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The PL League Boss
Apr 28, 2006
PL Headquarters Hullbridge
Here we are it’s DoDtS’s summer saga. Totally non football related, but my attempt to understand how and what our forebears had to endure through the war in a series of extracts from the Southend Standards of the times. Not everybody’s cup of tea but if your not interested then don’t read it. Next episode in a couple of days.

Episode 1 - 1915 to 1936 Southend Preparing for War

It is hard to understand how important Southend was as a seaside resort pre-war, however the town was scarred by the memory of one of the first air raids in the country in May 1915. A huge Zepplin airship flew over the town with the crew throwing incendairy bombs over the side by hand. The airship moved downriver but was turned back by defences at Thames Haven so they returned to Southend and deposited the rest of their bombs on the Southenders below. There were fatalities, casualties and a lot of damage and the memory lingered with the local population and the opinion that “Southend would be bombed to pieces”or would be “Hitlers invasion point” was a common feeling both locally and nationally.

On the 16th July 1935 as a show of strength THE HOME FLEET VISITED SOUTHEND. As part of King George Vs Silver Jubilee celebrations the home fleet, some 160 warships moored in the Thames Estuary off of Southend, they were quite an attraction and at night the ships were illuminated. Yet the Southend Corporation seemed oblivious to the dangers ahead.

Corporation visit to Germany
After a few hours of thinking and talking in the atmosphere of the new Germany, after seeing many of the Nazi institutions working and after hearing the views and aspirations of men who are intent on the material and spiritual reconstructions of their Fatherland we seemed to be very far removed from Southend and the rest of England. The Burgermeister of Frankfurt in a brief speech thought it right to say that the great British and German nations who had been so close together for many years and had only crossed swords once for the first time in their history should again find themselves friends and realize that the blood in their veins was much the same.
From the Southend Standard 10th October 1935

“We Shall Contest it with Considerable Success” - We intend to contest the next election and contest it with considerable success said the officer in charge of London propaganda for the British Union of Fascists at a meeting at the Cavendish Hall Westcliff on Wednesday.
From the Southend Standard 6th February 1936

Great Wakering arose from it’s slumbers on Thursday night by a rumbling noise like continual thunder. The 6th Howitzers and Dragoons using caterpillar wheeled tractors conveying gas masked troops going into action. In view of modern weapons and observation Army training will be generally by night, by coincidence there was a similar training exercise was carried out at Sutton the same night.
From the Southend Station 7th May 1936.

About 18 acres of land at Canewdon has been acquired by the air Ministry for use as a wireless station.
From the Southend Station 7th May 1936.

The War office announces that three anti-aircraft batteries and seven anti-aircraft companies will be raised in addition to the extra anti-aircraft companies authorised in October.
From the Southend Standard 19th November 1936

A hostile crowd of about 300 demonstrated throughout a Fascist meeting held in Elmer Approach on Saturday night The police had ordered that the meeting be held at the far end of the Approach rather than the High Street end. The speaker wearing a Fascist uniform spoke into a microphone on the top of a van and endeavoured to overcome the booing and singing of the crowd. The Fascists numbered about fifty mostly came down from London in a van fitted with thick mica instead of glass and covered with barbed wire, they were completely surrounded by Police and other police kept a gap of some yards between them and the crowd. A further detachment of Police waited at the Astoria cinema in case of emergency. The Police outnumbered the Fascists.
From the Southend Standard 3rd November 1936

This has also been posted on the Sarfend.co.uk website