WE’VE uncovered these photos from 1940 from our archives, which show how Southenders were playing their part in the drive for scrap metal during the Second World War.

Metals were desperately needed for the war effort, to build ships, planes, tanks, bombs and gun parts.

In December 1939 the Ministry of Supply had introduced the National Salvage Scheme. For this scheme to work efficiently, the Women’s Voluntary Services launched a substantial campaign in February 1940 to assist the authorities in any way possible in helping to collect metal in all shapes and forms.

As you can see in our photo gallery, the local WVS based in Victoria Avenue, Southend, were galvanised into action and set about collecting tonnes of metal- from mountains of pots and pans to tin foil and even car number plates

Salvaging squads made up of local volunteers, sought metal wherever they could find it. Collection was often laborious and difficult. Among the images in our gallery show old metal tram lines being dug up from Eastern Esplanade and even the huge old naval gun, which stood on the Cliffs, being taken down to be used for scrap for munitions.

A call for scrap metal to recycle into Spitfires also resulted in the removal of decorative iron railings surrounding many civic spaces, as one of our photos shows when ornamental chains were taken down from a Southend housing estate.

Around this time in 1940, other measures were being put in place to thwart the threat of a German invasion.

Almost 2,000 anti tank blocks were placed along the full length of Southend Seafront and would remain there for the next three years.