9 thoughts on “WWII Spitfire Fund, Stockton

  1. Cast iron railings were cut away and yes, most were not melted down. From the top deck of a trolley bus my father used to point at a railway truck that was lined up with hundreds of others outside the steelworks between West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew and tell me that a sticking up piece of metal was a bit of the railings from our house in the town. And of course I believed him. That truck was still there when the war ended.

    There was a newspaper cartoon by a chap called Langdon. He drew two old ladies watching a man cutting down metal railings in a street They asked him what he wanted them for and he replied, “We shove them down the barrels of guns and shoot em out like arrers'”

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  2. I was told that my grandmother gave her best aluminium pan to the fund and that, everytime a Spitfire flew overhead, she looked up and claimed it was the one made out the the very same pan.

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    • Paul, the war did not take off until April-May 1940 and it was all bad news, we feared mass bombing and invasion I should say our parents did we bloodthirsty youngsters said bring it on, the young are idiots, we saw too many Indian and Cowboy films.

      Someone decided that to keep Morale up the people had to feel they were helping so came the collections of everything from pans to pig meal waste, us Boy Scouts all doing our bit as we collected pans scrap newspaper though newspapers were only four pages by then we got certificates for best collections, ( I suspect we all got them anyway).

      All the iron railings from parks cemeteries schools vanished and we saved our pennies for the Spitfire Fund not sure but I think Stockton did actually get enough, some one will know.
      Wars end we found out the pans were the wrong metal, the iron rails or most of them had been stacked at the back of scrap yards and then sold back to where they came from. Aluminium came from Canada in big packing cases, as a young apprentice Jan 1945 I unpacked and stacked lovely shiny sheets so I could have the wood from the cases. Working at Nuffields Eaglescliff we saw huge piles of planes being scrapped for the metal some still in packing cases never ever flown.

      War is a system of mirrors and shadows, we were told only what the Government wanted us to know, they were probably right as the nightly raids and sleeping in shelters then having to do the normal things during the day did sap the spirit. It all worked as I never remember ever thinking we could lose the war but flying pans? Well I never saw any.

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      • Yes Frank, I saw Stockton spitfire coming out of Hills on Norton road when I was going to Tilery junior school gas mask over shoulder 1941-2 no wings though at the time.

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      • Malcolm, what you may well have seen was a prototype De Havilland Mosquito parts of which were made at Hills from wood mouldings. Hills and its other Company in Lancashire built those planes with parts being contracted out to small timber firms around who normally made furniture coffins etc.
        The Mosquito was the fastest light bomber we had and saw service from 1942 0nwards it even beat the Spitfire for straight-line speed by quite a margin. I made models of the Mosquito and loved everything about it, a great plane a wonderful concept and partly built by local craftsmen.

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      • Stand corrected Frank, only 6 years old and all planes were Spitfires to me then, thanks for info. still wished it had been a Spitfire though.

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      • Malcolm, Everyone saw Spitfires, although they were mainly Hurricanes, unless you got a good look at the wing formation, not always easy they were often mistaken for each other.
        The Hurricane was built in greater numbers as they were easier to build with a part frame and canvas fuselage where the Spitfire was all metal. They shot down more German planes, could take more punishment and get home plus the ease of repair, glue a few patches on and take off.
        I was, sorry am older than you, us kids were dead keen and had all the aircraft recognition books including the German, at Eden Camp with my grandson a couple of years back walking along rows of photographs and telling him what they were, Paul asked how I did it? Eager young lads in the heat of war, how will I ever forget.
        We did have a couple of Spitfires at Thornaby and some at Goosepool for the Bomber pilots to relax in, Mother worked at Goosepool on war work and often told me of mad bomber pilots shooting up the control tower, it usually cost them a weeks wages.

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  3. At about the same time that Stockton had a WWII Spitfire Fund there was a similar one at West Hartlepool. A fighter plane, either German or one of ours, was exhibited on the Bull Field, opposite the Cenotaph War Memorial. Probably where the Police Station is today. I remember climbing some steps to look into the cockpit. Many years later a lady told me a pair of leather gloves were on the pilot’s seat. I think it was 6d a look.

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