There’s nothing new to recycling…
Recycling was encouraged, lead by the Women’s Voluntary Service, who organised the collection of anything that could be used in the manufacture of military hardware and equipment.
Head of the WVS, Lady Reading, appealed to all housewives in 1940 to donate their ‘Saucepans for Spitfires’. This was a psychological boost to the morale as it involved everyone in the thrill of thinking their saucepan would be part of a spitfire or hurricane.
The British Government appealed to each and every citizen to do their bit for the war effort by collecting and donating items made of iron and steel. Railings, household and gardening implements and equipment. Street railings were removed and cut up for scrap to make battleships, tanks and munitions.
Children signed up for the Children’s Salvage Team (the Cog Scheme) and helped sort everything from paper to pig’s swill.
Before the war, over 80% of paper came from Norway as pulp. The U boat campaign affected this supply. The government introduced a new Waste paper Order which made it an offence to be throw away or burn any waste paper or cardboard. Over 56 million books were donated to be pulped.
Salvaged paper was used in the manufacture of munitions. One newspaper could make three 25-pounder shell caps.
Old clothes that couldn’t be recycled into new garments were used to make uniform and blankets.
Bones were used to make cordite for gun cartridges and glue to fix aircraft canvas. Nothing was wasted. Although much of the salvage collected was useless the the psychological effects were invaluable as everyone could be seen pulling together making sacrifices to defeat the enemy.
CONFUSING THE ENEMY
In preparation for invasion by German paratroopers, all place name signs on buildings were covered over and road signs were removed. The Government ordered that “no person shall display or cause or permit to be displayed any sign which furnishes any indication of the name of, or distance to any place”.
Signposts were either stored, used as obstruction posts down the centre of roads or fields which could be used as landing strips by enemy aircraft.
Hut 27 has a display of signposts showing the distance from Eden Camp of major towns and cities in Britain.
Roadblocks were set up and manned by the Home Guard on roads leading into towns or the approaches to important road junctions.
Beaches were mined or covered with barbed wire or had concrete blocks to ships or aircraft from landing on them.