03:48PM, Friday 07 June 2019
Remembering war years ‘as if it were yesterday’
I remember it as though it was yesterday and the local events of the time.
Mid morning, June 6, 1944, in class at Elmshott Lane School, Cippenham, when our teachers told us that BBC Radio was reporting major landings on the shores of France, what could be the start of the liberation of Europe.
I had witnessed the military build-up, particularly in our area.
On the A4 Bath Road there were endless army convoys nearly always heading in a westerly direction towards Maidenhead and beyond.
At Taplow Railway Station rail sidings, where tanks and gun carriers were being unloaded from train wagons.
The government had imposed double summertime with daylight up to 10pm.
We were therefore able to watch each evening squadrons of mainly two engined bombers flying overhead at fairly low level in a southerly direction.
We had established anti aircraft gun batteries on Dorney Common and at the bottom of Royston Way in Burnham in the area now known as the Priory Estate.
In Haymill Road/Blumfield Cresent Burnham, a Canadian army camp had been built for a mechanical military division.
In the surrounding fields large crates of jeeps and military vehicles awaiting assembly.
Inspired by Western movies, we pretended the crates were boxcar trains leaping from one to the other.
The Canadian guards allowed us to roam free, handing out supplies of chocolate and my first ever taste of Coca Cola.
A big craze was collecting cigarette cards and the Canadian Sweet Caporal packets had designs of aircraft in silhouette.
There was big competition to collect a complete set of packets.
I wonder if anyone still has them as they would now be worth a lot of money.
To add to the international surroundings there was the Canadian Army Hospital in Cliveden and nearby at the Gore in Taplow Common Road an Italian POW Camp.
Invalided Canadian solders wore bright blue uniforms and the Italian POW dark brown uniforms with patches.
During daylight hours all mingled freely with the villagers.
Cookham village was surrounded by US Army trucks which were more streamlined than British Army lorries.
Against the background of strict food rations, particularly sweets and chocs, we looked to the American soldiers for chewing gum... ’got any gum, chum?’
In addition to BBC radio reports all the cinemas had different news reels keeping us up to date with all the war news.
I remember Gaumont British, Paramount News, Pathe and British Movietone.
As school children we were assuming the war was already won, not realising the pain and suffering that was still to come.
Soon we were also brought down to earth with the dreaded drone of the German V-1 flying bombs followed by the V-2 rockets.
Fortunately our area was almost out of range for these destructive weapons.
I can only remember a flying bomb falling on a pig farm in Cippenham and on the Bells of Ousley Pub in Old Windsor. I am sure there were more.
Thanks to my parents I had escaped the worst of the Blitz on London to experience as a 10-year-old the wonderful wartime spirit that prevailed 75 years ago.
May to look after us as before? Before what?
I have no party loyalties, I vote on policy and issues.
Tomorrow (Friday), Mrs May resigns as Prime Minister, soon to revert to our full-time local MP.
Last week the chairman of the Maidenhead Conservative party wrote in Viewpoint that she ‘will continue to look after Maidenhead residents as before’.
I am puzzled.
Is that the ‘before’ when she was strongly opposed to the third runway at Heathrow looking after resident’s health, or the ‘before’ as PM when she and her government supported the third runway?
Perhaps a double u-turn is on the cards.
Mrs May held the poisoned chalice for three years by the wrong handles and had her deal thrown out.
It is nothing by comparison with the local Conservative council (with its reduced majority, which will be a familiar scenario for Mrs May) that has taken 13 years to have its Local Plan thrown out by the inspector.
There would have to be a kiss and make up after the council spent large amounts on legal fees to fight Mrs May’s government on runway three, I assume to ‘look after Maidenhead residents’.
However, perhaps they can join forces and rename themselves the ‘You Couldn’t Make It Up Party’ and ‘look after the Maidenhead residents’ by getting a Local Plan deal done so we know where on earth we are going.
They could hang banners from the lampposts declaring ‘A Local Plan means a Local Plan’, or perhaps not!
Uncaring to block off shelter to homeless
Who on earth begrudges a poor homeless man a space to sleep out of the cold and wet in the Nicholsons Car Park (Advertiser, May 30)?
Have they never heard ‘there but for the grace of God go I!’?
It is appalling the number of people in these sad circumstances who are forced to seek shelter in such places, without the council aiding and abetting the horrible uncaring self-righteous morons who complain and get pleasure out of adding to this poor man’s misery.
They should ponder on ‘what goes round comes round’.
Fantastic opportunity to tackle air pollution
Yesterday (Wednesday) marked World Environment Day, held annually since 1974.
2019’s theme is ‘Beat Air Pollution’ and, like many people, we were shocked to discover earlier this year that air pollution causes six out of every 100 deaths of people aged 30 and over in Windsor & Maidenhead.
The Liberal Democrat spring conference motion ‘Cleaning up the Air we Breathe’ provides a framework for tackling roadside air pollution and calls for measures to encourage drivers to use hybrid or electric cars; for testing air pollution more thoroughly; and for electric car charging and future public transport to be prioritised in future city planning decisions.
With the large number of developments currently under way in the Royal Borough, we have a fantastic opportunity to change the way we work on managing traffic, and tackle air pollution systematically.
We want to see sustainability built into future developments, and this is why it is so important to consider infrastructure as an integral part of the Borough Local Plan (BLP), not as an afterthought.
Cllr KAREN DAVIES (Lib Dem,Clewer East)
Cllr JOSH REYNOLDS (Lib Dem,Furze Platt
Stop damaging young lives with idling cars
My name is Jack and I am aged 10.
I am writing to you to inform you about the life-threatening action called car idling.
This is a serious issue in our community; parents in our school and many others in our community have been leaving their engines running outside our schools.
Unfortunately, this simple act is extremely dangerous for everyone, especially the children attending the school.
I am sure you are already working hard on this issue.
Did you know that this deadly issue can affect children and leave them with illnesses and diseases such as asthma, allergies and even cancer?
We are the future Prime Ministers, teachers and doctors, but if this carries on we might not even get that far.
Our lives should not be affected in this way.
In our school, one teacher was unable to walk to school along the main road as the air quality was so low.
Simply encouraging parents to switch off their engines will support our health and our environment.
As mentioned above, car-idling not only affects our health but also damages our environment.
This is the environment we are hoping to grow up in, the environment we will bring up our families in, and it is being destroyed by the toxic fumes produced by car-idling.
In our school we have designed signs to go on the road outside our school informing parents and passers-by of the dangers of car-idling.
We hope this will have a positive impact on our community; however more must be done on an international scale as this is a worldwide issue.
I am sure you will do your best to support us on this particular issue which is damaging our young lives in many ways.
Pupil at St Edmund Campion Primary School
Shouldn’t Brits decide how multi-cultural they want country to be?
Equality is a widely used (or misused) word in politics.
Equality means ‘being the same’ or ‘the same as’.
But of the billions of people on the planet no two people are the same.
We have 850,000 people in the UK with dementia but no two are the same.
The same applies to countries; notwo are the same. On the contrary, I suggest the UK is exceptional and has passed on being exceptional to our former colonies.
In the Americas people from South America are trying to migrate to the USA and Canada, giving Trump and others a problem. The same is happening in Australia and New Zealand.
Even small enclaves of ‘Britishness’ such as Singapore and Hong Kong attract people seeking a better life.
The indigenous people of our small country are entitled to feel proud and more recent arrivals too should feel proud, but should they not also feel grateful or lucky?
I think it was Tony Blair who decided London, the capital city of England and commercial centre of the UK, should have its own mayor with more power. I suggest that was another Blair mistake.
Sadiq Khan, the current mayor, derides John Cleese for his comments that London has changed and comments that London is a vibrant multi-cultural city.
It has been vibrant for many years but in a democracy surely the British people should have had the power to decide on just how multi-cultural the country and its capital city should be.
Perhaps Parliament should reclaim powers to take the big decisions in London e.g. ban the mayor from supporting anti-Trump demonstrations when The President of the USA is in the capital city of England on a state visit.
Thank you for taking part in week of action
I want to thank every person in Berkshire who joined the conversation for Dementia Action Week this year (May 20-26).
The week united workplaces, schools and communities to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia.
We all have a role to play in making Berkshire a dementia-friendly place to live and that’s what Dementia Action Week was all about.
Local highlights included a fantastic event at the Museum of English Rural Life, a series of events in Slough throughout the week and the Wokingham Dementia Action Alliance Market Place.
Starting a conversation is just the beginning.
Help us beat dementia by taking part in Cupcake Day on 13 June.
Whether you bake it or fake it, you can sign up at cupcakeday.alzheimers.org.uk
Area Manager Berkshire
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