Tel. 01823 765045

Van Heusen A.R.P. 1940.

taunton Van Heusen A R P 1940

I used to buy factory second shirts at the factory. I think I paid three pounds each for them and you could never see the fault. 

During the black-out the factory had to cope with 30,000 square feet of windows. This was achieved with 300 frames which could be removed in the day time. The staff could be accommodated in sand bagged shelters during a raid within two minutes of the alarm sounding. The factory A.R.P. squads were assigned particular duties. The First Aid Squad was composed mostly of the younger girls. There were also two fire brigade squads trained to dealing with incendiary bombs and decontamination.
Senior factory staff operated as factory wardens maintaining orderly conduct in evacuation and within the shelters. The town medical officer provided staff with lectures on first aid and gas. Gas masks were supplied to the staff. “Do you hear that rattling note upon the air so clear? It tells me there is gas about but stand fast without fear”. 

The London Van Heusen staff were evacuated and many came to Taunton. The factory here made large quantities of Khaki and RAF uniforms. A new boiler house was completed in 1941. A huge boiler was delivered by Pickfords. It was noted that Messrs Bullock and Smith were too big to find uniforms for. It was suggested that they asked Goring’s taylor. No doubt readers may find fathers or relatives in this image. I can name a few at the factory during the war. Mr Browne. “A striking figure in his steel helmet”. Mr Stott who stated that the factory shelters were not as comfortable as his dug-out in Mesapotamia during the last war. Mr Dunlop who stated that courage,cheerfulness and resolution would win the war. Not forgetting, I suppose, that the RAF, army and navy might help. Another name remembered by the company was Miss C. S. Bowers from accounts 1924 to 1939 who left to get married. To help you here are names for those in the photo.

Cox, Dunlop, Sladden, Siggers, Glanville, Stokes, Holden, Stevens, Walton, Wakley, Currie, Williams, Hordle, Browne, Smith, Fox, Saunders, Heaman, Jones, Rivington, Hort, Hawkins, Sparrow, Russell, Greed, Sylvester, Singleton, Coles, Pook, Hartley, Vellacott, Lord, McAuliffe, Pilgrim, White, Titcombe, Betty, Diamond, Hill.

Night duty usually required volunteers. The company provided a table tennis set to keep them active. As far as I know Hitler never attacked Taunton directly but a house in Eastbourne Road was badly damaged by a stray bomb.

By Nick Chipchase

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this article


You may also like...

The Country Mails c 1904

The Country Mails c 1904

The clock says ten past six so presumably an early start by bicycle out into the country. At this time Taunton’s main post office was in Church Square.

Bridge Street Taunton c 1904 Taunton Somerset

Bridge Street Taunton c 1904

This is a postcard by the Stengel Company of London but printed and artificially coloured in Saxony. Like so many good images this one originates

Station Road Taunton c 1903 Taunton Somerset

Station Road, Taunton c 1903

This photograph shows Station Road in 1903. It was one of a set published by Wrench Ltd who published many well animated postcards between 1900 and 1906.

Bathpool Taunton c 1908 Taunton Somerset

Bathpool, Taunton c 1908

In 1908 Bathpool was outside the Municipal Borough of Taunton which lead to some interesting occurrences as we shall see.

Taunton And Somerset Hospital Taunton Somerset

Taunton And Somerset Hospital

The booklet was produced to mark the centenary of Taunton and Somerset Hospital 1812 – 1912. It contains numerous photographs.

We go to print in...
Articles by category