clouds on the horizon
Since the end of the First World War
another war had been threatening the lives of the European peoples and
since Hitler took power in Germany the outlook was even gloomier for
peace. On September 3rd their fears were realised. Hitler ordered his
troops into Poland. Great Britain, and her allies, declared war on
Germany. British life, indeed Brandon life, would change and nothing,
and nowhere, would be untouched by the fingers of war.
Some saw the "silver
lining in this dark cloud" of war. Advertising slogans appeared in
the Bury Free Press such as:
Midland Bank's -
"the wisdom of making a will".
Norwich Union's - Life
Insurance covering war risks".
Wrigley's - "In
times of stress Wrigley's PK chewing gum quiets your nerves".
Alas, not all problems
could be solved with a piece of chewing gum. One poor Brandon woman,
aged 30, collapsed and died suddenly in Bury St Edmunds' Cornhill in
During November, 80
members of Brandon's Women Institute attended a meeting. Alas there was
no lecture due to the war, but a "little evacuee girl entertained
with step dancing and singing".
The Brandon Red Cross
organises a scheme for making woolen garments for H.M. Forces and
hospitals. Wool is purchased using donations and is then issued, from
the Rectory, to volunteers who will use their handiwork to create
garments. These garments are then returned every Wednesday for
Brandon Toc H visited
the High Lodge Training Camp on the evening of Monday 3rd June and spent
time with the men billeted there.
A new trailer pump was
delivered to the Brandon Fire Brigade by Messrs. John Kerr & Co.
On 10th January the pump
was tested by pumping water from the river at the High Street bridge and
from a water hydrant in Rattlers Road and the crew were very satisfied
with its performance.
Also in January new foam
apparatus was installed and the crew were again happy with it after testing.
Messrs. Peek, Vont &
Son, from Watton, won the tender to build the new Fire Station.
Their quote? £706.
About 100 children,
teachers and parents of Town Street Methodist Church, led by Mr A
Challiss, went to Great Yarmouth on Saturday 24th June for the annual
About 80 Women Institute
members enjoyed a trip to the Bournville Works of Messrs. Cadbury at
Birmingham. They had lunch on th etrain and tea was provided.
Brandon Parish Council accepted a quote by Mr H. Mills to make a pair of
swing gates for the Churchyard. These cost £1 10s 6d each.
The Council also accepted
his quote for two notice boards to prohibit cycling through the
Churchyard at 12s 3d each.
At a special meeting,
on Thursday 30th June, the Brandon Parish Council appointed a new
Cemetery caretaker. Mr Arthur Mackender of 4, Crown Street, had
offered the lowest tender of all the applicants, £1 15s per week.
His job would also take in the Cemetery Cottage and adjoining allotment.
exhibition of Spring fashions will be held in the Paget
Hall on Tuesday March 21st 1939, 1pm to 8.30pm. Admission
The National Provincial
Bank announced that the British Cinema had taken receipts of £50
million in 1938. Admissions were running at 23 million a week and
this equated to 1.2 billion a year!
An egg weighing 6½ ounces
was laid by a hen belonging to Mr and Mrs G Royal of
On Friday evenings during July and August the Avenue Cinema held
qualifying heats of a local talent show and on Friday 11th August the
talent show final was held. The final was separated into four
groups and a packed audience decided the outcome by the volume of their
applause. The following include the winners and runners up.
Gentlemen - 1st Mr
Bonnett (Feltwell), 2nd Mr R. Owen (Brandon), 3rd Mr Rolph (Lakenheath).
Ladies - 1st Miss H. Jones (Brandon), 2nd Miss G. Palmer.
Boys - 1st Master R. Waite (Mundford), Master C. Blanchflower and
Master Locke (Thetford). A consolation prize was awarded to Master
Girls - 1st Miss P. Mail, Miss D. Nobbs.
In May Brandon Parish Council approved plans to convert the old Fire
Building into public toilets. However a few months later the
Ministry of Health turned down Brandon's proposal
for the toilet to be located on the London Road. At a cost of £400
it was advised that cheaper alternatives should be explored.
H. Lingwood, chairman; F.A. Spurgeon, Vice-Chairman; W.A. Brearley;
J.H.Crumpton; F.W. Gentle; General HG Joly de Lotbinere;
B.A.M. Lingwood; O. Lingwood; F.J. Mount; A.Towler; A.E. Chapman, Clerk.
F.W. Gentle, Chairman; T.A. Green; H. Lingwood; Mrs. O. Lingwood; F.A.
Spurgeon, correspondant; J.T. Capron; G. Rowe, Mixed schools Headmaster;
Miss M Purser, Infants Headmistress;
Mrs G. Clarke; Mr H. Lingwood; F.W. Gentle; B. Wood;
Sgt. J.A. Adams and one Constable.
come to Brandon
Early in September
the first of the evacuees arrived, via train, and unloaded at
Brandon railway station. From here they are ferried by bus to
neighbouring towns and Brandon takes in 130 children from Green
School of Tottenham under the direction of Headmistress, Miss
Chesterfield. The Women's Institute is in attendance to see to
the needs of the children and all are billeted before dark.
The plan is to
fill London Road first in expectation of many children
appearing, but in fact there are few more children on the next
train and another train is cancelled.
Will all Householders please
notify the Office
and return the Billeting Slip immediately any
Evacuee billeted with them returns to London
vacates the Billet for any other reason?
In cases where evacuees have already left,
Householders must also notify this Office and
the Billet Slip, stating the day on which the
Evacuation and Chief Billeting
Borough Offices, Angel Hill.
In May Mr B.
Lingwood was appointed Brandon's billeting officer for the
evacuees expected into the town.
Raid Precaution Exercise
In preparation of war
there were large scale exercises in towns and cities across the nation
to test the response of Britain's Home Front forces. Brandon
underwent its exercise in August, although surprisingly neighbouring Thetford
did not bother. Five umpires attended and their verdict was that
Brandon's response to dealing with the 'bombing' exercise was
"very satisfactory" and complimented Mr R.J. Woodrow, the
Parish Organiser. The following incidents were the cause of
enemy aircraft being intercepted by the R.A.F. over the skies of
Brandon and dumping their loads to escape.
A High Explosive bomb had detonated at
the rear of The Flintknappers Hotel and a firework was set off to
indicate this explosion. The Umpire, Mr J. Moore, handed the ARP
Wardens a sealed envelope with instructions inside. These
indicated that a wall had collapsed and caused two major casualties,
the utility squads then responded by removing the casualties from the
A non-persistent gas bomb had landed at
the home of Mr H. Mills and had caused four casualties of the effects
of gas. The Umpire was Captain W.B. Wood.
An incendiary bomb had fired a row of
houses in Rattlers Road and a heap of brushwood set on fire was used
to simulate this. The Fire Brigade, led by Captain B. Olley, was
quick on the scene and extinguished the fire. There were three
casualties and the Umpire was Mr C. Holmes.
This one involved another High Explosive
bomb, this time it demolished a house near to the Maltings. The
Utility squads rescued three casualties from the debris and the Umpire
was Mr J. Miles, with an additional Medical Umpire Dr E.V. Beaumont to
asses how the casualties were treated.
The Parish and Warden's
Headquarters was at The Flintknappers Hotel, with the Chief Warden, Mr
H. Edwards, and the Parish Organiser, Mr R.J. Woodrow in charge there.
The Paget Hall was the base for Mrs Wentworth-Smith and Mr R. Edwards,
who were in charge of the Red Cross.
The Utility Squad HQ was at Mr F. Froud's shop, where F. Homes was in
There were twelve
volunteer 'casualties' and the Brandon Ambulance was in attendance,
with Mr Lingwood and Mr C. Field in a lorry. Also assisting with
the transportation of casualties in their private cars were Mr Holmes
and Sons, Mr S. Chapmen and Mr Wentworth-Smith.
Twelve Special Constables
were on duty from 11.30pm to see that all lights were
extinguished. Captain J.A. Whitaker inspected the Brandon
District, including Lakenheath and Elveden, for complete
blackout. Deputy Section Leader B.A.M. Lingwood was in charge of
BRandon 'specials', with Police Sgt Adams and PC Smith also on duty
Parish Council members
were specially invited to attend the 'incidents' and at the Red Cross
HQ and the Paget Hall. Their Chairman, Mr H. Lingwood, later
congratulated all those concerned with the exercise and commented on
how smoothly it had gone.
In October it was
decided that Brandon's warning siren should be positioned on the
Police Station roof along
London Road and in November it is decreed that the first Sunday
of each month, at 1pm air raid sirens will be tested to ensure
they are in good working order ...
will commence with the sounding of a steady note for 30
seconds, followed immediately by not more than 25 seconds of
the 'Action Warning' signal, and conclude with a steady note
for one minute."
The first test took
place in December.
are still wanted to
complete the strength of
The 5th Bn. Suffolk Regiment
Apply to Sergt.
29, Springfield Rd, Bury St. Edmunds
(Bury Free Press,
In April Mr Basil
Rought-Rought was joined as Second Lieutenant in the 5th
Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.
- Lest we forget past fallen ones
British Legion saw to it that, although in the beginnings of a
new war, we should not forget those who have lost their lives in
previous conflicts. In November their house to house collection
raised £10 12s 5d.
In November, the
Remembrance Parade organised by the Brandon British Legion was
lead by the band of HMS Training Ship Cornwall, General
H.G.J. de Lotbiniere, Mr L.G. Yatts,
ex-servicemen, Odd Fellows, Druids and Red Cross workers. The
Parade stopped at the Brandon War Memorial, in the Cemetery for
prayers from the Rev. R.L. Gardener. The
’Last Post’ was played by Bugler E. Royal.
In 1919, after the
Great War, the influential people of Brandon would contribute to
a fund. This fund would be used to buy gifts at Christmas,
initially, for the children of ex-servicemen. The scheme was so
successful that it was expanded to include ALL children and
Alas as a result of the black outs and rationing this was to be
the first year since it's creation that the scheme had to be
cancelled. The Christmas Festivities Committee sincerely hoped
that this would be the only year it would be cancelled ...
Ministry of Health
turned down a proposal to site a Public Convenience on the
London Road. At £400 it was deemed too expensive and suggested
other alternatives should be looked into.
To add to the
woes, petrol prices rise by 2d, to 1s 8d.
And Parish ARP
organiser, Mr. R.J. Woodrow states that no ARP
worker or Special Constable has been paid for their services so
Sunday School held its Annual Prize Distribution on Sunday 15th
January. The Chairman, Captain T Statham, oversaw the
event which included a short address by Pastor Crawford and then
the awards presented by Mrs Statham.
Boys - R. Few, J.
Adams, D. Kent, M. Hammond, J. Webber, C. Kent, L. Drewery, L.
Bond, P. Jacobs, C. Field, C. Wharf, A. Badcoe, G. Gristock, R.
Field, D. Wing, C. Webber, F. Drewery, A. Adams, B. Norton, C.
Porteis, G. Philpot, T. Ward, B. Hammond, J. Drewery, J. Gentry,
D. Hyam, E.Day, G. Jacobs.
Girls - B.
Bilverstone, J. Lingwood, J. Clarke, D. Bilverstone, H. Field,
S. Elmer, E. Peacock, P. Green, G. Field, D. Brearley, A. Few,
M. Portieus, S. Branch, M. Nig, A. Gristock, H. Gristock, L.
Taylor, A. Brearley, J. Green, P. Marchant, M. Snare, M. Hard,
M. Kent, J. Dyer, S. Docking, K. Field.
WHAT ARE YOU
JOIN THE 217th A'T BTY. R.A. (T.A.)
Full details may be
obtained at the DRILL HALL, OLD BARRACKS, KING'S ROAD, BURY
ST. EDMUNDS. Open from 9am to 9pm
attachment of the 217th Anti Tank Battery Royal Artillery, T.A.,
returned home at 11am on Saturday 8th July. They had been
away on their annual training camp and had travelled all night
from Oakhampton. It was said that they all looked fit and
The Brandon members
of the 250th Field Logistics, Royal Engineers, T.A., were
scheduled to start their annual training on Sunday 6th August, at
favourite pastime carried on and brought some normality to town life,
and Brandon Juniors were doing well.
& DISTRICT LEAGUE DIVISION 1 (Jan
All adult football leagues
in the area, and indeed across the nation, were suspended in September
on the declaration of war and all players' contracts were temporarily
However the Junior leagues
continued to play.
Sunday 14th October
Brandon Juniors beat Downham Market, 5-4.
Scorers: Winter (2), Bilverstone, Fowler, Winter
Sunday 21st October
Brandon Juniors beat Munford, 4-2.
Scorers: W. Field (3), Towler
end of a decade
- Goodbye 1930's,
The Bury Free
Press ran this comment in it's last edition of 1939, and
foretells of things to come ...
"The 1930's fall behind us
now. The coming in of a new decade under any circumstances is
an occasion for wondering where ... the march of the century
may be leading us. In a period of war and wide uncertainty,
speculation is intensified. "Happy New Year" is the
customary greeting between friend and friend ... but the
customary greeting seems some how not enough.
Peace. Will it come? Who knows? But we may hope it will. We
are fighting for freedom. And so we have taken up arms to
smash that wretched archaism [the Nazis]. We must take care
that in fighting against the Nazi tyranny we do not sacrifice
our own freedom.
The 1940's open unhappily. But we need not, and we must not,
despair on that account. Rather we must determine to make this
decade one of tremendous triumph, so that, be our sacrifices
however great, and the period during which we must make them,
however long, those sacrifices this time shall not be
- Bury Free Press, December 30th
preparation for war
In Suffolk, preparations had been
underway for a few weeks:
In the Mildenhall area, a Food
Committee had been set up. The Brandon representative was Mr
P.A. Tilney of the Brandon Co-Operative.
A Billeting Committee had also been set
up to ensure the efficient housing of evacuees from London. These
evacuees were mothers and their children sent from London to escape the
bombing that was anticipated, although some 'helpers' were allowed to
The Brandon Billeting Committee covered
Brandon, Lakenheath, Elvedon, Wangford and Santon Downham and it was
expected that the residents of these towns/villages would accommodate
the evacuees if possible.
And there was a call to
arms for former Suffolk Regiment soldiers.
Officers, NCOs and men are now required for the 5th Battalion, The
Suffolk Regiment. Candidates must be between the ages of 22 and 35 years
of good character and fit for General Service."
Arrangements were also made should the
need arise to requisition agricultural vehicles and horses.
funeral at Brandon
It was announced that a
Brandon man serving with the Suffolk Regiment had died. Corporal
Eric Hunns, aged 25 years old, had passed away at his home in London
Road, Brandon, after contracting tuberculosis while stationed in India.
Eric, who's parents were Mr & Mrs W Hunns, had joined the Suffolk
Regiment along with his brothers in 1929. He had previously served
in Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Blackdown, Catterick (where he was made
Army Instructor) and finally India).
His funeral took place at St Peters Church in Brandon, on the afternoon
of Tuesday 10th January 1939. The coffin was draped in the Union
Jack and the coffin bearers were from the Depot Suffolk Regt,Lance Sgt
Wyatt, Corporal Smith, Corporal Cook, Captain Barratt, Corporal Barnard,
L/Corporal French, L/Corporal Dapius and Drummer Weston. Mr Hunns
coffin was inscribed with the words, "Eric Hunns, died 7th January
1939, aged 25 years."
Mourners included Mr & Mrs W
Hunns (parents), Private J Hunns and Mr Henry Hunns (brothers), Miss
June Forby (niece), Mr & Mrs Muteham, Mr R Bullock, Mr P Hyam, Mr R
Cole, Mr A Gascoyne, Mr L Whalebelly (British Legion), Mr Thompson
(Pearl Assurance Company), Mrs J Hunter (Salvation Army), Pastor
Crawford (Brandon Baptist), Mrs A Wing, Mrs C Wing, Air Craftsman Dent
and Aircraftsman Croft and Corporal Edwards (R.A.F.), Mr Smith, Mr G
Talbot, Mrs Henson, Miss V Palmer.
Floral tributes were from
his father, mother and Jane, Henry, John, Brandon Members British Legion,
Mabel, Lieutenant J Lawrence (Suffolk Regt.), The Suffolk Regiment, Mr
& Mrs Muteham, Violet.
Brandon Parish Council
announced that January's average daily water consumption for the town
reached 22,671 gallons, or 9 gallons per person per day.
This compared to the first
week in June when consumption had peaked at 442,500 for the week, or the
average daily consumption of 63,214 gallons, or 25 gallons per person
In September Brandon's old manual telephone system was modernised with
an automated telephone exchange. It was envisaged that the new
exchange would cater for 150 lines and can be upgraded at short
notice. There would be better ink ups with Feltwell, Methwold and
Mundford without needing an operator to connect the call.
From Brandon dial:
Dial '4' for Thetford,
Dial '94' for Methwold & Mundford,
Dial '0' to get put through to an operator for connection to all other
A couple of cases seen at
Brandon's Petty Sessions. Sitting were - General H.G.J. de
Lotbiniere, Mrs O. Lingwood, Mr. P.
Mr. Taylor of Feltwell, is
charged with not complying with lighting restrictions, after he takes
his car out on the road after dark without adequate black out
precautions. Fined 10s.
Mr. Gedge of Weeting, is charged with not complying with lighting
restrictions after riding a bike after dark. Fined 10s.
In March, Mr Robert Kent, aged 83, of the Flowerpot Inn applied for his
61st licence for the Inn, at the Brandon Petty Sessions. Chairman
Dr A.J. Pickworth told him that all were pleased to see Mr Kent take out
his 61st licence and hoped that he would again see them the following
On Tuesday 20th June the
Brandon Recreation Tennis Club entertained the Thetford Plantation
Tennis Club on the Recreation Courts. The match was played in the
evening and Brandon won a very tight match by just one game.
Agents for John Smith,
Dyer & Dry Cleaner
Cyril E. Oakes
HIGH STREET, BRANDON
Mr Crosby Curson received
ankle injuries after the horse cart he was driving overturned. He
was taken to the Bury & West Suffolk Hospital in the Brandon Ambulance.
B. Olley, Captain; H. Mills, Lieutenant; F. Green; G. Bond; F. Kybird;
C. Hammond; W. Inns; F. Olley; F. Holmes; A.E. Chapman, Secretary; J.W.
Caban, Fire Call.
A. Towler, to Bury St Edmunds - Wednesdays & Saturdays;
A. Towler, to Kings Lynn - Tuesday;
Eastern Counties, Bury St Edmunds - Daily (except Tuesdays)