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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE. Lytham St Anne’s and the Spitfire Fund 1940 – 1941 As revealed in the wartime Lytham St Anne’s Mayor’s files preserved at Lancashire Record Office ( ref MBLS 7/11/1 – 5)

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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

Lytham St Anne’s and the Spitfire Fund 1940 – 1941

As revealed in the wartime Lytham St Anne’s Mayor’s files preserved at Lancashire Record Office ( ref MBLS 7/11/1 – 5)

The slide show takes about 12minutes and a print out of the images is available here today for those who prefer to view it in paper form


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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

What was the Spitfire Fund?

After the Nizam of Hyderabad funded an entire squadron of

Spitfires in 1940, the Government took up the idea and encouraged

towns, business and other organisations to raise £5000 to sponsor

the airframe of an aircraft that would carry their name. Each plane

actually cost between £8000 and £12000 at the time (equivalent to

about in £400000 to £500000 at 2009 prices, compared to a

modern fighter which would cost about £15M to £20M )

Like many other towns Lytham St Anne’s rose to the

Challenge…but with an adult population of only 25000 to raise the

money!


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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

Lytham St Anne’s and the Spitfire Fund

An initial gift by Miss Ward, a local lady, to the Mayor sparked the

promotion of the Fund in August 1940.

In this first section we see documents about the establishment of

the fund and some of the ideas made by the public to raise the

Money. It may have been wartime, but protocol was still observed

with a receipt issued to all donors, and adverts in the local press all

paid for! Police approval was needed for house-to-house

collections, workplace collections and social fundraising event were

Organised.

However after a vigorous start by Xmas progress was slow…







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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

Lytham St Anne’s and the Spitfire Fund

Contributions came from a wide range of people, raised in

many ways – cash gifts, fundraisers by professional groups or

children in back street concerts, sales of poetry books, and

pictures made of silver paper among others……..





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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

Lytham St Anne’s and the Spitfire Fund

But Lytham felt that it was falling behind before Xmas, and other

towns were already buying funding aircraft – Blackpool two planes

by November!

Glossop, another small town, had raised money through

charity football matches and was not slow to let Lytham know of

its success.

Lytham’s Mayor decided to up the pace and local pride mixed with

patriotism in the town as we see from these letters!







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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

Success!

A final push – women auctioning their earrings for the cause -

and the line is crossed. It is apt that the mayor is now a woman, Miss

J Rossall, as the role of women in the fundraising has been

significant.

Finally Lytham St Anne’s has its plane: a Mark 5b Spitfire No.W3664

also known as LYTHAM ST ANNE’S . It was completed in July 1941

and entered service with 19 Squadron.

But after one task another comes. The war has moved on, and

soon Lytham St Anne’s is looking to sponsor 12 bombers

through the Weapons of War programme.







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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

What became of W3644 Lytham St Anne’s?

After all this effort what happened to the plane and the man

who flew it?

Tragically it would appear that not only was the plane lost but

its pilot as well. On a Ramrod (bomber protection) mission to

France on 23 June 1942, German aircraft from JG2 Wing

engaged 19 Squadron and track of W3644 was lost although

no German record of a “kill” has been located.

The pilot, Sergeant Allan Ridings was, aptly, a Lancashire

man, only aged 20.




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LANCASHIRE RECORD OFFICE

Lytham St Anne’s and the Spitfire Fund

1940 – 1941

Lancashire Record Office would like to thank local historian Russell Brown for

supplying information on the aircraft and its fate. Also Andrew Walmsley,

Community History Manager for Fylde in Lancashire Library and Information

Service, and Tony Sharkey of Blackpool Library . Also Andrew Schofield of North West

Sound Archives at Clitheroe for the recording of the Spitfire engine playing in the

background.

The original Mayor’s files (ref MBLS 7/11/1-5) can be seen by the public at Lancashire

Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston.

See www.archives.lancashire.gov.uk or phone 01772 533039 for opening hours and

access details


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