Chocks away for a Wings day in Luton

The Luton News recently published a letter from the local branch of the RAF Association, thanking the public for their generous donations to the annual Wings Appeal.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 13th October 2012, 11:53 am

The association supports all generations of ex-serving and serving members of the Royal Air Forces and their dependants, from Second World War veterans to those involved in 21st Century conflicts.

About £2million is raised each year by the Wings Appeal, although street collections today tend to be rather more subdued than the one shown in our picture, taken in September 1953.

It was called Wings Day then and there was more than a touch of Biggles about the two characters shaking tins on the corner of Bridge Street and Manchester Street.

The little girl being given a helping hand to put a coin in the can seems apprehensive, but she might have been even more worried the following year.

A Luton News photo of the Wings Day collection in George Street in September 1954 shows two children surrounded by three highwaymen armed with pistols!

RAFA was formed in 1943, but as it receives no funding from the Government it operates entirely on donations and subscription fees. There are about 500 branches across the UK.

> Reader Tony Weedon, of Redgrave Gardens, Luton, has written to Yesteryear with his memories of the Farley Hill area shortly after the Second World War.

He writes: “After the War my mother and father and myself shared a house with my auntie and uncle in Ashburnham Road. Money was short in those days and Dad could not afford to buy a house as £300 was too much for a mortgage on his Vauxhall wage.

“I used to play in Dallow Road playing field, better known as ‘The Rec’. Does anyone remember the long air raid shelter at the top of The Rec? It was filled in years later.

“I went to Dunstable Road School and walked through The Rec to get there. I remember watching workmen demolishing a building at the bottom end. Can anyone remember what the building was? I was told it used to be a children’s nursery and that the men demolishing it were former German prisoners of war. Was that true?

“I was also told that ex-POWs helped build Longcroft Hill leading up to the Farley Hill Estate, which was soon to be built. As a lad I used to believe everything I was told and often wonder if it was all true.”