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The War Years

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Mazfromnorf Report 17 Feb 2008 14:34

My mum still makes facecloths out of towells turns sheets . and saves bottles of sauce to rinse out baring in mind she is alone and i only get down abt twice a year . it does my head in but i can see where it all comes from reading this thread


maxiMary Report 17 Feb 2008 14:47

We had an allotment, to which I rode in the wheelbarrow (with the tools) every Saturday with my Daddy.Most of the veggies were bottled up, as was the fruit from the back garden.. My clothes were sewn from old dresses donated by my aunties in north Wales, my coat was made from some adults old coat and brown leggings from my Daddy's old brown corduroy trousers. My Dad was a professor in Cardiff and on some weekends went up the valleys to preach at chapel. That's when we had our rare taste of chicken - his Sunday "pay".
My grannie in London had a lovely royal Doulton bowl in which she saved threepenny bits so that my brother and I could go to the sweet shop when we visited. her bomb shelter in the back garden was used as a storage shed after the war. We had an occasional pint of ice cream which was wrapped in newspaper and stored under the big ferns in the back garden until lunchtime.
In Cardiff I can remember being huddled into the broom closet under the stairs.
Our phone number consisted of 3 numbers - 428.
My brother was born in the big snow storm of March 1947, the midwife stayed 3 days because she couldn't get out!! No buses running, snow halfway up the front windows.
We had a coal house out back of the kitchen, which had an endless supply of coal dust slipping under the door - my brother loved it, used his sand pail to collect it,leading to several misadventures.
Thanks for suggesting memory lane.

Brenda from Wales

Brenda from Wales Report 17 Feb 2008 15:32

One of the things I remember,is trying to make butter by shaking the cream taken from the top of the milk in a jar.It took a lot of shaking,and we were left with a small blob of butter,but I suppose it helped,as we didn't like margarine very much(still don't).

We made cakes without fat,and when we had fish,my mum boiled up the head to pick the bits off for the cat.I remember seeing the eyes,which,after they had been boiled,looked like alleys(marbles),and I picked them up,thinking that is what they were!
She also bought a cow's tongue,and boiled it,and it looked vile sitting on the cold slab in the pantry with all the skin on.
Grandma made brawn with a pig's head.
Chicken was a luxury,even after the war,but had lots more taste than todays(even organic!)

Brenda x x


MacTheOldGeezer Report 17 Feb 2008 16:07

I'm back

Thanks for the Waterglass info.

Someone was talking about Eden Camp.

That is within sight of where I live, Stan Johnson the owner is a good friend of mine and I play dominoes with him every Friday night, I took 20p off him last Friday
He can afford it, He's a millionaire

I used to LOVE the Cows tongues, delicious but you could not get them very often.

Something that was quite plentiful was shellfish, Cockles Whelks, Mussells, Winkles and Crab, and of course my favourite JELLIED EELS

Instead of sweets we could get Tiger Nuts, Locust Beans and Spanish Wood, I think that some people called it Licorice wood, this used to turn your teeth, tongue and lips bright yellow

I think you can still get all three in health shops if any of you younger peeps want to see and taste a bit of wartime and rationing time

Be back after Din-Dins



MacTheOldGeezer Report 17 Feb 2008 16:20

One more short post before I go.

Prices !!!!!!!!!!

On the way home from school I had a penny which was used to buy a piece of Bread and Dripping as Mum, as I said earlier worked until 6pm

In those days you could go to the pictures for as little as sixpence (two and a half p), Rich people used to go in the circle at 2/- or 2/6d ( ten p or twelve and a half p)

You could get (if you were old enough) a pint of beer for 10d ( just about 4p)
In a cafe you could get a Cheese Roll and a cup of Tea for 6d, fish and chips were 1/3d

Ten cigarettes were about 1/- (5p) if you could get them



MacTheOldGeezer Report 17 Feb 2008 17:32


My wife was raised in Malton but I was born & raised in West London during the War

We came up here 21 years ago, Originally to start an SAS style Survival School but could not find the kind of broad leafed woodland and farm buildings to convert to dormitaries and classrooms

So I brought my Printing and Sign business up here instead and became quite successful with that



Mazfromnorf Report 17 Feb 2008 19:59

I live near Harperly Hall which was a POW camp they are trying to make it into a museum and visitor attraction but it has closed due to finances .But my visit to eden camp was very enjoyable .also what is very moving is the graves in europe .we went to a cemetery in germany for remembrance services when we were out there. also has anyone been to Belsen near Hohne very eerie and silent .


MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 12:03

Think this too good a thread to be relegated


Julia Report 18 Feb 2008 12:38

Me and my big sister think the war years were a boon to our mother. Little food - didn't have to cook, Dad away with the Navy - didn't have to cook. Anyway, when he did come home, he was a veggie, and still is at 86yrs. He used to swop his meat ration with a fellow tar for sweet rations, and big sister got chocolate all through the war, aswell as bananas if there was a ship in port when he docked.
The first time I had trifle at probably aged four at a Christmas party on Dad's ship after the war, it all ended in the Atlantic. Still can't eat rich food. No disrespect Mum (long since dead). But she did
come from a long line of confectioners (hand made chocolates) bakers and Master bakers. Bet they turned in their graves.
Julia in Derbyshire


ChrisofWessex Report 18 Feb 2008 12:41

I still unwrap the toilet soap and then throw into the linen cupboard to harden and so last longer. Our shoe last now is used as a door stop in the summer. Mum used to put a small drop of milk in the milk bottle to rinse around - waste not - want not. I drive OH mad with sauce bottles turned upside down! He finds them in the larder and chucks them and then I go mad - waste not - want not!

Recyling - we were recyling even before WW2 - sixpence had to stretch and do the work of a shilling.


MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 12:44

One of the things I haven't mentioned was that on our estate it was open plan (no front gardens) and outside every building there was an almond tree

Guess who used to raid and pick them all,

Some of the best ones were the windfalls at the end of their growing season

Mind you, it took a sledgehammer to crack them open

Also forgot the Cherry trees, I knew every one in a radius of 4 miles but the problem was a lot of the fruit went before it was ripe, probably went into Jams & Chutneys



Mazfromnorf Report 18 Feb 2008 12:57

Does any one have any love tales in war years .I know some of mums friends were having fun lots of fun with the GIs who were in the area . some men must have brought up children knowing they wernt theirs .I know of at least one situation .Maz


MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 13:03

When I was 9 years old, I was up in london for VJ night with my 8 year old girl friend



Susan719813 Report 18 Feb 2008 13:08

I am really enjoying reading this thread.

I wonder if there are any other over-seas members who have stories too. It would be interesting to know what it was like on the other side of the pond.



AnnCardiff Report 18 Feb 2008 13:45

years ago when I was working at our local psychiatric hospital they used to put up the name of the Chef of the Day in the staff dining room. This day it was John B.......r. My mother's maiden name and such an unusual name that all people with that surname in this area are my relations. I waited for him to come out of the kitchen ready to say Hi! we must be related, but had a shock cos he was black as coal. Could not understand it. Asked my Mum that evening how come we had a black relative when we were all blond and blue eyed. She said a cousin of hers had married this girl who produced a black baby and said it was a throwback in our family!! Turned out she had an affair with a black GI and he was the result - sorted!


Julia Report 18 Feb 2008 15:42

Please keep his thread going, many of us have our memories, but just need a bit of encouragement to share them.
Just think, if any of the youngies are reading, it will give them an insight to how we had to live. Personal experiences far outweigh any tomes that may have been written. Nowadays they are outdated, and youngies can't relate in present terms to what it was like. Julia in Derbyshire


Mazfromnorf Report 18 Feb 2008 15:44

Nudge julia this is good stuff Maz


Harry Report 18 Feb 2008 15:49

We lived by a railway embankment from which the American GIs used to travel on their way to Burtonwood,
They used to throw to throw small cartons of butter and jam from the train to us urchins. Did we scramble for them amongst the blackberries.

One day they sent down a huge tin of sweet tobacco. Three of us scoffed the lot at dinner time and were all sick in school.

Happy days


AnnCardiff Report 18 Feb 2008 16:14

it was only when the American soldiers came to the UK that we all started saying Hiya! Used to just say Hello before that!! We used to shout after the army lorries - "Got any gum chum" and invariably they would throw some out for us


Julia Report 18 Feb 2008 17:13

Although I was born just after the war, a '46 baby, we still had the privations, for many years. We lived on a Scottish island, at that time, and it was not until we came back to our home town, in 1954, here in England, that we experienced non-rationing.
The day we left, my dad was already here with a job, my mother bought us three children by boat, and train to Glasgow. We stayed until midnight with a friend of somebody my mother knew. Then we caught the mid-night train to Nottingham. Dad, with the man he was working for, met us at the station, and took us to his house for breakfast. The steam in the station and the fog outside is forever etched on my mind. Later that morning, we went to the house my dad had been able to buy with the help of the British Legion. It was the same house my parents had rented before going to Scotland. Come lunchtime, what did my mother do. Went down the street to the local chippy, taking her glass dishes with her, for our fish and chips. She was home . Oh the memories, no-one can take them away. What I really meant to say, further to my previous posts, was although my sister got the chocolate and occassionaly the bananas through the war, in '47 I got meningitis. My doctors, younger than me, can't take this in, and don't want to believe that my poor digestive system, may be down to this. Julia in Derbyshire