WE are in an age of “austerity”. It is, however, a degree of deprivation which would hardly be recognised by Worthing residents of 70 years ago.
In 1942, the country and Empire was in the middle of a life-and-death struggle against Germany, Japan and Italy, and there was little sign of the comparatively good times “around the corner”.
But life went on locally, and over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some of the happenings which made the Herald news columns in those days – many of which will strike a note of stark comparison (or similarity!) with what occupies us in February, 2012.
*Worthing’s Warship Week made fund-raising news in the Herald of February 20, 1942. Ex-Royal Navy commander Sir Archibald Southby, in helping to inaugurate the Week, said: “Whenever our sea power has been the greatest, we have lived in the greatest security. But whenever we have allowed it to decay, we have stood in the greatest jeopardy and greatest peril,”
*A “mother of two fighting men” resented “very greatly” the town council’s decision to preserve the railings around the bowling greens.
“We are told that we must have aeroplanes and warships. How are we to get them if councils like ours and Brighton refuse to give the railings up?,” she told a Worthing Townswomen’s Guild meeting.
*An appeal to everyone to grow more vegetables and keep poultry and rabbits to relieve the food shortage was made by the Duke of Norfolk at a Grow More Food meeting.
*A young volunteer and an Army veteran who first enlisted in 1888 (Corporal Jones!) were decorated at a parade of the 5th Battalion, West Sussex Home Guard at the Rotary Ground, Broadwater.
*It was reported that about 100 bricklayers were walking about Worthing with nothing to do, despite claims that the country was crying out for building workers.
*The Herald campaigned against a £500 cut in book funding for Worthing Public Library. The libraries committee relented and voted to reinstate in full the £1,700 grant agreed to in 1941.
*With six local cinemas to choose from (four in Worthing, two in Lancing), local picturegoers were almost spoilt for choice. Main features at the Odeon were Laurel and Hardy in Great Guns, and George Sanders in The Gay Falcon.
*And on the sporting front, Worthing FC were tying with Haywards Heath in the Sussex County War League points table. These teams had played only two games – winning both of them.