Kidsgrove, 1 Bomber, 28 Spitfires, 2 Tanks and A Warship

During WW2, the population of British towns and villages, performed some incredible feats of fund raising to equip our fighting men and women.

Stirred by the patriotic speeches of Winston Churchill on the radio and the  images of  war shown in the cinemas and on poster campaigns, people at home who could not take part in the fighting directly were inspired to involve themselves in fund raising, collecting re-usable materials, items for Red Cross parcels, scrap metal and the like. 

All this gave everyone a sense of contributing to the war effort and ‘doing their bit’.  

Of course the fund raising needed to be personalised, for example setting targets and measuring the amount of money raised in the numbers of Spitfires, tanks, warships, etc.

In reality the funds would have gone into a ‘money pool’ to be spent on whatever was most urgently needed. 

Each time the cost of a new Spitfire etc. was met, it gave the people a great sense of achievement and community pride.

There would always be the exception when a particular ship or aircraft would be given some sort of attachment to a fund raising town, but this was not commonplace.

One such exception is in the account which follows, whereby H.M.M.B.T  76,  His Majesty’s Motor Torpedo Boat 76, was identified as a warship funded totally by the  people of Kidsgrove and surrounding districts.

The following brief account is that of the efforts of our local community in and around Kidsgrove, North Staffordshire, and is only one of the many examples of outstanding  fund raising efforts which took place throughout wartime Britain.

Kidsgrove Local Savings Committee

The Kidsgrove Local Savings Committee was founded in July 1940 by the now defunct Urban District Council with the aim of raising funds to help equip our Armed Forces. Its administrative committee was made up mainly of local councillors, but it also included schoolteachers, doctors, nurses, local businessmen, cinema owners and anyone with the necessary skills to help in fund raising.

In its short life, it managed to raise an incredible amount of funds, particularly impressive when we consider that Kidsgrove and its surrounding areas were not heavily populated during the wartime years.

Between July 1940 and March 1944, it managed to raise the following funds: 1941 – 1942 £111,150, 1942 – 1943 £127,300, 1943 – 1944 £154,706.

The three and a half years total came to a staggering £433,182, an immense amount of money in the 1940s. By March 1944, this money had funded,  One Bomber (type unknown), 28 Spitfires, 2 Heavy Tanks and His Majesty’s Motor Torpedo Boat 76, all documented as ‘on active service’. 

This was not the end of it, for a week of fund raising activities started on the 25th March 1944, the ‘Salute the Soldier Week’.

We are grateful to the unknown person who kindly gave Kidsgrove Library a copy of the souvenir programme which shows all the weeks activities.

Reading the account of these fund raising activities totally amazed us, for trying to raise £100,000 within the local community in the space of a week, would be extremely difficult, even today. It is unknown how successful the week was, or indeed the wartime total.

One aspect of the activities on Saturday, March 25th, is the venue for the dance, Kidsgrove Town Hall. It is the venue that we always use for our associations 1940’s dances and little has changed since those wartime days apart from a lick of paint.