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  Themes Homepage > Slough against the Nazis
Living in Slough
Slough against the Nazis

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One of the first effects the Second World War had on Slough was the arrival of evacuees - Slough was considered to be a 'safe town', and children and pregnant women were evacuated here from London. 8000 children arrived in the Slough and Windsor area in the first year and a half of the war.

Life changed quickly. Most young men enlisted into the armed forces - many into the Berkshire Regiment and the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry - and women took their place in the workforce, including working in factories and on the land - 'digging for victory'. Food, fuel and clothes were rationed, and air-raid precautions were put in place - blackouts were enforced, and air-raid shelters were built all over the town.

Entrance Gates to Salt Hill Playing Fields, 1907
Entrance Gates to Salt Hill Playing Fields, 1907
An early victim of the war were the iron eagles at the entrance to Salt Hill Park, which were taken down to be recycled. It was later discovered that they were not suitable to be turned into weaponry, but it was too late for the eagles.

The Trading Estate played an important part in the war effort. Buildings were requisitioned by the Government, and eventually every factory was turned over to war work. This included making Spitfire parts and incendiary bombs. Drums filled with oil-soaked rags were placed throughout the town and the Trading Estate, and when lit at night these created a smoke screen which protected the Trading Estate from enemy bombers. As a major producer of explosives it was known to be a target.

Smoke screen burners on Slough High Street, 1945
Smoke screen burners on Slough High Street, 1945

Slough made two other significant contributions to the Second World War. The first was its contribution to the development of radar. Much of the early work was done at the Radio Research Station at Ditton Park.

Secondly, the Hurricane fighter plane was built at Langley. Hawker Aircraft Ltd built a factory there in 1936, and the first Hurricanes were built in 1938. At the peak of production over 1000 were built per year. The Hurricane was one of the most important aircraft in the war, and played a vital role in the Battle of Britain.

At the end of the war Slough, like towns and villages all over the country, celebrated with services and street parties, and dozens of street bonfires that lit up the night sky - many of the bonfires had effigies of Hitler on them.

270 people from Slough were killed in the war - their names are commemorated in the Book of Remembrance at the Town Hall.

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  Themes Homepage > Slough against the Nazis
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