With origins dating back to 1861, when it was known as the Post Office Savings bank, National Savings allows individuals to save while providing the government access to funding. Notably, savings certificates issued during the First and Second World Wars helped to finance the war effort. Sometimes focused campaigns were used to rally public support for specific needs. For example, during the First World War a "Weapons Week" was held in 4-9 March 1918 in England and Wales and 8-13 April 1918 in Scotland. Each city, town or group of smaller places was tasked with buying war bonds or savings certificates to purchase an instrument of war. A city might be asked to aim for a super dreadnought while a smaller place might be expected to raise enough for an aeroplane, submarine or tank depending upon its population size.
This concept became a key feature of World War Two on the home front. Across the United Kingdom, local authorities were asked to designate one week each year as a 'war savings week'. These events were nationally led but regionally co-ordinated and involved locally organised events to raise funds to support the war effort. An early public appeal from May 1940 was focused on the production of Spitfires. Funds were set up by local councils, individuals and other organisations to raise enough for a plane, a wing, a gun or even a spark plug or rivet - whatever was a realistic target. Read more about that here.
Largo set up its own Spitfire Fund Committee in October 1940 (see Leven Mail 16 Oct below). The Largo Community Council had had "their activities very much curtailed by the war" and so they turned their attention to whether they, like so many other places, should set up a local Spitfire fund. They voted in favour of appointing a committee for that purpose. Two weeks later the committee had been formed, a flag day set for 23 November and a number of supplementary activities arranged (including a series of whist drives, a dance at La Scala and a beetle drive). Contributions could be sent to the National Bank in Lundin Links or to the committee treasurer, Mr John Adamson. The flag day went on to raise over £38 and events up to the start of December over £165. By the time that the fund was closed in February 1941, £289 8s 6d had been forwarded from Largo to the overall Fife fund.
The Spitfire Fund for Fife raised enough for two Spitfires. As the 1942 Fife News Almanac clipping below describes, these were named "The Thane of Fife" and "Kirkcaldie" - the former being shown in the image below.
The next big savings campaign of the war was 'War Weapons Week' that ran during different weeks at different locations between September 1940 and April 1941. Fife designated 7-14 June 1941 for their effort and once again Largo Parish played their part. The 30 April Leven Mail reported upon the early work of the local committee.
Ultimately, Largo raised £29,600 towards Fife's War Weapons campaign. The 18 June 1941 Leven Mail below tells of how a third of a million was generated between the localities from Largo to Wemyss. Further below is a piece from the 1942 Fife News Almanac that details Cupar's efforts. The ground work had been done for subsequent national savings drives that would follow in the later war years - more on these to follow.