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A Basildon Chronology
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1940   1941   1942   1943   1944
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1940

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Laindon Athletic Sports Club for boys founded. The clubs' formation was aimed at providing a range of sporting activities of which football was to prove the most popular. The club established its home matches at Langdon Hills recreation ground where they played in various different Essex leagues as Laindon Athletic F.C. In the 1990s the club moved to Markhams Chase but in recent years is no longer represented in any Essex leagues at either junior or senior level. The name does still exist though as there is a Laindon Athletic Veterans F.C., with teams made up of over 35s who play their home matches at Gloucester Park.

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The A127 Fortune-of-War roundabout at Laindon is believed to have become fully operational in the autumn of this year. Work began on the Arterial Road roundabout in 1939 and was in a state of near completion by September 1940. The two main reasons leading to its construction was the road, opened just 15 years earlier linking London with Southend, and junction, known as Laindon crossroads and part of the B1007 (since re-routed) Chelmsford to Horndon-on-the-Hill route, had become a busy interchange, not least due to the development of Laindon. The Fortune-of-War Inn, which gave its name to the roundabout, had opened at the same time as the road and soon became a popular 'stopping off' point for passing traffic and charabanc day trips to Southend. So much so that an R.A.C. sentry box and officer would often attend to control traffic flow during busy periods. The roundabout survived to 1995 and though technically extant, is no longer operational having been closed to right turns from April of that year. Calls for its complete removal have so far not amounted to anything except the implementation of traffic speed cameras on each approach and a 20 mph speed restriction zone on the roundabout itself.

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January

An auxiliary fire brigade at Laindon under Section-Officer R.F. Cole known to have attended call outs. The brigade operated from a small auxiliary (section) fire station in the High Road between Shepherd's Restaurant and the Laindon Recorder office. It survived to December 1961 when the main Essex County fire station at Broadmayne in Basildon became operational. All equipment including vehicles were then transferred to the new station. The Laindon station was then used as a storage garage until the late 1970s or early 1980s when it was finally demolished. Laindon Community Centre car park and building now covers the site of the former fire station.

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5th September

Whilst engaged in a World War Two dogfight with German Luftwaffe fighters, a British Spitfire Mk1 R6635, of 41 Squadron, RAF is involved in a mid air collision with another Spitfire, P9428, and crashes near Markhams Chase (now Janet Duke) school in Laindon at 15.25 hrs.

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5th September

A British Spitfire crashed ¼ mile south east of Nevendon Hall. The pilot Flight Lieutenant John Terence Webster was killed when his parachute failed to open. His name was commemorated in 1994 when a street name on a new Wickford housing estate was named Terence Webster Road.

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15th September

A German Luftwaffe Dornier Do-17 Z-2 Bomber, Werk Nr 3294 was shot down by British fighters at Gladstone Road, Langdon Hills. The crash was recorded as happening at 14.33 hrs in an area now incorporated in the Marks Hill nature reserve. Three members of the crew were killed. These air raids became known as the Battle of Britain, and this date is specifically remembered as a key turning point in the battle for air superiority waged by the German Luftwaffe over the Royal Air Force.

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1941

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To counter possible German ground invasion the local Home Guard began the construction of concrete pill boxes at various locations within the district. One example at Church Hill, Laindon survived into the 1980s while others, like those at Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea, can still be seen today.

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31st October

Laindon Fire Service attend a blaze at an electric plant machinery premises adjoining the Fortune of War public house. The damage was put at £1,500.

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2nd November

Elim Pentecostal Church at Gun Hill, London Road, Pitsea opened. The assistant superintendent, Pastor George Stormont dedicated the church which replaces a South Benfleet branch whose Pastor, G.H. Croft became superintendent of the Gun Hill branch. The building had formerly been used since 1885 as a Mission Chapel by Pitsea Congregational Church who vacated around 1927 to a larger building at Rectory Park Drive.

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1942

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Len Thipthorpe of Woodview, Timberlog Lane, Vange establishes L.T. Carpets. This small local carpet fitting business, founded by Len Thipthorpe, began at the family's bungalow home at Timberlog Lane, which remained its base for the next 74 years. Mr. Thipthorpe later retired in 1992, after nearly 50 years, leaving the business with two brothers Darren and Gary and Laver. The Timberlog Lane site, since numbered 198 sometime in the 1960s and now in the Barstable neighbourhood, closed in April 2017 and the business was transferred to within a branch of Carpet Sense at High Road, Laindon.

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30th July

As hostilities continue an Anti-Aircraft shell exploded causing considerable damage to a property called Nightingale in the Lee Chapel Lane area of Langdon Hills.

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1943

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25th June

The Winston Club at 1 Northumberland Avenue, Laindon registered as a mutual society. The club is named after then prime minister and conservative party leader Winston Churchill. A club had been in existence on the same site since around 1923, firstly known as the Laindon Legion Social Club, which had its Friendly Societies registration cancelled in 1928, followed soon after by the Carlton Social Club, which survived until the current name change. The Winston Club nameboard was later changed to one bearing the name Winston Social Club, which it remains today.

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1944

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Alma Hatt succeeds A.D. Cheshire as Clerk to the Billericay Urban District Council. Mr. Alfred Cheshire, whose other duties which passed to Mr. Hatt included that of returning officer at general and local elections, had held the post since the formal constitution of the council in 1934.

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7th October

A German V-2 rocket fell on Pitsea at Northlands Drive. Fifty people received injuries, five of them serious. It left three houses totally demolished and many others badly damaged.

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13th November

Four houses were destroyed along with serious damage to 21 others when a German V-2 rocket exploded in Langdon Hills. The V-2 rocket, which landed in the garden of Hewfy a bungalow on the north side of Vowler Road, left 1 fatality and 4 people with serious injuries. Edith Fyffe, 72, whose property Hewfy was destroyed in the blast, was injured at the scene and died the following day in St. Andrew's Hospital, Billericay.

 
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2017.
Copyright © 2001-2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

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