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From February 1940 the WVS became involved with assisting local authorities with salvage, which continued throughout the Second World War. It involved collecting a verity of items such as pans, newspapers, milk bottle tops and books. The WVS also enlisted children for salvage work in the Cog Scheme, so called because of the idea that salvage was a vital part of the war machine, which became very popular. I have recently been working on the cataloguing and repackaging of our collection of Narrative Reports. In these reports were some interesting stories about the WVS’ role in Salvage.
I thought that I would share some of those stories.
Lancashire, Cadishead, April 1943
A Cog decided to play an April Fool’s Joke on his Headmaster resulting in him losing his salvage badge for a fortnight.
‘On April 1st he went into school and reported to the Headmaster that a certain Lady had a large sack of paper which she wanted collecting that day. A little later in the morning the Headmaster came to the classroom where the boy was busy working and said “after you have finished your work you can go in and bring the sack of paper”. Imagine the Surprise of the headmaster when he replied “She hasn’t any Sir you are an April fool” The headmaster told me he was greatly amused although he dare not show it in front of the class.’
Some Members also recruited the services of the local police force to collect items for the campaign.
Devonshire, Axminster Rural, January 1944
‘On the 15th and 20th went round the district in a police car with a loud speaker. The driver and I took it in turn to talk, which we did to varied audiences, apparently empty villages, where windows opened, and people appeared, or to crowds, and to above all to enthusiastic school children, who showed us their badges with pride.’
Picture: Bringing in salvage for COG Scheme in Thurston 1939-1945 WRVSA&HC/WRVS/HQ/P/SAL/COG001.