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National Service Pageant

April 1939

Mexborough & Swinton Times, Apr 21

National Service Pageant
Successful South Yorkshire Tour
Big Crowds Line Route
Splendid United Effort .

With two Royal air force bombers from Finningley roaring above a half mile long procession of steel helmeted “Tommies”, guns, carriages and a half mile long procession of volunteers and equipment, the Don Valley National Service Panel organised their largest recruiting campaign in South Yorkshire in the Mexborough district on Saturday afternoon.

A 25 mile tour of the district resulted in several recruits responding to a drum head appeal for National Service. The route of the procession was lined by enthusiastic spectators forming crowds between 200 and 300 in each of the principal towns.

The Start.

The Convoy assembled outside the Lord Conyers Hotel, Conisborough shortly after midday on Saturday. The field immediately behind the hotel was packed with gun trailers, army lorries, bombardier’s in khaki and uniformed Home Defence reservists. Directions were issued from a West Riding Constabulary police car through a loudspeaker with Mr G.O. Randerson, chairman of the Don Valley ARP Committee behind the microphone.

Gradually order was restored out of apparent chaos and after the arrival of several chairman and officials of the various local councils in private cars, the units took up their positions.

Led by the police car bearing Superintendent T.Gordon of the Doncaster section of the West Riding Police and the announcer, Mr Randerson, the convoy comprised Council members, the 188th (Mexborough) Aircraft Battery, the Conisborough Detachment of the 53rd Brigade Territorial Light Anti-Aircraft Gunners, the 39th Brigade (Sheffield) Territorial Anti-Aircraft Royal Army Service Corps and wagons conveying Special Constables, Air Raid Wardens, lady ambulance drivers who drove their cars wearing gas masks, a decontamination squad clad in protective clothing, hospital nurses, a rescue and demolition squad, St John Ambulance Brigade members, Nursing Sisters, messengers, Scouts, firefighters and the Mexborough Fire Engine and auxiliary fireman.

A recruiting v an brought up the rear and the staffs from several Exchanges assisted on the executive staff.

Details of Route.

The route from Conisborough was along Old Road. Church Street, Castle Hill, the Doncaster-Rotherham Road, through Denaby Main to Mexborough, branch down Church Street, return to the High Street, straight through Mexborough down Swinton Road into Swinton, bearing right at the junction into Wath-on-Dearne, down Sandygate, Church Street, Well Lane, West Street, Montgomery Road, High Street, Moor Road, Recreation Road, Bolton Road, Bolton-on-Dearne, Mill Lane, High Street. Prospect Road, Highgate, through Thurnscoe, Broadway, Shepherd Lane, around the Church, back to Highgate, back along the Doncaster Road to Goldthorpe, turning right at the traffic lights to Washington Road and the Weldfare Hall grounds.

They were especially large crowds at Conisbrough, Denaby, Mexborough Market Place and all through the streets, Sandygate, Wath, and at Goldthorpe.

Lasted Four Hours.

After thetour, which lasted over four hours and covered 25 miles, was completed they drove into the Welfare Hall grounds at Goldthorpe, and tea was served in the Welfare Hall.

In a brief address superintendent T.Gordon, who was introduced by Cllr David Sheldon, chairman of Conisborough Urban Council, said “we have been engaged in something this afternoon which doesn’t happen to our neighbours across the sea. We have come to ask a free people to offer their services to the State. If the people listen to the message that we bring them, then this event, which we fear, will never happen and we shall have given our services to the people to save them from the ravages of another war”

“We are still in need of a few more volunteers,” continued the Superintendent. “And we labour under a particular difficulty in this area as the majority of the wage earners are engaged in what are known as “reserved occupations.” Some of these people, however, could give a very welcome part-time service. We have had several recruits today and I should like to think that those people are the spearhead of an even greater force to come.”

Mr G.O.Randerson said. “We are still members of the greatest nation in the world, but this is a culmination of work that has been done by our forefathers and it is our duty to carry on that work and I’m looking forward to the results of this effort.”

While the parade was taking place around the district, seven Conisbrough Council employees under the leadership of Mr L.Sheldon, gave an effective decontamination display at Conisborough. They are in the course of being trained by Mr Pearson.