Eighty years ago, in May 1943, the residents of Havant and Waterlooville were motivated to donate metallic items in their possession for the war effort. Pots, pans, and other objects containing aluminium were desperately needed to manufacture aircraft for the Royal Air Force. On Saturday 22nd May 1943 began the initiative named “Wings for Victory” with a target of £190,000. Remarkably, similar objectives called “War Weapons” and “Warship Weeks” had raised similar sums earlier in World War 2. The slogan for the week was ‘For the Third Time £190,000’.
The emergency call for materials received an ‘immediate and tremendous response’. Messrs Seward’s garage (then at 33 East Street) was made a receiving depot to which items were brought to ‘build a Spitfire’. The ever-increasing mountain of saucepans could be viewed through the garage windows. Emsworth contributed to the £192,851 achieved which was claimed to represent the cost of two Spitfires, a Hurricane, both a Lancaster and a Wellington bomber, and six other airplanes.
(Information was gleaned from Saucepans for Spitfires – Brass for Britain in The Making of Havant Vol 5 (of 5) and in one edition of A J C Reger’s “A Short History of Emsworth and Warblington.”)
Also in 1943 bombs were dropped on Emsworth. One fell on Bath Road, destroyed houses (but did not explode!). Residents were evacuated to Washington Road School until they could be rehoused.