Play Up Pompey, came the cry from the government trying to use the famous Fratton Park chant for its own ends.
‘Put your money up, bring the Hun down’ trumpeted the giant poster put up across the front of the Guildhall.
It was October 1940 and the city was having a War Weapons Week.
This was a clever government ploy to get people to bolster the ailing Second World War economy and raise cash to buy arms at the same time.
After the British retreat from mainland Europe via Dunkirk, the British Army was severely under strength With its equipment and arms left behind in France there was a dire need to re-equip to resist the Germans’ imminent invasion.
War Weapons Weeks were different to other war charities as no money was paid by people to a named cause. This scheme encouraged people to save in various government accounts such as War Bonds, Savings Bonds, Defence Bonds and Savings Certificates.
Cash would be paid into Post Offices or banks. It would coincide with a week of parades and exhibitions and had two aims.
The first was to encourage people to save. With the threat of invasion the government was aware people might withdraw their savings from banks and create an economic crisis. In addition the cash would also swell the Treasury’s coffers. Also residents would have the satisfaction they had helped the war effort by doing little more than put some money into a savings bond.