- Contributed by
- Dunstable Town Centre
- People in story:
- A W Morgan
- Location of story:
- Dunstable, Bedfordshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 April 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by the Dunstable At War Team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
We were encouraged to save regularly at school by purchasing “Savings Stamps”, 6d for a blue one and 2s 6d for a red one. These were stuck into our savings books and on reaching a total of 15s or later 10s, they could be exchanged for a savings certificate.
There were regular “Savings Weeks” in which the town was given a target. In “Spitfire Week” the target was £5000 for each Spitfire and a higher figure was requested in “Warship Week” where several towns were asked to contribute. Competitions were held in which school children were asked to draw a picture and write a composition depicting the savings theme of that time. Winning entries were displayed, together with the child’s name on large boards in the window of the “Gas and Water Company” in High Street North, Dunstable. The prizes awarded were National Savings Certificates and Savings Stamps. Other activities were to be found in various parts of the town. One was the display of a captured Messerschmitt Me 109 in Grove House Gardens; it was in a large marquee. An entrance fee of 1d was charged to go in and for an additional sum; one could sit in it and work the control column; levers and switches. To small boys such as myself, this was something special.
Others were: -
(i) A “Link Trainer” (we would now call it a flight simulator, albeit rather simple) used for basic and blind flying tuition by the R.A.F., this was in the showroom of Scott’s Garage in High Street South. We could take a turn as a trainee pilot for a few minutes by buying a savings stamp.
(ii) A rig consisting of a small Bomb Rack mounted above a cloth model of “Adolf”, the rack contained small dummy bombs and as “Adolf” was pulled along beneath the rack we could watch through a “Bomb Sight” and drop the bombs on him by pressing a button. This was in the “Water Company” showrooms. Again a 1d or buying a savings stamp secured a turn.
This was all fun and took our minds off of the war however, one afternoon we were promised a party at school. I must explain that an evacuated London school shared the premises at Burr Street and we only attended for half days, mornings one week and afternoons the next. On the afternoon of our party, the “Air Raid” siren sounded an alert shortly before we were due to go to school. The rule was that we should stay at home until the “All Clear” sounded and if this was after 2-30 pm, we should not go to school that day. I anxiously waited, hoping the “All Clear” would sound so I could go to the party. My mother and I heard the sound of a low flying aircraft together with the rat-a-tat-a-tat of machine guns. We both ducked down in our living room. The siren did not sound the “All Clear” until it was too late to go to school. The next time at school we were told that Miss Boyes would bring our party food after morning break. We had a bowl of jelly; a small fairy cake and a drink of orange juice then back to normal lessons.
We heard later that a Messerschmitt had machine-gunned the High Street and that it was brought down somewhere near Towcester by the R.A.F.
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