Wartime Quorn - 1940
These miscellaneous notes from the Loughborough Echo offer a snapshot in time of when Quorn was coping with the second world war:
16TH FEBRUARY 1940 – LOUGHBOROUGH ECHO
A sub-depot of the Leicester and Leicestershire hospital supply depot was started at Quorn House, Quorn, when war broke out, under the direction of Mrs Nihell Preau, of the WVS. This is the centre from which war work parties are supplied at Christ Church, Mountsorrel, St Peter’s, Mountsorrel, Sileby, Barrow, Woodhouse Eaves, Swithland and Thurcaston.
Since October no less than 1,170 articles have been sent out, including woollen comforts for members of HM forces and the Merchant Service, also hospital dressings and hospital supplies have been sent to the Red Cross and local hospitals.
Shirts are made for the Polish refugees, cast-off clothing and blankets have been sent to the Finnish Troops Comforts Fund, and to the Personal Service League for shipwrecked persons and their dependants.
This is being done by 210 knitters and 88 needle-women, most of the knitting being done at home, the sewing and other work being done in the large room where the late Mr George Farnham worked at his Quorndon records.
Woollen goods are sent direct to those who will use them, other work being sent through the head depot. Besides a fund raised by the workers themselves, assistance is given by the head depot and other sources.
19TH APRIL 1940
The sinking of the destroyer HMS Gurkha in the North Sea last week is one more feature of the story of the present war.
It has been brought home to Quorn by the presence in the village of A.B Douglas Vickers, one of the survivors, whose wife and small children are living, as Sheffield evacuees, in the Lodge of Quorn House, and with whom he is spending a short leave.
It is a thrilling occasion to meet one who took an active part in such an adventure, but Mr Vickers, playing with his little son, Dan, while the baby sleeps in the cot, takes the matter calmly, evidently thinking that the all-important thing is to be at home with his family again
26TH APRIL 1940
Gas mask inspection is being held in the Village Hall on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 3 to 4pm and from 7.30 to 8.30pm until further notice. Considerable success had been met in completing the examination of all school children’s masks in a few hours.
The news received by wireless respecting the Budget caused a slight gloom to fall over the proceedings, and the various taxings to be were discussed in undertones; but by the end of the evening it was realised that though snuff had gone up, beer had “gone down”.
24th MAY 1940
News has been broadcast that Pte. Peter Hopkins, reported as missing, is now a prisoner of war. His mother, who has never ceased to hope for news, is much relieved.
With a view of recognising long service, the directors of Messrs M Wright and Sons have presented every employee of 20 years’ service and upwards with war savings certificates in varying amounts according to length of service and other considerations.
7TH JUNE 1940
Two brothers who are well-known in Quorn have landed safely in this country from Dunkirk. They are Lance Bombardiers Leon F and William Prevost.
Mr and Mrs Farley have at last heard from their son, Sergeant. Harold Farley, who is interned in Sweden. Mrs Hopkins also, has heard from Private Peter Hopkins, her son; so now there has been a personal communication from all the five who were missing from Quorn.
It takes more than a war to put the hunting spirit of Quorn out of gear, and something in the nature of a mid-night steeple-chase took place in the small hours of Tuesday night. Canterings, snortings etc revealed to sleepy eyed residents in Blank-street, that some one’s ponies had got loose and were at large in the back garden. Windows were thrown open, and one pyjama clad ratepayer enquired “what’s up? Is it Hitler’s blue pencil cavalry?” More windows opened, and scantily clad neighbours began to appear at every door. At last, out of the dark, came a voice, “Don’t make such a noise, they’re mine.” There the story ends, until further particulars come to hand.
14TH JUNE 1940
The surrender, into the national melting pot, made by Colonel and Mrs Toller, of the fine wrought iron gates and railings of Quorn Court, is a patriotic gesture which the village do well to follow. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, James Melvin ARIBA, architect to the Iron and Steel Control, Ministry of Supply, says that important as are the railings round our parks, “it is amply clear that the greatest tonnage of railings is around private property, and from this course hundred of thousands of tons of steel making raw material can be obtained with a minimum of delay and expenditure.”
28TH JUNE 1940
Signaller George Pash, who is in India, writes to his mother that he has been awarded a medal in connection with operations on the North-West Frontier.
Two little girls, Sheila and Pat Bonser, daughters of Mr and Mrs Harry Bonser, junior., assisted by Jean Gale, gave a concert in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund on Wednesday. The audience was not a big one as the concert hall was only the garden shed, where songs in costume and a play were given and the takings amounted to tenpence, which “Grandma made up to a shilling.”
At the Village Hall last Saturday Messrs Bailey Bros had a crooning contest, in which the audience, who were the judges, awarded first prize for ladies to Miss Nancy Allen. The prize for gentlemen went to Mr Tom Hodgkins. Amongst those present was Trumpeter L/Cpl Gordon, who gave solos. The trumpeter was formerly a member of Joe Loss’s Band.
5TH JULY 1940
Digging in his garden to make an ARP shelter, Mr Tom Gamble unearthed a copper coin. Taking it to Mr R T Flanders for identification, he found that he had dug up a penny of Henry III, for it bore the date 1220.
2ND AUGUST 1940
Amongst a load of scrap metal recently taken to the village dump were some parts of a motor that belonged to the Rev E Foord-Kelcey, who was Vicar of Quorn from 1892 to 1909. A pioneer of motorists, he suffered, as pioneers always do, and was summoned on a charge of exceeding the speed limit. It was said that the charge was that he “glided in and out among the traffic at the excessive speed of 14 mph.” Mr Kelcey and his car, one of the first, if not the very first, to be seen in Quorn, became a byword, and at Christmas time the children instead of singing “In excelsis Gloria,” used to sing “In old Kelcey’s motor-car”.
30TH AUGUST 1940
The local AFS gave a good display of fire fighting on the Green on Thursday of last week, as well as a demonstration of dealing with an incendiary bomb.
Mr and Mrs Wright of “Ty Gwyn,” Quorn, whose son, Flying Officer C Leon Wright, was recently reported to be suffering from the results of a motor accident, have recently received a wire from their son saying “Flying again; slight concussion and abdominal injury.
The Rev A Norman Taylor, who has been in charge of the parish since the death of Canon H H Rumsey, preached his final sermon on Sunday evening, prefacing it with a few words of thanks to the parishioners for their kindness to him during the last three months. Father Taylor is taking up work at St Michael’s Church, Belgrave, Leicester and leaves Quorn this week.
20TH DECEMBER 1940
In aid of a fund for giving evacuees a Christmas party, a dance, organised by Mrs Reid, of The Towers, Quorn, was held at the Bull’s Head Hotel on Friday, Millson’s Bank provided the music. The winners of the chocolates, whiskey and a cake were Miss Telser, Mrs Dale and Mr Tacey. The cake was given back and the sum of £23 was raised.
A social evening, to welcome the new Vicar (the Rev W E Pilling), was held in the Church Room on Thursday evening of last week, when Mr J Martin, Vicar’s warden, presided, and organised games and dancing, Mr M Rumsey leading community singing. A welcome was extended to Mr Pilling by Mr Martin and supported by Mr Rumsey. The Vicar, in responding, expressed the wish that the parish would make full use of him “If I should not notice you in the street”, he said , “please don’t jump to the conclusion that I am ignoring you, but come up and speak to me.”
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