Morton history: 1939 to 1945 Part 2

Notes from Barrington Darby (Local historian):

Part 2 1943 – 1945

The Italian Surrender in 1943 was not only a morale booster, but also a milestone along the road to eventual victory. It showed maybe there really was light at the end of the tunnel?

As the War progressed Double Summertime was introduced (clocks being adjusted by 2 hours) which gave lighter evenings but darker mornings. Consequently, for a while the starting time at Morton School
was altered to 9.30am.

Searchlights were a nightly feature, scanning the sky for the approach of enemy aircraft. We all became familiar with the sound of the Air Raid sirens. The high pitched, spine chilling tone to warn us of imminent
danger contrasted sharply with the reassuring deep throated sound of the All-Clear.

During an air raid we sat in comparative silence by the light of our open coal fire listening intently for the unmistakable drone of German aircraft.

After ‘Dig for Victory’ (grow your own food) came ‘Make-Do and Mend’ and then the ‘Women’s Sewing Party’ and most households had a pegged rug. We were all encouraged to collect salvage which mostly consisted of old newspapers. Certain out-buildings and sheds were used for the storage of items collected. The incentive/reward was being given the rank of Private, Corporal or Seargent etc. based on
the amount of paper collected.

Convoys of Army lorries (mostly Bedford OYs) frequently passed through the village. Usually consisting of 12 – 18 vehicles, presumably on exercises from one of the local R.A.S.C. (Royal Army Service Corps)
bases at Clay Cross or Alfreton?

Throughout the War the railways carried an enormous amount of traffic. This could be anything from long passenger trains of 11 or 12 coaches, often moving soldiers across the country from base to base or
freight trains carrying tanks, guns, road vehicles, coal or iron ore. Then came along the trains comprised of goods vans the contents of which was always a mystery?

After D.Day 6th June 1944 there was a feeling of victory in the air, but Hitler still had a few nasty surprises up his sleeve, such as the V1 (flying bomb) and the V2 (rocket). Apparently a few V1s passed close by the village but thankfully we were spared from the V2 rocket.

The BBC radio broadcasts played an important part in everyday life. Those people without electricity relied on an accumulator battery to power their radio. The accumulators were obtained and maintained by
George Vardy in a small stone building which was part of the Morton Miners’ Welfare Club.

During WW2 most of our local bus routes were operated by single deck buses usually AEC REGALS or LEYLAND TIGERS of the 35 seater capacity. Long queues of people waiting at bus-stops was

As a youngster I remember the sheer excitement when double deck buses (1937 AEC REGENTS with 52 seats) first appeared on our MIDLAND GENERAL D6 Alfreton – MORTON – Clay Cross route. On several
occasions soon afterwards similar double deck buses of Nottingham City Corporation hired or loaned by Midland General appeared on the D6 route.

© Barrington Darby