Social Life

belonging to coal merchants were commandeered; garden railings and gates were also removed and collected for the war effort. In due course, signs that could help the enemy, such as directions, were also removed from the approaches to the town.

Ration books were not issued until November 1939 and the rationing of butter and bacon started on 8 January 1940, when it became necessary to register with a shopkeeper for bacon, ham, butter and sugar. Coupons were also issued to control the consumption of clothing which was in short supply due to the limited resources that were allowable for their production. The local newspapers, whilst giving information about the local war effort and advice about air-raid precautions, also featured knitting patterns for balaclava helmets, scarves, gloves and mittens. Veitch's Corner Shop advertised gas-mask carriers in navy blue and dark saxe, 1s 3d (6p); artificial silk, lined and waterproof, in brown and navy, 2s 3d (11p); fancy checks, 2s 6d (12½p).
A soldiers' canteen was opened in the games room and a 'comforts scheme' for the support of local men and women in the Armed Forces were both well supported as everyone wanted to help. An imaginative and very helpful scheme was set up to get local servicemen and women home at awkward times when public transport was not available. This 'Stranded Soldiers Fund' provided a car and valuable hours were able to be spent at home in Peebles rather than waiting at Waverley Station in Edinburgh. William Ramsay's name will always be associated with this valuable service.

The 1st Peeblesshire Battalion of the Home Guard was established in 1940 and, with the air-raid wardens and the Observer Corps who had their post on the golf course, they all shared the responsibility of guarding the town and district from surprise assault by the enemy. The Peeblesshire Advertiser commented in 1943: 'Nothing can dim the lustre of those early apprehensive days when the men of the field and factory manned their posts and scanned the evening and morning skies never knowing what they might bring.'

The post-war period of resettlement was made all the more reassuring for the returning ex-servicemen and women because there seemed to be plenty of work opportunities. This was no doubt due to the urgent need to re-establish pre-war markets for goods and services at home and especially overseas.

It gave Peebles special pleasure to greet Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they visited the royal burgh on 18th