General Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

Gift subscriptions

Genes Reunited gift subscription

Do you know someone interested in discovering their family history?

You can now buy a gift subscription to Genes Reunited so they can research their family tree.

Buy gift or redeem gift


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

The War Years

Page 4 + 1 of 28

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10
  12. »
ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Deanna Report 18 Feb 2008 17:24

Yes our mums certainly knew how to make do and mend.
My mum made all our clothes anyway, and I in turn made my children' did my sister.

I was in Germany for the winter of 1947, and I remember vividly the snow which lasted forever.... lovely weather for children. I got flu and was very bad with it. I have a picture of me on the settee.... feeling very sorry for myself... with an Egyptian blanket (tartan) wrapped around me. We still have it , and my son still uses it.

I loved the story about the mother whose midwife had to say for three days because of the snow...... hope she had her 'ration book ' with her... ;-0)
I'm sorry I can't remember whose mum she was.... was it Jean?

Deanna X


Jac Report 18 Feb 2008 17:39

This is a cracking thread - so interesting and it really makes you appreciate the comforts that we now enjoy and probably take for granted.

I wasnt born until after the war, but can remember (vaguley) rationing - and can vividly remember playing "shops" with the left over ration books and stamps when rationing finally finished.

Please keep up with the memories - they are well worth reading.



Julia Report 18 Feb 2008 17:46

These are beautiful memories and I have been following them from the beginning.
In recent years I worked at a printers, who printed things that came in many weekly parts. One time we did something to do with the war, and the 'freebies' were a ration card and an identification card. When I said I still had my original ones, I was laughed under the office desk, so to speak. But they can't take those memories away from us.
Please keep this going, I'm loving it, and will add more tomorrow. Julia in Derbyshire.


Deanna Report 18 Feb 2008 17:56

Me too Julia, I have memories come to me in fits and starts.... but they are there.

the Christmas decorations we made from news paper and milk bottle tops. sticking the paper chains with a bit of water and flour.
Decorating a few branches as we could not get a real tree. 1945...
The Christmas parties at the Sergeants Mess, with beautiful presents made from wood by the POW's on the camp..... I still got a book!! My sister got a lovely sausage dog which wiggled when she pulled it along the floor.
I loved my reading ALWAYS, but Santa could have brought me a nice wooden toy.
I eventually had one given to me by one of the prisoners. An aeroplane with a penny for the propellers, and halfpennies for the wheels.
Yes it must have been a very hard time for the adults, but we managed to come through it with mostly good memories.

Deanna X

PS... and everyone seems to complain about the *dried eggs*.... my sister and I loved them.


Abigail Report 18 Feb 2008 18:12

This is a fabulous thread!

My gran said the soot was for eyelashes and a brown pencil drew on your seems. The legs were dusted with gravy browning and she would pray that she would not meet any dogs whilst she was out with a boyfrind!

I have read all the war diary series by Simon Garfield and several of the Lost voices series by ? Levine.

My mother bought me a book by Marguerite Patton too.

I haved loved them all - such good sense!

Jean (Monmouth)

Jean (Monmouth) Report 18 Feb 2008 19:37

I remember being evacuated from Folkestone a few days after Dunkirk. All schoolchildren wre expected to leave for parts unknown, and with the nearness of the Germans to invading we left in quite a hurry. I was 5 in the Jan of that year, and I can remember the wounded lying on the harbour quay and in the fish market, with local people trying to help. Dad was stationed nearby, I heard him say there were not enough nurses to help. I think that is where I got the ambition to become an army nurse. My sister had left school at 14, but came back to class so that she could be sent away with me as I was so young. We had a train journey to Monmouth, and then a lorry ride out to a village school where we were all allocated to various homes. It was a very strange experience for what was not much more than a baby. I could go on but the memories are endless. I wrote about some of this for a local show the year before last and was able to provide one lady with a photo of her mother that she had never seen. Jean


MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 19:38


There was only one manufacturer of Potato Crisps in the country

they had a factory at Brentford on the Great West Road and another up on Tyneside
They were not widely available and they cost 2d (less than 1p) a packet which I think were slightly bigger than today
They had a little "wrap" of salt in the packet, but most of the time the salt was damp from the fat so you rubbed it between your fingers to spread it.
I didn't bother and ate mine without salt, and still do with the "salt & shake" from Walkers

The packets you get today are a similar design to Smiths, with the Smiths diamond

From time to time you could get packets of broken crisps for a penny (less than a halp p)

It goes without saying that they were very popular with us kids

The packets in those days were not plastic they were made with a greaseproof paper



MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 19:41

And only one flavour of course "POTATO"



Jac Report 18 Feb 2008 19:46

Lol Mac -

I have a "Smith's Crisps" Glass Jar in my possession - probably from the late 30's where I understand the individual packets were placed ready for sale.

I can well remember the screws of salt in the packets - unless you shook the bag very well the top crisp was extremely salty! Lovely though, and crisps do not taste the same (I never thought I would say something like that - I sound like me gran!)



Susan719813 Report 18 Feb 2008 19:58

I remember the penny packets of broken crisps, greasy but wonderful, so they were still about well after the war. I preferred them to an ordinary pkt which was just as well. This was in London, from a local corner shop, in the 50s so don't know if they were about in the rest of the country then.


sorry...was me who deleted.....internet is clicky and posted twice


MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 20:09

When sweets started coming back after the war in the late 40's, all my pocket money went on BG chewing gum
It was the first we saw of bubble gum and I got quite expert at blowing the biggest

Remember the foreign stamps you could send away for "on approval", you sold them among your friends and you got a set free

When Pepsi Cola came back, I was called the Pepsi Cola Kid.
I used to go round the estate collecting Pop bottles, on which I got 2d and with the money I would buy Pepsi's.

It was my Heroin



JoyDean Report 18 Feb 2008 20:21

Just to say thank you for the contributions, they are very interesting to read.


Gypsy Report 18 Feb 2008 20:28

Slightly off topic but, I found it really funny when my aunt told me that my grandmother used to 'read the Crystal Ball' to get food from the black market during the war!
Not to earn money, That was not as important as food my aunt said!


MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 20:37

As a kid I used to sell Newspapers every Saturday outside Isleworth Station

"News, Star or Stannert" or "Classified" was the cry

The authorities would go ballistic today

Child exploitation etc, but it wasn't like working down the mines in Victorian times, I got paid according to how many papers I had sold, usually coming home with " two bob" which to a likkle lad was a lot of money,
I was quite good at it, others got a lot less



MacTheOldGeezer Report 18 Feb 2008 20:43

I had School dinners once for a couple of weeks while my Mum convalesced after a big operation.
I learned much later that she nearly died, she went on to live until her 83rd birthday

The typical School Dinner was

Mince in gravy with reconstituted mashed potato, a few greens or mushy peas and for afters it was nearly always Semolina......YUK

I was ecstatic when Mum came home, I never ever compained about her food



~Lynda~ Report 18 Feb 2008 21:04

As awful as the war was, a lot of people seem to have such happy memories, I know whenever I have asked someone of there experience of the war, they mostly tell a happy tale before a bad one. I am really enjoying reading this thread, thank you to everyone who has contributed to it.


Carolyn Report 18 Feb 2008 21:42

Great thread, I have enjoyed reading every single item.

I remember my mother carefully undoing knots in string, picking off the sealing wax and rolling up to use again.
I have to admit to being unable to cut string even now, and I save it to use again too. Old habits die hard.

Mum also saved paper bags and in later years plastic bags, to use again.


Mazfromnorf Report 19 Feb 2008 07:48

when you read through this I realise where mums habits come from I now know where flour and water paste comes from.We always have to cut buttons off old clothes and remove the zips.I visited the east before the berlin wall came down and the shops sold handles for kettles and tops for saucepans .The coats I bought the children came with extra material for patches and a bag of buttons .obviously things were made to last Maz

Jean Joy

Jean Joy Report 19 Feb 2008 09:44

I think this has to be the best thread for a long time.
Thank you


GinaS Report 19 Feb 2008 12:16

A great read - worth a nudge