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Shot-down German plane displayed on Halesowen school pitch

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 27, 2014

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REGARDING the article on the Notes on Halesowen book in The Bugle on page 21 (April 10 edition).

This is from a book, which was originally published during Thanksgiving Week 1945. But I never saw it, being in the Forces in India at the time. However, mention of the 'Spitfire Fund' takes me back to when I was a pupil at the Halesowen County Modern Boys School at the beginning of World War Two.

In 1999 I was given the opportunity to see the old school log books which the deputy head, Mr Goulden, had saved from being destroyed. He gave me permission to borrow them and I wrote an account of the school's travails during the war years, entitled Windsor High.

The school launched a 'Spitfire' fund in 1940 and a fun fair in the playground raised £6.3s.6d, which, together with a collection of £14, the school was able to present the Mayor, Alderman Cox, with 21 guineas.

Over the following months the total grew and the target was £5,000. Walter Somers Ltd offered to give the last £1,000 of it. It was reported on December 7 only £200 was needed to reach the target and, shortly after, though the finishing date had been set as November 18, the sum of £5,046 was finally announced.

I also remember that, for the period of the fund, a shot-down Messerschmitt fighter was displayed on the football pitch near the grandstand on the Grove Recreation Ground. A guard was posted during the daytime hours, but under the blackout many fingers were busy picking up mementoes, consequently the wreckage was removed before the fund was ended.

War Weapons Week ran from April 26 - May 3, 1941, when the school's total collections gave them first place of £1,085.17s.4d. The schools did so well they were granted a half-day holiday.

In February 28, 1942, 'Warship Week' was launched and it was hoped to raise £310,000 for the destroyer HMS Achates. For this fund the boys made models of warships to be displayed at the Council House. The school raised £1,483.The grand total raised from all the activities and collections was £330,585.9s.11d.

In 1943 the loss of HMS Achates was reported when guarding an Atlantic Convoy to Russia, and following a lecture on the sinking of the ship, the boys unanimously decided to begin a savings fund to replace it. Ultimately they raised £1,584.15s.0d. The final total for the borough was £352,404.13s.6d.

The above was merely one phase of all the County Modern Boys School's activities which is why I wrote Windsor High and I not only think the school did its bit, it did a tremendous amount. Most of those lads, if they are still with us, are now old men, as I am, but they hold wonderful memories nevertheless.

Ken Allen,

10 Beech Road, Tividale.

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