to build 18 small dwellings for the accommodation of elderly people. His concern was that this might affect the building of full size houses, but the Surveyor thought not. Council accommodation also remained a concern for a large number of married couples without children, for in view of their status they felt that they had little chance of securing a house. Nevertheless they would be told to still apply, for when the Council next negotiated with the Ministry to build more properties, this would lend weight to their argument. Meanwhile, progress was continuing to be made, for at the same meeting the Council agreed that the Manor Farm housing project, at an estimated cost of £¼ million, should begin as soon as a model of the housing development had been approved. In fact because the members had found it difficult to decide which of the three drawings submitted by the Surveyor was the best, the idea of first seeing a scale model had been suggested by the chairman, W.S. Johnson. At Chestnut Crescent, the all in cost of the new houses had been calculated by the Surveyor as three bedroom, £1,320, (building cost £1,156, land £44, roads and sewerage, £120), and two bedroom, £1,250, (building cost £1,088, land £42, roads and sewerage £120) and of the 55 houses, 46 had been completed by the weekend of November 22nd/23rd. The last four were now nearing completion, and quite a number of the 58 houses on the Brookdale Estate were also practically complete, with some scheduled for occupation by Christmas. As for Newton Road, 134 houses were in the course of construction, although labour difficulties were causing delay. At the Westfield Estate 66 Trusteel houses, and 76 traditional houses, were being built, but apart from Council housing, for local accommodation private properties were also an option, and on Thursday, November 27th , W.S. Johnson were to auction, unless privately sold, the shop and living accommodation at 48, Aylesbury Street. This was on the instruction of Mrs. H. Hands, and, paying £2,000, Mr. J. Grace would be the purchaser. By order of Mr. R. Harris, the brick and slate block of three cottages, 168 - 172, Buckingham Road, (which were let on weekly tenancies producing £58 10s p.a.), were then auctioned at the Conservative Club by Foll and Parker, but for Mr. G. Baker he dispensed with a third party and invited prospective buyers to inspect 11, Eaton Avenue, a freehold property, ‘any evening after 7p.m. and weekends.’

With the Bull and Butcher as their headquarters, in accordance with the Council’s decision seven members of the Bletchley model engineering society were now making, using wood and plaster, a scale model - approximately 5 foot 6 inches by 3 foot 3 inches - of the Manor Farm estate. This employed a scale portraying the frontage of a pair of semi detached houses as about one inch, and for the purpose Mr. Smithie, the Surveyor, had drawn up a new layout. This incorporated all the ‘better features’ of the previous drawings, although as for the real layout the proposal to enhance the development with fruit trees and flowering shrubs had been defeated. Meanwhile, at Chestnut Crescent a new council house had been let to Charles Fairey, of 19, Newton Road, who might find a need for an extending dining table, ‘4 foot when closed’, currently offered for sale at £8 by Mr. E.T. Hill, of 42, Windsor Street. On Thursday, December 11th, on the instructions of Mr. T. Moore, ‘Maon’, a small detached residence in Buckingham Road, was sold for £2,675 to Mr. D. Greenaway, of Weybridge, and this was perhaps a wise move, for in mid December a decision was taken that, in Bletchley, any houses becoming vacant due to the removal of tenants to a Council house would be requisitioned by the Council. Also, under a revised scheme it was now decided that those street lamps which were to no longer be lit would be two in Water Eaton Road, at the Rose and Crown, the large lamp in Vicarage Road, and at the top end of Napier Street. As for the ‘active’ street lighting, this would include the White Hart, beyond the canal bridge, Simpson Road, half way down Napier Street, and the junction of Water Eaton Road and Brooklands Road, with a pedestrian crossing to be made at the end of the latter, as also Oliver Road.

In order to overcome the serious difficulties in supplying water to Old Bletchley, a valve had been opened where the Council supply joined that of the Bucks Water Board, but with nothing to impede the flow of their activities, the Manor Farm model makers displayed the result of their endeavours at a Council meeting in late December, with over 342 houses, a school, roads, trees and the canal, all represented in considerable detail. However, on the morning of Friday, December 19th housing matters were then somewhat marred, when a married Belfast labourer gassed himself in a partly built council house on the Newton Road estate. At the enquiry on the following Monday, John Morris, the manager of the National Service Hostel, Bletchley, identified the deceased who, whilst working for Drabbles, had been living at the Hostel since last September. As for the reason for the suicide, a detective constable then revealed that he had been due to interview the man regarding some missing clothing coupons, and a verdict of death due to a disturbed balance of mind would be recorded. The year then ended on a brighter note, for although during November the Northampton Electric Light and Power Co. had, as part of a their proposed rota, anticipated that on Christmas Day there might be power cuts in the town, fortunately these did not occur.




Now derequisitioned, on Saturday, January 13th the Community Centre, in George Street, was reopened at 8p.m. with a social evening and dance. With admission free, music was provided by Mr. Papworth’s band, and with Mr. E. Halsey, the new warden, as M.C., games and competitions were featured amongst the entertainments. Then on Friday, January 19th in the Modern Secondary School hall an old time dance took place, both for the Merchant Navy Comfort Fund and the Bletchley Nursing Association. Well received was the music by the Melody Makers Dance Band, but less welcome, allegedly, was the noise and unsanitary conditions of the fairs held in a field adjacent to Oliver Road. In fact letters of complaint had been sent, and although Mr. W. Johnson, of Wigley & Johnson, had not received any complaints, nevertheless until the Council gave their consent his firm had no intention of re-letting the field. In the Co-op Hall, Albert Street, under their conductor, Mr. J. Willis, at 8p.m. every Tuesday the Adult Choir of the Bletchley & District Co-op Society Ltd. were now practising their recital of ‘Robin Hood’ - Halton & Lindley’s well-known cantata. Meanwhile, at the Community Centre there were hopes to start a women’s choir, although for quieter pursuits the lounge, with the provision of writing facilities, was open daily for reading from 10.30a.m. to 1p.m., and 2.30p.m. to 5p.m. Well known for providing local entertainment during the war, Fred Groom’s band was now closing down. Fred had been advised to give up trumpet playing due to the irritation caused to a sensitive spot on his lip, and so came to an end a career that began many seasons ago playing with the Lawrence Inns Band. In 1936 Fred had then formed his own band, but with the outbreak of war, and the corresponding call up of the members, it proved increasingly difficult to find new musicians. Apart from being a performer, Fred was also a composer, and in fact his best tune, ‘Wake Up’, received a full quota of broadcasts by the B.B.C. Dance Orchestra. As for a more local acclaim, the Church Green Dramatic Society had recently achieved their best performance to date with ‘Quiet Wedding’, performed at the Modern Secondary School for the Red Cross.

From early February a dance would be held at 7.30p.m. every Wednesday at the Co-op Hall - admission 1s, Forces 9d - and by the later month, (as long as full subscriptions had been paid), the Games Room at Bletchley Community Centre would be open to members from 8p.m. to 10.30p.m. Mondays would be available for young people aged from 16 to 21, Tuesdays for all age groups, Wednesdays for all age groups, and Thursdays over 21s only. Members of the Forces qualified for free entry, and with an E.N.S.A. concert being staged on March 3rd, in other entertainments a film show, ‘Land without Music’, was scheduled for the afternoon and evening of March 17th, followed by a C.E.M.A. concert on the 24th. On Monday, March 12th, at the Salvation Army Hall with her pupils Mrs. Kirby, L.T.C.M., gave a music, song, and monologue concert at 7.15p.m. Entry was free, and on Friday, March 16th an enjoyable old time dance then took place in the Modern Secondary School hall. The £25 duly raised would be directed to the Welcome Home Fund.

At the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, with the bride’s sister, Yvonne, as bridesmaid on Monday, March 26th Margaret Dunbar, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Dunbar of 2, Brooklands Road, married John Boyle, B.A., the eldest son of Professor and Mrs. A. Boyle of Birmingham. The groom held an honours degree from Birmingham, Gottinghen, Berlin, and London, whilst his bride had received a more local education, at the Cedars, Leighton Buzzard. Following the ceremony, (which had been conducted by a former pastor, and family friend, the Reverend R. Hugh Roberts, of Cambuslang, Glasgow), a reception was held at the Conservative Club, where amongst the presents was a cheque from the colleagues of the couple at the Foreign Office, where both were employed. Good Friday fell on March 30th, and at the Community Centre a Special Easter Week Attraction was the Palace of Varieties Cinema screening of Oh, Mr. Porter!, starring Will Hay. At 7.30p.m., the first general meeting for the third Bletchley Show, (to be held on Bank Holiday Monday, August 6th), then took place in the Council Chamber on Friday, April 13th, and this was in fact the same date that, repeating the production on the following day, the Bletchco Players performed ‘Third Time Lucky’, staged in the Modern Secondary School hall.

On Thursday, April 19th, at 7.30p.m. the Community Centre welcomed the visit of the Palace of Varieties Cinema. Prices for admission were 1s for adults, and 6d for children, who no doubt found the screening of a Popeye cartoon especially enjoyable. As for the children at Water Eaton, indoor entertainments seemed also in need, since residents near the village green had recently sent a letter complaining about the area being used as a field for football, etc. In fact the Highways Committee had recommended that no games should be allowed on the green, and the police would now be asked to take action, not least because windows had been broken, and balls kicked into gardens. By the Bletchley Park Drama Group, the last of five performances of Congreve’s ‘The Way of the World’ was given in the Assembly Hall on Wednesday, April 25th. Produced by Charles Fullman, the series had begun the previous Friday, and with the high standard of acting having attracted a sizeable audience, proceeds would be for the Royal Navy War Amenities Fund. Towards the end of April, at a wage between £2 and £2 10s per week a handyman/caretaker was required at the Community Centre, where on Sunday evenings a Rhythm Club was now commencing a group ‘for listening only’. However, for persons aspiring to a more active participation Mary Jones, from the beginning of the new term on April 16th, would be giving lessons for violin and piano at ‘Blenheim’, Sandringham Place. Featuring a full supporting programme, a return visit of the Palace of Varieties Cinema was made to the Community Centre at 7.30p.m. on Thursday, May 3rd. Including another Will Hay picture, (‘Ask a Policeman’), the event was billed as ‘The show that is different’, with admission charged at 1s, or 6d for children.

Should there be a declaration of Victory, it had now been decided that pubs and licensed premises in the Northern Division of Bucks should be open on the day for an extra half an hour, and in fact victory seemed imminent, as emphasised when during the month the arrest was made on the Danish border of William Joyce, the infamous propagandist who had been known as ‘Lord Haw Haw’. In fact he was captured with his wife, who had also featured in the radio broadcasts. Born in New York, Joyce had been raised in Ireland, and the capture of the couple proved a welcome excuse to dance for joy, a pursuit in which Miss C. Dell, of ‘Melville’, Old Bletchley, could readily oblige since, on Saturdays, she held dancing classes at 3p.m. in the town. These included Modern Ballroom, ballet, tap, acrobatic, and character, and with an advanced class commencing at 2.30p.m. lessons, costing 1s, were staged at the Co-op Hall. Here, having been organised by the Bletchley and District Co-op Education Committee, the annual old age pensioners and widows members concert evening then took place at 6p.m. on Saturday, May 12th, with admission being free. During the second week of May, at the Assembly Hall C.E.M.A. presented two well known and two lesser known ballets, and this was in fact the first occasion that a ballet company had paid a visit to the town. Unfortunately, the shoelaces of one participant came undone during a performance, but were swiftly and skilfully retied! In aid of the Women’s Timber Corps Benevolent Fund, on Friday, June 8th a Woodchoppers Ball was held from 8p.m. until 11p.m. in the Modern Secondary School hall. The S.R.M.C. Dance Band provided the music, and the following evening at 7.30p.m. at the Community Centre a ‘Victory Variety’ All Star Concert took place. Some of the items were provided by the Bletchco Players, and with admission being by programme, (priced at 1s), proceeds were for the Welcome Home Fund.

Held at the Assembly Hall, the Bletchley Park Summer Art Exhibition proved an attraction during the second week of June, a month at the end of which came the need for a bar cellar man at the Eight Bells. Then during July, at the quarterly meeting of the Bucks Clubs & Institutes’ Union it was decided to revive the inter-club games, including darts, skittles, etc. This would be during the winter months, whilst regarding more immediate entertainments B.U.D.C. now announced that, to be given by the Wolverton Home Guard Band, a concert was to be held at 7p.m. on Sunday, July 29th. With free admission, this would take place on the Leon Recreation Ground where, as the first such occasion in Bletchley, a beauty queen for the town would be crowned on September 1st at the ‘Bletchley Thank You Fête’. Intended to be ‘a monster effort’ on behalf of the Forces’ Welcome Fund, the event had been conceived whilst on holiday by the promoter, Mr. A. Long who, hoping to raise £1,000, had received enthusiastic support from the VE-Day street parties. With 60 representatives in attendance, details of the scheme were duly considered at an initial meeting at the Council Offices, held under the presidency of Councillor S. Maycock, the chairman of B.U.D.C., on August 13th. Each providing their own sideshows etc., each street group was to have their own plot on the ground, whilst as for the Beauty Queen contest, which was open to Bletchley girls aged 16 to 25, the winner would be chosen at 7.30p.m. on August 31st by representatives of H.M. Services. With Inspector Merry and Sergeant Boucher on duty, on the appointed evening crowds gathered outside the schools, and by the appointed hour 49 of the 69 entrants had arrived. Despite one girl fainting during the rehearsal, Miss Penelope Storey, of the Bletchley Park Drama Group, gave hints on deportment to the candidates, and with the public excluded, in the Council Chamber councillor S. Maycock introduced the judges, who had been appointed from the R.N.V.R., Army, and R.A.F. Miss Vicky Stanton of 165, Western Road, was eventually declared the winner, with Irene Elliot, of 214, Buckingham Road, as runner-up, and from the Council Offices Councillor Maycock announced the results to the waiting crowds. Vicky, whose sisters were both married, was the youngest daughter of Mrs. and Mr. W. Stanton. Her father had been appointed as inspector at Bletchley station about six years ago, but when the family moved to Bletchley she stayed in London. However, during the first Blitz of the city she contracted a serious illness whilst in an air raid shelter and, suffering from rheumatic fever, was then brought to Bletchley where, amongst her jobs, she became a switchboard operator at Bletchley Park.

The Boy Scouts having volunteered to camp on the site throughout the previous night, to thereby guard the tents, marquees, and equipment, on the day of the Bletchley Thank You Fete the Beauty Queen drove in state from her home to the Leon Recreation Ground, where the festivities were opened by councillor S. Maycock. As chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Mr. Parris had promised his co-operation, and amongst the attractions of the day was a grand mile long carnival procession, in which many decorated tradesmen’s vehicles were included. These would be subsequently judged in the six ‘vehicular classes’ of horse riders, trade vehicles, private cars, cycles, prams and trucks, and barrows, and, painted in yellow and black, and drawn by four horses, the exhibit that won first prize in the vehicles’ class was a coach, which as an interesting history had been built in 1850 for a British ambassador in Paris. Prizes would also be awarded for five classes of fancy dress, with the prize gifts - provided by various traders - ranging from aluminium frying pans to pyjamas! From a gaily decorated tricycle four-year-old Josephine Lloyd did a roaring trade selling heather posies as souvenirs, and elsewhere one stall had an amazing collection of objects which, donated by people from just one street, included a Nazi flag, daggers, and a slave whip from a labour camp. Kisses from the Beauty Queen raised a total of £2 10s - the first being received for £1 by Councillor W. Johnson - and when Bletchley & Luton men serving in the Navy heard about Bletchley’s latest lovely they wasted no time in sending their congratulations, to which she would duly reply ‘It is the nicest thing that has happened since I had the honour of becoming Bletchley’s Beauty Queen.’ Amongst other entertainments, a knockout darts competition had been arranged for 3p.m. in the Social Centre, and with the preliminary matches having been played at various inns, clubs, and houses, etc., the singles winner, representing the Rose and Crown, was Private John Osborne, of 2, Western Road. A more unusual attraction would be the greasy pole, although - reaching out across the canal - this had been first introduced to the town at an event about 26 years ago at the White Hart Bridge, Simpson Road, where several contestants fell in. (Indeed, as a further mishap when salvos were fired from small cannon owned by Major Chadwick one of the barrels burst into fragments).

Despite the prolonged rain the parade proved to be the largest ever held in Bletchley, and from the Leon Recreation Ground travelled via Bletchley Road, Oliver Road, Osborne Street, Duncombe Street, on to Bletchley Road, into Cambridge Street, Western Road, Church Street, Aylesbury Street, Vicarage Road and then back to the Leon Recreation Ground. Mr. E. Callaway had been appointed parade marshal, Mr. A. C. Long and Alf Maycock had charge of publicity, Miss Bosworth and Mr. Brinkler acted as joint treasurers, and Mr. J. Smithie supervised the floodlighting. Regarding the dog show, which included a competition for the dog with the shortest tail, this was the province of Mrs F. Cameron, president of the Tailwaggers’ Club, whilst meanwhile at Old Bletchley Mesdames Bowden, Armstrong, Lewis, and Taylor were in charge of the activities which included the ‘Masked Rider’, (Mr. W. Rogers), who galloped through the streets on horseback. For those residents who hoped to identify him a charge of 6d was made, and, accompanied by his two cloaked attendants, as a special feature he clattered out of the Studio car park and held up a stagecoach in Bletchley Road, taking one of the girl passengers prisoner. Thereupon ‘Handsome Harry’, (Brian Bushell), appeared and on ‘killing’ the raider in a sword fight gallantly rescued the damsel, with whom he then clambered aboard the coach and sped off.

With the reception held at her home, the marriage took place at St. Mary’s Church on Wednesday, September 5th of Miss Vera Stapleton, the only daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Stapleton, of 69, Duncombe Street, and Leonard Merigot, of London. He worked as a civilian electrician at Bletchley Park and although Vera was employed at W.I.C.O.’s, in her spare time she was well known for being a pianist for a local dance band. In fact after her marriage, and a honeymoon in Blackpool, with her Rhythmic Dance Band she would continue to take bookings, one of which would be for the Ministry of Supply dance on Friday, November 23rd, staged in the Newton Road canteen. Yet players for the group were still required, and enquiries could be made to ‘L. Merigot, 69 Duncombe Street’. The story of how Russia was catering for her children, and bringing them up to be ‘useful, clean, healthy citizens’, was told one Thursday in September, in a talk given at Bletchley Community Centre. Introduced by Mr. E. Fryer, chairman of the Centre, the speaker, from the W.E.A., was Mr H. Short and although he had lived for a while in Russia, only a few turned up to hear of his experiences. However, there was a more sizeable attendance on the evening of Saturday, September 15th when, again at the Community Centre, E.N.S.A. staged the Ian Hay play ‘Headmaster’, despite the cast having expressed their initial doubts to Mr. E. Haley, the warden, about the size of the stage. Perhaps this would then be a matter to be considered by the new entertainment committee which, comprised of Mrs. A. Long, Mr. Galer, and Mr. F. Ebborn, (with the need for two additional members), intended to revive ‘socials’ on a new basis.

With numerous sideshows - including tombola, hoop-la, bowls, darts, and a treasure hunt - on Wednesday, October 3rd Ye Olde Michaelmass Fayre took place at St. Martin’s Hall, although this would be amongst the last of such events to be held at the venue which, when taken over by the County Education Committee, would no longer be available for any non educational purpose. Thus with the use of Wilton Hall, (the Assembly Hall), now being only occasionally allowed, there was an urgent need for a public hall in Bletchley, and not least since Mr. F. Bates had announced that the local school managers had stopped the use of the Modern Secondary School hall. The reason had been that the caretaker found it impossible to clean the premises in time for the schoolchildren, and in fact only events staged by organisations within the purview of the Parents’ Association would now be permitted. Nevertheless, there was always the Community Centre where, at an admission charge of 1s, or 6d for children, on Saturday, October 27th from 8p.m. to 11.30p.m. a ‘grand social’ was staged, with dances, games and competitions. Then on Tuesday, October 30th as their last performance at the Assembly Hall the R.A.F. Church Green Dramatic Society gave their presentation of Sheila Donisthorpe’s three act comedy ‘Children to Bless You’. From the inception of the Society, (at the beginning of the previous year), Flight Lieutenant Loe had produced all of their five plays, and besides performances at the Assembly Hall two of these had been taken on tour around R.A.F. stations, as well as being presented at charity performances in towns and villages. Also now winding down was the Bletchley Park Drama Group, which at Wilton Hall presented at 7.30p.m. on November 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th the play ‘By Candlelight’. This was in aid of St. Mary’s Hospital Penicillin Fund, and as their 20th performance would also be their last. In total, the productions had raised £3,000, and with many produced by 30 year old Major Douglas Jones, he claimed a measure of relevant experience from having, in the summer of 1938, sung at the end of Weston-super-Mare pier.

On Friday, November 2nd a resolution to raise the age limit to 18, and eventually 20, was put to members of the Community Centre, it being proposed that the 20 year old age limit would begin after April 1st. However, Mr. E. Haley, the warden, said it was clear from the monthly reports and financial statement that the centre could no longer justify its existence, and although to tide them over until October the Minister of Labour had agreed to a supplementary grant, after this they were not committed to any additional help. Therefore a discussion would subsequently take place with an official from the Ministry of Education, Mr. E. Grierson, regarding support to make the centre a place for adult education, and with the accent to be focussed on music, handicrafts, and drama, perhaps towards this intention details of the Bletchley Art Club, which was now to be held at the Centre, could be obtained from Mr. H. Sellen, at 59, Eaton Avenue. Born in London, and apprenticed to a London firm of engravers, he had studied art in Germany and Switzerland, and as a young man travelled to Canada where, as also in the United States, he became well known for his animal studies and illustrations for children’s books. Having come to live in Britain six years ago, he lived at 59, Eaton Avenue with his daughter, Mrs. Phyllis Fryer, and in the form of sketches had just published a series of animal tales. In fact perhaps some were available from the local library, which by the end of November on two nights a week was being held at the primary school. Long queues were always a feature, and including Miss Marjorie Wells, Miss A. Milsom, and Miss Mary Timpson, who was a teacher in the nursery school, the facility was staffed entirely by unpaid girl volunteers. Since the ‘library’ was at present a schoolroom, and therefore in use during the day, twice a week 1,600 books had to be packed and unpacked from county library boxes, but in an optimistic move the county librarian, Miss Marjorie Beattie, had been making enquiries in the town about suitable alternative accommodation, and once this had been secured a paid librarian would then be appointed.

On Saturday December 15th at the Community Centre a Christmas Social, from 8p.m. to 11.30p.m., included dancing, games, and competitions, and on the same day at St. Mary’s Church Nora, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. Bowden, of the Shoulder of Mutton, married John Davies, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Davies, of Birmingham. Following a reception for 60 guests at the Yeomanry Hall, the couple then left for a honeymoon at Gosport, whilst the following Tuesday, Stratford Upon Avon would be the destination for the honeymoon of Yvonne Dunbar, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dunbar, of Brooklands Road, and James Dow-McKenzie, of Brechin, Angus. With the marriage ceremony conducted at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, which had been especially adorned with white and yellow chrysanthemums and holly, the reception for 60 guests took place at the Conservative Club, and amongst the wedding gifts would be a cheque from the bridegroom’s colleagues at Bletchley station. An Old Cedarian, and presently connected with opera singing in London, Yvonne would now make her married home at Hamilton, Scotland. During the war she had organised many local entertainments in Bletchley, upon the subject of which on the day of her wedding the Bletchley Co-op Education Committee of the Bletchley Women’s Labour Party held a film show at 3p.m., entitled ‘Song of the People’. Admission was free.



Various parties had been held to welcome in the New Year, including for the Co-op Youth Club the Bletchco Players performance of Babes in the Wood in which, to great amusement, Mr. W. Billingham played the part of the female baby. As for the residents of Grange Road, with Mr. H. Robinson - an ex P.O.W. - as M.C., they staged a New Years Eve social evening at the Yeomanry Hall, which also accommodated a grand New Years dance on Saturday, January 5th, featuring Vera Stapleton and her new Rhythmic Band. At the Bletchley Social Club, a pianist was now required for Saturday and Sunday evenings, yet despite such entertainments social life in the town, at least according to one soldier at Bletchley station, was ‘about as red-blooded as tap water’! However, for the town’s elderly residents the Community Centre offered a comfortable, furnished lounge for the Old People’s Club, for which an appeal had been recently launched by the warden for books, magazines and a Bagatelle table. The facility catered for people over 60, and they could use the premises on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons 2.30p.m. - 5p.m, Friday evenings 7.30p.m. - 10.30p.m., and also during the mornings Monday to Saturday 10.30a.m. - 1p.m. Apart from books and magazines, games were an additional offering but despite having been instrumental in launching the Old People’s Club, as well as forming a women’s handicraft group, the warden, Mr. E. Haley, and his wife, were to shortly depart for a South Wales settlement. At their first arrival in Bletchley the Community Centre had still been closed, but through Mr. Haley’s enthusiasm interest was soon rekindled in the educational aspects, on the subject of which enrolment for the art class, to be held at the Community Centre with Mr. H. Sellen as tutor, would take place at 8p.m. on January 16th. For those interested in other artistic pursuits, in arrangement with the Evening Institute on February 3rd a handicraft class was opened at the Community Centre at 7.30p.m., but no doubt for a more general appeal a Grand Variety Concert was scheduled for February 23rd, also at 7.30p.m. Yet more immediately, at 2s 6d for the course on Wednesday, February 5th between 7p.m. and 9p.m. Mr. M. Wolinski would conduct a beginners class in chess - ‘If you are interested TURN UP’ - but with the Ministry of Labour due to withdraw their support for the Community Centre from next March, putting the case against this impending demise were a large number of citizens at the Council Offices on February 11th. They vouched for the good character of the Community Centre, and regarding the outcome the older people were particularly concerned, since ‘pictures and pubs are our only alternative.’ Yet despite the uncertainties a ‘wall newspaper’ was being commenced and on Wednesday, February 13th the Old People’s Welfare Fund, organised by the Community Centre, came to significantly benefit as a result of a very successful old time dance, the music for which was provided by the Papworth Trio. In fact, with the need to meanwhile continue the many activities at the Community Centre applications for the vacancy of a warden, ‘part time considered’, were now invited from suitable candidates, who were to contact Mr. E. Fryer, of 59, Eaton Avenue.

Continuing in popularity were the County Cinema and also the Studio, where for six years Mr. Charles Read had been the commissioner. For the accommodation of other local entertainments St. Martin’s Hall remained a well patronised centre, and at the annual parochial church meeting the secretary of the Hall committee, Mrs. McLeod, reported that the billiards tables had brought in £148 16s 6d, the tennis pavilion £7 10s, and table tennis £3. On Friday, February 15th at the A.G.M. of the Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Workingmen’s Social Club a sound financial position was pleasingly reported, and also pleasing was the attendance by about 100 people at the Yeomanry Hall when, on Thursday, April 4th, a fancy dress and masked ball was staged. Vera Stapleton’s Rhythmic Band provided the music, and with the judging performed by the Bletchley beauty queen, Miss Vicky Stanton, councillor S. Maycock presented the prizes for fancy dress, with Mrs. Betty Palin announced as the winner of the first prize, for her ‘lively’ impersonation of a highway robber. Budding musicians might have been interested in the baby grand piano, recently offered for sale at 64, Water Eaton Road, and perhaps locally there was now a need for renewed musical skills, since the Bletchley Town Band had closed down at the beginning of the war, with all the brass and silver band instruments then being stored at 29a, High Street. This was the home of Mr. Axby who, on joining the R.A.F. would subsequently become leader of the camp band for almost four years! Demobbed last October, he had possibly celebrated his ‘release’ in style for, at the Red House Nursing Home, on April 30th his wife, Dorothy (nee Poole), would give birth to a daughter, Linda. As for the musical instruments, they would now enjoy a new lease of life, and following an appeal for players, on Easter Sunday, April 21st at the Community Centre a Bletchley Town Silver Band Orchestral Concert would take place which, in an effort to encourage a Town Band revival, proved to be the first occasion for a visit to Bletchley by the Frank Brooks Orchestra.

For the holding of the Fenny Fair, April 19th had always been the traditional date, and in a revival of this custom on Hammond’s Field, at the top of Aylesbury Street, during the last week in April roundabouts and swings were erected. The proprietor was Mr. Strudwick, and as a fitting association with the past his wife was the daughter of Mr. Shepherd, who had run the original fair. On Saturday, May 4th, with the audience as the judge a grand concert of local talent was presented at the Community Centre, whilst for the audiences of the two cinemas in the town during the war the Council had submitted an order - under Defence Regulation 42B - for opening on Sundays. This had been granted until the duration, and on May 10th the Home Secretary then issued a circular letter stating that the regulation, unless otherwise revoked, would remain in force until December 31st, 1947. At St. Mary’s Hall, on Saturday, May 25th there was a large attendance of O.A.P.s at the annual treat. This had been arranged by the Education Committee of the Bletchley and District Co-op, and during the event a cheque for £60 was presented to Mr. W. Billingham. Then in their first appearance in the open singing competitions, at the Buckingham Music Festival the Bletchley Community Centre Ladies Choir won a 1st and 3rd prize. In fact in the appreciative words of the judge, ‘This choir has a resonant tone’, and with the descant verse well-balanced ‘the singing had colour and character, although it was a little violent at times.’ On June 1st the first television licences were issued, costing £2, but towards the raising of more local proceeds, as a means to defray the expense of the Victory Day celebrations a Grand Victory Dance took place on Whit. Monday, June 10th. The event was held at the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue, where with admission priced at 4s, from 8p.m. the R.A.F. dance band provided the music for dancing. As a farewell party to Mr. F. Borrell, the temporary warden, a fancy dress dance was held at the Community Centre on Saturday, June 15th, and during the evening the chairman, Mr. E. Fryer, reminded members and friends that originally the premises had been used as a War Workers Centre, subsidised by the Ministry of Labour. However, since the provision for war workers no longer applied the grant had been withheld, although the Committee via the County Council had approached the Ministry of Education to try and continue the use. In reply the Ministry then confirmed that, provided the members would employ the centre for a wider social purpose than pure entertainment, they were prepared to provide a warden to organise the activities. At The Leys, on Wednesday, July 3rd members of Water Eaton W.I. enjoyed a picnic by permission of Dennis Gurney. His son had just returned from the Forces, and also recently returned from the Forces was W.L. Healey L.V.C.M. who - apply 35, Eaton Avenue or 4, North Street - would after July 5th be available to give pianoforte lessons. He could also offer a tuning and light repair service, and should it be necessary his talents could perhaps be applied to the piano accordion which, at 150, Water Eaton Road, was now offered for sale by ‘Pether’ £20 o.n.o. was the asking price, or for £16 o.n.o. a cheaper alternative was available at 18, Church Green Road. Whilst many men had now returned from military service, others were still on duties abroad, although their thoughts of home could be sometimes rekindled by radio broadcasts from Forces stations, which was certainly the case when, whilst serving at Ahmednagar, Signalman Ken Buckingham heard a programme of brass band music played, one Sunday afternoon, by a band in Central Gardens, Bletchley! The responsibility for the programme lay with L.A.C. John Oliffe, of 9, Leon Avenue, who before joining the R.A.F. had learnt his trade at Weatherhead’s. Subsequently he joined the B.B.C. Engineering Department at Bedford, but was now attached to Radio S.E.A.C. which, as well as producing the ‘Forces Radio Times’, from studios in Colombo, Ceylon, broadcast programmes to the British Forces in the Far East, with the Bletchley broadcast having been one of a series entitled ‘Sunday in the Park.’

Perhaps as a means of whiling away the long hours of the winter evenings, Mr. R. Love, of 7, Drayton Road, now sought interested persons to form a chess club. As for the summer months, after the long years of wartime austerity people were no doubt looking forward to their holidays, and by applying to The Chiltern Library, opposite the Park Hotel, a booklet could be presently obtained entitled ‘Planning for Holidays Simplified’, which offered locations to include Blackpool, the Lakes, and London. However, for amusements closer to home the occasions when, (in conjunction with the Bletchley and District Co-op Society Education Committee), B.U.D.C. Band Concerts were held in the Leon Recreation Ground, they proved especially prestigious from, admission free, being given before appreciative audiences by the Munn and Felton’s Works Band, Kettering, who had been the winners of the World Championship in 1935. Members of the Water Eaton Women’s Institute spent an enjoyable day at Stratford Upon Avon on Wednesday, August 7th, and on the evening of Wednesday, August 14th the residents of Water Eaton met to elect a committee for the future management of the Coronation Hall which, billeted by troops for most of the war, had recently been derequisitioned by the Army. With it being decided to elect 14 members, Mr. Gurney was appointed chairman, and Mr. Alderton, secretary. A bit of a flap was caused on the afternoon of Sunday, August 18th when residents in Albert Street noticed a caged canary, which had been placed in the owner’s garden for a ‘sunning’, being attacked by what appeared to be a young eagle. Similarly harassing some chickens, the bird then became entangled in the wire mesh, but managed to struggle free and escape. Where the bird came from was a mystery, although it may have been frightened from its more usual haunts by recent ammunition explosions in Brickhill woods.

A Grand Boxing Tournament, and bowling for a pig, were amongst the events on Saturday, August 31st when, at 2.30p.m., the Bucks Division Labour Party held a Fete and Rally at Bletchley Park. Then with ‘over 60s welcome’, from early September at 2.30p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday less strenuous activities were planned for a ‘Pensioners Parliament’. This would be held at the Community Centre, where, at an informal ‘tea table conference’ on Saturday, October 5th Miss Florence Challenger would be appointed as the new warden. She was presently the organising secretary and joint youth leader of the University Settlement, Bristol, and, from having previously been a leader of girls clubs in Bournemouth, had vast experience of club and teaching work. Indeed, as evidence of her local acceptance she would be allowed to fire one of the ‘Poppers’ at the forthcoming St. Martin’s celebrations. The chess club, of which Mr. R. Love, of Drayton Road, was appropriately the secretary, would be accommodated at the Community Centre on Wednesdays at 7.30p.m., and in other pursuits men and women were invited to join a forthcoming Choral Society. With names to be forwarded to Mr. F. Bates, at 176, Western Road, this would meet on Tuesdays at 7.30p.m., whilst on Wednesday, September 4th Miss Betty Hanks gave an interesting talk regarding her holiday, which she had enjoyed the previous August. On September 11th, at 7.30p.m. Wednesday whist drives commenced each week at Water Eaton at the Coronation Hall, eleven members of the Committee of which had been responsible for the redecoration. Elsewhere, on Friday, September 27th on the market field, Oliver Road, Bill Cody’s circus and zoo paid a visit - in fact their last before returning to America - and during the two performances amongst the attractions were Rosita, ‘the G.I. bride’, and her pet monkeys. However, with the flagged pavement in Oliver Road having being allegedly damaged by the circus vehicles, the Surveyor would seek redress.

Having variously run two cinemas in Wolverton, the County cinema at Fenny Stratford, and a cinema at Cranfield, John Moss, who had previously been in business with his father, had now taken over the Swan Hotel, Fenny Stratford, and on Thursday, September 26th was issued with a licence for music and dancing. This had been issued by Bletchley magistrates, and throughout the coming season would apply from 7p.m. until midnight weekdays, and from 7p.m. until 11.45p.m. on Saturdays. Due to the premises being somewhat ‘gloomy’ Mr. Moss had redecorated the old billiards room, and not least to the catering he had also made many other improvements. With the proceeds to be for the church heating fund, on Saturday, September 28th a Parish Market took place in the Assembly Hall, Wilton Avenue, and since Lord Addington had been unable to return from Switzerland in time, the opening was instead performed by Mrs. McKenzie, of Whaddon. With stalls and sideshows amongst the attractions, at a Grand Auction at 5p.m. the items included a dog kennel and pre war silk stockings, and also as a reminder of the pre-war years at St. Martin’s Hall the Bletchley Town Band, which had now been reformed, gave a concert at 7.30p.m. on the following day, a date which in fact coincided with the launch of the B.B.C. Third programme - forerunner of Radio 3. Art lovers were now informed that the Art Class would recommence on Thursday evenings at 7.30p.m., and interested persons were to contact Miss M. Wells at 68, Napier Street, or any members of the Community Centre. In fact this would shortly provide accommodation for a choral society and also, on Wednesday, October 2nd, a women’s handicraft group for needlework, embroidery, rug making etc. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 17th, 18th, 19th the Assembly Hall became the venue for the Bletchco Players presentation of ‘Tell Me the Truth’, a comedy in three acts to be staged at 7.45p.m. As for more unusual entertainments, Robert Beckett, of The Poplar’s Farm, had some while ago given notice to Bucks County Council that he intended to apply for a licence to operate, ‘on my land Field No. 9 adjoining Grove Road’, a greyhound race track with accommodation for 1,000 spectators. The proposal would be heard on October 16th. Featuring music by Freddie Maydwell’s Band, Bedford, a dance in aid of funds was held at Coronation Hall on Friday, October 25th, followed on Monday evening October 28th by a variety concert at the Assembly Hall. Organised by Mr. H. Allen, a member of the Bletchley Town Band, the aim was to raise sufficient money to purchase uniforms for junior members, and with the Town Band appropriately forming the basis of the programme, Bill Axby delighted the audience with a cornet solo. Miss Metcalfe played a selection of violin works, and before the collection was taken a spotlit young band boy modelled one of the uniforms, which comprised a black battle dress with red and gold flashes, (the band colours), and a matching belt and hat. For older people, on Friday, November 1st a series of ‘Monthly Musical Afternoons’ then began at the Community Centre at 3p.m. but, no doubt appealing more to the younger generation, with admission priced at 2s 6d a dance on the same day featured Bill Brook and his London band. The event was held at the Coronation Hall, from where on the following evening at another dance someone managed to take the wrong coat, for the return of which Mrs. Stevens, at 19, Leon Avenue, would be exceedingly grateful! Hopefully there was no cloakroom confusion when at the Assembly Hall on Tuesday, November 12th the Putney Amateur Dramatic Society presented the Terence Rattigan play ‘While the Sun Shines’. The tickets had been available from Mrs. Brister, at the Women’s Hostel Office, Wilton Avenue, or from Mr. W. Healey, at 4, North Street. Again with the Assembly Hall as the venue, Joe Lovesay and his band then provided the entertainment at an Old Time Dance on Tuesday, November 19th, held at 7.30p.m.

Under the Defence Regulations, for the past 3½ years from 4.30p.m. to 10p.m. the local cinemas had been open on Sundays, and at a Tuesday meeting of the Council towards the possibility of continuing this arrangement a decision - although not without opposition - was taken in mid November to submit a draft to the Secretary of State which, to apply after the lapse of the Regulations, would allow the townspeople to decide the issue for themselves. Yet away from matters of the silver screen, at Coronation Hall on Saturday, November 23rd a Grand Dance took place at 8p.m., again featuring Bill Brook and his band. Yet it would be ‘Tony Claridge and his New Lyric Dance Band’ which provided the music for the Grand Dance on Saturday, November 30th, and the winner of a competition for a bottle of port would be Mr. Silvester. (However, it was a different Mr. Sylvester whose pupil, Mr. B. Kirby, at a fee of 1s had been presently directing ballroom dancing classes at the Co-op Hall, on Wednesday nights, between 7.30p.m. and 8.30p.m.) Due to circumstances beyond their control, unless the committee could find alternative and suitable premises the ‘Alberta Dancing Club’ was shortly to close, although to continue their practice pupils might have been interested in a cabinet gramophone in ‘good running order’, (but without any records), which for £5 was ‘going cheap’ at 10, Drayton Road. Otherwise a piano in good condition could be purchased at 71, Western Road - ‘apply Hill’ - and as ‘Christmas bargains’, from £11 to £90 pianos were also offered by Arthur Holdom, who could not only supply many other instruments - from accordions to drum sets - but also furnish a French polishing service. As for children’s musical and other novelties, the Music Box at 89, Bletchley Road was the place to go. On Thursday, December 5th at the Freeman Memorial Church the three jumble stalls quickly sold out at the bazaar and concert, and with admission costing 1s 6d, on Saturday, December 7th at the Assembly Hall a Grand Partner whist drive was held, to be followed on Wednesday, December 11th at Coronation Hall by a poultry whist drive, ‘with 25 tables.’ At the same venue, with Freddie Maydwell and his band providing the music a grand dance took place on Saturday, December 14th and, with £34 raised, admission was priced at 2s 6d, although reductions applied for members of the Forces. At £10, a silver plated trumpet was now offered for sale at 21, Duncombe Street, and might have perhaps been of interest to Mr. W. Axby who, as the bandmaster, conducted the Bletchley Town Band on Sunday, December 15th, when they gave an enjoyable concert in Deanshanger Memorial Hall. A supporting item was provided by Bernard Brown, conjuror, and also available for parties, dinners, concerts etc. was the magician and ventriloquist, ‘Guillaume’, A.I.M.C., a member of the Magic Circle. He could be contacted ‘c/o Bratley’, at 24, Mill Road. Amongst several other entertainments the Community Centre Christmas party took place on December 21st - ‘The Committee reserve the right of admission’ - and bringing the year towards a close, the Bletchley L.M.S. Rifle Club Grand Illuminated Boxing Night Dance was held at Wilton Hall.



With Mrs. Clifton again elected as president, at their monthly meeting on New Years Day members of Water Eaton W.I. welcomed 1947 with fun, games, and a competition, in which Mrs. Green won the 1st prize for an original kettle holder. The new term for the Community Centre handicraft class then began on Wednesday, January 8th, and on the Wednesday of the following week at the Coronation Hall, Water Eaton, a Grand Partner Whist Drive took place at 7.30p.m. Admission was priced at 1s 6d, but 2s 6d, (Forces 2s), was the price for admission on Saturday, January 18th to a Grand Dance which, including novelty and spot prizes, continued the New Year events. T. Claridge and the New Lyric Band provided the music, whilst as featured during the week by the B.B.C., on Sunday, January 19th at 3p.m. the famous Czech Children’s Choir sang at the Assembly Hall, where on Thursday, January 23rd at 3p.m. a pantomime entitled ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ was given by the Aspley Guise Amateurs. Proceeds were for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund, and amongst the performers were ballet dancers and acrobats! At the Community Centre, the Pensioners Parliament was being continued as a regular event, and at a Thursday meeting Mr. C. Morgan introduced the motion that the clay pits around Bletchley should be converted into sunken gardens, ‘and thus cease to be scars on the countryside.’ However, an amendment then stated that this would be impractical due to ‘the cost being put onto the bricks’, but although the amendment was defeated there was some agreement that local amenities should be paid for out of the rates. The ‘House’ then adjourned for tea!

With there having been an active organisation before the war, with Mr. W. Johnson elected as the chairman, Mr. A. Errington as secretary, and Mr. C. Collins as treasurer, a Bletchley men’s branch of the North Bucks Conservative Association was formed on the evening of Thursday, January 30th. On the following day, by 229 votes to 42 a Bletchley town meeting then approved the permanent opening of cinemas on Sundays, although 79 of the people who were present did not vote, and some speakers supporting the idea spoke of the need for the quality of the films. Yet indicative of the Sunday popularity, having a combined seating capacity of 1,350 the two local cinemas regularly attracted an attendance of 1,200, and not surprisingly the cinema employees were keen on the proposal. Formal polling on the question of Sunday cinema opening then took place on Shrove Tuesday, February 18th, and cars were used to run people to the polling stations situated, amongst other places, at the Bletchley Road Junior School, Old Bletchley schools and Coronation Hall, Water Eaton. Encouraged through loudspeakers, people could vote from 9a.m. to 8p.m. and since, due to the electricity cuts, there were no matinee performances, employees of the local cinemas had been out canvassing the previous day. Yet although when counted it would be revealed that 2,122 votes were in favour and 328 against, (with one spoilt paper), only a few people turned up outside the Council Offices when Mr. Sherwood, the Returning Officer, posted the result on the notice board. As for the films to be shown, any ‘U’ category, newsreels, and documentaries were acceptable, whilst ‘A’ films had to be especially selected, and ‘horrific films’ were entirely banned. Of more traditional entertainments, at the Assembly Hall from 7.30p.m. to 11.45p.m. Bletchco Players presented an Old Time Ball on Saturday, February 22nd. The featured artists were Joe Lovesey and his Orchestra, but it was the Bletchley Town Band which one recent Sunday evening had given a concert in the Public Hall, Winslow. In fact on the evening of Sunday, February 16th in the Legion Hall, Heath, they had performed another concert, with the proceeds to be applied to the Heath Excelsior Band funds. As for Betty Metcalfe and her small orchestra, they were successful in the Carroll Levis Discoveries Contest held at Buckingham Town Hall, although despite having recently won a recent local talent competition at Bletchley, Mr. S. Hawes, ‘the Bletchley saw soloist’, was unfortunately not successful on this occasion. Since the Council had turned down the proposal, also unsuccessful was an application from John Shaw and Sons, amusement caterers of Wellingborough, to hold a small fair in the market field from May 29th to June 14th. At 7.30p.m. a concert by the women’s choir, conducted by councillor F. Bates, took place on Saturday, March 8th at the Community Centre, where the following Wednesday an ‘all modern dance’ was held. Also at the Community Centre, on Thursday, March 20th members of the Pensioners Parliament discussed ‘home helps’ - should they be part of the normal service for ratepayers or be organised, with Council approval, by a voluntary society - and with the majority being of the opinion that the Council should initiate the scheme, it was decided to notify both the Council and the Council candidates of this inclination.

For anyone with musical aspirations Mr. D. Searcy, of 2, Bletchley Road, now had a concert grand piano, ‘Collard and Collard’, for sale in excellent condition. However, Mr. Healey, of 4, North Street, could also offer a piano for sale in good condition, as also a set of jazz drums. Yet these were perhaps unsuitable for the Bletchley Town Band which, one weekend at the end of March, played in six streets in Bletchley hoping to collect 210 clothing coupons. Despite the activities being curtailed by the weather one man gave 11 coupons, and with over 100 more collected in the streets the rest would be received later. Since the junior uniforms had now been obtained, in fact the collection was necessary to provide some of the adult personnel with new outfits because, having been kept in storage during the war, the previous ones had been ravaged by moths. In Denbigh Road, at the works canteen of the Wico Pacey factory the Castlethorpe Dramatic Society presented the play ‘Double or Quit’ on both Friday, March 28th and Saturday, March 29th, and elsewhere in the town during the evening a Grand Dance took place from 7p.m., featuring not only ‘Freddie Marshall and his Accordeon Band’ but also, from 7p.m. to 8p.m., a free dancing lesson. A Grand Holiday Dance was the attraction between 8.15p.m. and 11.45p.m. on Easter Monday, April 7th, when Syd Fletcher and his band played at the Coronation Hall, Water Eaton. As for the nearby Plough inn, on Thursday, April 10th in view of all the new housing development the premises had been declared inadequate by the brewers, and the Bletchley magistrates accordingly approved plans for improvement, which Superintendent B. Lord described as ‘very desirable.’ Yet not very desirable was the conduct of an airman from the R.A.F. camp who, as a consequence of his actions, was bound over for two years and ordered to pay £37 7s 6d costs. The incident had occurred on Saturday, April 12th at a dance at the Assembly Hall, when, having got drunk, the man became involved in a fracas and broke in two places the jaw of a man from Duncombe Street, who had gone to the dance with ‘his girl’. More respectable was the behaviour of Mr. E. Hellier, a junior member of the Bletchley Town Band who, on the same day, was amongst the 120 amateur musicians taking part in the Midland preliminary contest for the All Britain Solo Championships, held at Birmingham. With a full supporting programme, on Saturday, April 19th the Royal Command Magician, Francis White - the B.B.C.’s ‘Voice of Magic’ - performed from 7.30p.m. at the Modern Secondary School. This was in aid of the Boys’ Brigade building fund, and on Thursday, April 24th Bletchco Players presented an Old Time Ball at the Assembly Hall, with music by Joe Lovesey’s Orchestra. Admission cost 3s, in fact the same amount as when again at the Assembly Hall they held a Grand Modern Dance on Saturday, April 26th, featuring the Night Riders Dance Band. Yet not content with these recent productions, in early May the energetic Bletchco Players then performed two one act plays, ‘Family Group’, produced by Mr. Bratly, and a comedy, ‘Orange Blossom’, produced by Mr. F. Wells. These were staged at the annual entertainment for 200 pensioners at St. Martin’s Hall, and with the organisation having been undertaken by the local Co-op Society Education Committee, Mr. Papworth employed his talents at the piano, and the audience joined in the choruses, sung by members of the Community Centre Ladies Choir.

Having now purchased The Grange, as a feature somewhat unusual for Bletchley Mr. Norman Green hoped to open a lido at the premises before the end of the year! With space available for other sports, the grounds accommodated an excellent hard tennis court, a squash court, rose garden, and also a swimming pool which, if they brought their bathing costumes, those people attending the Grand Garden fete, in aid of the Victory Clock Fund, could use on Saturday, June 7th. At Aylesbury, the management committee of the Coronation Hall, Water Eaton, had made a successful appeal for a catering licence on Thursday, May 1st. Previously permission had been locally refused, but now with this enhanced status on Wednesday, May 14th a Grand Partner whist drive took place, admission 1s 6d, at 7.30p.m. In fact this was also the time that on Friday, May 16th ‘The Players’ presented two one act plays, the recently well received ‘Orange Blossom’, and a drama entitled ‘Low Bridge’. A whist drive was then held the following evening. Meanwhile, on the same evening Lawrence Inns and his band provided the music, and Fred Groom acted as M.C., at a Grand Dance accommodated in the Assembly Hall, where another Grand Dance, for the British Legion, took place on Whit Monday, May 26th, from 7.45p.m. to 11.45p.m. With admission costing 3s, or Forces in uniform, 2s, music was by courtesy of Syd Fletcher and his band, whilst regarding home grown talent the Bletchley Town Silver Band had given an enjoyable concert during the previous evening in the Leon Recreation Ground, with Mr. Axby as bandmaster, and Mr. W. Souster as deputy, and cornet soloist. As for the Modern Secondary School hall, at 7.30p.m. here on May 28th, 29th, 30th Night Must Fall, a play in three acts by Emlyn Williams, was staged by Bletchco Players. At 50, Bletchley Road, ‘ideal for picnics or the car’ a four valve Pye Baby portable wireless set was offered for sale at £8 10s. However, regarding visual entertainment the Order continuing the Sunday opening of cinemas in Bletchley was amongst the items that had been approved by Parliament on the morning of Thursday, May 15th, after the all night sitting on the National Service bill. The matter had now received the stamp of approval, whilst in other pursuits all persons interested in forming a Stamp Collectors Club, to commence in Bletchley and district next autumn, were invited to write to Box 968.

As reported by the warden, Miss Challenger, the Community Centre was, as part of the scheme for further education under the Education Act, currently sponsored by the county education authority. However, a local committee held responsibility for the finances, and at present the accounts were showing a profit of £40 10s 8d on the year. Profits were also in mind for the R.A. (Anti-Tank) reunion fund when, from 8p.m. to 12p.m., a Grand Dance was held at Wilton Hall on Thursday, June 5th. A special engagement had been made of The Old Vic Palais Band, featuring Sid Bonner and Mary Bunker, and with items including Lucky Spot and Novelty Dances, admission was priced at 3s, Forces 2s 6d. In the examinations recently held in London by the Victoria College of Music, Mrs. F. Cutts S.M., L.V.C.M., of ‘Lyndhurst’, Cambridge Street, and Mr. W. Healey, S.M., L.V.C.M., of 4, North Street, had both gained the Diploma of Fellowship of the College, and also especially pleasing was the success in practical and theory of music of several of their pupils. On Sunday, June 15th the Bletchley Town Silver Band then displayed their own talents, by performing a concert in the grounds of Bletchley Park at 7.15p.m. At Old Bletchley, the state of the recreation ground was now causing concern, but elsewhere towards enhancing the other recreational amenities of the town a plot of ground was being prepared as a croquet lawn, near the entrance from Bletchley Road to Central Gardens. However, for the Central Gardens staff they were to soon be informed that, since it formed a part of the normal working week, Sundays would be paid at time and a half, and not double time as requested by N.U.P.E. However, any disgruntled employees could always apply for the vacancy of cleaner and doorman, now required at the Studio. With music by the R.A.F. Henlow Dance Band, from 8p.m. to 11.45p.m. on Friday, June 20th a Midsummer Dance took place, followed on Friday, June 27th by a Grand Dance featuring The Old Vic Palais Band - ‘all first class London professional musicians.’ Both events were held at the Assembly Hall, from where having been taken in error on June 7th an Aquascutum raincoat had now been hopefully reunited with its rightful owner, at 29, Aylesbury Street. Not that in view of the prevailing hot weather there seemed any immediate need for such garments, as emphasised by the crowds of local bathers who, during the mornings and evenings, had been attracted to the lido at The Grange, where Mr. Tramontini and Mr. Green hoped to make many improvements, as soon as the labour and materials became available.

In order to discuss the bringing of ‘first class performers’ to Bletchley, and ascertaining if local amateur music and dramatic societies could be supplemented through the Arts Council, the Regional Director, Miss Helen Munroe, called a meeting on the evening of Monday, June 23rd at the Community Centre, where the Ladies Choir resumed their practice on Thursday, July 3rd. The previous day, at the meeting of the Water Eaton Women’s Institute the president, 69 year old Mrs. Laura Clifton, had been presented by the secretary, Mrs. W. Gurney, with a brown leather writing case for, (having been unable to secure an early passage by ship), on August Bank Holiday she would fly from Heathrow by American Airlines to Clearwater, near Los Angeles. This was now the home of her son, and she intended to return the next year. However, for local offspring staying closer to home, Betty, the only child of Tommy Papworth, of 64, Aylesbury Street, married Reg Pacey, a hairdresser, at St. Martin’s Church on Saturday, July 5th. She was employed in the office at Bletchley police station, and her husband, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Pacey of 94, Bletchley Road, had spent five years in the Army, mainly in North Africa and Italy. With the reception held at the Conservative Club, the Papworth Trio appropriately played for dancing, after which the couple left for a honeymoon in Torquay. With Luing Cowley in charge, the Bletchley Young Conservatives held an evening treasure hunt on Thursday, July 10th. Twenty three searchers in five cars took a route through Little Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Leighton Buzzard and Eaton Bray, and although the finish was to be at Ivinghoe Beacon one group, having missed a clue, instead travelled on to Dunstable Downs! Raising funds for the Victory Clock, at Holne Chase a Gymkhana was held on Saturday, July 12th, and notice had now been received to transfer the licence of the Rose and Crown from Thomas Barnes to Colin Lovell. However, it was not pub singers that B.B.C. talent scouts now came to audition at the Community Centre but the Ladies Choir, and perhaps they might have been additionally interested in ‘Water Eaton Willie’, who would feature at the Water Eaton Show on Saturday, August 30th. Local talent was also greatly in evidence at St. Martin’s Hall on Saturday, August 2nd, and Monday, August 4th, when, from 2p.m. to 9p.m., admission 3d, the Bletchley District Model Engineering Society held their first annual exhibition, displaying models to include trains, planes etc. All had been made by local craftsmen, and at the initial meeting in April, instigated by Mr. A. Harrington, some 20 modellers had attended. Now with a significant increase in the membership - both senior and junior - the Society was flourishing, and situated opposite the fire station had even secured the use of a workshop. Of especial interest at the exhibition was an 0-6-0 steam locomotive, designed and built by Mr. J. Norton, of Staple Hall Road, and possessed of sufficient power to haul two adults and two children, this more usually ran on a circular track in Mr. Norton’s garden! As for other unusual items, also displayed was an old petrol engine, first used to drive a dynamo to provide lighting for Mr. Hurst’s shop, many years ago, whilst amongst the more conventional displays were several models to include galleons, air-sea rescue launches, and aircraft, which, having been completed by his son, had been commenced by the late Terry Harrison. A local bank manager, he was a gifted musician as well as being technically minded, and also technically minded was Philip Tandy of 7, North Street who, employed at Weatherheads, had in a recent competition held by the Radio Society of Great Britain been recognised as the second best radio ‘ham’ in the country. Having held his licence since 1933, via his home made radio set from Saturday night to 9a.m. on Sunday he managed to communicate with 86 other ‘hams’, and indeed this proved a feat that the winner could beat by only 12 contacts. As for any other local radio enthusiasts, they might have been interested in the radio spares recently offered for sale at 18, Simpson Road, or, in March, the almost new Halicrafter S39 portable radio, ‘9 valve, AC or DC, world reception’, which Mr. Marshall, of Dauphin, Leon Park Gardens, had available for £20.

Tuning and servicing pianos was now a business that Mr. and Mrs. Hill, L.L.C.M., A.L.C.M., were conducting from 42, Lennox Road. They could also offer piano tuition, but regarding the town’s already accomplished musicians, the first Bletchley annual brass band concert had been scheduled for August Bank Holiday, Saturday, August 2nd. Unfortunately, however, the event had to be cancelled although on the same date the Bucks Divisional Labour Party Fete and Rally at Bletchley Park went ahead as planned, opened by Constance Cummings, star of radio, stage, and screen. In fact screen performances could now be shown on Sundays in North Bucks cinemas from 4p.m. to 10p.m., instead of 5.30p.m. to 9.30p.m., but from ¾d to 1d there would be an increase in the rate of charitable contributions per seat. Another cinematic contribution would be made by 15 year old Margaret Jones and Kathleen Fryer, of Bletchley, who on a trip to Maidenhead, with Mr. A. Hancox, stopped at Beaconsfield to watch the shooting of an outdoor scene for a Just William film. Asking if they could take part, they were then given the job of extras, standing at a garden gate and pointing at William as, carrying a bunch of flowers, he sprinted past with his dog! As another accolade for the town, by singing ‘One Fine Day’ from Madame Butterfly on Wednesday, September 3rd at a Great Yarmouth talent competition Mrs. Mavis Silcock, of Eaton Avenue, won 1st prize. Then on Thursday, September 4th at the Community Centre mention of another first prize was made at the 7p.m. A.G.M. of the Bletchley Town Silver Band. During June, this had been for playing ‘Pride of the Forest’ in their section at the 18th Brass Band contest, organised by the Oxfordshire Association, and also worthy of mention was the success of the Junior Band, in having reached the finals at Aylesbury of the Bucks County Competition. On financial matters, with there now even being a balance in hand the deficit of the wartime years had been cleared, and with ten new uniforms having been provided £25 of the £110 had already been paid. As for future aspirations, these included acquiring new instruments and, as Bandmaster Axby’s particular wish, a ‘decent bandstand’ in the town. In fact in a continuation of this progressive momentum, with ‘Gems of Old England’ as the test piece the band had now been entered for a contest at Reading. This would be held on November 14th and, to be groomed by Stanley Bonnington, of the famous Munn and Felton’s Band, for one evening a week the members could have the use of the pavilion at Bletchley Park, at a cost of £3 per year.

Over the course of several weeks, the Community Centre was being cleaned and redecorated by voluntary workers. Both Miss Challenger, the warden, and Mr. Gostick, the caretaker, were involved, and hopefully their efforts were duly appreciated on Wednesday, September 10th when, at 3p.m., the opening meeting took place of the Old People’s Club. By the invitation of the Bletchley Co-op Educational Committee, perhaps the members might then have been interested in a public meeting at 7.30p.m., when Mr. Bernard Taylor M.P., (P.P.S. Minister of National Insurance), would speak on the subject of the ‘National Insurance Act’. Contained under a big top, able to accommodate about 3,000 people, at 4.30p.m. and 7.30p.m. at their first visit to the town performances by the Paramount Anglo-Parisien Circus took place at the market field on Friday 11th, Saturday, 12th and Sunday 13th September. At an admission price of 3d, as an added novelty the circus zoo remained open all day, and as another local novelty on Thursday, September 25th Bletchley magistrates granted, until the following February, a music licence to Norman Green who, for Greenway’s Café, had the idea of featuring a small orchestra to play to the customers. The licence would apply daily between 3p.m. and 10.30p.m., with the intention being that light music would be played on Sundays, albeit ‘not jazz or anything of that nature, but a better type of music.’ However, even the better type of music would not have been welcome in The Quiet Room at the Community Centre, where the second season of the Bletchley Chess Club commenced their weekly sessions on Wednesday, October 1st. These would be held at 7.30p.m., and also at the Community Centre a mixed choir was now to be started by the junior members, with Mr. Papworth in charge. Since being returned a year ago from military requisition, the hall at Water Eaton had now been free of debt, and on Wednesday, October 1st at a make do and mend session the Water Eaton W.I. decided to in future have two vice presidents. As for other social activities the first A.G.M. of the Bletchley Model Engineering Society took place on Sunday, October 19th at the clubroom of the Bull and Butcher, and the town would soon also have a stamp collecting club, with Mr. Freeman elected as chairman, and Mr. Clarke as treasurer. The minimum age would be 10, with yearly subscriptions set at 7s 6d for adults, and 2s 6d for those members aged between 10 and 18. Yet of a rather different intention was the proposal to start a branch of the Communist Party in Bletchley and District, and with the attention accordingly invited of all ‘Workers, Communists, new and old, Readers of the ‘The Daily Worker’ and All progressive-minded Socialists’, anyone interested was asked to contact Mr. Embra, at 35, Oxford Street. However, having personally experienced the political upheavals in Nazi Germany, perhaps not so inclined would be Dr. Blumenau, the schools’ dentist. As a keen photographer his interests lay elsewhere, and on Saturday, November 8th at the Community Centre he projected, as part of an exhibition on the illustrated history of photography, (provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain), a selection of his coloured transparencies. The event had been opened by Miss Helen Munro at 3p.m., and also at the Community Centre on Sunday, November 23rd a benefit concert by the Bletchley Town Silver Band for Wilfred Rose raised £6 7s 3d. An open week would be held at the Community Centre from November 24th to 29th, during which on Wednesday much interest was aroused by an Arts and Crafts display by Bletchley people. Mostly being that of the members of the classes, which were held at the premises, this was in conjunction with the Evening Institute. The work was of course greatly admired but for those preferring alternative entertainment they might be interested in a ‘Combined All Wave Radio and Television set’, which, requiring some attention, was available for £50 at 28, Saffron Street.

Tenders were now invited for the internal decoration of the Bletchley Social Club at 12/14 Bletchley Road, whilst regarding other indoor enhancements, following their recent grant of a licence Greenways Café announced the introduction of ‘live music while you eat.’ Thus on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 27th, 28th, 29th, from 8p.m. to 11p.m. a Grand Special Attraction was staged, featuring ‘The Kitson Quartette’ from Jack Kitson’s Band - ‘playing last week at the Hippodrome Theatre, Aldershot.’ Supposedly the event would ‘Make this a super ‘supper date’ with your girlfriend’, and perhaps romantic interest might then further be kindled by inviting the young lady to view one’s stamp collection, for which Mr. W. Houston of Bletchley, the north east planning officer, could perhaps possibly help. In fact at the Community Centre his fine collection of Icelandic stamps was being displayed at a meeting of the Bletchley Philatelic Society, held on Wednesday, November 26th, and after introducing Mr. Houston the president, Warren Dawson, then confided a business technique to the gathering, saying that whilst interviewing prospective junior employees he would always ask if the candidate was a stamp collector, ‘because undoubtedly the boy who studies stamps is a boy above average intelligence, he is clean and observes small details.’ Possibly he also had a good sense of investment, since although at a later meeting the main feature was the stamps of Denmark, shown by Mr. J. Freeman, those exhibits of Mr. J. Ramsbotham - a complete set of King George V silver jubilee issues - aroused as much interest, from the continuing increase in their value. There was also much interest when at the Modern Secondary School the Bletchley Town Silver Band presented the first Annual Brass Band Festival on Saturday, December 6th. In fact with 19 bands included the event, comprising some 500 bandsmen, met with such acclaim that the publication ‘The British Bandsman’ was moved to report that it was ‘a very successful day which that energetic secretary, Mr. W. Souster, might well be proud. Thanks a lot Bletchley.’ Thanks a lot were also due to the judge of the competition, Mr. Boddington, the bandmaster of the Munn and Feltons Band. As for Mr. W. Emms, he could now also step out in style, having won a pair of nylons at a dance at the Coronation Hall, Water Eaton, on Boxing night!




On Tuesday, February 20th Special Constable George Callaway, of 5, Manor Road, died of pneumonia at Northampton hospital aged 41. The eldest son of former police superintendent Edward Callaway, he had lived in Bletchley since 1913, and on finishing his schooling at the Bletchley Road schools then began work at the L.M.S. goods office. Being recovered the following day at Wing, on Sunday, February 18th a lorry and shooting brake had been stolen from the Newton Road garage of the London Brick Company, and thieves were also at work later in the year when, on the night of Wednesday, August 2nd, the Bull and Butcher was broken into. The property of the proprietor Charles Collins, bank notes to the value of £100 were taken, and also during the month came the arrest of a 16 year old boy, charged with stealing around £400 worth of jewellery from a women’s hostel at Bletchley Park. Having, with another boy, broken out of a Northampton remand home, he sold the jewellery to a dealer at Bedford market, mostly ‘for a small sum’, and it would be recommended that the boy, who declared that he wanted to join the Navy, should be sent to Borstal. In order that the Metropolitan Police Central Band could remain at the event until 8.30p.m., for the Bletchley Show on August Bank Holiday Monday there would be at least five extra trains, but it would be on a normal train service that in September whilst returning from the Cedars school 12 year old Sheila Nalton, of 56, Park Street, found a camel hair coat and an ermine coat, worth £250. Dutifully, she took the garments to the police station, and on their being claimed the following day Sheila duly received a cheque for £5 5s for her honesty. By the beginning of October police sergeant ‘Gus’ Owen had been transferred to Denham, with his place being taken by Sergeant D. Robbie, formerly of Gerrards Cross. Promoted to his present rank in March 1939, he had previously been attached as a constable to police H.Q. at Aylesbury whilst as for Sergeant Owen, a native of Barry, he had joined the Force in 1926, from the R.A.F. He began his career as a constable in Bletchley and was then promoted to sergeant in 1936, on his move to Buckingham. However, he then returned to Bletchley in 1939 and his talented daughter, Sheila, had represented Bletchley in the county youth sports at Aylesbury in 1944.

During early October a gang of hooligans had been ‘going about’ in the town, and one Saturday evening there was a rough house at a dance at the Bletchley Road schools, in which a local resident was beaten up. Having been drinking, two gangs of youths came into the dance soon after 10.30p.m., but on being asked to leave they began pushing each other about. One of their number then tried to part the gangs, but both in and out of the hall the scuffling continued. The following night a local resident was then accosted outside the schools with the words ‘You’re the man who tried to knife my pal at the dance last night’, and although he denied the accusation the other gang members came up and struck him several times. There was more criminal activity in the town on Friday, October 19th, when whilst on evening duty police constable Crowley noticed a car approaching him at high speed. Aware that having been stolen at Daventry a Hillman car had gone through a police check at Towcester, and was now being followed by a Northamptonshire police car, police constable Crowley rushed to the Fenny Stratford crossroads, and hearing the gong of the police car then saw the stolen vehicle ‘tearing down’ the High Street at 60m.p.h. With the traffic lights at stop he stood in the middle of the road waving a red lamp, but when the car failed to slow down he hurled his truncheon through the windscreen, hitting the driver. Yet still the vehicle carried on, and continuing towards London forced a motor coach, turning into the High Street from Aylesbury Street, onto the pavement near the Swan hotel. Quickly police constable Crowley jumped into the police car, but the pursuit would be brief for, with cuts to his face, and unable to see through the windscreen, the driver of the stolen vehicle had drawn up at the Ousel bridge, from where he and his accomplice began running up the road. However, they were soon arrested and shortly afterwards another Northamptonshire police car arrived, as also a Metropolitan police car, whereupon the men were taken into custody by the Metropolitan police. The Hillman was understood to have been stolen in London during September, and apart from the more local media coverage the exploits of police constable Crowley would even be reported in the Egyptian Mail of October 24th, perhaps being read by Norman Billington, the founder and scoutmaster of the 1st Fenny Stratford Troop, who having for some time been ‘wielding the baton of the Palestinian Police Force’, was now studying Arabic during his off duty hours.

His wife having died about 18 months ago, in November at the Registry Office Mr. Edward Callaway, M.B.E., the former Superintendent of Police for North Bucks, married Edith Sexton of the Bull Hotel. She had held the licence since the death of her husband some seven years ago, and Mr. Callaway would then live at the hotel until his death in 1950. One Monday in late November a fire broke out in the outhouse of Mrs. T. Fairey’s home, at 35, Brooklands Road, although this had not been the first time that her two boys had started a fire in the backyard. In fact on the last occasion a pram had been destroyed, but as she philosophically remarked, ‘I don’t know why they called out the fire brigade, I can manage these things on my own now’! Shortly after midnight, on November 25th whilst patrolling in the town War Reserve Constable Arthur Brinklow was punched in one eye by a soldier, from the R.A.O.C. camp at Little Brickhill. Following a report that cotton material and 12 glass bottles were missing from a van at the L.M.S. goods yard, Brinklow had seen two soldiers get on a tandem in Duncombe Street, but when they subsequently fell off two crates spilled onto the ground. On questioning the men, he was told that the packages belonged to them, but on suddenly being hit by one of the soldiers he immediately informed police headquarters and, just as a police car arrived, managed to catch up with the fugitives at the bottom of the street. The following Monday he then appeared in court to give evidence, suitably sporting a black eye and a strip of plaster on his face. With the reception being at the Conservative Club, on Saturday, December 1st at St. Martin’s Church Bletchley policewoman Vera Wick, the only daughter of police constable and Mrs. Wick of 13, Saffron Street, married Lieutenant Ronald Dickinson. He was the eldest son of warrant officer and Mrs. A. Dickinson, of 117, Bletchley Road, and had recently returned from military service in Burma. Thoughts of Christmas presents were now exciting many children, but for one child the return of a grey toy elephant, lost on Saturday, December 23rd between Western Road, Church Street, and Watling Street, would seem more important, and qualifying for a 2s 6d reward anyone finding the ‘comfort’ was urgently asked to ‘Contact Goom, 63 Victoria Road.’



As the first post war dinner to be held by the Bucks Constabulary North Divisional Recreation Club, at the Assembly Hall on Thursday, January 10th 200 police attended a Victory dinner, held for those comrades who were returning from the Forces. Yet with his place to be taken by the recently promoted sergeant William Saunders, of Aylesbury, the following month police sergeant W. How, a popular figure in Bletchley for many years, had a more personal occasion to celebrate when, after 25 years of police service, he was to retire to Gerrards Cross. During the war he held a temporary rank of inspector, and as staff officer for the Northern Divisional Civil Defence organisation was responsible for the training of hundreds of local A.R.P. volunteers. As for the more mundane matters of peacetime, a gold signet ring, with a green stone centre, had been reported missing, and a reward would be offered for its return to 40, Osborne Street. With Superintendent B. Lord presiding, at the Assembly Hall on the evening of Thursday, January 30th 140 North Bucks police officers, and other members of the Bucks Constabulary Northern Divisional Recreation Club attended their annual dinner. However, there was sad news the following day when, having spent several years in the Metropolitan Police, mainly in the West End, George Hillier died aged 79 at 22, Bedford Street. A native of Wiltshire, four years after retiring in 1920 he then came to Bletchley where, becoming a member of the Conservative Club, he took over the Chequers inn for some four years.

For the policewomen recruited during the war, they were officially demobbed on March 31st although Leonore Halton, of North Street, who had joined the town’s wartime force about two years ago, was to now be accepted as a regular W.P.C. in Bletchley. Vera Dickinson would additionally be retained, as a civilian clerk, and also of wartime police service, having been at Bletchley since 1939 Detective Constable Leslie Strong now gained promotion to Detective Sergeant. However, on Saturday, June 29th the career of one of Bletchley’s oldest tradesmen and special constables came to an end when, being survived by a son and a daughter, James Page died at his home in Denmark Street, aged 75. As a newly married couple, 55 years ago he and his wife had come to the town where he immediately set up as a shoe maker, and it was in this trade that he would continue until around the beginning of the year. Losing two sons in the conflict, during World War One he had served as a special constable, and also fulfilling this duty in World War Two he thus qualified for the special constable certificate, recently presented by the Standing Joint Committee of the County Council, and the Chief Constable, Colonel T. Warren, to the past and serving members of the Northern Division of the Bucks Special Constabulary. In fact the Chief Inspector of the Bletchley Division of the Special Constabulary was William Brinkler, of Bridge House, Victoria Road, who, also being a corn merchant, and a member of the Council, would unfortunately die aged 52 on May 31st, 1947. On the retirement of sergeant Bob Rollings, his place at Stony Stratford would be taken by a well known Bletchley police officer, police constable Robert Tapsell who, having been promoted to the rank of sergeant, would take up this position on Monday, July 8th. Joining the Bucks Constabulary in 1930, he came to Bletchley in 1932 but, having moved to Little Brickhill the following year, he was called up to the Forces - in fact as the first police officer in Bucks - on September 3rd, 1939. Six days later he was in France as a gunner in the Artillery Survey Regiment, but would be evacuated from Le Havre three weeks after Dunkirk. Posted to the Middle East in 1941, following service in Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Egypt, he remained after El Alamein in Tripoli for a while, before being sent to the O.C.T.U. Receiving a commission in June, 1943, after spending a time with his own unit he was later attached to the Royal Engineers Survey, before being transferred to G.H.Q. Cairo. Having risen to the rank of Captain, he finally returned to England in August, 1945. At the end of July, on being promoted to sergeant Detective Constable J. Smethurst, who had first come to Bletchley in 1936, left for a post at Burnham. A native of Lancashire, except for a period in 1939 and 1940 when called, as a reservist, to the Grenadier Guards, he had been stationed since 1935 in the Bucks Northern Division, which in 1938 then came under the charge of Superintendent Frederick Bryant. Born in Buckingham, Frederick Bryant had begun his working life as a Post Office telegram boy, but in 1907 he joined the police and then spent some time in his home town. A number of years then followed as Superintendent’s clerk at Slough until, after his marriage, he transferred to Newport Pagnell in 1914. Soon promoted to sergeant at Wendover, at the end of World War One he was posted to Winslow, and during the early 1920s gained promotion to Inspector at Newport Pagnell, before returning in 1929 to Buckingham as Superintendent. When Superintendent Callaway retired at Bletchley in May, 1938, his last appointment would then be as chief of the Northern Division. With the funeral being held on Saturday, July 27th at Maids Moreton, sadly at the age of 59 his death had occurred on the morning of the previous Thursday, and he left a widow, Louise, a daughter, and three sons. The sons had all served in the Forces, and, having now returned to his duties as Assistant Sanitary Inspector for Buckingham R.D.C., the eldest was E. Bryant. The second, having been demobilised after 12 years in the regular Army, was R. Bryant, whilst the third was a police constable stationed at Linslade.

Aged 49, Superintendent B. Lord, of Buckingham, would now be appointed as the replacement chief of the Northern Division. From 1914 to 1918 he had served with the Royal Garrison Artillery, and after the war joined the police force on October 22nd, 1919. Following a while as a constable at Slough, he then transferred to Aylesbury in 1921, and was promoted two years later to sergeant, when he moved to Bletchley. In 1928 he then went to Olney and in February, 1932, to Burnham, from where during the following year he moved to Slough as a Detective Sergeant. Promoted to Inspector in 1937, in August, 1942 he was seconded from the police to Liaison Officer under the Home Office to the U.S.A.A.F. in the U.K., and upon finishing this work in March, in April he then took over the North Western Division at Buckingham, being presented on Monday, August 26th with the King’s Police Medal by Lord Cottesloe, Lord Lieutenant of the County. Having joined the Bucks Constabulary at Aylesbury in 1941, towards the end of September police constable Mitchell took up his duties in the town, having in March been released from the Navy, in which, since joining in 1942, he had served aboard corvettes in the North Sea and the North Atlantic, rising to the rank of Sub Lieutenant. On Thursday, November 7th police sergeant Lloyd, of Bletchley, won the open championship competition at Towcester Eisteddfod, although of more routine concerns a sour note was sounded on Wednesday, November 27th when, addressing the Baptist Men’s Contact Club, Detective Sergeant Leslie Strong said that modern criminals were becoming increasingly more intelligent and well trained in breaking the law. Yet not perhaps those who between Saturday, December 1st, and Sunday, December 2nd, entered the premises of the Co-op at Water Eaton, but stole only a small amount of money and cigarettes. Perhaps still flushed with his Eisteddfod success, police sergeant Lloyd then gained another runaway success when in plain clothes on the foggy night of December 10th he chased and caught two railwaymen, who were duly convicted of causing wilful damage to a concrete pillar in front of the Bletchley Road post office, (nos. 43-45). This was the property of Hedley Clarke, and with the damage amounting to £10 the men, from the L.M.S. hostel, had pushed over the top of a pillar. In fact with there being nine columns, each having a plinth and ball on top, this was the fourth to have been pushed over, and a fifth had been dislodged. Yet to end the year, no less deserving of police attention was the theft from the front of 82, Duncombe Street of a white enamel jug, for the return of which the owner would be exceedingly grateful.



Following his recent award of the King’s Police Medal, on Friday, January 3rd police superintendent B. Lord received the U.S. Medal of Freedom at the American Embassy, in recognition of his work from August, 1942 to March 31st, 1946, as a liaison officer to the American Army Air Force in the U.K. With six other officers also receiving the commendation, all could now walk tall, but for the rest of the local police force the minimum height of a Buckinghamshire policeman, following a recommendation agreed by the aptly named Bucks Standing Joint Committee, was to be reduced from 5’ 10” to 5’ 8”, and it would also no longer be necessary to have a 36 inch chest. However, policemen on reserve duty in police stations would still need to perform such duties as scrubbing floors and cleaning windows, although in partial compensation there would be an increase in pay, with, under the new salary scales, that of a Chief Constable becoming £1,050 p.a., and an Assistant Chief £770. No doubt this would be money well earned, for an outbreak of petty vandalism was beginning to engage the police attention. Swinging signs had been damaged, coping stones pushed off walls, and, with only a packet of cigarettes taken, a shop window smashed. In fact photographer’s show cases seemed a favourite target, especially if they contained photographs of pretty local girls. The police were pursuing their enquiries, and also being hounded was the occupant of 81, Water Eaton Road on whom, for keeping a dog without a licence, a fine of 5s was imposed by Bletchley magistrates, of which the chairman, Sir Everard Duncombe, had been re-elected at the beginning of the year.

140 members and guests attended the annual dinner of the Bucks Constabulary North Division Recreation Club, held at the Assembly Hall on Thursday, January 30th. Admission cost 2s 6d, or 2s for Forces, and Dougie Dytham and the Rhythm Aces provided the music. However, it would be a different form of music that would have to be faced by the drunk who, on the night of Tuesday, February 18th, ‘unlawfully and maliciously set fire to a shop in the possession of Alfred Lithman with intent thereby to injure Alfred Lithman.’ Unable to break into an inner room, the miscreant had gathered up pieces of paper, lit them, and set fire to the premises causing £46 of damage, plus the destruction of £375 worth of stock. The previous day, at 4.30p.m. Mr. Lithman had locked up the building, at 28, Buckingham Road, but in the morning he then discovered that the lock had been broken and the premises burnt out, with the partition that separated the brick built slated shop from a garage burnt through. All of this was the property of Mr. Fortescue, and the arsonist would be committed for trial at the next Northampton Assize. From Bedford, Bernard Monshin and his orchestra provided the music at the police ball, held at the Assembly Hall from 8p.m. to 1a.m. on Wednesday, April 23rd. Held for the Bucks Police Widows and Orphans Fund, police constables Kingston, Norman, and Crowley had lent their assistance in arranging the occasion which, drawing an attendance of over 200 people, at an admission of 12s 6d raised in excess of £100. Mrs. Lord, wife of Superintendent B. Lord, caused great amusement when she drew a lucky number belonging to her husband, and when she drew again that also was his. At the third attempt, the number belonged to their son! However, there were no suspicions of anything untoward, in contrast to an incident which had occurred one Tuesday a few days before when, with about 10s 6d stolen from the till, the premises of the London Meat Co in Bletchley Road were entered.

An episode rather more serious was then discovered by a policeman whilst patrolling soon after midnight on Thursday, April 24th. The plate glass window of Lithman’s premises in Buckingham Road had been smashed and clothing stolen, and similar clothing was then recovered in Railway Terrace, where the same evening several fowls belonging to Mr. Thomas had been stolen. In fact there had also been other incidents in the same area including at Greenways Café, where the lower half of the glass door was smashed by a labourer from Liverpool, who demanded entrance after the premises had closed. Somewhat less heinous was the crime of a 16 year old boy who, on March 25th, had ridden his cycle for 20 yards along the footpath in Osborne Street. At Bletchley Juvenile Court on Thursday, April 24th he was ordered to pay costs of 4s, and hopefully he arrived at the correct time for his appearance, unlike a man at the end of May who, in explanation for his late arrival at the Bletchley county court, said that ‘The petrol pipe of my car broke and I completed my journey in the tow of a milk lorry’! Police sergeant Phillip Lloyd, who had been at Bletchley since April, 1934, was now to be transferred to Aylesbury, as was also police constable Crowley who, with service at Tingewick and Buckingham, would be promoted to sergeant in 1955, then moving to Wolverton. Their places were to be taken by police sergeant H. Brunt of Aylesbury, and police constable Crouch from Buckingham, whilst as for police sergeant F. Boucher, having recently retired at Bletchley he had moved to Folkestone, and, recently promoted to sergeant, would now be replaced by police constable Norris of Loughton. Perhaps the new officers would then make a worthy addition to the Bletchley police cricket team, which on Thursday, May 24th defeated Newport Pagnell by two runs, with sergeant Robbie proving the mainstay of their side. For riding without lights in Buckingham Road, an errant cyclist instigated a Keystone Cops style chase in early June, having ridden off when challenged to stop by police constable Fisher. The constable immediately gave chase, but only by pedalling furiously did he eventually manage to overtake his quarry. Having been to a dance with a friend, the man, when about to set off for his hostel at Little Horwood, had suddenly discovered his lights had been stolen, but unwisely he decided to risk the six miles journey nevertheless.

Within the first six months of 15 months hard labour, 15 strokes of the birch on ‘bare flesh’ were to be imposed as the sentence on two ‘young roughs’ from the National Service hostel, Bletchley, who pleaded guilty to robbing a man with violence in the town on May 17th. An apparent stranger to the district, aged 19 the victim had been subjected to ‘a savage, unprovoked attack’, and not only did this leave him unconscious in the gutter, but also poorer by the sum of 13s 2½d. Then poorer by the sum of 8s would be the occupants of 94, Eaton Avenue, when on the night of Wednesday, June 25th several houses were broken into. In each case only the downstairs rooms were looted, and identity cards and clothing coupons were amongst the items taken from ‘Coyre’, Manor Road. About £2 was stolen from William Golding’s shop in Aylesbury Street, but also in Aylesbury Street the thieves were apparently frightened off by the barking of a dog, and nothing was taken from Mr. Grace’s shop. However, there were more unchristian goings on in early September, with the report that, in the temporary absence of the Reverend and Mrs. Campbell, a side window at St. Mary’s Rectory had been forced and a travel clock, a bronze medal, and a small box of jewellery stolen. Yet perhaps this was no longer a matter for police constable Norman since, having been at Bletchley since November, 1935, he learnt in June that he was to be shortly moved to Hambleden, south of Marlow. Chaotic scenes were witnessed on Monday, September 15th when a policeman in a car, and a policeman on a motorcycle, spent half an hour looking for a magistrate. A man arrested on Sunday had been due to appear before the Bench at 11a.m., but two magistrates were required to hear the evidence. Despite Captain Fitzgerald being present, he had an appointment at 11.30a.m. with Mr. Johnson who, although qualified ex officio by his position as chairman of the Council, had not as yet been sworn in! Then at 11.20a.m., having received a message from the police Mr. J. Goodwin hurriedly arrived, and the case could now be concluded.

During October, when responding to reports that a dog had been worrying sheep William Potter, of The Chestnuts, Water Eaton, drove his son’s Austin sports car to their Mount Pleasant Farm at Simpson. He then left the vehicle on the drive, but on returning about an hour later found that the car had gone. Receiving details of the theft, Detective Sergeant Strong began to patrol in a police van, and he soon observed a vehicle which answered the description being driven along Duncombe Street. He consequently gave chase, and having followed the suspect to Windsor Street he drew ahead in Sandringham Place, but slightly damaged the van by forcing the car into the side of the road. Thereupon the driver ran off towards Bletchley Road, and although Detective Sergeant Strong’s calls for passers by to stop the man were ignored, in Park Street he caught up with the fugitive. He turned out to be a 20 year old private in the Pioneer Corps, and it was rather unwise that he struck Strong on the shoulder with his fist, for he immediately received a reciprocal blow which put him on his back! Also in October, after a drinking spree two Irishmen from the L.M.S. Hostel wrecked the lavatories at the Studio, but at the County Cinema there was a more alarming incident when, on the night of Sunday, November 23rd, Joe Betteridge, the manager, was held up at gunpoint by two masked men. Wearing mufflers over the lower part of their faces, and trilby hats pulled over their eyes, one ‘in cultured tones’ said ‘I stand to get five years for this, so hand over the key of the safe or I’ll let you have it as soon as look at you.’ Thus having no choice Mr. Betteridge allowed them to take £75 from the office safe, although as soon as they left he then made a dramatic phone call to the police. Amongst the cases to be dealt with in December, the police would investigate the theft from Sandringham Place of a car and trailer belonging to Luke How, of Aston Abbots. He had left them whilst at market, and they were eventually found in a field at Paulersbury. On Wednesday, December 17th at Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, Veronica Atkins married Donald, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. B. Lord, of the Bletchley police house. Employed at Hanslope Park, he could now enjoy a few days off, but in Bletchley it was business as usual for his father when, on the night of Friday, December 19th, the offices of M.A. Cook were ransacked. Whilst nothing was apparently taken, also on the night in question someone had been seen on the premises of W.O. Peake, but when the watchman telephoned the police the man had made off.




At St. Mary’s Church, the Christmas collections had raised £25 8s 5d for the Church Heating Fund, £9 11s 7d for the Church of England Waifs’ & Strays’ Society, and £38 18s 3d for the North Bucks Moral Welfare Association. However, perhaps less benevolent would be an ‘Aggressive Christianity’ public meeting which, organised by the Bletchley Christian Council, would be held at St. Martin’s Hall at 7.30p.m. on Friday, January 19th. A ‘Presidential Visit’ by the Reverend John Barrett M.A., of Fuller Baptist Church, Kettering, took place on Sunday, January 21st at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church where, at a Festival of Praise, on Sunday, February 18th a special visit would be made by Private Derek Barsham, of the 1st Enfield Boys’ Brigade Company. In fact he was the ‘B.B.C. Boy Soprano’, who had now broadcast 25 times. On Tuesday, January 30th at the age of 82 the death occurred at 50, Western Road of James King. Born at Simpson, and married at Woughton some 60 years ago, he had moved to Bletchley around 10 years later and, being a member of the old High Street Wesleyan church, (where the County Cinema would later stand), he was involved with the building of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, and indeed became a class leader, chapel steward, and lay preacher at village churches. Employed for many years at Wilkinson’s, (later Cutler) Stores, he drove a horse and cart until, at the age of 60, he learnt to drive a van. Retiring at the age of 70, mainly as a hobby he then kept himself occupied by running a small wood business. At a Tuesday meeting in late February, since the building would not last for much longer the need for premises to replace St. Margaret’s Mission Hall was earnestly discussed at St Martin’s Church, although there was a smaller attendance for the discussions at a Brain Trust, arranged by the Bletchley United Christian Council, on Friday, March 2nd, when one of the questions would be ‘Does not nature deny as well as support the belief that God is good?’

On Monday, March 12th the flooring fund came to benefit when, presided over by Miss Joan Rubinstein, a Musical Treat was held at 7.15p.m. at the Freeman Memorial Church. Later in the month there was also a treat for the 1st Bletchley Company of the Boys’ Brigade, when arrangements were completed for the sale, at around £400, of the ex-Primitive Methodist chapel in Aylesbury Street. With a large plot of land at the rear, eventually the boys hoped to build a headquarters on the site, at an estimated cost of £5,000. Leading off from the centre path, another footpath was now to be made in the old cemetery to the chapel, the windows of which were to shortly be coloured, whilst as for Catholic matters, on Friday, March 30th at the church of St. Thomas Aquinas, in Church Street, the wedding took place of Nancy Sears, the daughter of Captain and Mrs. G. Sears of ‘Ernbay’, Osborne Street, and Sergeant Nick Garza, of the U.S.A.A.F. Unfortunately, since he was presently serving with the Pacific force the bride’s father could not attend the reception, which was held at the family home, and after a honeymoon in Torquay the couple would make their new life in San Antonia, America. Then continuing an American theme, on Sunday, April 15th the bells of St. Mary’s Church were rung half muffled in memory of President Roosevelt. At the Salvation Army Hall, Church Street, there was a return visit of the Salvation Army silver band, Potton, (Beds.), on Saturday and Sunday, April 21st and 22nd, and on Sunday, May 13th Mrs. O. Wiles, of Ipswich, paid a special visit to a Women’s Week-End, held at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church. Meanwhile, at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church preparations were being made to install a new organ which, with a recital performed by Mr. Ken Garratt of Newport Pagnell, was dedicated on Saturday, May 26th. Now thoroughly renovated, the organ had previously been at the church in Albert Street. From 3p.m. until 9p.m., the Baptist Midsummer Fete was held on the Baptist Sports Ground, Denmark Street, on Saturday, June 23rd, and renewing his acquaintance with the Baptists in the town was the Reverend A. Stuart Arnold, a student preacher at Old Bletchley in 1942, who one Sunday during the month conducted the Old Bletchley Baptist Sunday School anniversary services. Of the more traditional religion, at the end of June at £1 a week a cleaner was required at St. Mary’s Church, where from 9a.m. until 8p.m. on Monday, June 25th, (the annual Thanksgiving Day), the rector, the Reverend Lloyd Milne, sat to receive monetary gifts, in consequence of a special appeal for the fabric and heating of the church. Over £70 would be raised. On the evening of Friday, July 6th Dr. Ken Kirk, the Bishop of Oxford, made a visit to St Martin’s Church to consecrate the new altar in the south transept, fashioned in oak by Jones & Willis, of Birmingham. This would be known as the ‘Altar of St. Catherine’, and had been given by Mr. & Mrs. Boston of Leon Avenue, in memory of their daughter Patricia Ann, who had died on July 25th, 1943. Given by the Fenny Stratford Guides & Rangers, of which Patricia had been a member, the altar was surmounted by an oak cross, with the metal figure of Our Lord.

The 137th Sunday School anniversary was celebrated at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday, July 15th, and on Saturday, July 21st the Salvation Army annual garden party, in aid of the local funds, took place at the Baptist Sports Ground in Denmark Street. Having been opened at 3p.m. by councillor S. Maycock, chairman of the Council, the events included not only a baby show, at 3.30p.m., but also a music festival, at 7.10p.m., and another exciting event then occurred one Saturday in August when, at 5.45a.m., Father Wheeler discovered a fire in the kitchen of the Vicarage. Fortunately the fire brigade were soon on the scene and, excepting the charring of some floorboards and furniture, no serious damage was done. Being formerly the Methodist minister in Bletchley, the Reverend Yates, B.D., of Eynesbury, St. Neots, had now taken a B.A. degree at the University of London, and accepting an invitation to Cambridge would begin his ministry there in September 1946. As for the Reverend H. Sutters, the priest in charge at St. Margaret’s Mission Church, on Tuesday, September 4th he married Muriel Sadler, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Sadler, of Whitchurch, Glamorganshire. He was an only son, and with the engagement having been announced in late March, the wedding took place at his home town of Hereford. The harvest festival of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church opened on Sunday, September 9th, and on Monday evening the sale of produce made £23 10s. Then on the following evening the Harvest Festival Supper & Social took place, accommodated in the old rest centre adjoining the church. Elsewhere, at £1 per interment a gravedigger was now needed at St. Mary’s Church, the rector of which, the Reverend J. Lloyd Milne, had now been presented by the Bishop of Buckingham to the benefice of All Saints, Oving with St Giles, Pitchcott, near Aylesbury. There he would succeed the Reverend A. Hammond, who had been the rector since 1931. The Reverend J. Lloyd Milne had first come to Bletchley at Easter 1940, having for the previous two years been the rector of Quendon and Rickling, in the Diocese of Chelmsford, but his ecclesiastical career had begun in 1913, when he was ordained by the Bishop of London. He held subsequent curacies at St. Thomas, Camden Town, St. Marylebone, and Limehouse, and afterwards became the rector at Hanwood, Shrewsbury. Being not only mentioned in despatches but also awarded the military O.B.E., during World War One he served as chaplain in Salonika, and during his peacetime career would spend 10 years at Manchester Cathedral, as headmaster of the Cathedral school choir.

The living of Bletchley was in the patronage of the former rector, the Reverend F. Bennitt. He lived with his wife in retirement in Surrey, and the couple now received the good news that their eldest son, the Reverend Albert John Bennit, M.A, had been released from a Japanese prison camp. He had been a captive since the Fall of Singapore, but fortunately his wife and child, now aged 8½, had managed to return to England just before the invasion. Yet despite his freedom, as the priest in charge of the Chinese Mission to Malaya, Albert, in a cause to which the Chinese would eagerly rally their support, had decided to postpone his repatriation until the rebuilding of the work of his church. In fact being in charge of the Chinese churches, some eleven years ago he had gone as a missionary for the S.P.G. to the Malaya Peninsula, and it was to here that following a period of home leave he had then returned in 1939. Aged 38, and educated at Marlborough, and then Clare College, Cambridge, (where he gained a B.A.), he had been ordained as a deacon in 1930, and holding a curacy at St Luke’s, Newcastle upon Tyne, became a priest in 1931. Indeed, it would be whilst at Newcastle that he married Miss Richardson, a B.A. of Durham University, and since he held his curacy under Bishop Hall, when the latter became Bishop of Hong Kong it would appropriately be to this diocese that Albert would accompany him. By October the vicar of St. Martin’s, the Reverend C. Wheeler, C.D., had been elected as one of the proctors for the diocese of Oxford, in the Lower House of the Canterbury convocation, whilst as for the career of the Reverend Lloyd Milne, with his last service at Bletchley being on Sunday, October 7th, he was inducted at Oving on Thursday, October 18th by the Bishop of Buckingham. Until a replacement could be appointed the Reverend E. Orlebar, a retired clergyman of Crawley Park, Aspley Guise, would then take responsibility for the Sunday duties at St Mary’s Church, with the Reverend Wheeler, the Rural Dean, performing the weekday work.

As the first Sunday of Thanksgiving Week, on Sunday, November 11th large crowds attended the open-air services, with an afternoon service being preceded by a brief Armistice Day ceremony at the Bletchley Road memorial where, by Major General Blount, a wreath was laid on behalf of the British Legion. Their members had paraded with the Army Cadet Corps and the Salvation Army band in the Studio car park, and with a platform having been set up, following prayers and a silence the Reverend H. Sutters addressed the gathering. At the evening service in Old Bletchley the proceedings were conducted by Squadron Leader Berey, the padre, and in a procession to the church in which British Legion members, St. John Ambulance personnel, and the Army Cadet Force took part, torches were carried by the choir, with so many people attending that large numbers had to stand outside. Also on Armistice day, at the Salvation Army Hall in Church Street a tableau of illuminated crosses brought to a close the farewell celebrations for Miss Joan Chandler who, having earlier gained her release from the Women’s Land Army, was now leaving to undergo training as a Salvation Army officer. The following day there were then celebrations of a more unusual nature when, having been prepared in the churchyard, after an absence of seven years the Fenny poppers were fired, with the first exploded at exactly 12 o’clock by the vicar, the Reverend Wheeler, before a crowd of ‘youthful and excited‘ sightseers. From a furnace at the rear of the church, Mr. F. Duffield rushed out a six foot long red hot poker to ignite the poppers, but after the first explosion before the next five could be fired Mr. C. Pacey had to add additional powder. A London film cameraman and a London photographer were present to record the ceremony, and with the poppers again fired at 2p.m. and 4p.m. about 70 people subsequently attended the associated dinner at St. Martin’s Hall, consisting of a cold spread prepared by the ladies of the church. Begun the previous Sunday, on Wednesday, November 14th the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church choral festival came to a conclusion, with a 7.30p.m. performance of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. Featuring the B.B.C. singers, the event included the mezzo soprano Elsie Bebbington as the special soloist, and, with the anthems written by Miss G. Weatherhead, the rendition was well received. Also well received was a showing of ‘Penn of Pennsylvania’, a ‘Talkie Film’ which, with ‘useful gifts’ sold from a stall at 7p.m., was screened at the Bletchley Road Methodist church on Wednesday, November 21st.

The Reverend and Mrs. Allan Campbell
At their Hall in Church Street, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, November 24th, 25th, and 26th, Major David Parkhill conducted the Salvation Army Bletchley Corps anniversary and reunion meetings, to which Harriet Lawrence, now aged 87, had sent greetings. Having been instrumental in the foundation of the Bletchley Corps, she was still playing a role in Salvation Army functions, and from her retirement at St. Leonards described in a letter to Adjutant Taylor the small beginnings of that time. Living at the Fenny Stratford rectory, as the St. Martin’s choirmaster Mr. M. Cassels had taken over 2½ years ago, but he would now resign in early December due to pressure of work. However, beginning a new ecclesiastical career would be the Reverend Allan Campbell, M.A. who would succeed the Reverend Lloyd Milne at St. Mary’s Church. A native of Barrow in Furness, and educated at Selwyn College and Westcott House, Cambridge, he had been a rowing blue for Cambridge against Oxford in 1939, and when war broke out was the curate of Crosthwaite, near Keswick. Joining the R.N.V.R. as a chaplain, he served on H.M.S. Valiant from November, 1939 to June, 1942, and during this time saw considerable action in the Atlantic, Arctic, and Mediterranean, with his ship covering not only Wavell’s advances, but also the evacuation of Greece and Crete. Leaving the ship in South Africa in 1942, in August of that year he married Freda Iredale, whose home was in Cumberland, and after being appointed during 1943 to the Radar Training Ship H.M.S. Valkyrie, in the Isle of Man, when subsequently sent to Ceylon he served at the Royal Naval Hospital at Diyatalawa. In 1944 he then returned to Britain, and thence to duty at H.M.S. Victory, Portsmouth. A keen fan of Rugby football, just before the war he had played in his county trial match, and with his wife being also keen on sport she had played for the Middlesex women’s cricket eleven, indeed having been invited to tour Australia with the England team in 1939. As an ex military man no doubt the Reverend would be pleased to now learn that the recently closed St. Mary’s church knitting party had sent nearly 1,500 comforts and gifts of money to the Services. A Christmas sale of work and gift stalls took place at the Salvation Army Hall, Church Street, on Saturday, December 8th, and on the same day a Christmas market was scheduled to take place at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church. However, with ‘Father Christmas in charge of the Bran Tub’ this would be postponed until December 15th. For the St. Martin’s parochial church council, the year then closed with good news, for they had now been awarded a grant of £26 by the Council for the upkeep of the closed churchyard, instead of the previous sum of £16.



At an ‘exchange of pulpits’, on Sunday, January 13th the Reverend Holdsworth preached at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, whilst the Reverend Richardson preached at the Freeman Memorial Church in the morning, and then at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church in the evening. The previous evening, at 7p.m. the nativity play ‘Wonder Night’ had been staged at St. Martin’s Hall, and with the event having been performed by the Sunday school teachers of Lavendon parish, the proceeds, after expenses, were for the St. Nicholas Homes for Children. For their reconstruction fund, with admission at 1s, and 6d, at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church at 7p.m. on Wednesday, January 16th a performance was given of ‘Gold Chains’, a missionary play, and in fact it was now announced that returning from ‘missionary’ work would be the former commander of the Bletchley Salvation Army Corps, Major John Hornby, who for six years had been in charge of a Salvation Army Forces hostel in Gibraltar. He was due back at the end of the year, but as for the beginning of the year, with welcome meetings held on the following Saturday - both for themselves and their two children - on Thursday, January 17th Captain and Mrs. Thompson took over the Bletchley Salvation Army from Adjutant and Mrs. E. Taylor. From a similar position at Durham they had now been in charge of the Bletchley Corps since last June, and although Birstall, Yorkshire, had been initially announced, Stockton Citadel would be their new destination. Also locally taking over a new position would be the Reverend Alan Campbell, aged 32, who, with the service conducted by the Bishop of Buckingham, assisted by the Reverend Wheeler, was instigated and inducted as the rector of St. Mary’s Church on Wednesday, January 31st.

Having formerly been the churchwarden at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Rye Park, with which he had been associated for the past 17 years, William Codman would now become the new verger at St. Martin’s Church. Originally a carpenter by trade, he had given up this occupation through ill health and, although the current housing shortage debarred him from bringing his wife to Bletchley, he was presently living in North Street with his daughter in law, Mrs. P. Codman, whose husband was serving with the B.A.O.R. In fact Mr. Codman would take over the duties formerly carried out by Andrew Alderman, of 50, Napier Street, who, because of the health of his wife, had resigned from the position in November, 1944. The couple had then moved to Evesham, to be looked after by their eldest daughter, Mrs. E. Cartwright, but sadly Mrs. Alderman died around the end of January. Due to the departure of personnel from Bletchley Park and the service camps, the income had now decreased for the nearby Freeman Memorial Church, and similarly during 1945 there had been a shortfall regarding St. Martin’s Hall, where no rent had been received from June to September. As for the present year, as reported by Mrs. McLeod, the secretary of the Hall committee, ‘We know nothing definite yet about the schools but they took over again in September.’ However, finances were more definite at St. Margaret’s, where £30 had been collected for a new organ, since the present installation was ‘a difficult instrument to manipulate.’ Also on a musical theme, at St. Mary’s Church as one of his first undertakings the Reverend Campbell had appealed for bell ringers and choir members, but on Friday, February 15th a sad note was sounded by the death at 11, Railway Terrace, of Elizabeth Collier, the first member of the St. Mary’s Mothers Union. Born at Water Eaton, she had worked as a young girl in a business in Cambridge Street making straw hats, and at the age of 19 married an engine driver, Dan Collier, who had died 41 years ago. As for colliers in the pottery towns, they were regaled during February with the message ‘New men for a new world’, as part of a ‘Christmas Commando’ campaign in which 30 young ministers, including the Reverend G. Holdsworth, took part. In fact he spoke to men down the pits on two occasions, and also targeted were dance halls, pubs and similar venues. On Monday, February 18th the Reverend Campbell attended his first St. Mary’s Parochial Council meeting. Here, the question of the inadequate advertising of church services was discussed, and it was consequently agreed to purchase a notice board which, fashioned from solid oak, would be erected near the main gates of the church during July. Also as a means to spread the ‘word’ there would be a church magazine, and although an issue had been produced prior to the war, for the combined parishioners of St. Mary’s Church, Great Brickhill, and Newton Longville, since this had ceased during 1940 the new publication should be ‘a real instrument of fellowship and interest to all.’ Indeed, this would ironically prove prophetic, for a few weeks later about 22s from the sale of the copies would be stolen from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbard, in Water Eaton Road.

From the end of February, the Salvation Army youth centre, in Church Street, would be open every Thursday from 7p.m. - 10p.m. for young people, who would be able to indulge in table tennis, bagatelle, darts and a library. As for those of more musical inclinations, at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church on Tuesday, April 9th they could enjoy a programme of classical music, (to include the first movement of the Greig concerto), which would be given at 7.30p.m. Presently offering a 1936 Murdoch Baby Grand piano for sale, Gertie Weatherhead, of 1, Leon Avenue, was to be the solo organist, and she would hopefully resist the temptation to apply for a position at St. Mary’s Church, where a similar post was now offered that paid £50 p.a., ‘plus fees’. With a London firm of heating engineers having been asked to obtain specifications, it was anticipated that, providing the necessary permit and faculty were granted, central heating would be installed at St. Mary’s Church before the next winter. The present arrangement consisted of only a coke stove in the main body of the church, and a few insufficient electric tubular heaters in the sanctuary, and towards raising the finance £60 was raised by a jumble sale at the Old Bletchley school, held on Saturday, April 27th. As for providing a warm welcome for his parishioners, the Reverend H. Sutters, of St. Margaret’s, expressed his opinion that of the people coming to the church some liked to be shown to their seats, and be spoken to afterwards by the clergy, but others ‘did not wish to be pounced upon’, and ‘wanted their churchgoing to be as inconspicuous as possible.’ Therefore, perhaps these observations were then heeded on Thursday, April 30th when the 60th anniversary of the dedication of St. Margaret’s was commemorated, and no doubt the occasion proved nostalgic for the preacher at a ‘solemn evensong’, the Reverend Eric Perkins, of All Saints, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead, for he had been the priest in charge at the church from 1935 until 1938. For the Catholics in the town, on Wednesday, May 15th for the building fund of the church of St. Thomas Aquinas £8 was raised by an Old Time Dance. Featuring the Papworth Trio, this was held at the Community Centre, but at St. Mary’s Church matters were proving a little less cordial, since concern was now being expressed that old established seats were being taken by strangers, and although the seats were free, many families had long claimed them by tradition. Indeed, the situation was aggravated by the increasing attendance, but with over 50 people waiting to enter the church this no doubt boded well on Easter Sunday for the St. Mary’s garden fete held, by permission of Mrs. Whiteley, at The Grange on Saturday, June 1st. Commencing at 2.30p.m., the events included pony rides, a tennis tournament, ankle competition and a dog show, and, with admission costing 6d, and car parking 6d, proceeds were for the heating fund, a licence for the installation of the necessary equipment having been received in May. Yet on the day before the fete there had been a less welcome form of heating at the Fenny Stratford vicarage, when during the afternoon the premises were damaged by a serious fire, which had probably started in the kitchen chimney. As for the Salvation Army, as part of their Grand Musical Festival weekend during the evening at 5.30p.m. they held an open air service in Bletchley Road, followed at 6.45p.m. by a performance given, in the Salvation Army Hall, by the Luton Citadel Band.

In June, the Parochial Church Council of St. Mary’s decided to erect a copper plaque in the church, on which would be recorded the names of all those from the parish who had died in the World Wars. Also a new clock, chiming on the church bells, was to be installed in the church tower, although potentially there would be an additional claim on the available monies with the discovery, during a spring clean, of an infestation of death watch beetle in the main beams of the church. Fortunately this posed no immediate problem, but nevertheless the Reverend Campbell decided to call in an expert from Reading, intending that the outbreak should be dealt with at the same time as the installation of the new heating system. On Saturday, June 22nd, in ideal weather the garden fete held by the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church reached a target of £100, a sum which would now help to defray the costs of providing a manse. There were also scenes of considerable activity at the Fenny Stratford vicarage garden on the afternoon of Saturday, July 6th, when the annual missionary garden meeting of the St. Martin’s Missionary Association was held. As a special visitor, the Reverend C.G. Pearson, a former Canon of Calcutta Cathedral, gave an informative address on the Oxford Mission to Calcutta, as well as the progress of the Christian Church in India, and pleasingly the event raised the sum of £36. Also pleasing was the progress of the Reverend G. Holdsworth, B.D., the Methodist minister at Bletchley, for as one of 35 Methodist ministers his ordination took place at Finsbury Park Methodist Church on Thursday, July 18th. Duly appointed to the Methodist church at Harpenden, he had been sponsored by the Reverend W. Lorne Cornish, of ‘Rochford’, Nower Hill, Pinner, whose only daughter Irene, the Reverend Holdsworth would marry on Wednesday, August 14th, at Pinner Methodist Church. Music being by courtesy of the Papworth Trio, as a result of another old time dance, again held at St. Martin’s Hall, the Catholic church building fund came to benefit by £17, whilst as a result of a Victory Day service, held in the Leon Recreation Ground, the Committee for Christian Reconstruction in Europe acknowledged receipt of £9 1s 3d. Considerable proceeds were then raised for the church heating fund, when at the Yeomanry Hall, and also an adjoining field, lent by Mrs. Whiteley, the first summer fete held by the Old Bletchley Mission of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church took place on Saturday, July 27th. Meanwhile, regarding the heating of St. Mary’s Church, the licence had now been granted for the installation of the system, but although it would be necessary for a cellar to be built to accommodate the boiler, the Ministry of Works had refused a permit to buy the necessary bricks! Nevertheless, more monies were raised for the fund when, on the evening of Saturday, August 24th, a well attended variety concert at Wilton Hall was held, and with the first part being a variety of individual items by local amateurs, the second part was the one act play, ‘Red Sky at Night’, presented by Bletchco Players. Also enjoyed would be an outing on Saturday, August 31st, when a visit to Wicksteed Park was made by three busloads of scholars and friends from the Sunday School of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, whose trustees during mid September would come to benefit by £50, as the price that the Council had agreed to pay for a plot of land at the rear of the premises.

At Water Eaton, for those old folk, and others, who had found difficulty in attending the services at St. Mary’s Church soon, following arrangements by the Reverend A. Campbell, they would be able to attend evensong and sermons at the Coronation Hall. Denis Gurney was to act as Rector’s Warden, Mr. Grainger-Cox as People’s Warden, and Eric Smith as Treasurer, whilst as for those of the Methodist persuasion, at the beginning of October it was announced that Edward Wilson, an ex R.A.F. man - in fact having been released from the service the previous week - would succeed the Reverend Holdsworth as the Methodist Minister in Bletchley. The only son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Wilson, of Hull, now aged 24 he first became a local preacher at the age of 17, and after working in an office then volunteered for the R.A.F. During five years of service, (four and a half of which were spent overseas), he studied for the ministry, and duly passed his final exam in July. On his behalf Mr. G. Adkins, of 41, Buckingham Road, had advertised for furnished rooms in Bletchley, but in fact Mr. Wilson would only stay until mid 1947, on account of attending college. Entitled ‘Merry-go-round’, on Saturday, October 5th a new style social evening attracted large crowds at St. Martin’s Church. The items included music, sketches, old time and modern dancing, and a children’s corner, and after expenses the Organ Fund came to benefit by £33. Meanwhile, at St. Mary’s Church most of the excavations for the space to accommodate the boiler were now complete, and, using concrete blocks instead of bricks, building would soon begin. Soon, the construction of the new Catholic church would also hopefully commence, for the fund had now reached £1,000. However, to be succeeded by Father K. Jones - who would leave in September, 1947 for Norwich - the Reverend Father Tomlinson, who had been the priest in charge of the Bletchley Roman Catholic Church for the past six years, was to shortly depart from Bletchley for Cromer, and at the Swan Hotel on Wednesday, December 11th he would be accordingly presented with a cheque by the local Catholics.

With a B.B.C. soprano, contralto, and baritone taking part in the performance, at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church on Friday, October 25th a fine rendition of Mendelssohn’s Elijah was given. The organist, (and also the church mistress), was Gertie Weatherhead, who at her well attended wedding on Saturday, November 9th would receive a congratulatory telegram from Stanley Riley and Margaret Rees, the B.B.C. singers who had often sung to her accompaniment in the church. Gertie was the youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Weatherhead, and amongst the wedding gifts would be a pyrex dish in a silver stand, given by the staff of the Weatherhead’s shop in Bletchley. The groom, Edgar Bedford, of Newton Longville, had been an army staff sergeant during the war, but he was now employed by the Bletchley Co-op as chief motor mechanic. On Wednesday, October 30th the Bletchley branch of the C. of E. Men’s Society recommenced, and members might have been interested in applying for a newly required position of choirmaster. With applicants to contact the vicar - ‘in writing’ - the post involved training a mixed choir at St. Martin’s Church, and musical talents were also in need one Saturday in early November, when a Musical Festival was staged. at the Salvation Army Hall. Following a tea at 4p.m., the Northampton Central Band performed at 7p.m. and with the event forming part of the diamond jubilee celebrations, on Sunday the associated meetings were conducted by Major and Mrs. Mercer. Given by the family of the late Dan Quinby, as a tribute to his many years as a faithful worker at the church, on November 10th an oak screen, separating the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and choir, was dedicated at St. Martin’s Church by the Bishop of Buckingham, the Right Reverend R. Hoy, who during the evening preached the St. Martin’s Day sermon. As laid down by the founder of the church, Browne Willis, the other traditional ceremonies were then observed on Monday, November 11th with, at midday, 2p.m. and 4p.m., the ‘Poppers’ being fired, the first of which was ‘touched off ’ by the vicar. On Sunday, November 24th the Bishop would then be reacquainted with the town when, following a visit to the village ‘church’ at Water Eaton, during the evening he confirmed eight girls and six boys at St. Mary’s Church.

During a ‘gift weekend’, towards the end of November at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church efforts were made to generate finance, to not only rid the premises of rot in the woodwork, but to also redecorate the vestibule. On a Gift Tree, which was later positioned in the school hall, the members had hung monetary contributions wrapped in little coloured bags, and when later in the evening the tree was unloaded by Miss B. Eden, the headmistress of the evacuated Infants School, the sum of £85 would be realised. On Saturday, December 7th the Bletchley Road Methodist Church not only accommodated a presentation of two nativity plays but also, enjoying brisk business, a Christmas gift stall. Then on the following Saturday the members of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, assisted by members of the Boys’ Brigade, held a successful Christmas bazaar, and the £66 thus raised would be divided to help defray the cost of restoring both the church vestibule and the organ. On December 18th the Reverend A. Palmer, of Yakusa, Congo, paid a special visit to the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, and on the same day at the Community Centre the Catholics held a dance in aid of their church building fund. With music provided by the Papworth Trio, the proceeds would amount to £17. Adjoining the present churchyard of St. Mary’s, an acre of land for use as a burial ground had now been offered to the Council by the Reverend A. Campbell, and this, subject to the approval of the Surveyor regarding a suitable access, would be accepted with thanks. However, although remedial work had recently been commenced, the Surveyor might also have concerns about a number of loose coping stones on top of St. Mary’s Church tower, which hopefully the Reverend Campbell also had in mind when, to celebrate the birth of his daughter, on Christmas Eve he rang the treble bell, in the team of ringers that rang the ¼ peal of a ‘grandshires triple’. As for St. Martin’s Church, the seasonal celebrations had now been enhanced by a new set of crib figures, presented by the ladies of the Sewing Party in memory of Mrs. Besant.



The year began with the need for a verger at St. Martin’s Church, (apply to the Honorary Secretary at 5, Victoria Road), and when members of the Bletchley Baptists Women’s League held their annual business meeting on Tuesday, January 7th, with Mrs. W. Richardson presiding they made arrangements to despatch a monthly parcel of foodstuffs to Germany. However, headgear was presently the more urgent need for the Reverend Campbell who, somewhere between the Rectory and Bletchley Road, had recently lost his treasured deerstalker hat, ‘the most useful and comfortable hat I have ever had.’ Unfortunately it had gone for good, and he had to purchase another. On Wednesday, January 15th two coach loads of adults and children, from the Catholic church, were despatched to a pantomime at Northampton. Yet weather conditions made travel on the roads far from ideal, and in fact on Wednesday, January 29th it was so cold that the clock on St. Martin’s Church tower froze up. As for the Victory Clock Fund at St. Mary’s Church, a Variety Concert would take place in the Assembly Hall at 7.30p.m. on Saturday, February 8th, with Miss B. Metcalfe’s orchestra amongst the artistes. Elsewhere, having sat the exams for associate membership of the Royal College of Organists, Mrs. Edgar Bedford A.T.C.L., (nee Gertie Weatherhead), of 1, Leon Avenue, had been awarded an A.R.C.O. degree, and could now fully justify her position as the organist at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church.

Some three hours after being admitted to a nursing home, having been ill for some time the Reverend Frederick Wilmot Bennitt, formerly the rector of Bletchley for 28 years, died on Thursday, February 6th at Sanderstead, Surrey. He was aged 73, and on the following Monday the cremation took place at Sanderstead, with his ashes being later removed to Bletchley. For three generations the family had been patrons of the living of Bletchley, and when his uncle, (who had been the rector for 45 years), died on Good Friday 1906, it was Frederick who succeeded to the role, which he would then retain until August 1934. Educated at Pembroke College Cambridge, and ordained as deacon in 1896, and a priest a year later, he became curate at Plumstead and then Rugby, and in 1901 and 1902 acted as chaplain to the forces in South Africa. From 1903 to 1909 he was priest in charge of a Hagbourne mission church, but after spending a few months at Buxton he would then begin his long and distinguished association with Bletchley. Serving in the R.A.M.C. in 1918 and 1919, (including some months in Salonica), he became Rural Dean in 1923, but in 1934 whilst riding a motorcycle along Buckingham Road he was involved in an accident, in which he broke a leg. However, in August of the same year his ties with Bletchley were then broken, when he exchanged livings with the Reverend A. Partridge, of East Peckham, Kent. As a noted local historian, the Reverend Bennitt wrote a series of articles for the North Bucks Times, which were published in a limited edition book, and of his other interests he was president of the old Bletchley Musical Society, chaplain to the North Bucks Province of the R.A.O.B., and president of the Bletchley branch of the British Legion. He also took a keen interest in the Children’s Country Holiday Fund, and at times brought around 100 children from London into the district for country holidays. Both his sons would gain university distinctions, with the eldest subsequently undertaking missionary work in Hong Kong, and he was also the father of a daughter, as was the Reverend Campbell whose recent offspring, Alison Margaret, would be christened by the Bishop of Buckingham at St. Mary’s Church on Friday, February 7th. On February 8th, the Variety Concert in aid of the Victory Clock Fund at St. Mary’s Church proved a great success, and although he was aged over 80 Mr. J. Fennell had not only produced a one act comedy, entitled ‘Dearest Mamma’, but also played the part of ‘Uncle Browser’. Some 150 people attended the event, and as well as the play they were as equally appreciative of a performance by Miss B. Metcalfe’s orchestra.

Led by Mrs. Richardson, a Women’s World Day of Prayer service was held at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church on Friday, February 21st, and prayers were also said at St. Martin’s Church, where the choir stalls were being ‘ruthlessly attacked by some militant insect, and are already far gone in the process of decay.’ A fund was therefore in hand to provide oak replacements, and perhaps this was then a matter for discussion at the annual meeting of the Fenny Stratford Parochial Church Council when, with the Reverend Wheeler in the chair, Mr. Gilby was reappointed as the organist. As the treasurer, Mr. J. Goodwin reported a satisfactory financial position, and presenting the St. Martin’s Hall account Mrs. McLeod showed that £271, as the balance at the beginning of the year, had now been increased to £432. Then in further good news the Vicar’s Warden, Mr. W. Hurst, announced a total of £350 for the church restoration fund. However, after ringing the bells at St. Martin’s on Sunday, March 2nd rather more than the church would need to be restored, for whilst walking home Mr. J. Eames, aged 70, of ‘Ashlyn’ Staple Hall Road, fell on the ice and broke his right wrist. Perhaps he might then have considered cheering himself up by attending the contemporary Ladies Weekend which, held at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, included a concert and various sketches. With music provided by the Papworth Trio, despite a blizzard the Bletchley Catholics held an enjoyable dance at the Community Centre, whilst at the Assembly Hall equally enjoyable was the St. Patrick’s night masked dance - ‘masks provided’ - which proved so popular that the doors had to be closed to prevent people from pushing their way in. The Night Riders dance band provided the music, Tom Cloran acted as M.C., and the buffet was supplied by the Swan Hotel, and as a result of the event the Catholic Church Building Fund came to benefit by £50. In fact this was especially good news since, to allow a church to be built, permission for ‘a change of user’ had now been granted to the Roman Catholic church authorities for the land at the corner of Church Street and Victoria Road. However, it was a change of surplice that the Reverend C. Wheeler required when he attended a meeting of clergymen at Leighton Buzzard, for the garment caught fire! Indeed, the incident not only made national news but was also reported in the March 24th issue of the American magazine ‘Time’, which stated; “‘Day of wrath, oh day of mourning’ sang the officiating clergyman at the funeral service in Britain’s Leighton Buzzard parish church; ‘see fulfilled the prophet’s warning, heaven and earth in ashes burning.’ Suddenly a flickering, ethereal light danced about the venerable head of Rural Dean Cyril A. Wheeler. The back of his snowy surplice had burst into flame from a nearby candle. The dean looked startled but stood quietly as Leighton’s quick-thinking vicar S. John Forrest hurried over and began beating him on the back with a hymn book. In a moment the crisis was over. As the solemn Requiem Mass swept sonorously on (‘Yet, good Lord, in grace complying, rescue me from fires undying’) Dean Wheeler hurried out to don a new surplice. ‘I felt unusually warm’, he explained later ‘but I didn’t know I was on fire until the Vicar beat me.’ Said the Vicar, ‘No serious damage - except that he was wearing one of my surplices. They’re hard to come by these days.’” Hopefully the Reverend had fully recovered when on Sunday, April 6th he dedicated a silver ciborium, which had been given to commemorate the memory of Mr. W. Smith, of 20, Brooklands Road, for his many years as a devoted communicant.

Featuring Cecil Austin, at 7.30p.m. at Bletchley Road Methodist Church an ‘Evening with Chopin’ had been scheduled for Friday, May 9th - admission free - but unfortunately this would have to be cancelled due to illness, with the public informed via a loudspeaker van. At the Freeman Memorial Church, Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary was performed at 7.15p.m. on Good Friday, which would also be the date for ‘the most successful event in the musical history of Bletchley’, an excellent performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church. Featuring a choir of 60 voices, also included were four well known soloists, and with 140 German P.O.W.s amongst the audience the profit, which was expected to total around £20, would be appropriately applied for the Peace Memorial Organ Fund, which now stood at £800. As for the funds of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, these were boosted by a successful Easter sale of work, held in the recreation hut. The proceeds amounted to over £100, and included the 10 guineas of ‘ship half pennies’ that had been collected by the scholars of the Sunday school. Substantial finance was still a continuing need at St. Mary’s Church where, as evidenced by the honeycombed appearance of a piece of wood from beneath one of the pews, Death Watch beetle had ravaged the timbers. Fortunately, over the course of two weeks workmen had been engaged in remedial treatment, and indeed so conscientious were their efforts that they had even brought camp beds on which to sleep in the vestry, until the rector suggested the use of the parish room instead. Attention was also paid to the woodwork of the belfry, and in the opinion of the firm the timbers would remain free from further infestations for at least 20 years. Perhaps woodworm had also affected the flagstaff on the tower, for following the gales of the previous night it had snapped in half, to be duly discovered on the morning of Easter Sunday hanging over the turret, held up by the lightning conductor. In fact this was especially unfortunate, since the intention had been to fly the new flag of St. George on that day.

On the question of a war memorial for the interior of the church, the rector, the Reverend Campbell, sought the advice of no less an eminence than Mr. J. Comper, ‘the greatest English Church architect alive today’, who despite his age of 82 had agreed to travel to Bletchley, to spend a day considering a suitable scheme. He duly suggested that either side of the altar the walls, which were at present covered by unsightly tiles, should be instead adorned with two oak panels - that on the north side bearing the names of the fallen of World War One, and that on the south with those of World War Two - and he further recommended that in place of the existing ‘hideous’ altar the panels should be joined by an oak panel in relief. Whilst impressed by these proposals, the rector pointed out that funds for such a scheme were insufficient, but nevertheless when put to members of the Parochial Church Council their opinion was that the intention should be carried out, and so ‘make the whole of the east end of the church very beautiful, instead of a rather ghastly mass of tiles, stone and slate.’ In fact approval had in principle been given by the Chancellor at Oxford, and, with around half of the estimated £550 already raised, it was hoped that the required total could be obtained before the end of the year. As for the Victory Clock, which would ring all eight bells, and chime the quarters, £160 had been so far collected. At the Baptist Sunday School, with an impressive total of 70 scholars there was now a need for more male teachers. Unfortunately, even by November no one had come forward, although for ecclesiastical appointments there was less of a reluctance, with Mr. E. Staniford re-elected as the rector’s warden, and Mr. W. Palin as the people’s warden. As for St. Margaret’s Mission Church, Mr. E. Waite had become honorary warden in succession to Mr. G. Battams, and at St. Martin’s Church at the Fenny Stratford Parish Easter Vestry Mr. G. Thorne gained election as people’s warden. Mr. W. Hurst was vicar’s warden, and no doubt his services were much appreciated on Easter Sunday, when, thought to be a record, the Reverend C. Wheeler baptised eight babies.

Following the association with St. Mary’s Church, there had now been a good response to the services held at Water Eaton. 20 children were presently attending the Sunday School, whilst at a meeting at Water Eaton of the three local Methodist churches, under the chairmanship of the Reverend E. Wilson plans for a new and larger church were discussed on Wednesday, April 9th, with the outlining of a general scheme. However, for the meanwhile it was decided to undertake a redecoration of the existing premises, since it was anticipated that the new centre would not be opened for another five years. Then even this projection was thrown into doubt, when the application by Mr. W. Grainger Cox for a ‘change of user’ of land in Stoke Road, as the intended site for a church, was refused, on the grounds that it was ‘contrary to the proposed character zoning, and the unsuitability of the location of the site.’ Two new officers were officially welcomed by the Salvation Army on Thursday, May 15th. They were Major Breese, from Elstow, and Adjutant Redhead, from Wollaston, and on behalf of the Methodist churches the Reverend E. Wilson wished them success in their work, which was also the wish for Cadet J. Sharman of Bletchley who, as one of 240 Salvation Army cadets commissioned at Congress Hall, Clapton, London, received the rank of Captain. Prior to taking up an appointment in China, she would be posted to a children’s home in Southend, having prior to joining the Salvation Army served 4½ years in the Women’s Land Army. The Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church Women’s Week End took place on May 17th and 18th, with a grand variety concert held on the Saturday at 7.30p.m., admission 2s. Then, as the first such occasion since 1828, the annual meeting of the Northamptonshire Baptist Association took place in Bletchley on Tuesday, May 27th. This comprised a morning meeting preceded by a short devotional service, and representatives attended from most of the 65 churches in the Association which, having been originally planned in 1764, was formed the following year. For St. Mary’s Church, outdoor entertainments were the order of the day on Saturday, June 7th, but although Mr. N. Green had given permission for the use of The Grange, because of rain the morning activities, including a whist drive, were instead transferred to the Yeomanry Hall. Events then concluded in the evening with a Grand Flannel Dance in the Assembly Hall, and proceeds would be for the Victory Clock, as also would be the proceeds from a gymkhana held at Holne Chase on Saturday, July 12th.

On Sunday, June 8th there had been a special visit by the Reverend James Davidson, of Upoto, Congo, at the Spurgeon Missionary Deputation, whilst as for St. Martin’s Church, a grant of £36 towards the upkeep of the closed churchyard had been made by the Council. At St. Mary’s Church the new cemetery was now available for burials, with the authority for providing a roadway, fencing, artificial grass, tool shed, bier and ‘lowering device’, being vested in the Surveyor, who no doubt also took an interest in a suggestion by the Methodist Organisation, as the owners, of converting vacant land fronting Bletchley Road and Albert Street into a garden. The air raid shelter on the site had been recently demolished, and in due course the question of the Council acquiring the land would be discussed. For the past nine years Alice Clarke had lived with her brother William, but having survived her husband, also William, by 11 years, at the age of 76 she died at Noke Cottage, Church Green Road, on Wednesday, June 11th. Married in 1892, the couple had lived at Rectory Cottage for over 40 years, and having since 1900 been the caretakers at St. Mary’s Church, in appreciation of their service they were presented in 1928 with a corner cupboard, made from oak from the belfry. Followed by a tea and a bring and buy sale, the North Bucks Women’s Missionary Rally was held at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church on June 11th, with the Special Speaker being Miss D. Webb of Udayagiri, India. However, the annual missionary garden meeting, which was to have taken place at Fenny Stratford vicarage on Saturday, June 14th, had to be held in the Community Centre due to continuous rain. Nevertheless, providing an interesting link with the past was the special speaker the Reverend A. Bennitt, the son of the late Reverend F. Bennitt, who for many years had been the rector of Bletchley. With the parishioners having paid for the children’s expenses, on Sunday, June 22nd local Catholics and friends travelled in two buses to Wicksteed Park, and shortly travelling to Victoria College, Manchester, would be the two Bletchley probationary Methodist ministers the Reverend W. Burridge, and the Reverend H. Brandon. As for the Reverend J. Wills, he would serve a year in the East Barnsley circuit, but for Miss Francis Gait she reached the end of her career at the age of 83, when she died at 49, Church Green Road on Friday, September 12th. Having been a music teacher, until afflicted by an increasing deafness she was also the organist for over 50 years at St. Mary’s Church, where a four foot organ pipe, ‘handsomely painted’ by Mr. Grainger Cox, would now be affixed to a pillar, to remind parishioners of the organ repair fund.

As the replacement for the Reverend Ewart Wilson, who had now left for the Methodist Theological College at Handsworth, Birmingham, the new Methodist minister of Bletchley would be the Reverend Cyril Selman, who was welcomed on the evening of Wednesday, September 10th by the two local societies at the Bletchley Road Methodist hut. For the past 18 months he had been at a P.O.W. camp at Halstead, but having now been demobilised from the Army he said that his life in the Forces had caused him to know men as they really were, ‘without the frills of convention.’ Partly in memory of the parishioners who died during World War Two, by the end of October to beautify the church St. Martin’s parochial church council had launched an appeal for £550, and it was intended to provide new clergy and choir stalls, a new altar rail, and an oak chancel screen with rood figures. However, although the provision of a new altar rail had been considered for some time, the idea of a chancel screen with figures had seemed too ambitious until - providing the rest of the scheme was carried out - Mrs. I. Morley, of Green Acre, Quorn, (who had formerly been associated with the church as Miss Cundell), offered to give the necessary £552, in memory of members of her family. During the first weekend of November, the 37th anniversary service of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church took place, commencing on Saturday with a public tea and meeting. Also at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, on the Wednesday the North Bucks Methodists then gathered in force for the annual meeting of the Wolverton and Bletchley Circuit, and this provided the ideal occasion for Dr. S. Hughes to deliver a stirring call for practising Christians ‘to confront the deterioration in national morality.’ Regarding the traditional celebrations associated with the founder of St. Martin’s Church, due to the national food shortage although light refreshments were served the traditional St. Martin’s Day dinner could not be held, although as a benefit to the church Mrs. Hill, of Manor Road, had given sufficient material for Miss Evans to produce ‘a fair linen piece’ for the high altar. Meanwhile, at St. Mary’s Church a married couple were now required as caretakers, and with the position paying £5 a week a cottage would be provided. Applicants were to apply in writing to the Reverend A. Campbell, who on Saturday, December 6th then found himself obliged to perform the opening of the St. Mary’s Parish Market and Christmas Bazaar at the Assembly Hall since, with her latest film being behind schedule, the intended personality, the actress Fay Compton, had been unfortunately unable to attend. Then as a further inconvenience, due to the regulations in force the lights were not switched on until 3.30p.m., but nevertheless £150 would be raised for the Victory Clock. As for monies for the building fund of the Catholic church, at 8p.m. an All Modern Dance took place in the Assembly Hall on Saturday, December 8th, with Lew Keay and his Embassy Orchestra.

After 30 years, Mr. F. Bates had now resigned from the office of superintendent of the Bletchley Baptist Junior Church, but for the congregation of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church on the evening of Sunday, December 21st they enjoyed an excellent performance of J. Maunder’s ‘Bethlehem’. As for the entertainment of the Mothers Union, on December 23rd about 50 members watched the first films that had been screened in a Bletchley church, when at St. Mary’s on a screen erected across the chancel several films, provided by the Dawn film society, were projected during an occasion that lasted for about two hours. On Christmas morning the free churches of Bletchley held a united service at the Bletchley Road Methodist Church, whilst at St. Martin’s Church two couples remembered their marriage 50 years ago, namely Mr. and Mrs. George Harrald, of 44, High Street, and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wallis, of 22, Victoria Road. Having moved at an early age to Bletchley from Hemel Hempstead, Mrs. Harrald had been 19 at the time of her marriage, and her husband, who had come to the town from Market Harborough two years before, had been four years older. At Bletchley, he had worked for a while as a groom on the Leon estate, but was later employed at Rowlands, where he subsequently stayed for 35 years until his retirement. Bringing the year to a close, 43 junior members of the Catholic faith enjoyed an excellent tea at the Swan on Saturday, December 27th, with every child receiving a present.




On the evening of Wednesday, January 3rd an enormous explosion was heard throughout Bletchley, when, at 20.20 hours, a V1 flying bomb fell near Moulsoe. The incident proved a dramatic reminder that, despite the invasion of Europe, there was still a very real danger from enemy activity, and in fact 9,251 V1s would be launched by March, with 2,563 reaching London. The last was to fall on March 27th at Orpington, Kent, but it seems ironic that the lives of three people in Buckinghamshire were claimed even after the end of the war, during secret missile tests conducted on November 14th, 1947. Despite the risk of continuing attacks, the Community Centre had now been derequisitioned as a centre for refugees fleeing the V weapons, and on Saturday, January 13th it was reopened with a social evening and dance. Mr. E. Halsey, the new warden, acted as M.C., and the entertainment featured games and competitions, with Mr. Papworth’s band providing the music. Cards received by Mrs. Moser from her husband Carl, a Japanese P.O.W., now suggested that he was receiving Red Cross parcels, which no doubt would soon also be appreciated by Sgt. W/A.G. Jack Bromfield, of 37, Albert Street. A radio operator and air gunner, he had volunteered for service in 1943, and, as a member of the crew of a Halifax III bomber, was shot down over Germany on January 5th by a night fighter pilot, Heinz Rokker, an enemy ace who, in recognition of 65 ‘kills’, had been awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. Excepting one member, Sergeant Dacey, six of the bomber crew had bailed out, and, despite injuring his ankle on landing, Jack remained on the run until January 13th, when he was captured and sent to a prison camp. From 158 squadron the Halifax - MZ432 NP-Q - had taken off at 1701 hours from Lissett, Yorkshire, having been detailed for a raid on Hanover. In connection with the Allied landings in Normandy, temporary Lieutenant John Sulman D.S.C., R.N.V.R., had now been mentioned in despatches, and the bravery of Captain, (temporarily Major), Roland Menday, of the Highland Light Infantry, would also be recognised, by the award of the M.C. for ‘gallant and distinguished services’ in North West Europe.

For the benefit of those Bletchley personnel serving abroad, for the Old Bletchley Comforts Fund on January 20th a ‘Sausage and Mash Supper’ was held at the Yeomanry Hall - ‘please bring your own knives and forks’. This was followed by a social, whilst for returning members of the Forces on Tuesday, January 30th a meeting would be held at 7.30p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Council Offices, where consideration would be given to setting up a Welcome Home Fund. Regarding H.M.S. Meon, the warship adopted about 2½ years ago by the town, the Council’s plaque had still not been received from the Admiralty, and enquiries as to its whereabouts would now be made. In fact for some while the ship had been on loan to another navy, and having a Canadian crew the Commanding Officer said in a letter to the Council that although the officers and crew felt honoured to be adopted by Bletchley, the town might wish to consider adopting another ship. However, on April 23rd with the anti submarine equipment removed the vessel would be decommissioned and revert to Royal Navy control, to be converted by the end of the year to the role of a Landing Ship Headquarters. Yet apart from the association with the ship, the town continued to support the Navy in other ways for, as contributions from his customers, £24 10s had now been collected in ship halfpennies by John Odell, a hairdresser of Buckingham Road. The sum would be forwarded to the Royal Navy War Libraries Fund. One Thursday evening, during the month a tragic accident occurred when Lieutenant Jacques Donald Alphouse Buisson, a 32 year old officer of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, was fatally injured in an accident on the Watling Street, between Bletchley and Little Brickhill. Stationed at Bletchley, he had been living at 18, Vicarage Road, and the Commanding Officer of the unit, Major Saxon, was amongst the four other occupants who were injured. The incident had happened shortly after 7p.m., when the vehicle collided with a lorry being refuelled at a petrol station on the Watling Street, and despite the injured being swiftly taken to Luton and Dunstable hospital, the Lieutenant died early on Friday. His home had been at 18 Beechway, Wilmslow, Cheshire, where he left a young widow. At the Yalta conference, held between February 4th and 11th, the Allies agreed concerted plans for the defeat of Germany. Yet the defeat of Japan seemed far less certain, and with the continuing Allied air assaults Sidney Fleming, of the Beds. and Herts. Regiment, whose home had been at 21, Church Street, was tragically killed on February 7th in an air raid on Formosa, where he was being held as a prisoner by the Japanese. Following the resignation of Captain H. Parker, Lieutenant S. Harlock would now take temporary command of the Bletchley Army Cadet Force, and also during the month the Co-op junior choir gave a concert in St. Martin’s Hall. Staged on Friday, February 16th, at 7.30p.m., this was in aid of the Red Cross P.O.W. Fund, whilst as for the Bletchley Branch of the British Legion, after 15 months of effort they had secured a British Legion Prince of Wales’ pension for Mr. F. Hutchings, of 7, Duncombe Street. With this paying 10s a week, no doubt he was delighted, for such awards were very rare, with this being the only one to be granted in the area.

‘This officer has completed, as navigator, numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.’ Dated February 19th, so read the citation which accompanied the award of the D.F.C. to Flying Officer David Sinfield, of 156 Squadron, but only a few days later he would be killed on an operation over Germany, having baled out of a Lancaster 111 bomber on February 21st. With take off at 22.42 from Upwood, the aircraft was on a Pathfinder mission to mark the Rhenania Ossag oil refinery in the Reisholz district, and with two of the air gunners also killed, the rest of the crew were taken prisoner. Formerly an exhibitioner at Bedford Modern School, at the age of 19 Flying Officer Sinfield, (whose parents lived at an address in Buckingham Road), would be one of the youngest decorated navigators to be killed on operations, and he lies buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery. On the evening of Tuesday, February 20th, Mr. Knight, who had been responsible for a great deal of good work for the Christmas Gifts’ Fund, was appointed as secretary at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Welcome Home Fund, but for those service personnel who were not serving abroad, between 7.45p.m. and 11.45p.m. an R.A.O.C. dance took place at the Modern Secondary School hall on Friday, March 9th. At the age of 68, Mabel Davis, of 114, Buckingham Road, died on Monday, March 26th. A native of Shrewsbury, she had come to Bletchley around 60 years ago, and 45 years ago married Albert Davies at St. Mary’s Church. One of her sons was now held by the Japanese as a P.O.W., and another was a prisoner of the Germans, but for the benefit of all the local P.O.W.s, from the collecting boxes the Bletchley P.O.W. Fund had now received £27, as contributions from the users of the Bletchley Voluntary Car Pool. On Saturday, April 7th the Bletchley Branch of the British Legion supper and social was held at 7.30p.m. at St. Martin’s Hall, and all ex-servicemen and their wives were welcome. Admission was free for all those local servicemen who were home on leave, and in preparation for their permanent homecoming a Tuesday social evening in the Yeomanry Hall raised £16 for the Old Bletchley Welcome Home Fund. In fact the first P.O.W. to be welcomed home would be Guardsman Albert Doyle of 8, Oxford Street, who had arrived in Bletchley on April 2nd. Having been wounded in March, 1943, he was taken prisoner in the Middle East, and following eight months in Italy would then be sent to Germany. However, after escaping in January, 1945 he made his way to Poland, and after spending three weeks in the care of a Polish family travelled to Odessa, being subsequently returned to England by the Russians. On April 13th Gunner George Titchmarsh, of 66, Newton Road, returned to Bletchley. In January he had been marched away from the advancing Russians, but although he escaped a few weeks later he was recaptured, and taken to Camp 13C. Escaping again, on this occasion he was picked up by the Americans on April 7th, and flown to Britain. During early April, Marine Ronald Foster of 18, Bedford Street, married Dorothy Cooke, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Cook of 19, Lennox Road. The wedding took place at St. Martin’s Church, which on Easter Monday was also the venue for the wedding between Sergeant Neil Peerless R.C.S., the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Peerless of 53, Aylesbury Street, and Norah Mobbs, the daughter of George Mobbs of 41, High Street. The brother of the groom, Corporal R. Peerless, was best man, and following a reception at the Conservative Club the newly weds left for a honeymoon in Bournemouth. Also getting married were Victor Adkins, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Adkins, of ‘The Indus’, Buckingham Road, and Olive Beech, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Beech of 43, Eaton Avenue. The wedding took place at the Freeman Memorial Church on Wednesday, April 18th, with the reception being held at the Co-op Hall. Victor had recently returned from five years service in the Middle East with the R.A.M.C., and Olive was a nurse at Northampton General hospital. On the same day, at the Catholic church Celia Saunders, the daughter of Major and Mrs. J. Saunders, of 135, Bletchley Road, married S/Sgt. Howard Buis of Greencastle, Indiana, who was stationed with an American bomber squadron. As the organist, Sergeant B. King, of the Royal Signals, played the Wedding March, and with the reception for 80 held at the home of the bride, among the guests were Brigadier and Mrs. Gambier Parry, with the presents to include a canteen of cutlery from the officers and staff of Special Communications Unit 1. Afterwards, the couple would then leave to spend their honeymoon at Ilfracombe.

Soon news would arrive that Able Seaman Henry Bowler, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bowler, of 12, Newton Road, had been aboard H.M.S. Cubitt, one of the ships which had intercepted six E Boats and won a resounding victory. Having also seen action, it was then announced in April that the D.S.O. had been awarded to Captain Villiers Archer John Heald, of Bletchley, and as read the citation; ‘Major Heald was commanding a company in operations at Montescudo from 14th to 16th September, 1944. During the night 14/15th his company was ordered to advance astride the road from Monte Colombo to Montescudo. At first light they were on open ground about 300 yards from Montescudo when a number of enemy machine-gun posts opened fire on them, and the advance was temporarily held up. This officer personally directed the fire on to the enemy posts, running from platoon to platoon under fire to issue orders to the platoon commanders and section commanders and to encourage his men to push forward and get to grips with the enemy. On one occasion he went forward himself to deal with a post which was holding up one of his platoons and he was wounded in the head by a grenade. When a troop of tanks went forward to help the company the enemy immediately put down very heavy concentrations of shell-fire on the area, but Major Heald ran to the troop commander, and pointed out the enemy positions and issued orders for the tank support he required. At this stage all the platoon commanders were wounded and out of action and two of his platoons had suffered heavy casualties due to shell-fire. He then rallied and took control of everyone of the company in the area and personally led them forward through shell and machine-gun fire and dealt with the enemy posts on the forward edge of the village which was the company objective, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. He then re-organised his company and when the Commanding Officer was called away he took command of the companies in the village and co-ordinated the whole defence. Although considerably shaken and suffering from his wounds he refused all medical aid until ordered back on the morning of the 16th. Throughout this action Major Heald led his company with the greatest skill and displayed outstanding powers of leadership.’

For discussions regarding the Victory Celebrations, on Tuesday, April 24th the Council held a public meeting in the Council Chamber, and arrangements would also be considered for a Public Thanksgiving and Celebration, to follow any declaration of the end of the European war. As for the war in the Far East, during the month the 2nd Division the Royal Bucks Yeomanry was flown out of the line to Calcutta, and there they would mobilise to take part in 15 Corps air and sea assault on Rangoon. As chairman of the local National Savings Movement, Mr C. Collins had now sent a letter saying that a plaque gained during the Salute the Soldier campaign was ready to be presented to the Council. However, it was agreed that a handing over should be deferred until a suitable occasion occurred, and this was perhaps just as well, with news being received that Private George Lovell, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. L. Lovell, of 60, Victoria Road, had been killed in action on April 20th. In fact whilst clearing a small German village, he had been shot by a sniper, when other Germans had been surrendering under a white flag. With the Yeomanry Hall, at Old Bletchley, having now been taken over by the Army Cadets Corps, all enquiries were to be made to the Entertainment Officer, W.O. F. Parker, c/o the Bull & Butcher. As for the Council Offices, this would become the administration centre for the Bletchley Welcome Home Fund, for the registration of which it was now proposed to apply to Bucks County Council - under the War Charities Act 1940 - with disbursement to be at the discretion of a publicly elected committee, ‘for the benefit, assistance and/or entertainment of Citizens of Bletchley returning from service with HM Forces.’ In fact the early return of Bletchley citizens from military service now seemed all the more probable, for by the beginning of May after 11 days of fighting General Webling, ‘an obscure artillery commander’, had given up the keys of Berlin to the Russians.

Elena Rzhevskaya

How the national press reported the death of Hitler.
Throughout the war Churchill had been determined to send Hitler, if captured, to the electric chair - ‘If Hitler falls into our hands we shall certainly put him to death’ - but this would not be a need that arose, for at 10.26p.m. on May 1st Radio Hamburg broadcast the news that Hitler was dead, having shot himself at around 3.30p.m. on April 30th. During his last hours he had dictated a political testament in which he claimed that responsibility for the war lay with ‘international Jewry’, and on discovering that Himmler had been trying to negotiate a separate peace with the Allies, and with Goering also under suspicion, he denounced them both, and stripped them of all offices. Now there was no longer to be a position of Fuehrer, but by Hitler’s decree Grand Admiral Donitz, (whom the British would capture on May 23rd), was to become the new head of state. However, this would only be for a short while, since on May 7th - the day that the Allies crossed the Rhine - the Chief of Staff, General Alfred Jodl, was authorised to sign an unconditional surrender. Hitler had insisted that his body, and that of Eva Braun, should be doused in petrol and burned, so as not to become ‘trophies’, and thus when the Russians arrived at the bunker they were unable to make a positive identification. The first to enter the bunker had been Elena Rzhevskaya, a 25 year old Soviet military intelligence interpreter, and since even by May 9th pathologists were unable to provide a positive identification, she and her C.O. went in search of the assistant to Hitler’s dentist, Katchen Heusermann, and his technician, Fritz Echtmann. They then handed over the relevant dental files, which on May 11th finally enabled the body to be confirmed as that of Hitler. Thus for a few days Elena was consequently entrusted with a small, red, satin lined perfume box that contained - with teeth in place - Hitler’s jawbone, wrenched from the charred corpse by a Soviet doctor, and she was then tasked to ensure that the remains were taken back to Moscow, as the absolute proof that Stalin required. In fact only two other people were privy to the knowledge, a secret that she was not allowed to tell anyone. Eventually, excepting the jaw, skull, and a fragment with a bullet hole, Hitler’s remains were secretly buried under concrete at an army base at Magdeburg, East Germany, whilst other artefacts were taken to Moscow, where they still remain.

Plans for peace celebrations in Bletchley had been discussed at a public meeting on Tuesday, April 24th in the Council Offices, where the chairman suggested that firstly the people would want to attend a Thanksgiving Service. Therefore it was decided to hold an open-air service on ‘V-Day’ on Leon Recreation Ground, with the arrangements to be left to the clergy. The voluntary services would parade to the venue, but in the event of the weather being unfavourable the Studio could hopefully be used as an alternative. Also on April 24th, as a member of the Oxon & Bucks Light Infantry Private Robinson, from 116, Buckingham Road, returned from Germany. Before the war he had worked at Moss’s, in Fenny Stratford, and after being called up in July, 1939, he went to France in January, 1940, and on May 30th was captured near Cassel. During a 14 day march to Trier he then met his friend, a private from Leighton Buzzard, and after a subsequent three-day journey in cattle trucks, during which they were fed on one loaf and a piece of cheese per truck, the prisoners arrived at Thom in Poland, to be held together in Stalag Xxa until July, 1942. During the great march from Thom to Magdeburg, when overtaken by a Russian spearhead the guards then fled. The prisoners were abandoned and left in a barn, where a Russian Major told them to stay, but when a Latvian division counter-attacked, the Russians were driven back, and after six hours the prisoners were once again in captivity. They duly continued the march in temperatures of minus 40 degrees, and having dropped out at Bromburg their only doctor, a World War One veteran from New Zealand, was never seen again. As for the remaining prisoners, on April 13th they were liberated by the Americans, and flown home for six weeks’ leave. Other service personnel now returning to Bletchley were Gunner George Titchmarsh of 66, Newton Road, Gunner Leslie Green, of 124, Western Road, and Private George Campbell, of 12, Brooklands Road. Called up in September, 1939, Leslie Green, who before the war had served with the Bucks Yeomanry Territorials, had been sent to France in January, 1940, but on being captured at Merville, near Dunkirk, he was then taken to Stalag 8b, in south east Germany, and later to Stalag 344. With other prisoners, he began a march to the Western Front from southeast Germany on January 25th, but was fortunately liberated by the Americans on April 13th. While waiting at the airport he then met Private Robinson, and flown to England he eventually arrived at Bletchley on Tuesday, May 1st.

‘It is tragic to think that servicemen, who have given their all, should have no home to call their own when they return.’ Such was the view of Mrs. Waller, as one of the lecturers on aspects of town and country planning at the Community Centre. She dismissed as ‘rubbish’ the objections by some that new housing schemes would destroy the beauty of the countryside, and said that the new homes would be well designed and built. Prefabs might offer a temporary solution but they would need to be built in quantity, since although before the flying bombs it was estimated that one in every five houses had been destroyed or damaged, in the wake of the V weapons campaign this figure had increased to one in every three. However, all this destruction was now in the past, for on Tuesday, May 8th Victory in Europe Day was declared. An official declaration had been expected the previous day, and although the announcement had therefore been something of an anti climax, services of thanksgiving were nevertheless held in various churches. In fact a two days holiday had been allowed, and, despite a lack of festive spirit, in Napier Street in the afternoon a plan, which the neighbours had only discussed the night before, was put into action. Tables were placed along the middle of the street for a communal tea, to which the ladies came out with the last of the week’s rations, and amongst the various local festivities fireworks, bonfires and dancing in the floodlit streets were featured, with £32 being made for the Welcome Home Fund. However, apart from Napier Street on V.E. Day only the communities of Newton Road and Beechcroft Road held parties, which featured a children’s tea, followed by games. In other celebrations in aid of the Welcome Home Fund a jumble sale took place at 3p.m. at the Co-op Hall, floodlights bathed the Council Offices at night, and outside Weatherheads an enormous V sign appeared, illuminated in red, white and blue. Licensed premises had been granted an extension of half an hour, and the streets were thronged until late with cheerful and well behaved crowds, including several of the recently returned P.O.W.s. Yet despite the occasion, the Council decided to proceed with their usual monthly meeting, hopefully oblivious to the playing of lively tunes by the Salvation Army band outside! In view of their press coverage, it was perhaps hardly surprising that the inhabitants of Napier Street would now be ‘strutting about like stuffed peacocks’, and in fact they had every reason to do so, having ‘done a big job of work in breaking down some of our cold-blooded reserve insularity and fear of ‘letting ourselves go’. Yet the day had not passed without some dissent, for as one resident complained; ‘when a man calls at one’s door and asks us to take our family’s food into the street, whatever is Bletchley coming to next? Is this the way to teach our coming generation hygiene to have them eat their food in the street where all dirt and microbes are found.’

The person who complained about the 'unhygienic' practice of bringing food out of the house to the
street parties had, perhaps, taken the advice from the authorities a little too seriously!

On the day after V.E. Day, the residents of Tavistock Street then held their tea. Dancing took place in the evening, and with an effigy of Hitler burnt on a bonfire the singing of Abide With Me concluded the events. At Water Eaton, a tea was held on the Green, and in other entertainments community singing and dancing took place. In the evening a bonfire was lit, and also during the evening, and also featuring bonfires, a party was held at each end of Saffron Street. The residents of Albert Street celebrated with a children’s tea, plus singing and dancing around a bonfire, although the jollities would also bring the occasional misdemeanour, and Mr. H. Allen, of Church Green Road, reported that between 11p.m. and 1a.m. on ‘VE +1’ thieves had entered his premises and cut away 14 flags; ‘I quite understand this person feeling gay and jubilant, as I did after the last war, whilst still in France. If this request is acceded to nothing further will be said, but if not, action will be brought.’ Apart from the declaration of European peace, for Beryl Coleman, of 8, Mount Pleasant, there was an additional cause for celebration when on Friday, May 11th at St. Martin’s Church she married Private Frank Dickinson of the Pioneer Corps, whose home was at 71, Corporation Street, Hyde, Cheshire. On the following day allegedly the largest of the V.E. parties was held in Western Road. This raised over £90 for the Welcome Home Fund, and in arranging a tea and sports for 150 children the whole of the road, and North Street, had co-operated, with the youngsters given sweets and oranges. Against the background of an illuminated V sign competitions and dancing took place in the floodlit road, and not until midnight did the proceedings come to a close, with the singing of Land of Hope and Glory, and Abide With Me. On the same day Water Eaton held their second V.E. event, featuring the biggest bonfire in the district, and on Whit Monday, encompassing the area of Simpson Road, High Street, and Denbigh Road, a large street party took place in Staple Hall Road. Fireworks and pony and cart rides were amongst the entertainments, and at around 2.30p.m. fancy dress was featured, followed at 4p.m. by a tea, of which those partaking were asked to ‘bring your own cup, plate and spoon.’ At 5p.m. sports were then staged, and, with ‘Music by Williamson’, in the evening dancing, games and competitions took place, the object of the whole occasion being to raise £100 for the Welcome Home Fund.

Including contingents from the U.S. Army, on Sunday, May 13th at 3p.m. a Public Thanksgiving took place at the Bletchley Park sports ground, comprised of a large assembly of service personnel and civilians. With the various units assembled to form three sides of a square, the service was conducted from the Pavilion balcony, with the band of the Salvation Army providing the music for singing and marching. On the morning of Monday, May 28th Flight Sergeant T. Cloran arrived home at Staple Hall Road, and also to be reacquainted with Bletchley would be Corporal J. Crocker, R.A.S.C., of 68, Water Eaton Road, who, having been taken prisoner in June, 1942, had been freed from captivity by a Russian Cossack Regiment. As for Gunner William Betts, of 22, Cottingham Grove, he said ‘It is great to be back among you again and believe me, it is ‘A Green and Pleasant Land.’ However, perhaps his immediate opinion of the food might not have been so complimentary, for, as a means to help ex P.O.W.s become accustomed to everyday fare in Britain, at the end of May leaflets containing special recipes, chosen by ‘experts in the Ministry of Food’, were now ready. Ex servicemen could obtain them - as well as additional information on clothing coupons etc. - from Mrs. B. Shiner, Commandant, B.R.C.S. Her home being at 7, Water Eaton Road, she was the Local Representative for P.O.W.s, although tragically one serviceman who would not be needing her assistance was Lance Corporal Albert Ernest Knight, of the 5th Beds. and Herts. Regiment. He had died aged 25 whilst a Japanese P.O.W., from wounds sustained during an air raid on Osaka on June 5th. The younger son of Mr. & Mrs. B.F. Knight of 70, Newton Road, he was buried at Yokohama War Cemetery. During the war, Mr. L. Knight had been cashier and chief clerk at Flettons, but in early June he would return to London to take up a managerial role, and therefore resigned his offices of secretary of the Bletchley Forces Christmas Gift Fund, and also the Bletchley Welcome Home Fund, whose Old Bletchley social would be held, from 7.30p.m. until midnight, in the Yeomanry Hall on Tuesday, June 12th. At St. Martin’s Church, on Wednesday, June 6th Peggy Sear, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Sear, of 1, High Street, married Eugene Griffin, of the U.S. Army. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Griffin of Ware Shoals, South Carolina, and for about 50 guests the reception was held at the Co-op Hall, with the couple spending their honeymoon in Hastings. As a wedding gift, the bride received a string of pearls from her Bletchley Park colleagues, who had now been informed that their duties would remain until the end of the war with Japan.

On Saturday, June 16th the marriage took place of Pilot Officer Leslie Markham, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Markham, of 76, Victoria Road, and Muriel Love, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. T. Love, of London. The wedding was held at the Garrison Church, Fulford Barracks, Yorkshire, and on the same day at St. Mary’s Church Lance Corporal Herbert Firman, of the 2nd North Staffs. Regiment, married Alice Troke, of Walsall, near Birmingham. A regular soldier since 1932, after five years as a P.O.W. the groom had returned home on May 17th, and following a reception at the Co-op Hall the couple then spent their honeymoon in Clacton. They were both Londoners, and with both their homes having been blitzed the bridegroom’s relatives had come to live at 19, Saffron Street. Organised by the Entertainments Committee of the Bletchley Workingmen’s Social Club, a summer fete for the Welcome Home Fund took place on June 16th, with dancing taking place in the evening in the market field. The festivities included children’s sports, a baby show, a ladies ankle show, ladies and gents tug of war, pony rides, and sideshows, and, attracting about 50 entries, a fancy dress parade headed by the Army Cadet Force band traversed the main streets of the town. The whole event would raise over £80. Formerly of Staple Hall Road, and educated at the Bletchley Road schools, Gunner Clifford Garrod R.A., the only son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Garrod, of 109, Wollaston Road, Irchester, had now received a Commander in Chief’s Certificate for Gallantry, signed by Field Marshall Montgomery. As read the Citation; ‘In the face of heavy shell fire after the leading vehicle had been blown up by a mine, Gnr. Garrod set up and operated a wireless set sending back valuable information’, but there was tragic information regarding Driver George Essen, of 21, Duncombe Street, for, on deployment with the Royal Army Service Corps, he was killed on April 28th in an ammunition explosion, whilst on service in Western Europe. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Essen, and would be commemorated on the Groesbeek Memorial, Gelderland, Netherlands. Then in late June came further bad news, with a report that in September, 1943 Private Walter Harris, the younger son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Harris, of Ampthill, had died in a Japanese P.O.W. camp in Thailand. Formerly employed at Arnold’s Sand Works, Heath and Reach, before the war he had been in the Territorials, and after his call up on September 1st, 1939, he was sent abroad in October, 1941. As with many Bletchley men, he would be captured at Singapore on February 16th, 1942, after which his relatives would receive only one official Japanese P.O.W. Field Card, and a letter, dated December 24th, 1943. He left a widow and two children, at 26, Brooklands Road.

On happier matters, the engagement was now announced of Sub Lieutenant William Stevenson, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Stevenson of 109, Bletchley Road, and a member of the Royal Navy V.A.D., Glenys Rowe, whose home was at 96, York Road, Rugby. When his aircraft had developed mechanical problems, William had made an emergency landing at the Somerset airport where Glenys was stationed, and during the few days of his stay the couple would become not only acquainted, but also romantically involved. Then in the fullness of time their wedding would take place on Saturday, July 29th at St. Matthews Church, Rugby, although, since the groom had been notified of his imminent posting to the Far East, the arrangements had to be hurriedly made. Yet later in the year, following the Japanese surrender he would be released from the Forces, to subsequently resume his pre-war employment in Bletchley as the town and district reporter. Following their loss in South East Asia, on Thursday, June 30th a memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey for Sir Trafford Leigh Mallory and his party which, having perished the previous November, had included Harold Chandler, the son of Mrs. Chandler, of The Briars, Buckingham Road. The Assistant Secretary to Air Vice-Marshall Leigh Mallory, Harold had been in the R.A.F. for three years, and with his widow attending the service he also left two daughters, at Caldecote, near Hitchin. In early July, at his home of The Laurels, in Stoke Road, the death occurred at the age of 72 of an old soldier who had served in three wars - the Boer War, World War One, and, (in the Home Guard), World War Two. He was ex-Sergeant James Hunt, 2nd Battalion Wilts. Regiment, who when serving 25 years ago in Nova Scotia had met the girl who would become his wife. However, for Able Seaman Ken Bond, the fourth son of Mr. & Mrs. Bond of ‘Sunnyside’, Staple Hall Road, although he had been recently married he would find little time to spend with his wife, for the honeymoon had to be postponed when he was recalled to his ship, having received a telegram. During three years of naval service he had not only seen 15 months of duty in the Mediterranean, but had also survived being sunk four times. In fact another fortunate survivor would be Lance Corporal Stan Corby, of Oxford Street, who was to have been shot on Himmler’s orders. Originally captured during the Italian campaign, he spent 18 months in Stalag 4c in Czechoslovakia, but it was after being recaptured after his fourth escape that the execution order was imposed. However, by listening to a secret wireless set, made in the camp, he and the other inmates knew that the war was nearly over, and just before V.E. Day with little to lose he and the others hid a revolver and shot their way out, killing a guard. They were then rescued by the Americans, and flown home. Now on an extra seven weeks leave he would return to Army life on August 16th, having before the war been an employee of the Peake’s factory, in Denbigh Hall Road.

On Monday, July 30th at St. Martin’s Church Nora Tuckey, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Tuckey of 110, Western Road, married Private George Farmer, of Litchfield. Having been wounded in Burma, he was on hospital leave, whilst for those troops on home leave in the town, after five years it would be a sad occasion when, at the end of July, the Albert Street Methodist Canteen and Games Room was closed, a facility which, greatly favoured by troops, had been serving over 4,000 cups of tea, 4,000 sandwiches, and 1,000 cakes a month. However, more recently servicewomen had formed the predominant clientele, having discovered the café to be a useful source of chocolate! In July, the Japanese surrender had been demanded by Britain, America, and China, but with this ignored more drastic measures then had to be considered. Even before the war the concept of an atomic bomb had been realised, (two German physicists having proposed in 1939 that the nuclear fusion of hydrogen was the source of a star’s energy), and in the same year two French physicists had demonstrated the possibility of a chain reaction by splitting uranium nuclei. Yet it was due to the ‘Manhattan Project’ that the theory became reality, and on August 6th an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. On August 9th a second bomb was dropped, on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, and ironically two British P.O.W.s. would be amongst the casualties. One was Corporal Ronald Shaw, aged 25, who, as the sole survivor of a plane crash in Indonesia, had been captured on Java. The bomb exploded only a few hundred yards from his place of work in the shipyards, and today he is commemorated at a Peace Park in Nagasaki. The other victim was Private Sidney Cohen, R.A., a P.O.W. in Nagasaki. He developed leukaemia as a result of the explosion and, aged 32, would die in Battle hospital, near Hastings. With no defence against the atomic onslaught, on Tuesday, August 14th Japan surrendered, and following the midnight announcement of peace, with locomotives sounding their whistles, and Service vehicles bringing in men and women in uniform, for four hours during early Wednesday morning immense crowds in Bletchley Road danced, sang and cheered. Having been ‘knocked up’, Mr. F. Williamson turned on the lights in his shop and ‘got his radio going’, and despite the showers a few street parties took place. The bells of St. Mary’s Church were rung during the morning, and by midday ‘every possible flag, paper, fabric, etc.’ had been made into bunting, to be hung out of windows and on doors. Fireworks and bonfires were prepared for the evening, and, with the pubs being kept unsurprisingly busy, at dusk floodlights illuminated the Council Offices and the immediate road frontage where, by 8p.m., over 3,000 people had gathered for dancing. As M.C., with music blaring from loudspeakers Mr A. C. Long kept things moving with a swing, and through the enthusiasm of numerous volunteers the dancing was interspersed with musical turns at the microphone.

Including that of George Street, street parties were held on Thursday, August 16th, as was also a sports for children and adults on the green at Water Eaton. Previously about 76 children had sat down to a tea, and before they left each child was given a bottle of lemonade and a piece of iced cake. In Cottingham Grove, with potatoes roasted under it an effigy of Tojo was burnt, and elsewhere there were more bonfires, with dancing in the evening. Then on Saturday, at the V.J. celebrations in Western Road over 100 people sat down to a tea. Including decorated vehicles a fancy dress parade then followed, and with the donkeys having been loaned by Mr. Gurney, of Denbigh, donkey rides were also a feature of the entertainments. Finally, attended by members of Bletchley police and the British Legion, on Sunday afternoon outside the Council Offices a public thanksgiving took place, at which a collection on behalf of the local benevolent fund of the British Legion raised £8 13s. Whilst the Japanese war was now over, on thousands of Pacific and south east Asian islands, which had been occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army, many ‘stragglers’ were left behind, and in fact for decades some would not even be aware of the declaration of peace. Indeed, 22 Japanese soldiers were to emerge from the Asian jungles between the 1950s and 1975, including 2nd Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, an intelligence officer, who, despite the dropping of leaflets, had for 30 years resisted all attempts to entice him out of hiding. Only in 1974, when the Japanese Government especially flew in his Commanding Officer, to personally order his surrender, did he finally emerge from the jungle, having, in accordance with his last orders to stay behind and spy on the American forces, remained on Lubang Island in the Phillipines. With £10 held back to ‘inspire future efforts’, and despite some antagonism between some of the fund raisers, Old Bletchley had now decided to amalgamate its £1,339 16s ‘welcome home’ proceeds with those of the town fund, which was perhaps of interest to Private William Bettle, of the Royal Signals, who, having returned home from the Far East, had now rejoined his wife at 35, Victoria Road. Enlisting in January, 1940, he was sent overseas in December, 1941, but would be married at St. Margaret’s Church whilst on embarkation leave. Being sent to Iran, and subsequently Baghdad, as soon as the Japanese entered Burma his unit was transferred to India, and then eventually crossed the Chindwys River with the 19th Indian Division to advance with the British 36th Division and capture Mandalay. With the Reverend Lloyd Milne officiating, in late August at St. Mary’s Church the first ‘victory wedding’ at Bletchley took place, between Miss Kathleen Halsey, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Halsey, of 107, Church Green Road, and Flight Sergeant John Blumer, of Darlington. A veteran of 41 operational missions over Germany, when eventually shot down he was taken prisoner, but only to be flown to England on his release two days later! Both the bride and groom were aged 21, and after a reception at the Old Bletchley schools the couple left for a honeymoon in Darlington. Her home being at 39, Victoria Road, the first baby to be born in the town during the V.E. period had been christened Ann Elizabeth, whilst the first V.J. baby to be born in Bletchley was named Trevor. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Maddox of 16, Manor Road and, weighing 8½lb., had entered the world at 3.30a.m. on August 18th.

Private D. Hebborn
In the continuing celebrations, in Brooklands Road during the last week of August a splendid tea was provided for about 45 children, whilst with dancing and games, at the Salvation Army Hall in Church Street £54 was collected at the Salvation Army party, which included a tea. It had now been decided by B.U.D.C. that the extra one-day holiday in celebration of Victory in Europe would be held on Sunday, September 1st, and there was further cause for celebration when news arrived that the first Japanese P.O.W. from this district had been reported safe. Hailing from Duncombe Street, and called up in the Cambridgeshire Regiment in March, 1940, he was James Rogers, who had been taken prisoner in Malaya in 1941. A cable giving news of his release had been received at 10a.m. one Sunday morning by his wife Nora, and with her two children having acquired a puppy at the weekend, their new pet would be appropriately called Joy. On Saturday, September 8th the wedding took place at Bletchley Road Methodist Church of Ruth Burbeck, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. Burbeck of 170, Water Eaton Road, and Stanley Young, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Young of 5, Council Houses, Salford. Now home on leave from a naval tug boat - H.M.S. Prosperous - he had travelled to many parts of the world, including Newfoundland, Iceland, U.S.A., Canada, and Africa, and his ship had on one occasion towed a dry dock and the tanker British Merit for 6,000 miles, a feat which had not surprisingly been featured in a news reel in 1942. Sent on September 2nd from Bangkok, a card was now received by Mrs. C. D. Moser from her husband, Lieutenant Carl Moser, of the 135th Field Regiment, in which he stated that he was fit, and, being scheduled to fly to Rangoon the next day, would soon be home. Before the war he had worked as a local representative for the North Bucks Times, and after his capture at Singapore was held at a camp 90 miles north of Bangkok. When their men returned home from the Far Eastern camps, the next of kin of repatriated prisoners were to notify Mrs. Shiner, Commandant of the British Red Cross Society, at 7, Water Eaton Road, and no doubt happy to comply would be Mr. & Mrs. Hebborn, of 59, Duncombe Street, who had now received the news that their youngest son, Private Denis Hebborn, of the Beds. & Herts. Regiment, was presently in India, and on his way home. He had been held as a prisoner in Thailand, but when in late October he eventually flew to Liverpool from Calcutta - a journey which took four days - he would spend awhile in hospital although, not being seriously ill, he could hopefully be moved to a hospital nearer home. Serving with the Forces in Germany, his elder brother was now reported as being alive and well, and also receiving good news were Mr. & Mrs. H. Hitchcock of Meacham House, 45, Duncombe Street, who received a letter stating that their only son, Private Gerald Hitchcock, R.A.M.C., was safe at Bangkok, and carrying on with his R.A.M.C. work. Having been a Japanese prisoner for three and a half years, he was due to arrive home at Christmas, as also would L/Bmdr. Geoffrey Underlin, according to the news received by his father, Wilfred Underlin, the Head Postmaster. The wife of Fusilier A. Andrew, of 60, Victoria Road, had also received welcome news, namely that her husband was in good health and receiving mail, and following on from the earlier communication, in early October Mrs. Hitchcock received a cable from her son Gerald, saying that he had now landed at Colombo, and was awaiting a passage home by ship. However, having died in a Japanese P.O.W. camp Henry Grace, of 13, Eaton Avenue, would not be coming home. He left a wife and a son that he had never seen. Employed before the war at Ramsbotham’s, for six months before joining the Army he had worked at the L.M.S. station at Woburn Sands, and it would be whilst serving with the Suffolk Regiment that he had been captured at Singapore, to be subsequently transferred to Thailand.
Fusilier A. Andrews

Looking fit, although having variously suffered from cholera, dysentery, and malaria, on Monday, October 8th Bletchley’s first P.O.W. from the Far East, Corporal James Rogers, arrived home at 86, Duncombe Street. He had been captured at Singapore, and was first put to work on dock cleaning, and then helping to build Japanese shrines, including one that was constructed on the British golf course. Taken on a four day journey by train to Bangpong, in Thailand, and thence by lorry to Kanchanburi, after a one night stay he was then moved to Chag-ki, where the building of the railroad to Burma began. Working from 12 to 16 hours a day, through rock and jungle the work was carried out by hand, and only those men who worked the hardest received any Red Cross parcels from the Japanese. However, the contents were shared out amongst the other prisoners, although with many of the parcels being over a year old the foodstuffs often proved inedible. Therefore, they could do little to supplement the men’s standard diet of rice, salt dried fish, and sweet potatoes - ‘mostly rotten’, and if a man fell ill, and was unable to work, he received only half rations. The prisoners were paid the equivalent of ½d a day, and would once a week stage a concert for entertainment. During the last months of his captivity Corporal Rogers had been engaged on building aerodromes, and because of this he was eventually rescued by American planes. After being taken to Rangoon, with many other former P.O.W.s he then embarked on the S.S. Corfu which, via the Suez Canal, docked at Southampton on Sunday, October 7th. Docking at Liverpool on Saturday, October 13th was the Empire Pride, aboard which were Carl Moser and also Albert Jenkins, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins of 18, Vicarage Road. Captured with the 148th Field Regiment at Singapore, he had worked on the railway in Thailand, and, having endured several raids by Super Fortresses, left Rangoon on the 17th, travelling with Lieutenant Moser, who of his own P.O.W. experience would only say that it had been ‘jolly rough.’ On Sunday, October 14th, in the afternoon L/Bmdr Geoffrey Underlin returned to his home at 28, Lennox Road, having during his captivity worked in heavy gangs for Japanese engineers. Scheduled to become engaged on Friday, throughout his captivity he had received 92 letters, but only one card had been received by the wife of Sergeant Alec Turney, of 15, Tattenhoe Lane, who arrived at Liverpool on Friday, October 19th in a Dutch ship. During his captivity he had suffered from several illnesses, but had at least managed to escape malaria.

'Bevin Boys' were conscripts who, during the final years of the war, were diverted to work in the coal mines to ease the fuel shortage. The scheme was named after the Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin, and about 12 conscripts from Bletchley were directed to this duty.However, they would be excluded from the 'Welcome Home Fund', by which all other conscripts from the town qualified for a monetary gift. In fact this reflected a national injustice, which will only now be rectified by the issue of a commemorative badge.

For those service personnel now returning home, it was welcome news that the Welcome Home Fund presently stood at £3,600, for it had been decided that the money should be used to give each serviceman and woman from the town a monetary gift. However, an extra £400 would be needed to provide £5 for each recipient, who would only qualify if they had lived in Bletchley up to the outbreak of war, and had been called to the Forces not later than August 15th, 1945 - VJ-Day. Unfortunately, although it had been hoped to include the ‘Bevin Boys’, around 12 of whom had been conscripted from the town, in the event their exclusion would be made. Previously, other ideas had been expressed regarding the use of the Fund but, including one that the money should finance a bus service, with the returning troops to be the shareholders, and another to build a good social centre, these had been discarded. Despite having recently returned from captivity, intriguingly Donald White of 160, Simpson Road, could not as yet talk about the ‘special duties’ on which he had been allegedly engaged during his imprisonment. However, ex members would have plenty to talk about if, dependent on there being sufficient numbers, a proposed branch of the Royal Artillery was formed at Bletchley. This would cover North Bucks, and would hopefully be open by the end of October. For the Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Airmen’s Families Association, a collection of £46 7s had been raised in Bletchley and Bletchley Park, and on Friday, October 26th at the annual meeting of the Bletchley branch of the British Legion a membership increase of 43 was reported. This made a total of 332, and with the resignation of Mr E. Callaway as chairman, he was succeeded by Mr. C. Pilcher. After more than 20 years as treasurer, thanks were also expressed to Mr. A. Felce on the occasion of his retirement, whilst amongst the officers elected would be Major General Blount, president, wreath bearers R. Chappell and A. Doggett, and parade marshals Major V. Goldsworthy and Mr. J. Cheney. As for other matters, to be used as committee rooms the possibility of hiring a shop in Bletchley Road from the Co-op was proposed by the British Legion, which had now announced the arrangements for Armistice Sunday. The members were to attend an open-air service on the Studio cinema car park at 3p.m., and then form up and march to the Bletchley Road memorial for wreath laying and a short service. Forming a torchlight procession, (to be headed by the choir), at 5.30p.m. members would parade at the Park Hotel and then march to the Old Bletchley memorial, where the ceremony would include a short service and wreath laying, followed by an evening service in St. Mary’s Church.

Any ex-servicewomen, or other women, who wished to join the British Legion Women’s Section were now invited to apply to Mrs. W. Nash at 1, Water Eaton Road, and at a gathering of the members the chairman, Mrs. Felce, made presentations to Mrs. R. Chappell, the secretary for 17 years, and Mrs. Keyte, the late treasurer, who had now decided to make way for a younger person. On Tuesday, October 30th, as probably the last Bletchley P.O.W. to return from the Far East, Private G. Hitchcock, R.A.M.C. arrived home. His parents lived at 43, Duncombe Street, and before the war he had been a railway clerk at Woburn Sands. Following his capture, he had spent eight months at Singapore before being taken to Thailand, and on his release from captivity he spent a while in the City Hospital, Bangkok, prior to being flown to Rangoon. Also home, on ‘demob’ leave, was Staff Captain Fred Wells, of 50, Albert Street. The son of councillor Oliver Wells, J.P., he had left his job as a bricklayer to join the Army, and was sent with the Royal Fusiliers to France in 1940. Escaping unscathed from Dunkirk, he was then badly injured in an explosion whilst on garrison duty at Margate, but when recovered he was posted to the Middle East where, becoming a Company Sergeant Major, he would see action at El Alamein. As a Lieutenant he then went to Italy with the Queen’s Royal Regiments, and following service in many other operations was made a Staff Captain. He therefore proved an ideal choice to raise the indicator at 7p.m. on Monday, November 12th at the Council Offices, to reveal the total so far collected for the Bletchley Thanksgiving Savings Week. Yet disappointingly this revealed the sum to be only £4,595, far short of the £50,000 target, but nevertheless there were still many events to be held, including on Monday evening not only a whist drive at St. Martin’s Hall but, for the youngsters, a dance in the Modern Secondary School hall. In fact after being introduced by the chairman of the Council, Mr. S. Maycock, the ‘Week’ had been opened at St. Martin’s Hall on Saturday, November 10th by Brigadier General Gambier Parry, but unfortunately many people were kept away from the ceremony by the overcast skies. On the day after a variety entertainment by the Unit Concert Party (Royal Corps of Signals), staged in the Yeomanry Hall, on Tuesday with Mr. A.C. Long as the promoter, and Mr. Charles Poulton as the M.C., there would be an ‘Old Thyme Ball’ in the Assembly Hall featuring the Melody Makers Band. Evening dress was optional, and the limited number of tickets had been available at 5s each from 23, Napier Street. At the same venue on Wednesday there would be a boxing tournament, as well as a bridge drive at the Conservative Hall, and any surplus monies from the week’s entertainments were to be applied to the Welcome Home Fund.

Bombardier G. Trunkfield.
As part of the 33rd India Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Montague Stopford, between April 3rd and May 27th in their journey to Rangoon the Royal Bucks Yeomanry had covered some 1,127 miles, and liberated 50,000 square miles of territory from the Japanese, of whom about 24,000 were killed, and less than 1,000 taken prisoner. With the war at an end, preparations were then made to bring the men home, and at Bombay they were entertained by a showing of the film ‘Objective Burma’, in which Errol Flynn, assisted by a few American paratroops, apparently cleared the Japanese out of Burma. Not surprisingly, in view of their recent experiences, and in view of this distortion of the truth, the real troops became so incensed that they tore the screen down. In fact the real heroes arrived back in Britain on the night of Thursday, November 15th aboard the Winchester Castle, which, to an official welcome, docked at Southampton. Then on Friday afternoon amongst the first to arrive in Bletchley were Gunners W. Higgs, L. Wick, and F. Sands, Sergeant B. Moseley, of Newton Road, and Bombardiers G. Trunkfield, K. Hankins, A. Benford, B. Dell and C. Gurney. The son of councillor William Gurney, of Sycamore Farm, in fact Sergeant Cyril Gurney had been mentioned in despatches, for having one day in April during the Burma campaign rescued a wounded man, when two Indian platoons had been unable to retrieve him, Sergeant Gurney and another man crossed some 300 yards to attempt the rescue, and whilst his companion went back for a stretcher, Sergeant Gurney remained behind. However, when his associate failed to return he then brought the casualty back alone, being rescued by an Indian patrol. All returning servicemen in the Bletchley area were sent to Northampton for demobilisation, whilst as for their employment in ‘civvy street’, having returned on the Winchester Castle ex-Sergeant Sidney Pope of 45, Church Street, had formerly been a machine minder at the Premier Press. Responsible for an innovation regarding the maintenance of the field guns, (indeed having been officially commended for his idea), he had returned from Burma before the bulk of the Regiment, and would now probably return to the print trade. In fact this might also be the case with some of his fellow comrades from the Royal Bucks Yeomanry, including Mr. R. Kempe, of Bengal Farm, and ‘Vic’ Bowden, of the Shoulder of Mutton.
Sergeant Sidney Pope.

Their father being Warrant Officer Alf Dickinson, who on joining the Royal Bucks Yeomanry became the first battery quartermaster sergeant, and then battery Sergeant Major, several members of the Dickinson family, from 117, Buckingham Road, were now home from the war, including the youngest of the family, Terry, who had joined the Army in 1938 at the age of 14. His sister, Sylvia, was a tele-typist in the A.T.S. and their brother, Ron, was now home from Burma where, as a Lieutenant in the Dragoons, he commanded a troop of tanks. Indeed, he often supported the men of the Royal Bucks Yeomanry, although when their tracks damaged telephone lines tanks often caused a problem for Army signalmen, one of whom was Ben Moseley. On seeing a tank about to remove a line that he had just laid he therefore expressed his displeasure with some rather choice comments, whereupon from the turret of the tank emerged Lieutenant Dickinson, whose Bletchley home was less than 100 yards from Ben’s, at Freeman Cottages! Also recently home was Warrant Officer Tom Cloran, R.A.F., of ‘Never In’, Staple Hall Road, who, as a member of a Lancaster crew, had been shot down and taken prisoner during a raid in 1944. On leaving school, Tom had begun work as an accountant in his home town of Royton, Lancashire, but he soon began a new employment with the Argentine Meat Co., and then the Royton Industrial Co-op Society. On being appointed as manager of the Co-op butchery department, in Victoria Road, Fenny Stratford, in July 1939 he then moved to Bletchley, but following the outbreak of war he joined the R.A.F. as a navigation warrant officer, the rank that he would hold when his Lancaster bomber was shot down. In fact the aircraft had been hit and set ablaze by enemy flak, but whilst making preparations to bale out he suddenly noticed a young engineer holding back. Realising that the lad had no parachute, Tom then held onto him and they both jumped together. However, unable to maintain his grip the engineer sadly slipped away. As for the other crew members, although they had taken to their parachutes they were attacked by an enemy fighter, and badly injured. On landing, Tom made his way to a farmhouse, and whilst two old ladies agreed to hide him, his injuries and burns proved so severe that they had no choice but to surrender him to the Germans. After medical treatment he then wrote to his wife from Germany; ‘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.’ Many months of imprisonment duly followed, and being interned in a camp in Poland he would remain there for 12 months, until undertaking the long trek made by all the P.O.W.s held in Eastern Europe at the time of the Russian advance. At the end of the war he would return to his home at ‘Nevrin’, Staple Hall Road, but as for the two old ladies who had saved his life, at Poigny le Feret, near Paris they were shunned by the other villagers who thought that they had betrayed him. On hearing of this Tom returned to the village to set the record straight, but unfortunately one of the ladies had died and the other, Mme. Langdale, was still being ostracised, until Tom revealed the real reason for their action. Back in Bletchley, he would now return to his old job in Victoria Road, as the manager of the Co-op butchery department. The original Co-op building on the site had been a temporary hut, and on the subject of huts, Mr. Labrum, of ‘Braemar’, had recently purchased and stored some Army examples on his land in Bletchley Road. Unfortunately, his large Army version would prove to be quite literally a temporary affair, for after a visit by night time thieves all that remained were the roof and the uprights.

Having now returned to Bletchley, Warrant Officer Adnitt spent his first evening quietly at home at the Chequers with his wife, Joan, whilst elsewhere Gunner Varney spent the evening with his wife and parents at his home in Brooklands Road. As for Sergeant Lewis Waller, a family party was held at Railway Terrace, but there would be distant celebrations for Ralph Sands, of 81, Water Eaton Road. He had until recently been the leading cook aboard H.M.S. Flamingo, but during November he surprised his parents with the news that two weeks ago he had married Tula, a Greek girl, and they were now living at Piraeus, near Athens, where he was presently stationed. As for Ralph’s mother, during the war she had travelled with her husband through five counties on timber hauling contracts, and for most of this time they had lived in a caravan. As secretary to the Duncombe and Osborne Streets savings groups, in five years of campaigning Mrs. W. Grove had contributed over £5,000 to the Bletchley total, and for this achievement at the final Thanksgiving Week indicator ceremony, held on Thursday, November 22nd, she received a special mention from the president of the Bletchley National Savings Movement, the ‘hard worked’ Mr. C.A. Collins, who recalled how the movement had begun in Bletchley in September, 1941 with 11 groups. Now the number was 98, and with the town having probably been the first in the country to have a group in every street and factory, Mr. A. Pinder, the Assistant Savings Commissioner, had even declared that the Bletchley savings movement was the finest in the country. Not, however, through much support of the local authority. At least that was according to Mr. Collins, who took this opportunity to publicly attack members of Bletchley Council which, by 38 votes to 24, had in other matters now decided to reinstate all the employees who had been registered as conscientious objectors, although only for as long as ‘rendered obligatory by statute’. On Monday, November 26th at Holy Trinity Church, Old Wolverton, Bombardier Alf Benford, the only son of Mr. & Mrs. Benford, of Station Road, married Hilary Gurney, of Newport Pagnell. Alf had recently returned from Burma, but of those still serving in the Forces, having been on Atlantic operations for two years 26 year old Able Seaman Henry Bowler, of 12, Newton Road, now wrote to graphically describe the scene as, prior to their destruction, six U-Boats were towed out into the Atlantic.

Repatriated P.O.W.s who needed invalid foods or advice were now asked to contact Mrs. B. Shiner, at 7, Water Eaton Road, but advice on motoring regulations might also have been of use to returning servicemen, since for leaving his car in a dangerous position without lights, and for not signing a driving licence, Fred Wells, of Albert Street, who was now working as a plumber, appeared at Leighton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, December 4th. Giving evidence, police constable Barrett said that at 10.10p.m. on November 7th he had found the vehicle parked diagonally without lights across the centre of the road in the High Street, 20 yards from the permitted parking place, and at the junction of three roads. In reply, Mr. Wells said that he had been going to the Exchange Theatre, and having been directed to the car park was told that it would be alright to leave his vehicle there. Parking 18 inches from one of the other cars, he then returned at 10.15p.m., when all the other cars had gone. As for not signing his driving licence, he said that this was due to an oversight, and in his overall defence he revealed that having been in the Forces for six years, he had been away from the town for seven years. Perhaps in consequence of this the summons for leaving the car without lights was duly dismissed, as also for parking in a dangerous position. However, for not signing the licence he was fined 3s. By early December the St. Mary’s Church knitting party had closed. Nearly 1,500 comforts and gifts of money had been sent to members of the Forces, and on Saturday, December 15th members of the Forces and veterans of World War One then attended the Bletchley branch of the British Legion Supper and Social, held - ‘will patrons please bring own knife and fork’ - in the clubroom of the Park Hotel. For the children’s party £15 4s would be raised, and this included money from the auction of a doll which, somewhat ironically, was won by Mr. Papworth, whose Papworth Trio had provided the music for dancing! Having recently returned after more than three years as a Japanese P.O.W., on Saturday, December 22nd Private George Eames, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Eames of 91, Western Road, married Doreen Sanders at St. Martin’s Church. An employee of W.O. Peake’s, she was the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Sanders of 37, Brooklands Road, and following a reception for 70 guests at the Conservative Club, the couple then left to spend their honeymoon at York.



H.M.S. Meon, (K269), the warship adopted by Bletchley during the war, had now joined the reserve fleet at Harwich, and would remain there until 1952. Subsequently taking part in the Suez campaign of 1956, she would then see service with the Amphibious Warfare Squadron in the Persian Gulf, before being eventually paid off in 1965. In May 1966 she then arrived at Blyth for breaking up, to be scrapped on the 14th. As for the plaque which had been obtained by Bletchley donations, with the vessel now out of commission this would be recovered in 1947 from Chatham by the clerk of the Council, to be hung in the Council Chamber. Having been instigated in March, 1945 by Captain Mells, the Bletchley Welcome Home Fund had closed on Monday, December 31st, 1945, and although the amount totalled £3,710 - over £2,000 of which had been raised by the summer fete - Mr. W. Brinkler, the treasurer, was apparently unimpressed. Nevertheless, about 750 people were eligible for a welcome home gift, and in fact two servicemen were particularly deserving. They were Bletchley paratrooper Lance Corporal Stan Corby, of 8, Oxford Street, who, on being condemned to be shot on the orders of Himmler, had made a daring escape from the prison camp, and the repatriated Japanese P.O.W. Albert Jenkins. He was the youngest son of Mrs. and the late Mr. H. Jenkins, of 18, Vicarage Road, and the money would be certainly welcome for, on Thursday, January 3rd, in her home town he married Edna Stairs, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Stairs, of 17, Capron Road, Dunstable. The couple would spend their honeymoon in Devon, but Bournemouth would be the destination for the honeymoon of Corporal Nancy Grace, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. Grace, of 29, Duncombe Street, and Staff Sergeant Norman Barnes, the only son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Barnes, of Westcliff. Their reception was held at the Park Hotel, and serving in the A.T.S. Nancy had been involved with anti aircraft radio location work. Having spent Christmas and the New Year as the guests of local residents, on the evening of Monday, January 14th in the Methodist hut, Bletchley Road, a farewell party was held for five young Polish sailors, but for some of the Bletchley service personnel who were now back home, apart from qualifying for a welcome home gift they had also qualified for a national recognition including, for ‘gallant and distinguished service in N.W. Europe’, W/O Cyril Harrison R.E.M.E., who received the M.B.E. Corporal William Page, R.A.S.C., would be awarded the B.E.M., and also receiving the B.E.M. (Military Division), for ‘distinguished war service in Europe’ was Marine Bernard Jarman of Osborne Street, the younger son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur T. Jarman of 23, Eaton Avenue. In fact during the previous year his brother, Thomas, had been awarded the D.S.M. ‘for courage, skill and devotion to duty’ aboard H.M.S. Ascension which, on November 25th, had taken part in difficult conditions in an anti submarine action, when a U boat had been probably destroyed. Having joined the Royal Navy before the outbreak of war, during his subsequent career Bernard had been torpedoed twice - once off Sicily, and once during a Malta campaign - and after serving on several ships, including the Queen Mary, Manchester, Cleopatra, and Duke of York, for the past two years he had been on the staff of the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet. Married with a son, his family home was at Haywood House, Osborne Street, and perhaps during his wartime service he had received some of the garments produced by the town’s home knitters who, having provided invaluable efforts, now met for tea in the Conservative Club, where they were entertained with recitations and music.

Apart from those P.O.W.s who had now returned home, the Christmas Gifts Fund also came to benefit, in the form of cheques, those men who were serving abroad, but also to be shortly going abroad were Bletchley’s ‘G.I. brides’, who were pleased to learn that plans for their free travel to America, to join their husbands, had now been arranged ‘down to the last safety pin’. The first contingent would sail towards the end of January, and that several Bletchley girls had succumbed to American charms was perhaps not surprising for, according to one source, ‘The Yanks were the most joyful thing that ever happened to British womanhood.’ Not least it seemed because of their attentive wooing technique for, as one aircraft factory worker recalled, ‘a British soldier would take a girl for a drink, bore her to death talking about cars or sport etc. Then if he saw any of his mates, he abandoned the girl except to buy her a drink now and then until it was time to go home. With a G.I. it was very different. He would buy me a drink and entertain me as if I was the only person in the room. I know that when my back was turned he would probably make a date with another girl, but this didn’t really seem to matter.’ Having succumbed to such charms, the former Miss Burbury, of Bletchley Road, was now Mrs. E. Slusser, and since, during the previous November, she had flown with her daughter, Virginia, to America as a private passenger with Pan American airways, she was already with her husband, Major Robert Slusser, of the U.S. Army. As for those still waiting to join their husbands, Mrs. June Watkins, (formerly June Howe, of Brooklands Road), would be going with her seven month old son, Russell, to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where her husband, Alf, was a mechanic, but for Mrs. Huebner - previously Frances Mattinson, of Old Bletchley - with her baby son, William, her destination would be Maplewood, New Jersey, where her husband, formerly a sergeant in the American Medical Corps, was employed by Chase National Bank, New York. Also in banking, as a teller, was Howard Buis who, having during the war been a sergeant in the Air Corps Staff, was the husband of the former, and presently pregnant, Celia Saunders. Her home had been at 135, Bletchley Road, but it would be Indiana where she was now to make a new life. Her husband presently being a Y.M.C.A. P.T. instructor, for Mrs. Nick Garza, nee Nancy Sears, of Osborne Street, her new home would be San Antonio, Texas, whilst at Ware Shoals, South Carolina, Eugene Griffiths, the husband of the former Peggy Sear, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Sear, of the High Street, was currently setting up home in preparation for the arrival of his wife. For 20 months he had been accommodated with an American contingent at Little Brickhill, and had met his future wife whilst both were employed at Bletchley Park, which, it was now announced, was to become the headquarters of the Allied Control Commission. Thus in consequence it was scheduled that by the last week of February the first contingent of officials - to be housed in hostels on the estate - would be transferred from the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne.

‘We sure had a boom welcome’, was the comment of Mrs. Joan Glace, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Harding, of Cottingham Grove, who, as the first of Bletchley’s G.I. brides, arrived at New York with her eight month old son, Alan, on February 10th. In fact she had travelled aboard the Queen Mary, which ironically had been the very vessel that had brought her husband to Britain during the war! He had been stationed with the 8th U.S.A.A.F. at Cheddington, but had flown back to America last August, subsequent to being demobilised in October. Now in the company of his parents, two sisters, and a brother, he welcomed his wife and son to the ‘American dream’, and with the ensemble duly driving to Philadelphia, there for the while Mrs. Glace would live with the family because of a housing shortage. Under the auspices of the Red Cross, on a Philadelphia radio station Mrs. Glace would then give a broadcast of her experiences, which no doubt would be similar to those of Mrs. Baatz, nee Margaret Rothery, whose parents lived at Bleak Hall farm. Living at 73, Mill Road, Leighton Buzzard, she had been employed at Vauxhalls, Luton, for the past four years, but on January 13th at All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard, she had married Sergeant Clarence Milton Baatz, U.S.A.A.F., M.P., and aboard the Queen Mary would leave during the second week of March for Cleveland, Ohio. Also now leaving would be Mrs. Eugene Griffiths - nee Peggy Sear - who on Wednesday, March 13th was accompanied by her mother, father, and brother to Waterloo, from where she was taken by a special train to Tidworth, with her sailing to America scheduled for Saturday. However, returning to England would be 31 year old Major Norman Ellingham, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Ellingham, of Church Green Road, who was now to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Presently the Assistant Director Army Postal Services, B.A.O.R., prior to joining the Army he had been one of the six assistant postal inspectors with the London postal service, and for a time had worked at the Bletchley post office. Rather different were the duties of Corporal E. Lancaster, of 152, Water Eaton Road, for he was now cooking for aircrews and passengers at the newest staging post of the R.A.F. at Labuan, Brunei Bay, Borneo, a somewhat wild and remote location where only tents provided the accommodation. Joining the R.A.F. in December, 1940, in his subsequent career Corporal Lancaster had served in Canada, America, France, Belgium, and Germany, and more recently he had cooked at Imphal, for R.A.F. crews flying over the Himalayas to Kunming, in China.

Coronation Hall was to be derequisitioned on Monday, May 6th, yet regarding the present state of repair a return to immediate use seemed unlikely, until the question of compensation had been agreed between the Trustees and the Army authorities. However, it was hoped that the premises would be available for the forthcoming Victory celebrations, and, with no objections raised by the police, at the beginning of April it was announced that for the peace celebrations, on June 8th, Bletchley people and visitors would be able to buy drinks until 11.30p.m. In fact this would also apply to clubs, and in case spirits got a little too high it was perhaps just as well that, in response to a broadcast appeal, several unlicensed weapons had now been handed in to Bletchley police station. Most of the up-to-date items were brought in by ex-servicemen, who had apparently ‘scrounged’ them while serving overseas, but also brought in, (from Winslow), was an antique pistol of the ramrod type with a wooden stock, as well as an old fashioned shotgun, German automatic Lugers, and many revolvers. However, one weapon not included was a .22 Martini Parker rifle, which at the end of the year would be offered for sale at £4 10s - apply 28, Bletchley Road. On Wednesday, April 3rd, in her home town at Acrefair, Wrexham, Iris Dixon married the only son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Hall, of 61, Water Eaton Road, Arthur, who by special licence was home on a short leave from the Navy. Also home - now permanently - was Carl Moser, who regarding his years as a Japanese prisoner of war spoke to members of the Baptists Men’s Contact Club, and said that the experience ‘showed how the undaunted spirit of our men persisted in the face of incredible trials.’ No doubt other ex servicemen also had much to talk about when, on Friday, May 10th, a combined general meeting of British Legion members was held at 8p.m. at the Park Hotel. This was to discuss the Jubilee celebrations, and perhaps also discussed was a native of Winslow, who had spent some 14 years in Bletchley. He was Mr. R. Odell, of 11, Tavistock Street, who, formerly a sergeant in the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, had been mentioned in despatches for gallant and distinguished service in N.W. Europe. Wounded in the back at Dunkirk, he spent a subsequent 16 weeks in hospital, and after full invasion training in England then fought with the Beach group on D Day, to subsequently continue with the 21st Army Group into north west Germany. He had been demobbed before Christmas. At the annual county rifle meeting at Bisley, the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle Club won the Bucks County Team Championship, and the Individual Championships, whilst on Saturday, June 1st hundreds of people joined in a thanksgiving music festival held by the Salvation Army, to welcome home three men from the Forces. They were Bandsman McLelland, Mr. Albert Blackwell, and ex deputy bandmaster W. Healey, who would be due back this week. Also coming home from the Forces, and fortunately unscathed, would be the seven sons of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Halsey, of Drayton Road. For 40 years Mr. Halsey had been employed by George Clarke and Son Sugar Refiners, and until 1941 he had lived at Millwall, before transferring with the firm to Bletchley to escape the Blitz.

During the early summer The Manor, at Little Brickhill, would become the home of 105 German P.O.W.s., being in fact a ‘branch hostel’ of the main 268 Camp at Aston Abbotts, near Aylesbury. Most of the men were sent to work at the Marston Valley brickworks at Ridgmont, but a few were directed to the Gas Works at Bletchley, and during the first six months of their stay no fraternisation was permitted. Unless with an escort the prisoners were also not allowed to venture out, although few would have perhaps wished to venture to the Victory Day celebration at The Barn which, featuring a supper, was followed by a social and dance. In fact for the Victory Celebrations, on the market field at 10.15a.m. on Saturday, May 8th Mr. E. Callaway, as the Parade Marshall, assembled the procession which, although ‘ex servicemen of the late war and persons still in uniform were conspicuous by their absence, leaving a few old veterans of the British Legion to carry the flag’, marched in good order to the Leon Recreation Ground, with the Salvation Army and Boys’ Brigade taking turns to provide the marching music. Preceded by a Victory peal, rung by the bell ringers of St. Mary’s Church and St. Martin’s Church, at 11a.m. in the presence of all the other ministers a Thanksgiving Service was then conducted by the Baptist Minister, the Reverend Richardson. The rector of St. Mary’s Church, the Reverend A. Campbell, gave the address, with the hymn singing being lead by the band of the Salvation Army. During the afternoon, despite the overcast skies and occasional showers a large crowd then gathered at the Leon Recreation Ground for the carnival, and there were also many entrants for a Grand Fancy Dress Parade which, including decorated cycles, private cars, trade vehicles, farm vehicles and tableaux, was divided into various classes. Of these, that for the adults saw one competitor arrive dressed as Gandhi, whilst for the younger generation there were categories for the age groups 11-16, 6-10, and children up to 5 years of age. In fact in the latter category, although the community singing, sideshows, and dancing would be washed out by heavy rain, at least for one little girl she was appropriately dressed as ‘The English Weather’, wearing a swimming costume and carrying an umbrella! There was also a watery theme in the vehicles class with the ‘Water Eaton Fire Brigade’, entered by Messrs. Cave Ltd. This comprised a genuine antique fire engine which, mounted on a trailer, emitted large clouds of smoke from the chimney as it came into the ground, to the ringing of bells and the sounding of sirens. Unfortunately, the contraption had caught fire three times en route, and in a further mishap when the ‘fire chief’ tried to fry some sausages over the chimney, they promptly disappeared down the funnel! Costing £26, and lasting for about half an hour a firework display was scheduled to form part of the Celebrations, whilst as for those activities which had to be cancelled due to the rain, it was hoped that they could be held at 6p.m. on Wednesday, with the Welcome Home Fund cheques to be presented on the same day at 8p.m. on the balcony of the Council Offices, or otherwise in the Council Chamber.

In early June, the wedding took place at St. Martin’s Church of Ruby Bass, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bass, of Bromford, and Joe Cook, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cook, of Aylesbury Street. Frank was well known in the town as a greengrocer, as was also, in civilian life, his son, who would now be demobbed from the R.A.F. a day after his wedding. As for others who were returning from the Forces, despite the available monies having been unexpectedly increased by £150, (due to an amount left over from the first War Weapons Week), of the 860 men and women entitled to a share in the Bletchley Welcome Home Fund, only about 30 were willing to accept this at a public presentation. However, on Sunday, June 9th less reticent were those members of the British Legion who, at 10.30a.m., and at a return fare of 7s 6d, left the Park Hotel in a 32 seater coach for the British Legion annual parade and service, held at the Cenotaph. Yet in remembering those who had suffered in Japanese captivity, the decision by the Allies on June 17th not to put Hirohito on trial as a war criminal must have caused an interesting mix of feelings. Then, on Sunday, June 30th about 300 representatives of various branches in the North Bucks group of the British Legion attended the group rally at Bletchley, which, as the first since the war, coincided with the silver jubilee of the foundation of the British Legion. Under the command of the President of the Bletchley Branch, Major General Blount D.S.O., many veterans from World War One were included amongst those who assembled in the market field, and ‘it would have been difficult to find a wrong-footer amongst them.’ Followed by the Wolverton Town Band, the 12 standards and personnel of the North Bucks men’s branches, and four standards and representatives of the North Bucks women’s sections, (with Mr. H. Elmer, and Mr. A. Elliott and Mr. A. Doggett as escorts), then headed to Bletchley Park where, prior to the conducting of the traditional British Legion service by the Reverend Campbell, (who was a member of the British Legion), the procession had formed into a square. As for the longer term matters regarding the local branch, it had now been decided to build, or acquire, a headquarters, and towards the cost £100 was raised by a fete held at Bletchley Park on the afternoon of Saturday, June 29th. A dance then took place in the evening at Wilton Hall.

After three years of ‘invaluable work’, the Ministry of Supply depot, housed in the kilns at the London Brick Company works, Newton Longville, was now disbanding, having during the past three years handled a million shell cases, 20,000 tons of steel, and two million paper containers. 1,740 railway wagons had been unloaded, and 3,500 wagons and over 1,000 lorry loads sent out, and all the work had been performed by 60 women and 35 men. On Saturday, July 6th a closing down dinner was held at the works canteen, and with Mr. G. Forbes, the L.B.C. Works Manager, presiding, he was supported by Mr. E. Hersee, the former manager, as well as by Mr. S. Robinson, the M.O.S. Stores Manager, plus nearly all the members of the M.O.S. staff. Following excellent shooting in the recent county championships, an invitation to four members of the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle Club had now been made, and they were asked to form part of the Bucks County Team in the Twenty Counties Championship at Bisley, where the Club had gained third place in the Astor Counties Championship shoot on Friday, July 5th. From the Council Offices, the distribution of the Welcome Home Fund was now well advanced, with practically all the cheques for those recipients with surnames beginning with A or B having been issued. The remaining surnames would be similarly dealt with, to no doubt include that of John Evans, a Bletchley Town cricketer, whose wedding to Marion Jackson-Capstick, the daughter of Mrs. and the late Mr. Jackson-Capstick, of South Shields, took place on Saturday, August 31st. The son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Evans, of 4, Cambridge Street, John had served with the R.A.F. for four years in Burma and India, and his bride had been employed in Government offices in London. In the later stages of the war, accommodation for personnel involved with the technical side of the secret propaganda war, (see ‘Bletchley Park’s Secret Sisters’), had been provided by the Tattenhoe Hostel, but, with these duties now at an end, the equipment and furnishings were being disposed of to include, at the beginning of October, a full size billiard table. In good condition, and made by Burroughs and Watts, the asking price was £120, to include the balls, cues, and scoreboard, and interested persons were to contact ‘Unwin, Tattenhoe Hostel’. Admission being 3s 6d, and with music by the R.A.F. dance band, on the evening of Friday, October 11th about 300 people enjoyed the inaugural dance of the Bletchley and North Bucks branch of the R.A.F. Association. This was held in the Assembly Hall, where on Saturday, November 9th a Grand Armistice Dance was scheduled to take place between 8p.m. and 12p.m. Admission also being 3s 6d, the event would feature Syd Fletcher and his band, with proceeds destined for the Victory Clock fund.

On the international scene, on October 16th several Nazi war criminals were put to death, but a more lamented death was that of Henry Pincher, one of the early members of the British Legion, who died aged 57 at 3, Clifford Avenue, on the evening of Thursday, October 24th. Formerly a member of the regular Army, during service with the 2nd Cheshires he had been severely gassed during World War One, and in consequence had suffered from the effects ever since. A native of Ashton under Lyne, he came to Bletchley in 1919 to work on the railway, but was given light jobs after about a year. Inscribed; ‘In proud memory of Flt. Sergt. Pilot Glyn Hankins, R.A.F.V.R. Killed over Burma, December 23, 1943’, a solid silver wafer box had been commissioned by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. Hankins, and, being intended for use in St. Mary’s Church, was received by the Reverend Campbell on the morning of Sunday, November 3rd. As for Albert Benbow, the youngest son of Mrs. and the late Mr. J. Benbow, of 33, Napier Street, he fortunately survived the war, and with 3½ years of his six years service having been spent in the Mediterranean theatre of operations, had been recently demobbed from the R.A.F. On Wednesday, November 6th he then married Marjorie Blundell, the youngest daughter of Mr. and the late Mrs. A. Blundell, of 7, Manor Road. At a public meeting on November 7th, it was decided to add to the Old Bletchley memorial the names of all those from the parishes of Bletchley, and also Water Eaton, who had been killed in World War Two, regardless of religious denominations. A committee would be appointed to organise the necessary appeal, and it was hoped to be able to clean and permanently illuminate the memorial, and also provide new vases of granite. However, for the names to be added permission from Bucks County Council would need to be firstly obtained, and when this was granted Major General Blount would then finance the cost of renovating the memorial, re-blacking the present names, and adding the inscription. Bletchley Town Band had now been asked to play at the Remembrance Day service, the arrangements for which were being made by the Bletchley branch of the British Legion. In the afternoon the various organisations were to assemble at the Studio at 2.15p.m., and then proceed to the Bletchley Road memorial for a United Service at 3p.m. However, should the weather prove unfavourable, then St. Martin’s Hall would instead be the venue. Concluding the event, at St. Mary’s Church at 6p.m. a short service would be held, consequent to the assembly having left from the Park Hotel at 5.15p.m. to proceed to the Old Bletchley memorial. Here a short service would be held followed by the placing of wreaths which, priced from 7s 6d to 25s, had been available from W. Nash, 1, Water Eaton Road. A branch of the Royal Artillery Association was now to be formed for the Bletchley postal district, and, at the request of the district H.Q., Brigadier E. Earle had called for a meeting to be held at the Park Hotel on the evening of Monday, November 11th. An application would now be made to use the Yeomanry Hall as the headquarters for the North Bucks Royal Artillery Association, and moves were also afoot for a Grand Dance to be held by the Bletchley branch of the British Legion, which, ‘a pleasant evening assured’, would take place featuring ‘a Tip Top Band’ on Saturday, November 30th. With admission priced at 2s 6d, or, for Forces in uniform, 2s, perhaps the newly weds Eileen Litchfield, of Bedford, and Lewis Waller, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Waller, of Railway Terrace, might wish to attend for, although he was now employed at the London Road garage, Loughton, Lewis had been a sergeant in the Royal Artillery during the war, and was mentioned in despatches during the Burma Campaign. In fact it had been during this service that the bride’s brother, Leslie Litchfield, had promised to act as best man!

Having on February 21st, 1945 baled out of a Pathfinder aircraft, of 1566 Squadron, posthumously gaining the D.F.C. would now be Flying Officer David Forster Sinfield, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. William Sinfield, of Buckingham Road, who on Tuesday, 26th November were presented with the medal by the King at Buckingham Palace. Their son lies buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery, Kamp, Lintfort. Then, for ‘courage and bravery in the glorious battles which led to the liberation of Belgium’, Mr. R. Pateman, the 25 year old eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Pateman, of 66, Water Eaton Road, would receive the Belgium Croix de Guerre and Palm, which had been awarded by H.R.H. Prince Regent of Belgium. Demobbed last August, Mr. Pateman now worked at Wipacs but in February, 1945 for his part in the N.W. campaign he had received Field Marshall Montgomery’s ‘certificate of appreciation’, which stated ‘It has been brought to my notice that you have performed outstanding good service and shown great devotion to duty during the campaign in North West Europe. I award you this certificate as a token of my appreciation and I have given instructions that this shall be entered in your record of service.’ Called up in April, 1941, subsequently being promoted to Lance Bombardier he became a gunner with the 24th Heavy A.A., and four days after D Day was sent with his unit to the Normandy beach head, where their 3.7 inch guns were used as anti aircraft and field guns in the fighting at Dieppe and Ostend. The unit then had an ‘interesting’, if ‘warm’, period when stationed on one side of the Zeebrugge canal, for, with ‘Jerry’ contained and quartered on the other bank, Lance Bombardier Pateman had the task of manning an Observation Post on the top of a church tower. Unsurprisingly the Germans shelled this target every day, and when on one occasion they managed to land three hits, ‘I got down those stairs in record time.’ As part of the artillery routine, the rival batteries had ‘reveille’ fire at about 7a.m., broke off for lunch, and then always sent a ‘goodnight’ round at about one minute to midnight! Sometimes an old windmill would be used as the Observation Post, and thus it gave the British great satisfaction when the unenlightened Germans continued to concentrate their attention on the church. Eventually, after some ‘doodle-bug potting’ at Antwerp the unit moved into Germany, and subsequent postings would see him transferred to India, Burma, and the Chinese border. On Saturday, December 7th the wedding was solemnised at St. Mary’s Church of Doris Metcalfe, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Metcalfe of 148, Water Eaton Road, and Maurice Wigens, of Knebworth. He was employed in the head office of W.H. Smith, and during the war Doris had served with the A.T.S. As for Peter Smith, of 55, Eaton Avenue, and Gladys Court, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Court of Southfields, Cambridge Street, they were both employed at Wipacs, and would be married at St. Mary’s Church on Saturday, December 14th. Peter had been demobbed after 7½ years in the R.A.F., and as a further emphasis of the now changing situation, parcels, under the scheme to ‘Save Europe Now’, and each weighing 15lbs., were despatched from Bletchley to Germany on Wednesday, December 11th. The goods had been received at the Community Centre, and with donations also made to defray the costs of carriage, the gifts had been despatched during the last two weeks, to include 20 tins of meat, 14 tins of fish, 14 of milk, 7 of beans and 1¼lbs. of sweets.

In the aftermath of the war, military rearrangements were now taking place, but, despite a scheme to entirely remodel the Territorial Army, it was intended that the Royal Bucks Yeomanry would remain. However, not withstanding a long and distinguished record - which more recently had included distinction at Hazebrouck and Normandy - the Bucks Battalion, as the junior battalion of the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, would now take over a role as a Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, although the old badges and buttons were to be retained, and the old title incorporated in the new designation. At a recent meeting of the Old Bletchley War Memorial Committee, the names to be commemorated on the monument were considered. With the memorial being fashioned from Shap granite, enquiries had been accordingly made to the Shap firm, but, because of the expense of returning the memorial to Shap, the company had advised that a London firm of granite masons should be asked to undertake the work, which would involve smoothing a panel on the S.W. face for the names, and also on the base for ‘1939 - 45’. So far £10 had been subscribed to an appeal launched by the Committee to illuminate the memorial, and, as a further testament to the sacrifice of the fallen, at the foot it was intended to place eight vases of punched granite. The year then drew to a close with a spirit of reconciliation, for on Christmas Day German prisoners from camps in the area were the guests of families in Bletchley and the local district. The restriction on P.O.W.s visiting private homes had now been lifted, and having in the past taken many of the P.O.W.s into his home for meals Francis Palmer, foreman of the Gas Works, now even served Christmas dinner to several of them.

The war memorial at Old Bletchley - J. Taylor



As the children of members of the Bletchley branch of the British Legion, on Monday, January 6th ‘happy times’ were enjoyed by 74 youngsters, aged from 7 to 14, when they were taken to see the pantomime ‘Goldilocks’ at Luton. Then on Friday, January 10th also enjoyable was the inaugural dance, at the Assembly Hall, of the recently formed North Bucks branch of the Royal Artillery Association, with music by Syd Fletcher’s band. Early in the month, during a conversation Francis Palmer, foreman of the Gas Works, and Tom Cloran, a fellow Catholic, had expressed their desire that Bletchley should ‘bestir itself to stretch out the hand of friendship; to provide for the spiritual and social welfare of our ex-enemies who had been away from home for so long, and whose lives were in danger of being ruined through the monotony of having only these same 104 companions all day and all night, every day for weeks….and months…..and years.’ In consequence they consulted Ernest Staniford, a deacon of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, who, on going to the Gas Works, was introduced to Heinrich Dueval, ‘interpreter to the Gas division’, Gerd Nolte, and Georg Krieger, all German P.O.W.s who were employed at the facility. Mr. Staniford then approached the Baptist minister, the Reverend Walter Richardson, and it was his telephone conversation with the commandant of the Aston Abbotts camp, Lieutenant Colonel Hedgecoe, (who himself had been a P.O.W. in both world wars), that lead to permission being given to visit the Little Brickhill camp. Thus one Tuesday afternoon in January they presented themselves at the office of the Camp Speaker, Lothar Dick, ‘a middle-aged schoolmaster’, and with he and his clerk, Ernst Ginsberg, (who was the son of a Confessional Church pastor), being most appreciative of the plan, on the following Sunday notices appeared in all the Methodist and Baptist churches, requesting the names of those families who were prepared to take the Germans into their homes as an ‘Experiment in Friendship’ - as the phrase coined by the Reverend Richardson. Ten families initially replied, and at the camp on that first Sunday, at 12.30p.m. Ernst Ginsberg subsequently introduced Mr. Staniford to the men that he had chosen; Alex Claviez, Gerd Nolte, and Gottfried Noack. With the stipulation that they had to return at 5p.m., the P.O.W.s would be locally entertained to dinner and tea - Alex and Ernst with Mr. Staniford, and Gerd and Gottfried with the circuit secretary of the Methodists, Harold Price, and his wife - and, in the wake of this initial acquaintance, on the following Tuesday both Harold Price and Mr. Staniford went to talk with Lieutenant Colonel Hedgecoe, and at Aston Abbotts after ‘a long and friendly interview’ obtained an extension of the hours for the P.O.W.s. In fact as long the prisoners were returned to the camp by car, this could even be until after dark, so that if they wished the men would be able to attend the evening church services. With the host families having been previously contacted, the following Sunday 14 P.O.W.s were then entertained in local homes, and, with the project becoming an increasing success, other families were now also volunteering. This duly lead to the evolution of a weekly system, whereby with each family having sent in their requirements, a request list for permits was sent to Aston Abbotts, with a copy passed to Little Brickhill. For those men wishing to take up the late pass concession, at an agreed time from certain points in the town they would be met by volunteer car owners from the churches, who would then take them back to the camp. Indeed the ‘Experiment in Friendship’ would prove a great success, for with the Germans politeness ‘far surpassing that of the average Englishman’, not only did they appreciate being in a home again, but their company was greatly appreciated by their hosts.

For services as a gunner in Normandy, at the French Embassy in mid January the French ambassador awarded the French Croix de Guerre to Richard Britten, who before the war had lived and worked with Mr. W. Mattinson at Manor Farm. However, he perhaps now might be interested in a property of his own, on the subject of which the Bletchley branch of the British Legion had asked the Council to receive a deputation regarding houses for ex servicemen, in view of a statement by the Ministry of Health. This had recommended their inclusion within a category entitling special consideration, and also needing consideration was the Welcome Home Fund which, owing to an additional 56 claims, now required extra monies, despite the fact that cheques were still being received since the official closure last May, (which had been extended from February). The Committee therefore decided to appeal to the townspeople for a further £150, and to clarify matters at a meeting of the Committee on Thursday, January 23rd Mr. E. Mogg, the secretary, gave a report on the overall situation. With there having been 862 applicants at the time of closure, the decision was made to provide each applicant with a cheque for £4 12s 6d, and in fact 753 cheques had been issued to date, subject to a proviso that the applicant was either demobbed, or had agreed to further service. Nevertheless, after these payments there would still be over 100 cases to deal with, and although £120 was still available, this would prove insufficient to cover, at the same amount, the 56 late claimants. As from the beginning of January the Bletchley Observer Corps had been reformed, and with many of the previous members having signed up, Mr. J. Ramsbotham would continue as the Chief Observer. As for the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle Club, a ‘phenomenally successful year’ was the description applied by Major General Blount, the president, at the annual meeting on Wednesday, January 22nd. This being the second year of the Club, many competitions had been won, and included not only the Bucks County Championship, but also the Astor County Cup. The present branch of the R.A.F. Association, of which Mr. T. Dick, of 43, Eaton Avenue, was the secretary, served both the Bletchley and Buckingham areas, but at a ‘lively’ meeting, held at the Bull and Butcher, on Thursday, January 23rd a decision was taken by the North Bucks branch to form a specific Bletchley branch. Efforts would duly be made to find a permanent room for the meetings, and holding their first gathering on Monday, February 3rd a Bletchley committee had now been formed for organising the continuing reception of German P.O.W.s into local homes. Parties had already been entertained at Fenny Stratford vicarage, and other houses, and it seemed likely that chess and table tennis matches would be arranged between the prisoners and local teams. Indeed, the Bletchley Chess Club would invite German P.O.W.s, led by Camp Clerk Wilhelm Tueting, to play their members every week, and additionally the Bletchley Darts League entertained a P.O.W. team at the Community Centre.

During World War One, at Bletchley on the Watling Street there had been a P.O.W. internment camp of the Agricultural Group, attached to the Leighton Buzzard Agricultural Depot under Pattishall, but for the German P.O.W.s now held at Little Brickhill, it had been agreed that the Bletchley families would entertain the same men each time, with the two men attached to each family to be invited weekly, fortnightly, or as the host desired. Some men were therefore never invited out, and so, to be held on Sunday, March 9th, an entertainment was arranged for all the P.O.W.s. Thus on the afternoon of the appointed date, notwithstanding the snow on the ground all 105 German P.O.W.s, came walking down the Watling Street in small and large groups, and in fact this would prove an evocative sight for many locals, since, especially at the height of the fears about a Nazi invasion, a body of Germans marching towards the town was the last thing that they had wished to see. At the Community Centre, in German Mr. E. Fryer, the chairman, then welcomed the P.O.W.s, who subsequently enjoyed a musical programme which had been organised by Clifford Stevens and Haydn Wardman. Featuring Betty Metcalfe and her orchestra, much of the content was by German composers, and when Mrs. Rose Pacey sang one verse of Brahms Lullaby, (taught to her by Alex Claviez), she was joined in the encore by the prisoners, 12 of whom then sang two unaccompanied part songs. Under Muriel Challenger teas were served by a team of Community Centre ladies, and about half an hour before the time for evening service the function broke up, with the prisoners, who had expressed their hearty appreciation, being duly invited to the churches. During March, the Territorial Army was reformed, with the county units becoming the 299th (R.B.Y.) Field Regiment, which replaced the 99th Field Regiment, and the 645th Light A.A. Regiment, replacing the Bucks Battalion. As for ex servicemen, the British Legion Bletchley branch meeting was held at 8p.m. at St. Martin’s Hall on Thursday, March 27th, and on Saturday, March 29th the second annual reunion dinner of B Company, 12th Battalion Bucks Home Guard, (Bletchley L.M.S.), took place at the Conservative Club, where with about 80 old comrades in attendance, Major A. Leonard, M.B.E., the Company Commander, presided. With the restrictions on the activities of P.O.W.s having been further relaxed, they were now allowed to visit places of interest outside their five miles limit, and thus on Easter Monday the Committee organised a trip to Oxford for Alex Claviez, Gottfried Noack, Gerd Nolte, and the Price family. Nevertheless, the P.O.W.s were not allowed to enter the restaurants, and so had to eat their lunch by the banks of the river. A second trip was then made, this time to London, and amongst the attractions were the Houses of Parliament, the West End, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the East End. However, on the third trip, on their way to Stratford on Avon the party were involved in a car crash, which entailed Alex Claviez, Gottfried Noack, Gerd Nolte, Richard Blaschke, Erich Tralau, and Mr. Staniford being taken to Banbury hospital. Gerd was discharged in a day, Richard in a week, Alex and Erich in two weeks, and Gottfried in three, but for Mr. Staniford, he would endure a stay of five and a half weeks.

At St. Martin’s Church, on Saturday, April 12th Betty Causer, a former member of the A.T.S., married a soldier whom she had met during the war. Both had served in the same signals unit, and, now employed by Cable and Wireless, her husband had been a Corporal in the R.C.S. He was Fred Moseley, from Grays, Essex, and Betty, who received an iron as a wedding gift from her colleagues at W.I.C.O., was the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. Causer of 14, Eaton Avenue. Another April wedding would be that of the Hon. Desmond Prittie, the eldest son of Lord and Lady Dunally, and Miss Philippa Cary, a Wren officer on the staff of Lord Mountbatten in the Far East who, being the daughter of the Hon. Philip and Mrs. Cary, was interestingly the great granddaughter of the late Sir Herbert Leon, of Bletchley Park. Then on Saturday, April 26th at St. Mary’s Church Muriel Ellingham married William Mason, the younger son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Mason, of Broadfields Park, Edgeware. The couple had been invited to spend their honeymoon with a family in Belgium, and the reason for this had arisen from a chance meeting during World War One by Muriel’s father. As a liberated P.O.W., he and a friend were making their way through Liege when a local family offered him hospitality, and this friendship then continued through the years. Thus when the Belgian family heard that his only daughter was to be married, they extended their invitation to the newly weds. As for Mr. Ellingham, who had been at Tattenhoe Camp during the war, he was now a costing clerk at a London cold storage firm. At the Baptists Women’s League, on Tuesday, April 29th Mrs. L. Cowley gave a very interesting talk to the members about Southern Rhodesia, and also regarding feminine matters, on May 1st four members of the Bletchley Women’s’ Section, British Legion, attended a rally at the Albert Hall. As for male interests, for the occupation of a Royal Artillery cottage at Claverton Down, Bath, the Royal Artillery Association Bletchley Branch had now offered to put forward the name of ‘any worthy Gunner discharged from the R.A. after long and faithful service’. Those hoping to qualify were asked to immediately contact the Honorary Secretary, at 7, Drayton Road. Both having been employed at Weatherhead’s shop, on Saturday, May 31st the wedding took place of Pam Tricker, the only daughter of Major and Mrs. Tricker, of Maida Hill, London, and Neville Bedford, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Bedford of 1, Model Cottages, Newton Longville. The couple had met during the war, when Major Tricker was stationed at Bletchley Park. Aged 76, Walter Webster of The Walnuts, Simpson, died on Tuesday, June 17th in South Africa, to where he had ironically travelled for health reasons. He was to have undergone a number of operations and then return to England in July, but now his widow would be flying home alone. Walter had come to live at Simpson in 1919, and being employed as a printer, in other activities he was an all round sportsman, and, as a Home Guard captain, the weapons training officer of the 2nd Bucks Home Guard (later the 12th Battalion). In fact before the war he had been rated as the fifth finest shot in the world. He left a daughter, Laura, and two sons, William and Walter.

At the Assembly Hall, from 8p.m. until 11.45p.m. on Friday June 20th the R.A.F. (Henlow) Dance Band played at the Midsummer Dance of the Bletchley Royal Air Force Association, and on Monday, 23rd the local P.O.W.s entertained a large company of those people from Bletchley, and also Woburn Sands, who had either acted as their hosts, or provided other help. Provided by the Aston Abbots P.O.W. camp band and concert party, the programme was accommodated at St. Martin’s Hall, which for the occasion had been lavishly decorated with greenery and flowers. In fact it would be here that 109 toys, which the P.O.W.s at the Little Brickhill camp had been making for the last three months, were handed over to the Bletchley P.O.W. Committee. As for the conditions of employment for the P.O.W.s, the War Office had now issued a notice stating that they were not to be in possession of sterling, or British postage stamps, nor were they to sell articles to shops, restaurants, or the public. Conversely the public were not to offer them gifts of money as a reward for, or as an inducement to, work, although under the Geneva Convention, ‘Other Ranks’, they would be paid for any work they undertook, with the money credited to their accounts. Later in the month A.T.S. Corporal Joan Wheeler, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. Wheeler, of Sandringham Place, was married at St. Mary’s Church to Lieutenant John Miles of R.E.M.E., who hailed from Pembroke. The ceremony was conducted at St. Mary’s Church, but it would be All Saints Church, Dormanstown, Redcar, where Monica Sheldon, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Sheldon of Spennymoor, County Durham, married Victor Bowden, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Bowden, of the Shoulder of Mutton. She had been a W.A.A.F. at the Shenley Road camp, and he, although now a prominent member of the L.B.C. football team, had served in the Royal Bucks Yeomanry at Dunkirk, and subsequently India and Burma. With the war now in the past it was a time for reconciliation, and in mid July in the window of the Gas Company showroom the toys made by the P.O.W.s at the Little Brickhill camp were displayed. Having been priced by a local tradesman, they would then be sold at the Community Centre on Thursday and Friday, July 24th and 25th, with the proceeds to be applied for the entertainment of the Belgian children, and other children, who were visiting Bletchley. Having seen action in the Far East, whilst returning from Burma to be demobilised Corporal James Tompkins, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Rowland Tompkins of 43, Buckingham Road, tragically died, aged 20, over the weekend of August 16th/17th in a Bombay transit camp, where he had been taken ill about a week before. Serving in the 7th Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, he had been in the East for about 2½ years, and lies buried in Kirkee War Cemetery, India. An outing to London Zoo was enjoyed, on Monday, August 25th, by those children aged between 7 and 14 of members of the British Legion Bletchley Branch Women’s Section. Their bus had left at 9a.m., but for anyone still hoping to claim from the Bletchley Welcome Home Fund they had now missed the bus, for the list had finally closed in June, 1946. In fact the Fund would be wound up as soon as possible, and of the 861 names 800 had received their payments, with the remaining cheques to now be issued whether the recipients had been demobbed or not.

The King David Hotel, following a terrorist bomb in July 1946.
Members of the Forces serving in Germany initially had to abide by a ‘no fraternising’ order, forbidding familiarity with German civilians, yet this did little to quell a relationship that had developed between Albert Wesley, a private in the Essex Regiment, and Melanie Stechert, the only daughter of Herr and Frau A. Stechert, of Berlin. Soon after the B.A.O.R. took over their section of the German capital, Albert, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Wesley of 102, Western Road, had met Melanie and her family outside a Berlin cinema, and an ongoing friendship soon developed. Having transferred to the Somerset Light Infantry, Albert had been demobbed some two months ago, and with Melanie now allowed to travel to the U.K., on Saturday, September 6th their marriage was solemnised at St. Martin’s Church. Also married at St. Martin’s Church on September 6th were Ruby Lovell, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lovell of 60, Victoria Road, and Corporal William Duckett, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Duckett of Chiltern Road, Burnham. Ruby was employed at W.O. Peake’s, and William was stationed with R.E.M.E. in Germany, but it had been whilst both were employed in a munitions factory at Slough that, during the war, they had first met. As a reminder of the sacrifices made during the war, throughout ‘Battle of Britain Week’ a Spitfire was displayed outside the Studio. As for the various events, featuring Sam Bartram, (of Charlton Athletic), as the referee, a football match took place between a Bletchley team and a Bletchley R.A.F. eleven, and on Thursday, September 18th at Wilton Hall the Battle of Britain Week Grand Dance was held. Yet despite the war being over, for military personnel serving overseas there were now other dangers, and not least for A.T.S. Sergeant Major Vera Labrum, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Labrum of ‘Braemar’, Denbigh Road, for she narrowly escaped death when, in July, Jewish terrorists blew up the British Army H.Q., at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Palestine was being governed by the British under a mandate from the League of Nations, (the forerunner of the United Nations), but with the influx of refugees from Europe, agitation began to escalate amongst the Jewish population for a separate state of Israel, and towards this intention Jewish insurgents vowed to force the British out of Palestine. In fact their activities culminated when, equipped with explosives hidden in milk churns, Jewish fighters dressed as Arabs bombed the King David hotel, killing 98 people, of whom 28 were British. Vera was employed as secretary to Lieutenant General Sir Evelyn Barker, G.O.C. Troops in Palestine, and although both were blown across the room, they fortunately did not sustain any serious injury. In fact the Lieutenant General would present Vera with a gold enamel cigarette case when, at St. Martin’s Church, on Friday, September 19th she married a Glasgow geology student, whom she had met in Palestine. He was Anthony MacMillan Brown, the eldest son of Mrs. and the late Engineer Commander Brown of 10, Palmer Avenue, Knightswood, Glasgow, and for six years he had served with the Royal Signals throughout the European campaign, in Germany and then, in 1945, Palestine. With the wedding reception held at the Conservative Club, the newlyweds left for a honeymoon at Lynmouth. During the previous year, on September 5th Vera’s brother Lieutenant Edward Labrum, (Indian Engineers), the eldest son of the family, had also married, his bride being Henrietta Williamson V.A.D., of Newcastle. With both serving in Burma, the wedding had been at St. Michael’s Church, Manipur, and, following a reception held at the Sisters’ Mess, a large party took place in the evening in the Officers’ Mess, after which the couple then left by air for a 28 day honeymoon at Kalimpong, near Darjeeling. An Old Cedarian, Edward had been employed as an engineering draughtsman before joining up in 1942, and for about two years had been engaged in building railways in the jungle, with a company of North West Frontier men. With the war now over, he was presently teaching maths, history, and English to members of the Royal Engineers.

Another soldier with overseas military experience had been John Henry O’Dell of 95, Victoria Road, who died on Monday, October 6th aged 76. With the 1st Battalion of the old Beds. Regiment he had served throughout the South African war, and apart from the Queen Victoria medal and three bars - the Transvaal, Orange Free State, and Cape Colony - he was the holder of several other medals and nine cups. On Friday, October 10th these were then displayed at the first annual dinner of the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle Club at the Conservative Club, where a meal was enjoyed by 61 members and friends. Assembled in the market field, Oliver Road, and headed by the British Legion, on the afternoon of Sunday, November 9th the Remembrance Parade, including the Royal Artillery Association, the Bletchley R.A.F. Organisation, the Salvation Army, and the R.A.F./W.A.A.F. from the R.A.F. camp, marched in procession to the war memorial outside the Bletchley Road schools, with the Bletchley Town Silver Band and the Salvation Army providing the music. In the evening a procession then assembled in Bletchley Road, and marching to the Old Bletchley memorial they were joined by choristers, who, singing a hymn and carrying flaming torches, had emerged from the church. The Reverend A. Campbell then commenced the service, the bell ringers rang a half muffled peal, and afterwards the congregation adjourned to the church for the remainder of the service, although ‘not all being able to get seats’. In fact throughout Bletchley, Poppy Day collections and donations had so far amounted to £202 18s 3d. From America, one of Bletchley’s G.I. brides, Mrs. Molly Huebner, was welcomed home on Monday, December 15th by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mattinson of Manor Farm, Old Bletchley, and perhaps it was to provide more playing room for their grandson, Billy, that they had decided to sell a 6 foot 10 inches by 4 foot billiard table, ‘in good condition’, complete with cues, marker and balls! Mrs. Huebner and Billy would then return by air to their New Jersey home in February. Meanwhile, in the club room of the Rose and Crown on Friday, December 19th a party was enjoyed by members and friends of the Bletchley R.A.F. Association, and concluding the year there was a further cause for celebration when a Bletchley A.T.S. girl, Joyce Emmerton, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. Emmerton of 39, Duncombe Street, was married at the garrison church, Hamburg, to William Want of Great Yarmouth, a sergeant in the Royal Engineers.




As a new arrival for the New Year, on January 4th a daughter, Victoria - a sister for Paul - was born to Mr. and Mrs. H. Grace, of 23, Lennox Road, at the nursing home of the Red House. In fact for many years the Red House, in the High Street, had been the home of local doctors including Dr. Edgar Nicholson, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., who, following a period of ill health, died on January 7th at the age of 80 at his home in Albany Road, Northampton, where he had lived in retirement for the past 15 years. A Yorkshireman, after training at Middlesex hospital he came to Bletchley in 1896 to work in the High Street practice of Dr. C. Deyns, from whom he subsequently accepted a partnership, and when Dr. Deyns later moved to The Gables, in Bletchley Road, Dr. Nicholson then maintained the practice at the Fenny Stratford end of town, until his retirement in 1929. A frank and outspoken man, he had been greatly respected in Bletchley, and by the terms of his will, (with the estate amounting to £47,595 12s 5d), he left an annuity of £25, and the use of the house and furniture, to his housekeeper, Margaret Robinson, who had looked after him. He also left an annuity to his sister Louise, with the rest of his estate to be disposed of equally in trust to Geoffrey Hudson and Christopher Fulton. At a meeting on Saturday, January 6th a cheque for £2,697 7s 3d was handed over from the Bletchley Farmers’ Red Cross Fund by Mr. R. Barbour, chairman of the branch, whilst for local farmers seeking medical care for their stock, Mr. D. Spriggs B.S.C., M.R.C.V.S., had recently commenced a veterinary practice at 30, Newton Road, in partnership with Messrs. L. Anderson B.V.S.C., M.R.C.V.S., of Aylesbury, and Mr. Bugg, M.R.C.V.S., of Winslow.

The Surveyor had now reported on the proposed arrangements for Mr. T. Pacey, a lorry driver, to take over the whole time duty, (for six days a week), as ambulance driver. With the ambulance to be garaged in a building in the Council yard, any time not spent in driving the vehicle would be used for servicing the ambulance, and this would be a requirement for any of the other vehicles owned by the Council as well. As for Sunday duties, Miss Taylor would be available, plus additional drivers if required. The Bletchley Road Infants School held their Parents Day on Wednesday, January 21st, and with the rooms being brightly adorned by springtime decorations, 30s was raised by a collection for the Red Cross. Indeed, perhaps some of the pupils might even aspire to join the Red Cross Cadet Unit, which, having now been started in Bletchley for girls aged 11 to 15, held classes at the Clinic on Saturday afternoons at 2.30p.m. Interested persons were asked to contact Miss Lillian Barrett, or Mrs. Cater, at the Kandy Stores. By the beginning of February the Bletchley Branch of the British Red Cross Working Party had completed another year of work, with the total number of garments made during that period - both for hospital use and as ‘knitted comforts’ for the Forces - totalling 1,484. In fact since 1939, when the Working Party had started, 7,929 items had been completed, and in other Red Cross activities on Friday, February 16th a concert was given by the Co-op junior choir in St. Martin’s Hall, in aid of the Red Cross P.O.W. Fund. In early April applications were invited from women to work as temporary dental assistants in the Bletchley and Aylesbury areas, at an initial salary of between £100 and £150p.a. However, since by the end of the month she had tendered her resignation, Miss Page, the dental attendant for the Bletchley area, had perhaps been unimpressed, and it would not be until October that as a replacement Miss A. Longmore was appointed, as confirmed by the Bucks Educational Committee. By early May reciprocal ambulance arrangements were now in operation between the areas of Bletchley, the Buckingham Borough, Newport Pagnell Urban District, and Woburn Sands parish. The extent might even be later extended to Leighton Buzzard and Wolverton, but this was of little concern to Miss Taylor, for, with appreciation being expressed for her past service, she would resign towards the end of July as a volunteer ambulance driver. As for the St. John Ambulance Brigade, a flag day for themselves and the Red Cross raised in excess of £110 on June 2nd, and during the month the Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund collections would total £55 15s 7d. However, there were now sufficient hospital supplies to meet the requirements of the war with Japan, and, on Thursday, June 12th, the Bletchley Working Party held a closing down meeting at which, presiding, Mrs. Whiteley announced that over 9,000 garments had been made. The balance of £94 0s 5d, which remained after the payment of materials, had been handed over to Red Cross funds, and in other matters she expressed thanks to Mrs. Goldsworth, by whom 2,000 of the garments had been cut out. Thanks were also expressed to Mrs Colgrove, the secretary and treasurer, and also Mrs. Rumbelow, who had run the savings group, and in fact during the past five years the total Red Cross savings had amounted to £3,045 19s 0d. The meeting then concluded with a concert followed by a tea, but, despite the closure of the Bletchley Working Party, the R.A.F. and Army had asked if all the home knitters could still continue their work, which would be given out from the Conservative Club on Thursday between 3p.m. and 4p.m.

At the end of June the Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund closed, with the Bletchley collections to the end of the month - with a few collection boxes still to come - amounting to £3,721. In fact the final figure, announced in September, would be £3,851, but even by October a number of collecting boxes were still outstanding, and, via the Honorary Secretary, at ‘Belmont’, 143, Bletchley Road, would therefore need to be returned to the headquarters without delay. In fact the Bletchley fund had been the fourth largest in the county, and at the first meeting in October, 1941, Major Parkhill, of the Salvation Army, was appointed as secretary, and Mr F. Bates, as chairman, with the following year Mr. Callaway becoming secretary. Yet despite the closure of both the Bletchley Working Party and the Penny-a-Week Fund, other Red Cross activities still continued, and on Bank Holiday Monday, August 6th, the Bletchley Red Cross Victory Show would be held at Bletchley Park, to include a gymkhana, horticultural show, fur and feather show, auction sale, baby show, boxing matches, and tug-o’-war. Towards the band fee the Council had contributed £15 15s, and this sum would also be used for providing the band members with refreshments at the British Restaurant. The half-yearly meeting of the Bletchley Station Sick Fund was held on Sunday, July 29th and the chairman, Mr R. Chappell, said that it was now a year since the benefits payable had been increased from 10s to 12s a week, with the period extended from six to eight weeks. Since the last meeting the membership had increased by 15, and now stood at a total of 133. On Tuesday, July 31st the Voluntary Car Pool came to an end, having with 49 drivers operated a 24 hour service during the three years of its existence. 6,000 journeys had been made, covering over a quarter of a million miles, and a frequent trip had been the transfer of mothers and babies from the evacuated East End Maternity Home at Tyringham to Bletchley station. Soldiers stranded at Bletchley station had also been conveyed to outlying parts of the Bletchley district, and in place of the service there would now be the Hospital Car Service, organised in North Bucks by the St. John Ambulance Brigade. From Olney, Miss Savory was to act as the area organiser and the Service would be solely for sitting case patients attending hospitals and clinics, and would not be extended to those patients who were able to afford the hire of a car, except where no hired car was available. The hospitals would be held responsible for paying 3d a mile - to be recovered where possible from the patients - and Mrs. Vaughan, the Bletchley Lady Divisional Superintendent, of 27, Bedford Street, was to act as a local point of contact. On August 6th, the Bank Holiday show, the third on behalf of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund, was opened by Lieutenant Colonel A.C. Newman, ‘the hero of St. Nazaire’, but with half an inch of rain having already fallen since 9a.m., during the mid afternoon a freak thunderstorm swept over the ground. However, the event was fortunately covered by insurance, which would duly pay out £500!

After six years of military service, during which he had been twice mentioned in despatches, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Dr. Michael Critchley would resume his appointment as the town’s Medical Officer on September 1st. Before the war he was the North Bucks Scout Commissioner and captain of the Bletchley Badminton Club, whilst on behalf of the Council his activities had included the successful Health Exhibition, slum clearance and overcrowding surveys, plus the training of A.R.P. personnel in first aid. Being also surgeon to the Bletchley Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, he then joined the supplementary reserve of the R.A.M.C. in September, 1938, and serving with the British Expeditionary Force escaped from France via St. Malo three weeks after Dunkirk, to subsequently join the Middle Eastern Force in 1941. As a consequence of his re-appointment as the Medical Officer for Bletchley, at the meeting of the Council on Tuesday, August 14th a farewell was said to Dr. Janet Ronaldson, who had temporarily filled the position for the past four years. Also during the month a farewell was said to Mesdames Wise, Theobald, and Richardson, three voluntary workers who were retiring from the Bletchley Nursing Association. This had been started by Lady Leon 35 years ago, and with the membership having grown with the development of the town, the committee now decided to appoint two paid workers, Miss F. Davis, as treasurer/secretary, and Mrs. Jones, as assistant secretary. Before leaving home to train as a hospital nurse, Christine Stevens, the only daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Stevens, of 24, Vicarage Road, had taken an active part in the youth matters of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church where, on Friday, August 24th, she married Dr. Thomas Powell, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., the younger son of the Reverend Thomas Powell, B.A., B.D., & the late Mrs. Powell of Kingston, Jamaica. Then at the end of the month it was announced that £90 11s 8d had been collected by drivers of the now closed Voluntary Car Pool, Bletchley zone, and this would be distributed as £27 to the P.O.W. fund, £33 6s 4d to the Welcome Home Fund, and £30 5s 4d amongst the Merchant Navy, Red Cross, and local village Welcome Home Funds. Permission had now been granted for Bletchley St John Ambulance Brigade to erect a wooden hut in Westfield Road for the storage of ‘medical comforts’, and perhaps the Hanovia sun lamp - ‘used for three hours’ - presently offered for sale at Cowley & Wilson, The Garage, might be a useful addition, priced at £15. On Tuesday, September 4th the office of the Superintendent Registrar of the North Bucks Division closed at 7, Station Road, Newport Pagnell. However, it then reopened the following day at 81, Bletchley Road, from where public assistance would also be carried on, since the newly appointed Superintendent Registrar, Captain W. Tunnicliffe, was also the Assistant Public Assistance Officer for North Bucks. Nevertheless, the change of central office would not affect the position of Mr. E. Trunkfield, the local Registrar for the Bletchley district, and applications for certificates for births, deaths, and marriages were still to be made to him at his office in Oliver Road.

Towards the end of September, Fireman F. Ebborn, of 9, Napier Street, received his discharge from the N.F.S. on medical grounds, having some months ago fallen off a ladder while cleaning windows. In fact he had been on the sick list for 13 weeks, and was therefore perhaps glad that the Flag Day in aid of the Bletchley Nursing Association would raise £45 3s 5d, plus in the near future the addition of two guineas, as part of the proceeds from the Old Bletchley Church of England school harvest festival. In October, the Council invited tenders for the purchase of the Morris ambulance. This could be viewed at the Council Offices, and offers were to be sent to Mr. R. L. Sherwood, clerk of the Council, in a plain sealed envelope marked ‘Tender for Ambulance.’ Also in October, Buckinghamshire County Council were asked to consider arrangements for the building of a maternity hospital in, or near, the town. Primarily, this was because the Council were presently of the opinion that ordinary houses were not large enough for childbirth, and, in November, approval was thus given for the Medical Officer for Buckinghamshire County Council to use Elmers as a temporary maternity home. In fact with the premises to be soon derequisitioned, the public health committee would recommend that the Council should press for its purchase. Mrs. Vaughan being the organiser, over 2,000 blood transfusions had been given at the Bletchley depot during the war, but with the hostilities at an end the sessions, commencing from December, were now be conducted three monthly instead of monthly.



With the war at an end, young couples could at last plan for a more secure future and on Monday, January 7th Peter Corden, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Corden of 86, Eaton Avenue, married Eileen Haddon at St. Martins Church, with Fred Dimmock acting as the best man. Peter was now home on Army embarkation leave, and, continuing the family tradition, would be destined to run a successful chemist’s shop in Victoria Road for many years. Throughout the war Elmers school, which had been damaged by enemy action, had been a centre for the code breakers of Bletchley Park but, with these covert activities now at a close, a proposal had been made for the premises to now accommodate a maternity home. Yet instead a decision would be shortly made to take over Westbury, at Newport Pagnell, since, following an inspection by the county health committee, Elmers had been deemed unsuitable, although the difficulty of finding nurses had been a contributory factor. Nursing in fact had for many years been an occupation of Mrs. Catherine Fulcher, who had now sadly died at the age of 73 at 18, Napier Street. A native of Great Brickhill, she married Mr. D. Fulcher in London in 1903, but it would be during her 25 years as a Bletchley resident that she would be occupied not only in maternity work, but in also looking after her children and the three of her sister, who had sadly died a premature death. Apart from the lack of a maternity centre the town also lacked a hospital, and for Frank Pearson, of 37, Water Eaton Road, it was therefore rather fortunate that he only sustained slight injuries on Saturday, January 12th, when his invalid carriage collided with a car. In fact the medical inadequacies were now compounded by the departure of Mrs. B. Shiner, who for nearly three years had been commandant of the Bletchley senior detachment of the British Red Cross. Having arrived in Bletchley in 1940, in March, 1943 she began working for the Red Cross in a full time capacity, and apart from this would also be involved with the P.O.W. next of kin services, welfare, and hospital guiding. Now she was leaving for a full time position with the Red Cross organisation in Harrogate, and following her departure Mrs. Cater, at 100, Bletchley Road, would temporarily take over the duties.

Local residents could provide for their medical care by subscribing to the Bletchley and District Hospital Contributory Scheme, the A.G.M. of which was held in the Council Chamber on Wednesday, February 13th, at 7.30p.m. However, having been caused by extra expenses there was now a deficit on the previous year of over £500, but nevertheless the scheme remained as one of the finest in the country. In fact a generous allowance of 15s a day, or £5 5s a week, was paid for hospital treatment, although to cover the current financial shortfall the subscriptions would have to be raised to 6d a week. On behalf of the Bletchley Nursing Association, on Saturday, March 13th at 3p.m. a jumble sale took place in St. Martin’s Hall and, with admission priced at 2d, hopefully the takings would help to promote a healthy optimism when, in the school board room, the Annual Finance Meeting took place on Monday, April 15th, at 3p.m. At the Council Offices - where once a month a small committee room was now to be let to the Loyal Band of Hope Lodge - two letters had now been received expressing appreciation for the Bletchley Ambulance service, and mentioning also the kindness and consideration shown by the attendant and driver, when taking patients to hospital. Copies of the letter would be sent to the Commandant of the St. John Ambulance service but for the Hospital Car Service, which was jointly organised by the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, the British Red Cross, and the W.V.S., this, having been formed after the war, following the closure of the Volunteer Car Pool, currently needed more owner drivers to take sick people to and from hospital. Issued with petrol coupons, volunteers would be paid a small mileage allowance, and interested persons were asked to contact Miss Richardson, at 96, Eaton Avenue. At 9.10a.m. on May 17th, with the traffic lights in her favour District Nurse Lillian Brinklow, of 27, Victoria Road, was cycling across the Watling Street towards Simpson Road when a car dashed in front, almost knocking her over. Having the presence of mind to note the registration number, she reported the incident to the police, and having received an S.O.S. to stop a black car, police constable Endersby of Dunstable duly complied. Having recently opened a coffee bar in Rainham, the driver turned out to be an impoverished ex serviceman who, on learning to drive in the Royal Marines, had taken out a licence in October the previous year. Despite pleading financial difficulties he was nevertheless fined £2, with £1 8s 6d costs, and a further 10s for not conforming to the traffic lights. However, his licence was not endorsed.

By early June, Dr. B. Maddison had resumed his medical practice at The Gables, whilst for Mr. F. Bates and Mr. E. Callaway, they would shortly be invited to become Associate Members of the British Red Cross, having during the war been respectively chairman and secretary of the Bletchley Penny a Week scheme, by which about £3,000 had been raised. Prompt action by Miss Joan Hunter, a nursing sister at a military hospital, helped ease the situation near Denbigh Hall bridge when, during a violent storm on the evening of Sunday, June 28th, several vehicles were involved in accidents. In the most serious, whilst travelling south along the Watling Street the driver of a lorry, towing a trailer, was overtaking cars on the nearside when a flash of lightning temporarily blinded him. Mounting the verge, his vehicle then hit a telegraph pole, and in the collision the canopy of the roof was wrenched off and thrown into the road, causing a partial obstruction. Fortunately the driver escaped unhurt, but his mate suffered a fractured leg, toe and hand. Having been sheltering from the storm at the Denbigh Hall inn, Miss Hunter immediately took off her dress and, having donned an old mackintosh and wellingtons, with the aid of other persons from the inn carried the injured man into the house, where she swiftly administered first aid. During August, inclement weather was again a problem when 200 members of the St. John Ambulance organisation, including members of the Bletchley St. John Nursing Cadets, attended a camp at Bexhill on Sea. Nevertheless, even in the teeth of such adversity they still managed to enjoy themselves, and on the topic of teeth towards the end of the month Eleanor Wise, the daughter of the late Bletchley dentist, Mr. Warren Wise, was married at St. James Church, Little Paxton, Huntingdonshire, to Peter Lenton, the son of Mrs. and the late Mr. G. Lenton, of Park Farm, Brampton, Huntingdonshire. For several years Mr. Wise had practised dentistry at ‘Heytor’, Bletchley Road, until the family had moved from the town about seven years ago. At the Barn, on Saturday, September 21st the jumble sale of the Bletchley St. John Nursing Cadets raised a pleasing £20, but not so pleased was 14 year old Alan Kay of 43, Saffron Street, when on Friday, October 18th, following a collision with a van in Brooklands Road he was found to be suffering from shock and concussion. He was duly admitted to Northampton hospital, and in fact the lack of a more local facility would be alluded to during December, when the Council’s attention was drawn to a statement, contained in the report of the Medical Officer of Health, that the County Council Clinic in Bletchley Road was not being fully utilised. A suggestion would therefore be made that, to include post hospital care, the County Council should provide facilities at the Clinic for orthopaedic and other treatments, not least because this was not available within 18 miles of the town, and therefore entailed much travel and expense. The question would be referred to the Public Health Committee. However, in a more positive move permission had now been granted for the Bletchley Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade to erect, as their new headquarters, a hut on land behind the Clinic, and with plans to use the facility for practice drills by the St. John Ambulance Brigade and the Nursing Division, First Aid and home nursing lectures would also be held, with the accommodation to also be used to store the equipment needed for emergencies.



Dr. A. Critchley, Medical Officer of Health for the urban district of Bletchley, the Borough of Buckingham, and the rural district of Buckingham, had now been appointed principle Medical Officer to the Ministry of Supply and, despite the previous May having been awarded a salary increase of £200p.a., which brought his pay to £1,000p.a., he accordingly resigned from the three Councils on January 14th. Appointed as the Medical Officer in 1935, on joining the Army in 1939 he subsequently served in France, at Dunkirk, and the Middle East, and during the war his wife had acted as the Medical Officer to the R.D.C. of Winslow, in which district she now had a medical practice. Therefore despite Dr. Critchley’s new role, the couple would be staying at their home in Little Horwood. Mr. Tranfield being the chairman, a satisfactory position was reported at the annual meeting of the Bletchley and District Hospital Contributory Scheme, held at 7.30p.m. in the Council Chamber on Wednesday, February 19th. Reporting a total of 1,713 members at the beginning of the year, and 1,695 at the close, the secretary, Miss N. Garner, said that 238 had left and 210 had joined, whilst there were presently 93 inpatients, and 280 outpatients, with vouchers having been issued to cover 30 different hospitals. Mr. A. White, the treasurer, then announced a credit balance of £862, a sum around £230 greater than at the beginning, and of the four retiring members - Mrs. Hartup, Miss Clarke, Miss Scobie, and Mr. Hawes - all were re-elected to the committee. However, having since 1931 been Divisional Secretary of the local St. Johns Ambulance Brigade, Mr. John Vaughan, of 27, Bedford Street, resigned in March, and Mr. C. Short would temporarily assume the duties. During April it was discovered that repairs were necessary to the Bletchley ambulance. With a need to replace the back wheels, and make provision to carry a spare wheel, or wheels, the Surveyor would be tasked to arrange the necessary action, and regarding the Bletchley Nursing Association the upkeep of their car during the year had totalled £75, as reported at the annual finance meeting on Monday, April 21st. According to the secretary, Miss F. Davis, the year had ended with a balance of £185 4s 10d, as opposed to the starting figure of £202 12s 2d, but this had been partly due to there having been no jumble sale. In connection with the county tuberculosis service, on Thursday, April 29th expenditure of £400 for an X ray set at the Clinic was approved by Bucks County Council who, regarding a part of the land which formed the site of Bletchley Secondary Modern School, had - subject to the consent of the Minister of Education - recently sanctioned a lease for 1s p.a., for 14 years, to the St. John Ambulance Brigade who, as had been previously agreed, would erect a hut as a headquarters.

In connection with the Red House Nursing Home, the certificate issued to Miss B. Curtois in 1934 had now been amended, to permit the reception of four instead of two maternity patients, but this was provided that the separate hut at the home was used only in an emergency, and for one patient at a time. As for the Bletchley Nursing Association, on Monday, April 21st at 3p.m. their finance meeting took place in the school boardroom, where Miss F. Davis, the secretary for the past two years, announced her resignation due to the pressure of other work. Mrs. McLeod of ‘Dunvegan’, Manor Road, was then appointed to the role, with Mrs. Beckett, of Cottingham Grove, as assistant at Old Bletchley. However, despite an increase in subscriptions there had been a reduction in the bank balance. At the beginning of the year this stood at £202 12s 2d, but matters would slightly improve when a forthcoming flag day raised £49 10s 9¼d. Mr. E. Callaway, who had been a Bletchley Council representative on the North Bucks Guardians Committee since 1939, had now decided not to seek reappointment, but for the Bletchley County Councillor, Harry Chandler, he was presently serving on the new county health committee. As for the position of Medical Officer for the north of the county, following the departure of Dr. Critchley this had still not been filled. Therefore local doctors had been asked if they might be prepared to undertake this work for about four months, and in the event the Council duly approved the appointment of Dr. Gleave, of Bletchley, although another doctor had also offered his services. For many years Dr. Deyns had been a well known doctor in Bletchley, and it was with regret that the town now learned that his son, Captain Ernest Fuller Victor Deyns, of Old Rectory Farm, Bow Brickhill, had died aged 70 on Saturday, May 10th, leaving a widow, and a married daughter in Australia. He was the brother of Lieutenant Colonel C.J. Deyns, of Buckingham Road, and having served in the Boer War, had been badly gassed during the First World War, after which he took up farming in Canada, before coming to Old Rectory Farm at Bow Brickhill, where he also worked neighbouring lands.

Being also the assistant county medical officer, and medical officer of health for Buckingham and the rural councils, by June Dr. Waldron, of Croyland Cottage, Woburn Sands, had been appointed as the Medical Officer for Bletchley. At a Tuesday meeting of the Council Mr. W. Johnson, the chairman, extended an official welcome, and also welcome was the official news received in July by Mrs. Vaughan of 27, Bedford Street when, coinciding with the celebration of her golden wedding, she received notification that her appointment as a Serving Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem had been approved by the King. Dating from May 29th this would be published in the London Gazette, whilst for the local newspapers they could take pride in reporting that the Superintendent of Bletchley St. John Nursing Cadets, together with Cadets Grace Lord, Joan Whiting, and Margaret Dival, had represented North Bucks at the Empire Youth Sunday Service, held at Westminster Abbey. On Saturday, July 19th the wedding took place at St. Martin’s Church of Blanche Walpole, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Walpole of 61, Victoria Road, and Francis Ashfield, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Ashfield, of Stratford Upon Avon where, whilst her future husband was in the Navy, she had been working as a nurse. Nursing skills were then certainly a requirement on Friday, August 22nd when 56 year old Lily Coleman, of 65, Western Road, was rescued unconscious from the canal by Mr. Bodsworth, of Aylesbury Street. He had been picnicking on the canal bank with his wife, and with the gleaners working in a nearby field having summoned medical aid, the casualty was swiftly taken to Northampton hospital. For the Great Ormond Street hospital for sick children, £9 had been collected in Bletchley by the 1st Fenny Stratford St. Martin’s Girl Guide Company, but on less charitable matters Bletchley Council had now joined a ‘revolt’, (lead by Chesham), against the handling by Bucks County Council of the health services under the new Act. In consequence, Bletchley Council - strongly supporting a letter from Chesham - accepted an invitation to a conference of local councils, and the matter centred around a proposal by the County Council to cover the county with three sub committees - one centred at Slough, another at High Wycombe, and one at Aylesbury, in which Bletchley would be included. Yet Bletchley, as stated in the letter, took ‘the strongest possible exception to the manner in which the district councils are being treated by the county council. They object to being ‘consulted’ and merely told what the county council have decided is to be done. In other words they dislike the schoolmaster-schoolboy touch of the county council.’ After this outburst perhaps there would be a pregnant pause, but on other matters regarding pregnancy the owners of The Walnuts, Simpson, had now offered to sell the building for use as a maternity home. Unfortunately, in view of the inadequate size the Council had to decline, but during the first week of October moves were then made to secure Holne Chase, not only as a maternity home for Bletchley, but also for the immediate district.

From 188, Windsor Street, Wolverton, A.P. Snow, M.S.F., was now visiting the Bletchley area as a chiropodist but perhaps the need for his additional skills in physiotherapy would become lessened when, on Thursday, October 23rd, the new mobile physiotherapy unit was officially opened and inspected. Covering about 200 miles a week, presently the unit was based at Winslow, with visits to Bletchley being made only on Thursdays. With the intention to provide treatment by various forms of electricity, men were to be seen in the morning and women in the afternoon, but all patients would need a letter from a doctor or hospital. The unit had been provided by the British Red Cross Society for the North Bucks Division, and the use in Bletchley had been secured by the Co-op, Bletchley St. John Nursing Division, and the Council. The Red Cross supplied the equipment and also the qualified physiotherapist, Miss J. Morris, M.C.S.P., whilst responsibility for providing the nurses fell to the Nursing Division. On November 10th the new Ministry of National Insurance began to take over the local approved societies, and locally the new offices had been opened above the High Street premises of Tompkins, Moss and Co. on November 9th. Having a settee, and also armchairs for the elderly and infirm, the office was one of 13 ‘group’ offices that had been established in the southern region, and it was hoped that the transfer of ‘approved societies’ to the Ministry would be complete by July. On Thursday, November 20th from 8p.m. to 1p.m. the Bletchley Tuberculosis Welfare Scheme Grand Celebration Dance took place at the Assembly Hall. Music was provided by The Aristocrats Dance Orchestra, whilst for the Scheme’s 1947 Variety Dancing Entertainment, scheduled to be held at the Assembly Hall on Friday, December 5th, this would feature the Society Girls and Juveniles, with Les and Carl Nicholls. The proceeds would be for Bletchley Clinic. The Christmas holidays were now approaching, and it was hoped that, following the appointment of Nurse Cameron in mid December, extra holidays, in the form of a rest day each week, would now be in order for the two other nurses of the Nursing Association, Nurse Brinklow and Nurse Davis.




Whilst serving in Egypt, when playing in a recent match for ‘Movement and Transport’ D. Thurlow, the former Bletchley football player, scored three of the five goals against Farouk S.C. Old Boys at Zamalek, but nearer to home, at Liverpool Stadium on Thursday, January 18th the renowned Bletchley boxer, Jack Beech, defeated Herve Charnaud in the fifth round of an eight-round contest. By the end of February, as long as the full subscriptions had been paid the Games Room at the Community Centre was now open to members from 8p.m. until 10.30p.m., whilst for swimmers there was perhaps rather a sinking feeling, for in March it was announced that the Bathing Shed, near the Watling Street, was to be dismantled, and the fencing removed. However, on Saturday, April 21st from the Bletchley Social Club Bill Hadyn proved on cue when, at the Wolverton Social Club, he won the North Bucks snooker championship. Indeed, this was ‘in decisive manner’, as was the performance of Sergeant Jack Beech who, tall and with a terrific left punch, out pointed, by ‘superior ring craft and longer reach’, Reg ‘Lad’ Pullen, of Wales, in a cruiserweight contest held on Monday, April 30th at Leighton Buzzard. This was despite having ceded 6lb. in weight, over a contest that lasted for 10 rounds. The Honorary Secretary being Mr. E. Trunkfield, the opening of the green of the Fenny Stratford and Bletchley Bowls Club took place at 7p.m. on Wednesday, May 2nd, but a few days later, on the evening of May 9th at Watford Town Hall the recent run of boxing victories for Jack Beech came to an end when, sustaining a cut over his right eye, he lost the contest to the 25 year old Lucien Courtois, of the Fighting French Navy. In fact this was only Jack’s seventh defeat.

At the beginning of June, the Baptist Tennis Club welcomed any new members for the season at the Denmark Street ground. Subscriptions for adults were 12s 6d, and for juniors, (under 16), 6s, and interested persons could contact Mr. E. Weatherhead, the Honorary Secretary, at 71, Bletchley Road. For the benefit of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund a boxing tournament, with Mr. R. Farwell as the promoter, would be one of the highlights of the August Bank Holiday Show. However, since it had not proved possible to recruit amateurs the event would need to feature professionals. Of other events that were hosted at Bletchley Park, baseball was being regularly played by the locally stationed Americans. In fact with the referee being an Englishman, (Nigel Gaydon), on Thursday, July 5th they staged, as part of the Independence Day celebrations, a match in which a team captained by Colonel E. Hollis, of the U.S.A., beat a side of Americans from Great Brickhill, 9-6. Also to suffer a defeat by the Americans was Jack Beech, who lost a match on points to Benny Drole, of the U.S. Army. However, of his 169 fights this had been one of only seven defeats. Having been trained in his early days by Howard Beard and Ernie Humphreys, Jack had also received much encouragement from the Lovell brothers, of Bedford, as well as the heavyweight champion, Seamarks, whom he would subsequently defeat. Until called into the Army, Jack had been employed at the London Brick Company at Newton Longville, and for many years played cricket, football, and the occasional bowls match for the works team. Yet boxing was his principal sporting interest, and having been knocked out only four times during his 14 years career - on one occasion by Dick Turpin, of Leamington - amongst the several injuries that he had variously sustained were a broken nose and, on two occasions, a fractured hand. However, with the knowledge that he was about to be posted to the Far East, and of the opinion that he would be too old to continue on his return, he had now decided to retire. Nevertheless once abroad, and serving in the Army with S.E.A.C., later in the year he would not only be part of a team that played a football match against the R.A.F., (who won by three goals to nil), but on Wednesday, December 19th before a full house at Singapore he would defeat Jim Frith, of R.E.M.E., in a boxing match that was fought over eight rounds! In fact not content with this victory, before an audience of 8,000 on December 30th he would then defeat, also at Singapore, the official middleweight champion Bomber Newton, despite being 18 years his senior!

In July came the tragic news that the world famous dirt track rider, and one time captain of the England team, Jim Kempster, known throughout the country, and particularly the Bletchley district, as ‘Smiling Jim’, had been posted missing. It was thought that he was the pilot of an aircraft seen to crash into the Rhine, and his loss would be keenly felt. During the month, at the quarterly meeting of the Bucks Clubs & Institutes’ Union, held in Bletchley, it was decided to revive the inter-club games during the winter, with darts, skittles, etc. to all be included. As for outdoor pursuits, the Bletchley & District Youth Organisation had now sent a letter enquiring about the proposals of the Council regarding both the provision of land for playing fields, and a suitable youth centre ‘of a permanent nature.’ That the playing fields were necessary was duly agreed by the Council, and they now also invited tenders for the purchase of several sheds and a quantity of galvanised corrugated-iron sheets, situated at the old Bathing Place off the Watling Street. On Wednesday, July 18th the Bletchley Primary School Sports were held at Bletchley Park, with the inclusion of St. Paul’s evacuated school, Islington, who had lately joined the Primary from St Martin’s Hall and the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church hall. Over £20 was made from the sale of adult tickets, and this would then be used to purchase sports equipment. The Bletchley Red Cross Victory Show took place in Bletchley Park on Bank Holiday Monday, August 6th, and the events included a gymkhana, horticultural show, fur and feather show, auction sale, baby show, boxing and tug-o’-war. With an estimated attendance of 7,000, this was the third of the wartime shows to be held in Bletchley Park, but unfortunately the day would be interrupted by storms. On their way from Brighton to Glasgow, a team of British League of Racing Cyclists passed through the town on Tuesday, August 7th, which was no doubt of interest to L.A.C. Eric Wilkinson who, cycling 391½ miles over the weekend of August, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th, won the famous ‘North Road 24.’ Ten years earlier his colleague R. Goodman, also from Bletchley, had won the same race riding 406 miles in 24 hours, and although Eric had also been in that race, during the night he hit a cat, and lay dazed at the side of the road for about an hour. Eric would subsequently attend the 60th birthday celebrations of the North Road Cycling Club in London where, with the guests to include Mr. G. Strauss, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, and the B.B.C. sports commentator Raymond Glendenning, he would be presented with the North Road 24 hours cup. The event then concluded with Eric - who had now announced his intention to retire - being chaired around the hall to the strains of ‘He’s a jolly good fellow’. Throughout his career he had raced for Luton Wheelers, and, having broken his own record three times in succession, and being the holder of two tricycle records, the peak of his career had been during the period 1937-38, when he held cups and shields at his home worth over £200. The son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Wilkinson of 12, Victoria Road, he was married with two children, and on demob would return to the firm of T.R. Wilkinson, of which he was a partner.

Entry being priced at 4s per couple, (‘including tea’), at 2.30p.m. a B.E.T.A. Sports & Social Club open tennis tournament - ‘mixed doubles on grass courts’ - was held on Saturday, August 11th at W. O. Peake’s Ltd, Denbigh Road. Then at a town meeting held at 7.30p.m. in the Council Chamber, on Thursday, September 27th the possibility of inaugurating a sports and athletics association was considered. The well attended meeting had been convened by Mr S. Maycock, chairman of the Council, and a decision would duly be made to form an association, with there being a possibility of obtaining a grant from the Playing Fields Association. On Saturday, October 13th the Leighton Buzzard Angling Club held the third of their restocking outings, with quantities of rudd, roach and, possibly for the first time, carp being taken from the Club’s restocking pool at Wing, and transferred to the Ousel, between Orchard Mill and Water Eaton. Also going swimmingly was the football career of 16 year old Ernest ‘Skip’ Skipper who, playing on Saturday, November 24th for the Berks and Bucks Junior XI against Dorset, scored 11 goals at Reading Town Ground, with the final score being 19 goals to 1. During the season he had played for Bletchley L.M.S., and although two League teams were now pressing for him to sign amateur forms, and although the Reading manager had been in Bletchley during the week to try and obtain his signature, he had so far refused all the offers, saying that he wanted to become a P.T. teacher. The sporting activities of the year then neared a close on Friday, December 14th, when at the Conservative Club the Bletchley Town Cricket Club held their A.G.M. at 7p.m.



Formed in 1936, after a break of more than six years the Bletchley Table Tennis League had recommenced on the evening of Monday, December 30th, with the first match being a second division tie between Wipac and the Shenley Youth and Social Club. At a ‘lively’ meeting at 7.30p.m., the newly formed Bletchley Sports Club was then discussed in the Council Chamber on Monday, January, 14th, and, with many sports organisations being represented, Bletchley Town Cricket Club were the first to amalgamate. Yearly membership would cost 2s 6d, and also on financial matters the Council were presently in negotiations to purchase land for a sports ground between the river and the canal. However, there was some criticism that the location was not only too far from the town centre, but also liable to flooding, but, as Mr. Maycock pointed out, it was intended to use the area subject to flooding as a boating lake! The fishing rights of the River Ousel at Manor Farm had now been taken over by the Leighton Buzzard Angling Club, who on the opposite bank already possessed the rights from below Water Eaton Mill to Watling Street bridge. As reported by the secretary, Fred Groom, since the cleaning of the river the possibilities for chub and dace had increased, and indeed two specimen chub had been caught during the season by Mr. William Bradbury, of Manor Road. Carp were also a possibility, a species which until their introduction from the stocking pool at Wing, a few years ago, had been unknown in the Ousel. As for other sports clubs in the town, at St. Martin’s Hall the St. Martin’s Bowls Club held a whist drive at 7.30p.m. on Saturday, February 16th, and at the Rose and Crown - reputedly the most popular pub for darts in the town - on Sunday, March 10th an exhibition match was staged between ex servicemen and civilians. With music by the Ferdonairs Band, the L.B.C. football club supporters grand dance then took place in the Yeomanry Hall on Saturday, March 16th, and, with a block booking of one of the Council’s hard courts having been made for the coming season, (by the Town Lawn Tennis Club), it seemed opportune that tennis rackets were now available from the Co-op hardware department, priced at 55s each.

On the weekend of March 16th/17th Mr. W. Haydn, ‘Bletchley’s wizard cueist’, gave a fine display of billiards at Wolverton and Old Bradwell, and at the Stantonbury Social Club on winning the final of the Bucks Club Union Championship he was presented, on Sunday evening, with a silver cup and £4 in cash. The Bletchley Sports Club held their first annual meeting on Wednesday, March 27th, and on Wednesday, April 10th they then presented The Don Cossack Riders, who gave a thrilling display on the Co-op field, Albert Street. However, the Club still had no headquarters or ground, although for Bletchley Town Cricket Club, (which had joined ‘en bloc’, and would make their overall assets available), from April 23rd they would hold practises at Bletchley Park every Tuesday and Friday at 6.30p.m. On Saturday, May 4th they then opened the season at Bletchley Park with a good win over R.A.F. Cranfield, whilst on the afternoon of Saturday, May 18th at Aylesbury the Bletchley Netball Team, comprised of members from the local youth organisations, played in the North Bucks netball tournament. By having beaten ‘Bomber’ Newton, Jack Beech was now the Malayan light heavyweight and heavyweight boxing champion. His victory had been gained at the Happy World stadium in Singapore, and saying that ‘I am playing rugby in my spare time to keep fit’, by enclosing £5 he now applied from Singapore to become a member of the Bletchley Sports Club, of which the Darts League A.G.M. was held on Tuesday, June 18th at the Council Offices, at 7.30p.m. As for the Football Section, which ‘has enthusiasm but no equipment’, anyone interested was invited to attend their general meeting, to be held at St. Martin’s Hall at 7.30p.m. on Wednesday, July 3rd. On Saturday, July 6th, as the first occasion of the year the Bletchley Workingmen’s Social Club entered the Bucks Branch Club and Institute Union Individual Angling Championship. This was the first occasion of the year, and since one of their members, Ted Read, won a cash prize of three guineas, plus a handsome trophy, which he could keep for a year, their initiative was duly rewarded. Comprising 102 anglers, of whom 20 were from Bletchley, the three hour contest had taken place at the Sand Pits, Newport Pagnell, and Ted’s haul of 3lb. 14oz. 12 drams proved to be ½lb. heavier than that of the next competitor. In fact continuing his angling success, not only on the afternoon of Saturday, August 10th would he win - for the second year in succession - the Leighton Buzzard Angling Club Championship, (the final round of which took place in the Ousel, above Orchard Mill), but on Sunday, November 3rd also, for the third season in succession, the Club’s James Dance Cup, at the Three Locks field.

Despite the odd occasions of theft, such as an instance when money was taken from clothing by two boys, aged 11 and 8, the water filled gravel works in Denbigh Road had long been favoured for both fishing and swimming, but in early July the former manager, Fred Carvell, who for many years had occupied a house in Staple Hall Road, died aged 40. He had been living with his wife at ‘Ingleside’, Wellingborough Road, Olney, and was soon to have moved to Great Linford, to manage another pit belonging to the same firm, Thomas Roberts (Westminster) Ltd. In early June the Bletchley Sports Club Horse Show and Gymkhana had taken place at The Meadow, Manor Farm, Brickhill Road, and, with prizes of £20, £10 and £5, show jumping was included amongst the 14 events. Then with admission priced at 3s, at the Assembly Hall on Saturday, July 13th the Bletchley Sports Club Grand Dance would be held at 8p.m. Lew Keay and his Embassy Dance Orchestra, from Bedford, were to provide the music for the enthusiastic dancers, but having ‘enthusiasm but no equipment’, in early July the Bletchley Town Football Club made an appeal for spare clothing coupons. These could either be sent to councillor Maycock, at 32, Victoria Road, councillor R. Farwell, at 208, Buckingham Road, or Mr. F. Watts, at The Elms. As for the Badminton Section of the Bletchley Sports Club, which had been scheduled to play from the first week in October, they held their general meeting at 7.30p.m. on Wednesday, July 17th at St. Martin’s Hall, whilst regarding the tennis section they had obtained a court in Staple Hall Road, with Miss J. Smith appointed as secretary. On the evening of Monday, July 29th the valuable Bletchley Hospital Cup, ‘a prize which produced some of the keenest games of soccer in Bletchley before the war’, was formally presented to the Bletchley Sports Club, the Grand Holiday Gala of which, including a comic football match, dancing, fireworks, and numerous sideshows, took place on August Bank Holiday Monday in the Leon Recreation Ground. In fact, as evidence of the Club’s increasing popularity, 58 new members were admitted at the meeting on Thursday, August 29th, and with there now being over 200 members, Mr. Grainger Cox had been invited to design a club badge and colours, which, it would be eventually decided, should be burgundy, with white facings where suitable. For the first time in many years a Bletchley cricketer had reached 1,000 runs in a season. He was Les Hall, the opening batsman for Bletchley Town, and adept at bowling a maiden over, another cricketer was John Evans, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Evans, of 4, Cambridge Street, who married Marion Jackson-Capstick, from South Shields, on Saturday, August 31st. At Wolverton, at an evening meeting of the North Bucks Divisional Education Executive, on September 9th considerable debate arose regarding the letting of Bletchley Park to the Bletchley Town Sports Club. With the matter having been discussed by the school management sub committee, their recommendation was that for an annual rent of £50 the facility should be let to the Club for football, cricket, and hockey on Saturdays, as well as for practices. However, a subsequent amendment would raise this to £75, although by early March of the following year the figure would be reduced to £50. It was also decided to recommend to the county education authority that the main gates of the Park should be locked on Saturdays, when football matches were being played.

On October 3rd, at 8p.m. the A.G.M. of the Bletchley Sports Club Ladies Hockey Section would take place at the Wilberforce Hotel, but the perils of the game were made painfully aware to Albert Williams, of 40, Windsor Street, when on the last Wednesday in September he suffered a serious injury to his nose, when hit by a hockey ball during a game at Wolverton Grammar School. Perhaps he might then have been tempted to take up badminton instead, for the Badminton Section of the Sports Club commenced play during the first week of October.

At the Albert Street Sports Ground, with the Bletchley Town Band in attendance the North Bucks League Minor Football County Championship Trial Match was held. This took place on Saturday, October 5th, and provided an opportunity for local players to display their skills. As for cricket, unusual skills could be displayed by Sergeant Major Jack Beech who, having returned from Singapore a few weeks ago, could once again amuse the locals by bouncing cricket balls on his head! Yet in more serious pursuits, acting as a substitute he then entered the semi final of the Cruiserweight Discovery Competition, open to all England, which commenced at Luton on Saturday, October 12th. He then gave another knockout performance on the evening of Wednesday, October 30th, when at Watford he defeated Bob McArdle, of Sheffield, in the fifth of eight rounds. Then on the following evening on points he defeated Tom Allen of Leicester, in ‘a 10 round thriller’, and both men were given an ovation. Promoted by Mr. J. Barnes, the boxing show had been held at the Leighton Buzzard Corn exchange, and the proceeds would be for the Linslade Nursing Association. At Luton, Jack also excelled in an ‘open to all’ British cruiser weight competition, which he had only entered as a reserve, since the purpose of the contest was to find a promising young newcomer! Featuring the Night Riders Band - ‘Bletchley’s Newest Dance Combination of Eight Players’ - the Bletchley Sports Club dance was held at the Assembly Hall at 8p.m. on Friday, November 1st, and the following day with Tommy Claridge and his new lyric band, comprised of nine players, a Grand Dance was staged at the same venue for the Barn Boys Football Club. Also hoping to score were the Empire News Darts Team, who paid a visit to the Conservative Club on Wednesday, November 13th. Not only did one player knock an ordinary match stick from the mouth of a colleague, but also cigarettes from his mouth, ear and the top of his head. Then in another exhibition, by bouncing darts off a tin tray three double 3s were scored. Nevertheless, there was success for a local player, if only because his opponent was throwing six inch nails! Fortunately, more conventional missiles could be supplied at The Bazaar, Bletchley Road, by E.S. Neal, who was now able to offer a large selection of darts, ‘all weights’. On Friday, December 6th, at the Assembly Hall at 8p.m. Tony Claridge’s New Lyric Dance Band provided the music for the L.B.C. football club grand dance, and there was also fancy footwork the following day when, at the Bletchley Sports Club ground, the County Trial football match between Bletchley and Linslade took place at 2.15p.m., However, as a rival attraction at St. Martin’s Hall the St. Martin’s Bowls Club were staging a fun fair. With Brigadier Earle presiding, at the Swan the Bletchley Town Cricket Club held their A.G.M. at 6p.m. on Wednesday, December 11th. The meeting was hailed as a great success and the following day at 146, Water Eaton Road, Mr. L. Alderton held a meeting at 8p.m. for the purpose of forming a Table Tennis Club, which would be entered into the Bletchley Table Tennis League. As for Ellen Hill, a teacher at Stony Stratford Primary School, and the Captain of Bletchley Ladies Hockey Club, she was married on Saturday, December 28th to Albert Baden Powell, the son of Mr. A. Powell of Towcester. After the wedding, which took place at the Simpson Methodist Church, the couple then left for a honeymoon at Great Barford.



Just before Christmas, Jack Beech had injured his knee playing football, and a reoccurrence of the trouble caused him to retire at the end of the second round of a boxing match at Bedford. Held on the evening of Monday, January 13th, this was against Joe ’Battling’ Igoe, of Batley, although on Tuesday, January 21st he then fought the best fight of the night at Watford. Despite losing on points to Reg Spring, this was nevertheless only his ninth defeat in 187 bouts. At 8p.m., a special general meeting of the members of Bletchley Sports Club - which would alter its year end to March 31st - took place at the Council Chamber on Friday, January 24th. Regarding alterations of the rules, and the appointment of auditors, the purpose was to consider the recommendations of the General Committee, and in February the Bletchley L.M.S. Cricket Club then opened for members, with Sunday fixtures now required. With the Works Manager, Mr. G. Forbes, presiding, as guests of the Social and Sports General Committee some 80 staff, who had recently returned from the Forces - excepting one lady who was too shy to attend - enjoyed a reunion dinner and social evening, held in the L.B.C. works canteen on Saturday, March 1st. Then later in the month, Mr. R. Pollard, the secretary of Bletchley Town Cricket Club, was elected as a committee member of the Bucks County Cricket Club. Also on cricketing matters, on Saturday 15th at Saint Martin’s Hall the Bletchley Town Cricket Club grand jumble sale took place and, with admission priced at 3d, £38 was raised. In fact this seemed to justify the organiser’s claim that ‘genuine bargains can be assured’, and in the evening Bletchley Sports Club held a knockout darts competition, at 6s per team of four. At Wolverton Social Club, defeating Frank Bee, his Club colleague, Reg Cutts, of the Bletchley Social Club, had won the Bucks Club Union Individual Billiards Championship on Sunday, March 9th. However, sad news then arrived towards the end of the month with the death of Ernie North, of 170, Newton Road. Aged 45, he had been a keen sportsman, and before the war coached the famous L.B.C. tug of war team, (which at the time held the British workers championship cup). As for his wartime occupation, he had been employed at Percival Aircraft, Luton.

Featuring Derek Tarry and his band, at the Coronation Hall on Thursday, April 3rd the Roots Cricket Club Easter Dance took place. Also during the month two members of the Bletchley Co-operative Sports Club were married, Iris Bonner, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Bonner, of 99, Bletchley Road, and Douglas Kirby, the third son of Mr. and Mrs. Kirby of 6, Brooklands Road. Irene was employed in the local office of the Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company, and Douglas was a gas fitter. Three of the four tennis courts at Central Gardens were now to be block booked by Bletchley Town Tennis Club, Bletchley Sports Club, Bletchley Community Centre and Bletchley R.A.F. Station, and, having due to his knee injury been out of the ring for 10 weeks, also during April Jack Beech ‘had a good fight’ in the show at Hemel Hempstead where, after knocking him down six times, he beat Tommy Moran from Bournemouth. This was on points over eight rounds, but apart from boxing, Jack was also a keen cricketer and formed part of the team of Bletchley Town Cricket Club, which commenced the season with the defeat of the Swanbourne side by 74 runs. In a spirit of wartime reconciliation, on several evenings the W.O. Peake’s Sports Club invited a group of P.O.W.s for indoor games, and also as a wartime legacy the Bletchley L.M.S. Football Club were now appealing for clothing coupons. These were needed for a new kit for the next season, and an appeal was also being made at the Community Centre, where gifts of any sports equipment would be gratefully received. At the Swan Hotel, at 10.30a.m. Bletchley Sports Club Darts Section held their A.G.M. on Sunday, May 4th, and the following day the A.G.M. of the Bletchley Sports Club took place at St. Martin’s Hall, at 8p.m. Stony Stratford were defeated at cricket by the visiting Bletchley Town on Saturday, May 10th, whilst on Monday, May 12th Bletchley Town were also successful at football, gaining a victory over Wolverton Town in the Stantonbury Hospital Cup semi final, held at Bletchley Park.

For the use of the elderly, the Highways Committee was now to consider providing a croquet lawn at Central Gardens, and having recently been made chairman of the old peoples welfare committee, Mr. F. Bates had been asked to put the question. In due course a site just inside the gates was championed, and also championed were the league table tennis playing abilities of Christopher Dimmock, the third son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Dimmock, of 1, Bedford Street. In his working life he was employed on the counter staff of Bletchley Post Office, but on Saturday, May 17th he married Eileen Moody, the second daughter of Mrs. Warren, and the late Mr. Warren, of 7, Adelaide Road, Southall, Middlesex. Their married home would be at Steeple Claydon, and the couple had first become acquainted during the war when, whilst serving in the R.A.F., Christopher had usefully employed his four years spent in Egypt by corresponding with Eileen. On his return their romance further blossomed, as also did his passion for table tennis when, playing for the Beta Club, he had instigated the revival last winter of the Bletchley table tennis league. Also being revived was the home career of Jack Beech, who - now claimed to be Britain’s oldest active boxer - after eight rounds defeated Don Burton, of Manchester, at the Bedford Corn Exchange. In fact this win was especially significant, since Burton had just returned from training in America with the great Jack Dempsey. At the beginning of June, the ban on tennis at Central Gardens, which had applied between 11a.m. and midday on Sundays, was lifted by the Urban Council, following representations by Bletchley Town Tennis Club. Then regarding other sports, on Sunday, June 22nd members of the Bletchley Workingmen’s Social Club Angling Section held the first competition of the season, at the Club’s waters at Woughton.

On Wednesday, July 9th the Bletchley Sports Club Football Section A.G.M. took place at 7.30p.m. at the Conservative Club whilst, with proceeds for the Victory Clock, at Holne Chase a gymkhana took place on Saturday, July 12th. Commencing at 2.30p.m. on August Bank Holiday, August 4th, the Bletchley Sports Club Grand Fete was held at Bletchley Park sports ground, with events to include a comic football match at 6p.m. between Mr. S. Maycock’s ‘Saucy Mannequins’ and Mr. F. Watts ‘Petticoat Ramblers.’ On the second stage from London to Wolverhampton, on Tuesday, August 12th the competitors in the six day cycle race from Brighton to Glasgow were watched by large crowds, which had gathered near both the Fenny Stratford crossroads, and along the High Street. There was also an enthusiastic gathering at the meeting of the Bletchley Sports Club on Friday, August 22nd, where a unanimous decision was made to revive as much glory as possible of the former Bletchley August Show. This had been previously held at Bletchley Park, for the use of which - for whole day lettings for charitable and educational objects (for raising funds when entrance fees were charged) - the charges would be fixed at £1 by the North Bucks educational executive committee on Monday, September 15th. For 10s, additional to this would be the services of the grounds man, a position for which, at a weekly wage of £4 10s, applications were currently invited. Mainly to encourage new membership, with Mrs. R. Holdom as Captain, and Mrs. C. Gurney as Vice Captain, the ‘beginning of the season’ meeting of the Bletchley Ladies Hockey Club was held on Thursday, September 4th, and a few days before, on Wednesday, August 27th, a meeting had been held, at 7.30p.m. at the Community Centre, regarding the proposed Rugby Football section of the Bletchley Sports Club. Bernard Blane, of 2, Osborne Street, would be shortly appointed as the treasurer, in succession to Mr. R.J. Storey, and - ‘Beginners willingly taught’ - the Bletchley Rugby Club practice match took place on Saturday, September 27th at 2.15p.m. Their ground lay opposite the King’s Head at River Meadows, whilst for anyone preferring a spot of fishing in the river, Axfords, at 61, Aylesbury Street, could now supply angling equipment, and - perhaps for those fisherman prone to tell whoppers - an up to date modern fiction library. Yet needing no exaggeration were the continuing abilities of the local angling champion, Ted Read, who was to be vice captain of the Leighton Angling Club Team which, to be held at Kirkstead, near Boston, would compete in the English Angling Championship. Before an audience of some 1,000 people, at the Bedford Corn Exchange on the evening of Monday, September 29th Jack Beech fought his last fight. Following his victory over Jack Hamer, of Northampton, he was given a rousing reception, and the M.C., Fred Peach, then read out the details of Jack’s career. Having left the Army in 1930, he soon began learning the art of ring craft from the three Bedford boxers, the Lovell Brothers, and in a professional career of 16 years, of 195 fights he had won 182, been defeated in nine, and drawn four. Of the 11 contests that he had recently fought whilst drafted overseas, in all of these he had been victorious, and now he would begin to train the future boxing talent of Bletchley.

Featuring Aubrey Smith and his Band from Aylesbury, the Bletchley Sports Club Badminton, Cricket and Hockey sections ‘dance of the season’ took place at the Assembly Hall on Wednesday, October 1st. At the High Street schools, the Bletchley Badminton Club open night then began their season on October 16th, and on Saturday, November 15th the Bletchley Sports Club Badminton Section held a dance at the Assembly Hall at 7.45p.m.., with music by Freddie Maydwell and his New Rhythmaires. Towards the end of October, enquiries were made to the Council by Bletchley Sports Club regarding a ground on the Manor Farm Estate, and in reply it was stated that, for consideration by the public health committee, the Surveyor was to prepare a layout of the site. Then in further developments, regarding the layout of that part of Manor Farm proposed as a public open space and recreation ground, in late November at a Council meeting, attended by representatives of the sports club and horticultural society, discussions were held, and details of the combined requirements would be duly given to the Surveyor, for a draft layout to be prepared.

Since new ones cost 3s, and since many had been lost, a decision had now been made to charge, for the 18 hole miniature course at Central Gardens, a deposit of 2s 6d for the use of golf balls. As for renovating the adjoining tennis courts, £236 would be shortly expended. With music by the New Lyric Dance Band, the London Brick Company Football Club held a Grand Non Stop Dance on Friday, November 28th, and on Wednesday, December 17th members of the Apex Club, Linslade, gave a dinner, at which Jack Beech was the guest of honour. He had recently retired after 25 years of boxing, and by Mr. H. Callis, the editor of Boxing News, was presented with an inscribed clock, which had been purchased from the contributions of his many admirers. As the official cruiser and heavyweight champion of British Malaya, Jack had spent many hours at the Apex Club coaching youngsters, whilst of his own early career he had, on the advice of his father, joined the Army at the age of 14, and duly received much early and valuable tuition from an Army instructor. An all round sportsman, Jack was also a keen cricketer, on the subject of which at a recent meeting of the Bletchley Town Cricket Club it had been decided that caps should be available to members in the burgundy colour of the Sports Club. However, although their request to use the crest of the Bletchley Urban District Council had now been approved, this could only be affixed to the caps after a certain number of appearances in the First Eleven. Ending the year, a considerable number of tennis enthusiasts played on the Central Gardens courts on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. However, they needed to change ends several times because of the sun, and hopefully also dazzling was the performance by the Futurists Dance Band, who played at the Wipac Sports Club Grand New Years Eve Dance, held from 8p.m. to 1a.m. at Coronation Hall.




At 7.15p.m., on Wednesday, January 17th, and Saturday, January 20th, the youth club of the Bletchley Road Methodist Church presented ‘The Little Plays of St. Francis’, with, after the war, the proceeds to be used for building premises to accommodate the youth activities of the church. Congratulating Mrs. S. Harlock on the smartness and efficiency of the cadets, in early February Miss Oldfield, the Inspecting Officer from the Girls’ Training Corps H.Q., paid a visit one Thursday to the Bletchley section, and having inspected the cadets she then watched a display of country dancing. An event somewhat less formal was the annual tea party of the St. Martin’s Cub Pack, which during the early month took place one Friday, and ‘Never was so much food consumed in such a short time.’ After tea, games organised by amongst others the Cub mistress, Miss Elliot, were played, with 13 new members being later invested. As for the 1st Bletchley Scout Troop, at the request of the Group Committee this would now be taken over by Sergeant Wickson, of the R.A.S.C. Before a crowded audience, on Sunday, February 18th a special performance was staged at the Spurgeon Festival of Praise by Private Derek Barsham, of the 1st Enfield Co. Boys’ Brigade, who, billed as ‘The B.B.C. Boy Soprano’, had now broadcast 25 times. By March the games room of the Community Centre, in George Street, was open to fully paid up members from 8p.m. until 10.30p.m., with Mondays being reserved for young people aged 16-21. Youth activities were then also in evidence on Saturday, March 17th when, at 7p.m. in the Modern Secondary School hall, the Bletchley Service of Youth Drama & Dancing Festival took place. The events comprised four one-act plays, country dancing and Scottish reels but, with all the tickets sold, ‘If you have no ticket, please do not waste your time in coming, nor our time in sending you away.’ By the end of the month, arrangements had been completed for the sale in Aylesbury Street of the ex-Primitive Methodist chapel. Having been purchased by the 1st Bletchley Company of the Boys’ Brigade, (which was associated with the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church), this would be used as the Company headquarters. However, as for the Red Cross cadet unit, which had just been commenced in the town, the Clinic sufficed as their venue, with sessions held for girls aged between 11 and 15 on Saturday afternoons, at 2.30p.m.

Near the Estate H.Q. of the 14th Hampstead Rover Crew, at Ashridge a joint camp with the 1st Bletchley Scout Troop took place from Friday, March 31st to Tuesday, April 3rd, whilst meanwhile at the Community Centre the Youth Group Social, admission 6d, took place on Saturday, April 21st at 8p.m. At the other end of the town, by now the Yeomanry Hall had been taken over by the Army Cadets’ Corps, and all enquiries were to be made to the Entertainment Officer, Warrant Officer F. Parker, c/o the Bull & Butcher. Also on military lines, for the annual inspection and display of the Boys’ Brigade, on Friday, April 27th there was a packed audience at the Modern Secondary School hall, when the sound of bugles marked the General Salute and the arrival of both the chairman, the Hon. Lionel Berry, M.P., and the inspecting officer, Mr. S. Barnes. Examples of various drills were given, plus P.T. exercises, games, and boxing, and the ‘collapse’ of a human pyramid provided an excuse to display the medical skills of the ambulance squad. During the interval the Girls’ Life Brigade then performed a display of Scottish National dancing, and the event concluded with a concerted item, ‘Forty Years On’, where a grandfather in 1985 was shown telling his grandson of some of the highlights of the Company history, scenes of which were portrayed on stage. Proceeds from the event, plus regular contributions from present members and ‘Old Boys’, would be used to construct first-class premises complete with a drill hall, gym., Bible Class room, workroom, clubroom, and canteen, and this future H.Q. was to be on the site of the recently purchased ex-Primitive Methodist chapel, in Aylesbury Street. Now hopefully recovered from the endeavours of their annual inspection, over the weekend of May 5th/6th the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade had another busy time, when on Saturday a party of 15 visited the Albert Hall display. In the evening an interesting 2½ hours was then spent touring the Fleet Street premises of the Express Newspapers. As for the Methodists, during the last week in May they held their Eisteddfod and Exhibition, which had been postponed from Youth Week due to the V.E. Day celebrations. The event took place in the Bletchley Road church, with the activities to include arts, crafts, model making and stamp collections.

On Sunday, June 10th entries by members of Bletchley’s Youth Organisations were included at the Empire Youth Sunday Youth Service. This was held at 3p.m., and entry was only allowed upon a contribution being made to the fund for the reconstruction of the Christian church in Europe. Under the command of Flight Lieutenant H. Tranfield, C.O. of the A.T.C., over 300 young people paraded at Central Gardens, and with the junior units parading in Buckingham Road under Cubmistress Miss A. Elliott, a religious service was held on their combined arrival at the Assembly Hall, conducted entirely by members of the youth movements. From 8.30a.m. to 11.30p.m. a cleaner was now required for four or five mornings a week at the Y.M.C.A. Service Centre, R.A.F. camp, Church Green, and applications could be made in writing to the Leader in Charge. The premises had opened in May, and with the forthcoming need for more cleaners, as also general assistants, the requirement for staff was presumably urgent, since on average 6,982 hot drinks, 5,629 sandwiches, and 2,688 cakes would be served each week. For an exhibition illustrating scouting activities, by permission of the Co-op in early July the 1st Bletchley Boy Scout Troop took over the shop windows of the furniture department, and on Saturday, July 14th their horizons were further extended when, led by Mr. E. Cox, Scoutmaster, and Mr. S. Harlock, Group Scoutmaster, the 1st Fenny Stratford St. Martin’s Scout Troop spent a day in London. During the morning they were shown the room of Lord Baden Powell at Imperial Headquarters, and the visit also included Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and the sea scout ship ‘The Discovery’, of Captain Scott fame. By a letter, the Bletchley & District Youth Organisation enquired in July about the proposals of the Council regarding both the provision of land for playing fields, and of a suitable youth centre of a permanent nature, and in due reply the Council acknowledged a need for the playing fields, and confirmed that they would accept the responsibility for finding a ground. In the later month, the highest award of the Boys’ Brigade was presented one Thursday to Sergeant Terry Lickorish, 1st Bletchley Company, by the chaplain, the Reverend Richardson, and on the evening of Sunday, July 29th on Water Eaton green many people enjoyed an hour’s military music, given by boys of the Army Cadet Force, conducted by Mr. C. Essen. Being mainly from Bletchley, for the boys this would be their first public performance, with the second scheduled to take place during the week beginning August 12th at Southwold, where they would join the 5th Bucks Cadet Battalion at the annual camp. Despite unfavourable weather, also enjoying an annual camp would be the men, officers, and boys of the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade when, as their first seaside camp since 1939, they went to Porthcawl from August 18-25th.

How Russia was catering for her children, and bringing them up to be ‘useful, clean, healthy citizens’, was the nature of a talk given one Thursday in September at the Community Centre. Introduced by Mr. E. Fryer, chairman of the Centre, the speaker was Mr. H. Short, from the W.E.A., but although he was well qualified to speak on the subject, (having lived in Russia for a while), disappointingly only a small audience came along to listen to his observations. More attention seemed to be paid to the visit of the Reverend Holdsworth, when he came to discuss with the Reverend Douglas Griffiths, the Methodist Youth Department secretary for youth clubs, the possibility of converting the Albert Street church premises into a youth centre. In the presence of Mr. H. Price, secretary, and Mr. S. Robinson, the youth leader, the idea was duly investigated, and after much hard work, ‘together with bread and cheese round Mr. Price’s fireside until early hours in the morning’, a scheme was eventually prepared, and would be submitted to the local and county youth committees. Over a weekend towards the end of September, on the invitation of Mr. E. Gates, Group Scoutmaster of the 1st Aylesbury Scouts, a patrol of senior scouts, from the 1st Fenny Stratford (St. Martin’s) Troop, camped on the Aylesbury Scouts site at Eythrope Park, by the River Thames. Under the leadership of Troop Leader Keith Emmerton, they had set off for Aylesbury at midnight on Friday from The Plough, Water Eaton, but due to a heavy fall of rain slept in a bus shelter during the journey. With boating as the main feature of the outing, all of Sunday was spent on the river, and the patrol then arrived back late on Sunday evening. At the annual recruitment meeting on Thursday, September 20th, 16 boys applied for membership of the 1st Company Boys’ Brigade, with six members of the Life Boys being transferred to the Company. Then in late October, commencing on a Sunday with a re-dedication service of the youth leaders in the morning, and family worship in the evening, Youth Week was observed at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church, where at the open night meeting on Tuesday, including a display of handicrafts by the Girls’ Life Brigade, and vaulting the box, a demonstration of some of their activities was given by the three youth organisations associated with the centre. During the war Bletchley had one of the lowest rates of juvenile delinquency and this was possibly due to the ‘Barn’, which stood alone in a large playing field at the end of Albert Street, on a site leased from the Co-operative Society. Originally a disused football pavilion, it was now a regular rendezvous for teenagers, and for three years, for five nights a week, had kept youngsters off the streets by accommodating about 100 of their number, who could drink coffee, munch sandwiches, and play billiards, darts, table tennis, and cards. With dances and concerts often being held, for this they each paid 3d a week, and some of the mothers helped to provide the non-stop canteen. However, it was feared that in three years’ time the land might be needed for houses but despite this, and also a lack of financial support, a scheme to enlarge the Barn and amenities had now been suggested by Mr. O. Pendred. In fact as the ‘honorary architect’ to the Barn Committee it was he, who with a team of helpers, had made The Barn into first class dressing room accommodation for the sports ground, and then, as the work of The Barn progressed, into the youth centre.

A resolution to raise the age limit to 18, and eventually 20, was put to members of the Bletchley Community Centre on Friday, November 2nd, it being proposed that the age limit of 20 would begin after April 1st. With Mr. E. Fryer being the chairman, the warden, Mr E. Haley, said that it was clear from the monthly reports and financial statement that the centre could not justify its existence, and although the Minister of Labour had agreed to a supplementary grant, to tide them over until October, there was no obligation to provide further help. Regarding support to make the centre a place for adult education, following a discussion with Mr. E. Grierson, an official from the Ministry of Education, Mr. Haley then placed a resolution before the meeting that, after April 1st, the under 20s would be excluded from membership, with the activities of the centre extended to include drama circles, music appreciation classes, handicrafts and debating societies. However, the motion was defeated. On the principle that ‘united homes create contented minds’, to members of the Bletchley youth organisations the ‘Battle Together for Britain’ movement gave a concert in The Barn on Sunday, November 11th. The ideas of the movement were written into the show, and with Mr. A. Jones operating the projector a film, entitled ‘Youth Marches On’, had earlier been shown. On the same day a score of youngsters discussed the raising of camping standards in the ‘Barn’, and with this being the first of a series of conferences, to which troops in the district had been invited to send their leaders, the District Scoutmaster attended, as well as the District Commissioner and leaders from the 1st Bletchley and the 1st Fenny Stratford Troops. Unfortunately the man who had given Bletchley the ‘Barn’, and who had contributed many hours’ of work to the causes of youth in the town, was now to leave in a month and take up an appointment in London. A traveller for Flettons, he was Mr. S. Harlock, who for seven years had lived with his wife at 33, Eaton Avenue. Having inaugurated a Rover Scout crew in Fenny Stratford, he had been active in scouting and local youth commitments ever since and his son, John, was presently a patrol leader in the 1st Fenny Stratford Troop. On visiting the local aerodrome at Wing, A.T.C. cadets were now being regularly taken on flights, during which they were able to obtain a bird’s-eye view of the town. One Sunday in December, 14 cadets were then taken on a flight at 3,000 feet, but bad weather meant that a proposed trip to Glasgow had to be cancelled. Yet as perhaps some consolation, in preparation for an attendance by 50 members and guests of the Girls’ Training Corps, Army Cadet Force, and Red Cross Nursing Cadets, on Friday, December 21st N.C.O.s of the Bletchley A.T.C. Squadron decorated The Barn for the Christmas party, and there would be further festivities on Boxing Day when, also held in The Barn, the Bletchley Service of Youth Bumper Christmas Party took place.



Admission 1s, at The Barn a special dance and social was held at 7.45p.m. on Saturday, January 19th, and on the same day at the school hall of the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church the junior party of the 1st Bletchley Company Life Brigade and Boys’ Brigade took place, with the officers and senior members of the Girls’ Life Brigade serving refreshments. As for anyone interested in youth work, with applicants to contact Mr. A. Campbell, at 62, Eaton Avenue, the Bletchley Co-op Youth Club now required a leader for one day a week, although even by the beginning of March the position would still be vacant. The 1st Bletchley Boy Scouts group dance took place on Saturday, February 2nd from 7.30p.m. to 11.45p.m., with music by the Ferdinados, and in March the Bletchley Girls Training Corps moved their H.Q. from the youth organisation’s Barn, to shared premises with the A.T.C. headquarters in Simpson Road. With the farewell party held at The Barn, over 120 members and friends attended, and during the evening the Corps presented £5 to the youth organisations funds, as a token of their appreciation for the past use of the facilities. In the Modern Secondary School hall, on Saturday, March 2nd at 7.30p.m. the County Youth Service had staged a Music and Drama Festival, and dramatic events were also in evidence on Saturday, March 23rd, when, at the Salvation Army Hall, a tumbling display and a pyramid tower were amongst the features at the fifth annual display of the 824th Life Saving Scouts. Then on Friday, March 30th in the Modern Secondary School hall an enthusiastic audience witnessed the second year of finals of the Music and Drama Festival, although unfortunately no Bletchley teams had qualified. However, perhaps this was just as well since, marring an otherwise smooth performance, during the dancing finals the needle got stuck in a record groove, causing the dancers to stammer in sympathy with the music! At 7.30p.m. a dance organised by the Bletchley Youth Organisation was held at The Barn on Friday, April 7th, admission 1s. Yet for a tribe of ‘Indians’, ‘living’ in the valley north west of Bow Brickhill, they were more inclined towards a war dance when the previous day news had been received - ‘with considerable resentment’ - of an intrusion of Wa-Ven-Donos in their hunting grounds. After a council of war the Ble-Tche-Lee braves then decided to infiltrate the intruders camp from the southern edge of the sand hills, but in fact this was all part of a scheme that, including a night exercise, would conclude the Scout year for the 1st Bletchley Boy Scout Troop. Achieving the hoped for success, the primary aim had been for the senior scouts to gain training in silent movement and night observation.

In aid of Barn funds, at 3.30p.m. on Friday, April 12th a jumble sale was held at the Bletchley Youth Organisation’s Sports Ground in Albert Street, admission 2d, and during the evening, and attracting a large audience to the Modern Secondary School, the annual inspection and display took place of the 1st Bletchley Company Boys’ Brigade. In fact having paid £440 for the former Primitive Methodist church, (which had been used by the Army during the war), they would use, as a workshop and classroom, the Aylesbury Street premises until new accommodation could be built, and towards this intention the sum of £126 5s 6d, raised during a subsequent Boys’ Brigade Week, would prove sufficient to clear the outstanding debt. Competing in a cross country race with the 61st and 71st Bedfordshire Scouts, at Wootton on Saturday, April 13th the 1st Fenny Stratford Scouts won 1st, 2nd, and 4th place, and their consequent exuberance was well apparent on the journey home, when ‘the coach driver was entertained with boisterous scout songs.’ For 18 boys of the troop there was also excitement during May, when, whilst engaged in preparatory tent work for a summer camp, they suddenly noticed smoke rising from the centre of the woods behind Bow Brickhill church, about a mile from the main road. Having rushed to the scene, they despatched a boy to the village to telephone for assistance, and the others then began to tackle the blaze. With the alarm raised, the fire brigades from Bletchley and elsewhere, soldiers, police and picnic parties also lent their help, and eventually the fire was put out, having fortunately been prevented from reaching the nearby stocks of high explosive ammunition. From 7p.m. to 11.45p.m., the social and dance of the 1st Fenny Stratford Scout group was held at the Social Centre on Saturday, May 4th, and two days later the Co-op Youth Club held their holiday fund dance, admission 1s. Originally scheduled for elsewhere, the Empire Youth Sunday parade service, arranged by the Bletchley Youth Committee, then had to be held at the Assembly Hall. This was because the organisers had unsuccessfully gambled on the weather, whilst ‘as being something akin to a gambling den’ was the opinion expressed by Mr. E. Staniford, the Bletchley Youth Organiser, regarding the games room at the Bletchley Community Centre. He was speaking on Thursday, May 30th at the annual meeting of the Community Centre, and having not surprisingly taken exception to the term ‘gambling den’, Mr. F. Borell, the temporary part time warden, said that in any case the attendance was increasing. Active men and women were now urgently needed to act as scout officers in the Bletchley district, and indeed the scouting scene was presently vibrant, as witnessed by a successful dance held on Saturday, June 1st by the 1st Fenny Stratford Boy Scouts, at the Social Centre. Music was provided via a radiogram, and with Mr. J. Halsey having been recalled to the Navy, Mr. B. Maudlin now had charge of the troop. The 1st Fenny Stratford Scouts then held another successful dance at the same venue on Saturday, June 29th, with the music this time being provided by the Blue Star Swingtette. Ladies of the committee provided refreshments, and with six duck eggs auctioned for 8s, the proceeds were for the scout funds. His resignation having been occasioned by the need to find accommodation in London, which was more convenient for his present work, on Saturday, July 6th during an interval in an evening dance Mr. Harlock, the former secretary, was given a cheque by members of the Bletchley Youth Organisation at The Barn. A jumble sale had been held during the day, and, with Mr. W. Brown presenting the cheque, Mr. Crisp, a local headmaster, spoke of his early recollections of The Barn, of which he recalled that whenever he came to the premises he was always reminded of the first time he saw it, ‘when all the windows were gone, the outside was almost inside and generally, it was in a pretty horrible condition.’ In fact there would not have been a Barn excepting the involvement of Mr. Harlock who, purchasing a wristwatch with the proceeds of his cheque, also commissioned a photo of himself, to be presented to The Barn. As for Mr. Harlock’s successor, Mr. F. Westfield would now take his place as secretary.

By the end of July the 1st Bletchley Scout Troop was making good progress, with the new Lion Patrol ‘settled down’, and the new four patrol organisation working smoothly. Presently there were 30 members, and with a course in methods of fire fighting having been conducted at the N.F.S. station by Mr. Culley, nine boys had gained their Fireman’s Badge. Then in late August the troop enjoyed a summer camp in North Wales, whilst for the 1st Bletchley Company Boys’ Brigade, at their camp at Heacham, together with the 1st Didcot and 11th East Surrey companies, they greatly enjoyed swimming and sports. As for the 1st Fenny Stratford Boy Scouts, the 23 members said that it had been their best summer camp ever, on returning from Jersey at midnight on Thursday, August 29th. On Saturday, September 14th at 2.30p.m. the 1st Bletchley Company Boys’ Brigade fete, held at the Baptist Sports Ground, Denmark Street, was opened at the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church by John Clark, the 13 year old actor who played William in the B.B.C.’s ‘Just William’ series. He was accompanied by his mother and elder sister, Sonia, and, apart from the various stalls and sideshows, the event also featured two displays by the Girl Dancing Champions, with further displays by the Newport Pagnell St. John Nursing Cadets, and the Silver Band of the 1st New Barnet Co. of the Boys’ Brigade. With the Coronation Hall providing accommodation for weekly Monday evening gatherings, by the middle of the month at Water Eaton a village youth club had been formed. As regarding the need for other youth activities, on the last Wednesday evening of September changes in the constitution of the Bletchley youth movement were agreed by The Barn Executive Committee, at the meeting of which The Barn secretary, Mr. F. Westfield, said that over time The Barn had evolved a sizeable attendance of young people who were not members of the Scouts, Boys’ Brigade etc. Therefore he thought that it was time for The Barn to be regarded as an independent youth club, with a membership separate and distinct from the voluntary organisations, and he was accordingly asked to form a new committee. This would take over The Barn from the youth organisations committee, and, thus now with the status of an independent youth club, as the first effort held outside the premises of The Barn purely for one of its sectional funds, at the Assembly Hall, Wolverton, the Bletchley Barn Boys Football Club held a successful dance on Saturday, November 2nd. Music was provided by Tommy Claridges New Lyric Band, and the event raised £37. As a cause for further financial celebration, on the evening of Saturday, November 9th a party then took place to mark both the clearing of the debt on The Barn, and to welcome Ken Bennett as the newly appointed local youth leader.

At the Albert Street Methodist Church, from September, 1940 the ladies had staffed a canteen on the premises every night of the week from Monday to Friday, as well as the majority of Saturdays, after which a team of men prepared the premises for Sunday services. Originally the canteen was under the supervision of Miss Avis Clark, until Mrs. Tull took over the responsibility in 1942, and following the final closure of the church for worship in 1944, the Forces canteen still continued for another 12 months. However, with the canteen having now closed due to a fall in demand, on Wednesday, November 20th the building was re-opened as the Bletchley Methodist Youth Centre by the Reverend G. Leslie Holdsworth, who until lately had been the Methodist minister. The formal proceedings commenced with a prayer from the Reverend E. Wilson, and, following scripture readings, representatives of each of the Methodist youth organisations then came forward to light candles with kindled tapers, before speaking about the formation of their own particular organisation. Five Methodist youth organisations would presently use the club - the Brownies, 2nd and 3rd Girl Guides, Youth Club, and the Foresters’ Boys Club - although all young people aged between 14 and 21, irrespective of denomination - or even none - would be admitted. The interior of the premises had been cleaned and decorated largely through the efforts of members of the two former Methodist Youth Clubs, and with the former organ space now in use as a canteen, in addition to the main hall the accommodation also included two smaller rooms at the rear, which were respectively designated as a quiet room and a handicrafts room.

Over the last weekend of November, youths from towns and villages in North Bucks gathered at the Modern Secondary School for a conference on ‘Town and Country’, organised by the Education Committee. With meals prepared by the canteen staff, those attending were billeted at the schools, and after lunch on Sunday one of the questions, posed at a ‘Brains Trust’, would stimulate a prolonged debate, for it concerned the education of a countryman - should this be in a town or country school. Also on the Sunday, before acting as question master for a quiz between The Barn and youth members from Newport Pagnell, in the evening the chairman of the Council, Mr. Maycock, spoke to members of The Barn Youth Club about the work of Councils, and the problems they faced. On Monday, December 16th a ‘Candle-light Carol Service’ was held by the Bletchley Methodist Youth Club at the Youth Centre, Albert Street, whilst for the Water Eaton Youth Club, at Coronation Hall, on Friday, December 27th they staged their first Christmas tea party and social. Games and music were featured from 2p.m., and a tea at 5p.m., although the festivities were for members of the Club only. At 8p.m. Freddie Maydwell and his band, from Bedford, then provided the music for a Grand Novelty Dance, which duly brought the merriments to an end.



On Saturday, January 4th there was a full house at the Assembly Hall for the 1st Fenny Stratford Group Dance. A competition was held for a pair of gold cuff links and a powder compact, and the proceeds would be for the Scout funds. Also on the question of funds, at the annual meeting of the 1st Bletchley Boys’ Brigade, on Thursday, January 16th, it was reported that, for the purpose of erecting new premises, the building fund to construct their headquarters on the site of the former Primitive Methodist chapel, in Aylesbury Street, was to be continued, having raised nearly £450 in 1½ years. As for the Boys’ Brigade hospital at Pimu, (Congo), offerings at the Bible Class had totalled £25 4s 6d, and also of foreign, if less sunnier, climes, on Sunday, January 19th the Czechoslovakian Youth Choir and Theatrical Ensemble, as guests of Bletchley boys and girls, gave a concert to an audience of around 300 people. This was held in the Assembly Hall, and the proceeds would be applied for the World Friendship Association, devoted to the reception of young people from the former occupied countries. As well as Mr. Halsey, who had now resumed duty after a long absence, about 60 boys and their girlfriends enjoyed the annual party of the 1st Fenny Stratford Troop Boy Scouts, held at the High Street schools on Saturday, February 1st. Two tubs of ice cream were provided, and on leaving everyone was presented with an orange. At a meeting of the Bletchley Youth Organisation Committee, on Friday, January 31st it was decided, at least for the while, to carry on The Barn under its own auspices, until the plan for new developments regarding the premises became clear. In the meantime, for the internal administration The Barn Youth Club were given permission to appoint their own managerial committee, and although the accounts for the year ending December 31st had shown a considerable deficit, this had now been turned into a surplus of £27. However, with the Girls’ Training Corps having recently been wound up, the balance of funds of £7 13s had been sent to St. Dustan’s.

At the Albert Street premises, on February 18th and 20th three one act plays were included in the Methodist Youth Club Drama Show, and in the drama festival organised at the Assembly Hall by the county youth committee, four local competitors, entered by the Bletchley Methodist Youth Club, were awarded 1st place on Saturday, March 1st. On the same day about 100 Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies, and parents then sat down to an excellent tea at the H.Q. of the 1st Bletchley Boy Scout group, on the occasion of their annual party and social. The Senior Scouts had worked hard to build a stage and fit the curtains, and with Fred Groom providing the tea time music, he later assisted with the programme of entertainment. There was also a well attended and appreciated entertainment when, in the Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church hall, the Baptist Youth Fellowship gave a concert. As for the Bletchley Methodist Youth Club Players, on Saturday, March 14th they also achieved success when, at the Assembly Hall, they won with their one act play ‘The Shadow Passes’ the North Bucks Drama Festival, organised by the Bucks County Youth Committee. However, a couple of weeks or so later, with the same performance they could only gain second place in the Bucks County Youth Drama Festival, held at High Wycombe. The kick off being at 3p.m., on Easter Monday, April 7th the County Youth Football Tournament Semi Final took place between Bletchley youth and Wolverton youth. Admission 4d, the match was held at the Albert Street Sports Ground, and in the evening at The Barn from 8p.m. to 11.30p.m. the Bletchley Youth Club held their Social and Dance, with admission priced at 1s. The Barn was also the venue when the Bletchley Town Silver Band paid a visit on Sunday, April 13th at 8p.m., to perform a selection from their repertoire, and also performing were the 1st Bletchley Boys’ Brigade Company who, to an appreciative audience, which included German P.O.W.s., gave an enjoyable evening variety concert on Saturday, April 19th. This was held at the Modern Secondary School, with the chief attraction being the appearance of Francis White - ‘the Royal Command magician and the B.B.C. ‘Voice of Magic’. Also presented was ‘Midnight to Dawn’, a one act play given by the Drama Group. During the Easter Week, the 1st Bletchley Boy Scout Troop had camped at Gayhurst, and being joined by troops from Fenny Stratford, Wolverton, and Stony Stratford, the main objective had been to train Patrol Leaders and Seconds in leadership and camp management. With a number of boys taking various badges, instruction was also given in pioneering and axemanship. Members of the Bletchley Methodist Youth Club presented a ‘Spring Serenade’ at the Albert Street Youth Centre on Wednesday, April 16th. The platform was decorated with spring flowers, shrubs, and almond blossom, and with the girls chorus singing spring songs, ‘a few lusty choruses’ were volunteered by the boys ‘male voice choir.’

One being aged 18 years 3 months, of the P.O.W.s now held at the Little Brickhill camp ten were aged under 21, and following the formation of a Committee for friendship, the introduction of the prisoners to The Barn Youth Club began in the form of a table tennis ‘international’. Raised by local champion Chris Dimmock, an All Bletchley team proved easy winners, and the happy event then finished with speeches by Chris Dimmock and the German team captain, Paul Sucharowski. At frequent intervals groups of the younger men would then visit The Barn club for indoor games, and similar facilities were provided at the Methodist Youth Club, Albert Street, with several social evenings additionally organised by the Baptist young people. Empire Youth Sunday was dutifully observed at Bletchley by the local youth organisations. The Boys’ Brigade, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides assembled outside the Studio, and behind their banners marched to the music of the Bletchley junior town band, and the band of the Boys’ Brigade, to the Assembly Hall, where a special service took place. Similar enthusiasm was then seen on May 19th, when, at a meeting at the Conservative Club, a branch of the Young Conservatives was formed, with Luing Cowley as chairman. Yet on Friday, May 23rd at the Modern Secondary School the outlook was gloomier for the 21st annual inspection and display of the 1st Bletchley Company Boys’ Brigade, for, with the proceedings cut short by heavy rain, the speeches and presentations had to be held indoors. However, the disappointment was dispelled the following day by the Bletchley Boys’ Brigade cricket team which, making a good start to the season, substantially defeated the 1st Watford Company at Bletchley Park. On Saturday, June 14th a party of the 1st Bletchley Senior Scouts set out on a night hike, and heading north from Water Eaton eventually checked in at Little Brickhill church just before midnight. Proceeding to the woods, they then split into two parties, and both would duly reach their objective, the scout hut at Woburn Sands. As for the junior scouts, at the same time four of their number were making their way to Milton Bryan. Altered from the date of Saturday, June 21st, on Thursday, June 26th the Bletchley local youth sports took place at 6.30p.m., entries having been invited from any boys and girls aged from 12 to 20. As for those youths attached to the Scouts, of the contingent from Buckinghamshire which attended the world jamboree of scouts, at Moisson, near Paris, amongst the 30,000 attending were Troop Leader Tony Wilkins of the 1st Bletchley, and David Williamson of the 1st Fenny Stratford. The cost to each had been £8 10s, with Bucks Education Committee having provided the other £8 10s.

Bletchley Youth Club presented the first dance of the season at The Barn on Saturday, September 6th - ‘bring your own partners’ - and with music by The New Lyric Dance Band, from 8p.m. to 11.45p.m. this was followed on Friday, September 12th by a Grand Dance at the Assembly Hall. However, having come to Bletchley 15 months ago from Coventry, Ken Bennett - the first youth leader to be appointed locally - had by the end of September been appointed as youth organiser for Nuneaton, since he had found it difficult to secure living accommodation in Bletchley. Ken had performed much valuable work in co-ordinating the various youth organisations in the town, and now there would be a difficult need to recruit an equally capable leader. Nevertheless, for the Boys’ Brigade perhaps potential leaders might be stirred by the film ‘Sure and Steadfast’, which Mr. A. Jones showed on Thursday, September 25th at their annual recruiting night. In fact the strength of the 1st Bletchley Boys’ Brigade would be brought to over 50, with four Life Boys transferring, and eight other recruits joining. Both being closely connected with The Barn, Muriel Bolton, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bolton, of 23, Brooklands Road, married Sydney Jones, the eldest son of Mrs. and the late Mr. Allan Jones, of The Hollies, Church Green Road, on Saturday, October 4th. The reception was held at the Conservative Club, and after a honeymoon in Jersey the couple would then return to their normal employment; she as a hairdresser at Dormary, and he, after three years in the Navy, at W.I.C.O.s. With the coach departing at 1p.m., and returning at 10p.m., Bletchley Youth Club enjoyed a visit to the Armstrong Whitworth aircraft factory at Coventry on Saturday, October 11th, but for Joan Vickers and Norman Stretch, who were married on the same day, railway matters had been the reason for their initial acquaintance, for being employed in the L.M.S. booking office, Joan had first met her future husband whilst he was on relief duty from his native Crewe. The culmination of their courtship then took place at St. Martin’s Church, where Girl Guides provided a guard of honour since Joan, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Vickers, of 35, Park Street, was a lieutenant in the organisation. In fact her association had been since her days as a Brownie. The reception took place in the Conservative Club, and afterwards the couple left for a honeymoon in Bournemouth.

During the month, following a meeting in the Parish Room there had been, (due largely to the Reverend A. Campbell and Miss Earl), a reforming of the Bletchley committee of the N.S.P.C.C. and in fact this was perhaps just as well, in view of the ‘International complications’ which, due to the presence of a party of Austrian children at the same time as German P.O.W.s, had now developed in Bletchley. Many local people found it difficult to understand the mentality of children who had been denied the opportunity to grow up like ordinary youngsters, and although the party enjoyed their stay, they ‘would have been much happier had people really understood their position as children from an ‘occupied’ country’. Whenever they went to the Bletchley schools fights had broken out because, since they spoke German, they were viewed as enemies, but ‘we are no more German than an American is British because he speaks English.’ In fact sadly the children had to be removed from school, and in other tensions the Belgium children visiting the town did not want to meet any of the German P.O.W.s. On happier matters, on November 3rd at 7.30p.m. a special night for girls commenced at the Bletchley Youth Club where, for celebrating a new piano, at 7p.m. on Saturday, November 22nd a social evening and dance took place. Meanwhile, the Young Conservatives could enjoy athletic activities at the High Street schools, where they were now able to participate in table tennis, badminton and socials. The year then came to a close when at the Bletchley youth committee’s annual festival, held in the Modern Secondary School hall on Saturday, December 20th, the local Methodist youth club won the contest, with their presentation of ‘Dark Brown’, by Philip Johnson.

The Activities at Bletchley Park.

1945 - 1947

Despite the end of the war being imminent, Bletchley Park continued to provide decodes of vital importance, and not least regarding the German U-boat U864, which, on December 5th, 1944, left the German naval base at Kiel, intending to transport a top secret cargo of jet engines and scientists to Japan. Indeed, it was due to the code breakers that British naval intelligence was then able to send the submarine H.M.S. Venturer in pursuit, and, with the voyage of the U-boat having been delayed by misadventures en route, the consequent destruction of the vessel, on February 9th, 1945, would be the first occasion that, whilst submerged, a submarine had been sunk by another submarine.

An Enigma machine
Due to the spirit of camaraderie and companionship it would be with a certain irony that, following the declaration of final victory, many of those who had been instrumental in shortening the war were sad to leave their code breaking employment. Yet as equally sad was the fact that most of the equipment employed at Bletchley Park - to supposedly include the 12 Colossus machines - was disposed of, especially since it would not be for some ten years or so that commercial machines would be able to match the computing power that had been achieved. As for the code breaking personnel, initially their accommodation was transferred from Bletchley to London’s suburbia, at Eastcote. However, they were then moved to Cheltenham, and this location had been chosen because the head of post-war signals intelligence could - allegedly - thereby combine visits from his London office with an attendance at the Cheltenham races!

By the end of February, 1946 it was intended that all the wartime personnel at Bletchley Park should be removed. This was a pre-requisite to the premises being taken over by the Control Office for Germany and Austria (British Element) whose 1,400 or so personnel would, having been based at a number of hotels in Eastbourne, now be accommodated at the Bletchley Park hostels. As a ‘Mobilisation Centre and Training School’ the centre was scheduled to open in March, and recruits would be given lectures not only on the political, social, and economic background of Germany and Austria, but also the working of the Commission and Military Government, and the kind of life to expect on arriving overseas.

Reminding of an era when Bletchley Park was privately owned, one Wednesday in May, 1947 the death occurred, (in fact a week after his 72nd birthday), of Sir George Edward Leon, the elder son of the late Sir Herbert Leon. Following an education at Eton, he had been called to the bar by Lincolns Inn in 1898, and although his marriage in the following year would be dissolved in 1923, he then married Dorothy Lennox, the eldest daughter of the late Edward Cazalet Browne.

With the Foreign Office Control Services Depot and Training Centre now established in the mansion at Bletchley Park, questions were beginning to be asked about the number of staff employed, and replying to a parliamentary question from Mr. Granville Sharp, in August, 1947 in the House of Commons Ernest Bevin, the Foreign secretary, said that he had been ‘watching’ the situation. More essentially Mr. Sharp wanted to know the total number of staff employed at the Control Office Depot and Training Centre. Also, how many individuals without previous Control Commission experience were being trained there, and how many other individuals were also there, and for what purpose, and in reply Mr. Bevin gave the figure of 190. However, this was being lessened to match the reduction in recruitment, and of the present staff 49 were partly engaged in the provision of ‘common services’, which were for the additional benefit of other departments.

Apart from the Control Commission, by October, 1947 also accommodated at Bletchley Park were sections of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, (transferred from Croydon), the Ministry of Works, the constructional staff of the G.P.O. Engineering Department, (who had been formerly based in George Street and the repeater station), and the National Services Hostel Ltd., which presently catered for 130 industrial workers. These were mainly brick workers and construction workers, but with the addition of a few railwaymen. Also represented was the Ministry of Education, since at Bletchley Park it was proposed to set up one of the most important Emergency Training Colleges where, on a 13 month course, and with the tutorial staff housed at the nearby premises of Elmers, 150 women were to be especially trained, for teaching roles in junior and infants schools.

As for the nature of the wartime work, this was eventually revealed - against the wishes of the Secret Service - in 1974 when Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister, allowed the publication of a book. Thus from thereon the incredible code breaking achievements at Bletchley Park became increasingly revealed. Yet even so many of those who had been involved in the activities remained reluctant to elaborate about their duties, although at the end of the war the circulation of an anonymous poem helped to immortalise some of the main personalities.


A is for Anthony, our nominal head

At least until the country went red

We're Bevin Boys now and through Ernie's capers

Poor Eden has had his redundancy papers.

B is for Budd, the head of Hut Two

Who hands out the wallop to me and to you

When the Park closes down the last man to go

Will be Mr. Budd, at least we hope so.

C is for Crawley, our own dietician,

Who serves up our grub like a mathematician

It's round stodge or square, for the rest of your life

Then eat the darn stuff without even a knife.

D is for Denny, his nickname is Stoker

(We think, 'cos he peps up his pipe with a poker)

He issues the Bronco and beer in a cask

If it's not in the window, come in and ask.

E is for Sir Edward, the Guv'nor upstairs

Who pinches our Clubroom for Christmas affairs

He passes our transport, times without number

In a pre-war upholstered beige coloured Humber.

F is for Foss - six foot in his shoes

Seen in a kilt, but nir tartan troos

If on a Friday a stroll you will take

You'll find him dancing a reel by the lake.

G is for Griffith who finds us our digs

Some live like princes, some live like pigs

It's no good protesting, it's wasting your breath

If you find your own billet, he's tickled to death.

H is for Howgate, deceiver of Wrens

He lures the poor creatures to dimly lit dens

He twirls his moustache, is manly and curt

But spoils the effect with an A.T.S. shirt.

I is for Intelligence, the Corps in the Park

They all need a haircut, but please keep it dark

The question I hope to get answered one day

Is how can a corpse be intelligent, pray.

J is for Joan, the Sec. of the Club

Who chases you up for an overdue sub

She lends you the Gatehouse - looks up your trains

And then gets her flowers pinched for taking such pains.

K is for Kevin with hair slightly red

A crescent shaped scar on the side of his head

You may think he got it from some ancient dirk

But he say's his mother was hit by a Turk.

L is for Lowe, a clanking occurs

Handlebar Harry is out with his spurs

He doesn't claim to be much of a dancer

But what could you hope from a Bengali Lancer?

M is for John Moore who's fungus 'tis said

Allows him to carry on drinking in bed

A slight overstatement his friends will retort

For when fully loaded, it holds but a quart.

N is for Nenk, the Major in F

When staff wanted leave he used to be deaf

Now that his number is not far away

He took them all out for a picnic one day.

O is for Owen, that's Dudley I mean

When the curtain's gone up, he's not to be seen

But if it comes down in quite the wrong place

It's Dudley, the stage boss, who loses his face.

P is for Parker, our check-suited dope

Who thinks that his acting surpasses Bob Hope

We know his forte's a bullock’s front pins

Who heard of a fan mail to 'Father of Twins'.

Q is for Tea, it's only a penny

If there is cake it stretches to Fenny

When work is a bore, and I'm sure you will see

Lots on the TQ on the QT.

R is for Reiss, who can always be found

With a large coloured brolly and two feet of hound

When he goes up to Heaven and his name they record

We hope they will ask "Is it down on the board".

S is for Sedgwick who ran all the hops

In the tough old days of American cops

Hush - Hush - Whisper who dare

He slightly resembles that chap Fred Astaire.

T is for Tiltman just one of the boys

Red tabs he won't wear with brown corduroys

When billets were scarce, Dame Rumour doth say

He lived in the States and flew in each day.

U is for Uncle Sam, who sent us some chaps

Three thousand miles to Bletchley perhaps

They came for the fashionable season

We are glad to have them, whatever the reason.

V is the Visitor, distinguished Brass-Hat

Comes snooping around to see what we're at

We sweep the place clean with dustpan and broom

And move all the empties to some other room.

W is for Wallace, the Colonel, you know

His name's at the end of a B.P.G.O.

He sits in a room that looks out on the grass

And forbids you to prop up your bike on the glass.

XYZ are frightful stinkers

We haven't one among our thinkers - hic - drinkers

And so perforce this daft effusion

We must bring now to a conclusion.

To the Inmates of B.P. from the Inmates of B.P.

In grateful remembrance of the years we worked together. 1939-1945.

After two years of planning, the first reunion of the staff who had been employed at Bletchley Park during the war took place on October 3rd, 1992 and, since the wartime security had been so tight, only then did many of the former personnel discover what had actually been achieved, and in fact what their colleagues, even in adjoining huts, had been doing!

It is often said that the breaking of Enigma shortened the war by two years, and this not only saved many lives, but also saved the country from the potential of an ever increasing financial debt for, as well as a lend lease facility worth $585 million, in 1945 Britain had agreed a loan worth $3.75 billion with the United States. This was in the form of a direct line of credit, and in 1946 Canada followed suit with a direct line of credit of $41.25 billion. In fact it would not be until December 2006 that the final instalment of these loans was paid, and the manner in which the transaction was completed, by a simple electronic transfer, seems totally apt to conclude this story of Bletchley Park, the birthplace of the world of modern electronics as we know it today.


The staff of the Local Studies Centre, Aylesbury, Bucks.

The staff of Bletchley library, and the reference section of Central Milton Keynes library.

Tracy Whitmore and volunteers from the Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative.

George Brinckley, David Eastaff, Alan Kay, Glyn Lewis, John Meuleman, Keith Norman, Stan Osborne, Greg Redman, Peggy Sharpe, George Young.

For information regarding Ecclesbourne Primary School in Islington I am indebted to Stewart Ross, Writer-in-Residence, Troy D. Ellison, formerly Year 5 teacher at Ecclesbourne Primary School, and Pat Farrington, Project Manager, who worked with children in Years 5 and 6 to produce a short history of their school from 1886 to 2004. This was under the aegis of the Writers in Schools Project, which is funded by Cripplegate Foundation.

Thanks are also especially due to the late Mrs. Celia Duncan, for invaluable information regarding Bletchley and her late father, Mr. E.C. Cook.