DURING the Second World War the town of Reading staged many “Victory Weeks”, when the population donated money towards the war effort.

In the summer of 1943, it was announced that a “Wings for Victory” appeal had already raised half of its target of £1 million, to help build Lancaster bomber aircraft.

Numerous events were staged across the town, including musical concerts and a Naval parade outside the bombed-out St. Laurence’s Church.

Later in June the official result was announced by the Mayor of Reading at the Town Hall, and to large applause he said: “I have the honour to announce that the result is £1,382,579, this is a very great moment for every man, woman and child within the borough.”

Part of the Ministry of Information’s remit during wartime rationing was to use propaganda to encourage the population to waste nothing and urge people to save towards the war effort.

One of the ministry’s techniques was to use ‘humour’ in the form of a cartoon featuring the “Squander Bug”, who would act as an evil, Swastika covered, insect with its motto “Surplus for Sabotage”.

King George VI and his daughter Princess Elizabeth visited Pangbourne College 76 years ago, on the occasion of its Founders’ Day. They were welcomed by Sir Philip Devitt, (Chairman of Governors) and after touring the school the royal party took the salute during a parade of naval


The Minister for Fuel and Power, Gwilym Lloyd George, visited Reading in the summer of 1943 and was pictured in the Berkshire Mercury (later to be renamed Reading Chronicle).

As the son of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, he had different political views to his more famous father, being a member of the Conservative Party.

During his tenure as the Home Secretary, he refused to commute the death sentence imposed on Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK.

Newbury Industrial Fire Brigade sent a team to the regional finals in Reading and promptly came away with the Challenge Cup.

Posing proudly with their ‘trailer pump’, the squad of firefighters had seen service during the infamous bombing of Newbury earlier in 1943, when 15 people were killed as bombs were scattered over the town centre.

Initially, the general public’s opinion of the firefighters was that they were ‘army dodgers’, but by this stage of the conflict Winston Churchill was quoted as saying:“ They are a grand lot, and their work must never be forgotten.”

It is said that an army marches on its stomach, but when it arrives at its destination the troops did need shelter, so the Returned Stores Depot’s job near Reading was to stitch back together damaged tents, a boring job but essential for the war effort.