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The War Years

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 13:14



Fairways3 Report 19 Feb 2008 13:36

My English born Aunt told us a few things about the war. She lived in Stalybridge near Manchester with her parents and brother. When they first had air raids they all used to go down to their air raid shelter in the garden with thermos's and sandwiches. After a few shelters had received a direct hit they thought they may as well not bother so they used to stay in their beds and listen to the bombs falling. She said the repercussions from the explosion used to travel like a wave up a street toppling a house here and there and missing the lucky ones.
She was engaged to a Polish airman at one time but decided to give him up as he was R.C. and she was a Baptist church goer. It was a very serious thing to do in those days, marry outside your religion.
The rationing was her worst memory as she was rather fond of her food. What to do with such small quantities.
She used to cook a potato and a bit of fish, then stuff the potato with the fish,dip it in batter and fry it. Imagine going to all that trouble.
Another lady I met, we lived in N.Z. by the way, told me they were always hungry so they used to smoke. Once when she was picking some sort of produce in a work party there was a woman there with several kids, the eldest boy about twelve and he was complaining about being hungry so she just told him to have a smoke.
I have found reading all your stories very enjoyable. I have a file of things like this I'm saving for the family. I was just eight when the war started and had just got to High school when it finished so I can remember what it was like. It was pretty frightening when the Japs bombed Darwin which they did sixty six years ago to-day and we had to dig airraid shelters but we all cheered up when they also bombed Pearl Harbour and the Marines arrived then we knew we'd win the war.


MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 13:45

I lived in an Anderson shelter for about a month

Wasn't very nice as it used to get about 6" of water in the bottom of it in spite of having a small soak-away

Got out of bed once and stood straight in it,
It was dry when we went to bed



MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 15:26

Sorry to nudge again, but I am thinking of putting as much of this on paper later to give to our Museum Archives for a possible childrens exhibition on how it was for us.
Sometime in the future

It is too good not to



Lancsmade Report 19 Feb 2008 16:19

My Mother used to make a sort of icing for birthday cakes with dried milk. you used a little sugar to make a syrup then added dried milk to thicken it, when it was put on the cake it set. It was a much better than ordinary icing


Bobtanian Report 19 Feb 2008 16:33

Colin, Georgina,
Flambards!! there was about 20 years ago a TV series about a family that lived at flambards.......wonder if its the same one?
the series used a lot of large scale radio controlled aircraft of 1st war vintage in the making.



BrendafromWales Report 19 Feb 2008 16:45

Thinking of how many toys the children of today have.
I was lucky that my dad was a carpenter by trade,and he made me some toys,a wooden horse with wheels,a bagatelle board,which we had a lot of fun with.,and a wooden puzzle,cut out with a fret saw.
My mother queued up for hours at the big toy shop in town(Manchester,next to Lewis's) to get me a rag doll with a pot head that said"mama",as even toys were in short supply.
I used to call at the tripe shop on the way home from school when I was a bit older,and get a couple of slices of honeycomb,or thick seam tripe.It looked disgusting,and I've never eaten it,but my mother had the honeycomb,raw, with salad,and put vinegar in all the holes.She said it was refreshing on a hot day!
Potatoes were occasionally on ration,and you had to use the same shop,or they wouldn't serve you!
The word went round the neighbours when something hard to get came in,and there was a rush to get in before it all went!
I never slept in the Anderson shelter,until the siren went,as it was damp,and had a lot of condensation,but we would rush to the bottom of the garden in the shelter till the all clear went.
In 1942,I was 7 and went to piano lessons,and was MADE to practise for an hour every day,and when children came for me to play out,my mother drew the curtains so they wouldn't distract me,and there was no disobeying her,even though I was an only child!!!
Parents played with their children in those days though.They would be at each end of a skipping rope,while we ran in and chanted our little rhymes.We had lots of freedom in that way,and not afraid of speaking to anyone.
At the end of the war,we had a party in our avenue.It was a cul de sac,and a few mothers decided to do it and baked little fairy cakes,and paste sandwiches and jelly and blancmange,and then all the other neighbours came out,adding little bits and extra tables.Then one brought out a piano and rigged a light up over it,and when the men came home from work,they brought out bottles of beer,and the grown ups had a dance ,I think it was my piano teacher who played for it as he lived in our avenue.
That was V.E.night.Everyone enjoyed it so much,that it was repeated on V.J night.
Hurray,we could take the blackout curtains down,and it didn't matter if you showed a light.

Happy days.Not a lot of material things,but people were more contented with their lot,and so relieved to come through without losing our country to the Germans.

Brenda x


Harry Report 19 Feb 2008 17:30

Can say amen to all that Brenda. When you spent half the night in the anderson shelter, we didn,t have to go to school the next day.

Happy days


Deanna Report 19 Feb 2008 17:46

Mac..... you gonna make a mint out of our memories???

I never had to go into an shelter, but we lived with a lady in WHITBY and she had an indoor shelter.
I think of it as a metal table because I was only 4years old and we sat at it to eat our meals.
It was always made up with blankets and pillows, so we were comfortable.
I vividly remember one night of bombs and sirens. My mother running down the stairs carrying my little sister and I going back up stairs to rescue my dolly.
My mother was shouting at me to come back.
Poor women, the fear they must have felt for their children.
I woke up one morning and I was alone in the *table* and could not get out. I was facing one of the heavily meshed sides and thought I was trapped in it.
I remember the fear, and the screams.
I have a feeling that I have told you all this once before.... if I did.... sorry. ;-0)

Keep this going, I love this thread.

And I'm only joking Mac.... you can use this thread and I will buy one of the books.

Deanna X


BrendafromWales Report 19 Feb 2008 18:46

I believe that was a Morrison shelter.
Brenda x


MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 18:55


Make money NO NO NO and it wouldn't be in book form, it would be in a spiral binder

The Museum is planning more childrens educational programmes about the past and about the people that were around at that time

They could try some of the food and other things that have been mentioned on here

We have them sometimes dressing up in WW2 clothing for their visit with the school

Of course we could do with some volunteer organisers, HINT, HINT



Moggie Report 19 Feb 2008 19:04

Hi I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through this thread and it has certainly stirred up lots of memories.
We also had an Anderson shelter in the garden which filled up with water and we had a metal shelter (Morrison) as described by Deanna which took up most of our front room and was where I slept with mum. My dad was in the RAF and was in Canada for part of the war. I remember being sent a parcel from Canada from a lady named Dolores. Amongst other things it contained jars of honey and peanut butter which I had never tasted before.When I went shopping with mum we seemed to have to queue for everything.The bakers cut out little coupons from our ration books and in the grocers everything had to be weighed.Sugar was put in blue bags and cheese, margarine, butter and lard was cut and wrapped in greaseproof paper. There was a poster in the greengrocers showing a face with a very long nose looking over a wall and a caption which said "What no potatoes".
Our garden backed onto farmland where potatoes were grown and after they had been harvested my mum and her neighbours would take out some slats in the fence and we would crawl through and collect up all the potatoes left behind by the pickers.
We lived where 3 streets joined and on VE night we had a big bonfire in the middle of the road. The next day we had a party on a bit of waste ground and everybody contributed with food and homemade lemonade (I still have a photo of this somewhere).


MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 19:14

The character looking over the wall with a big nose and crosses for eyes was MR WOT


We used to draw him on the walls with chalk, the graffitti medium in those days, at least it came off with water
Another thing we were always drawing opn the walls was ..V dot dot dash in morse, V for victory

you saw this everywhere you went



MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 19:23

WE spent a lot of time wandering the streets after an air raid looking for shrapnel, we could trade it for all sorts of things with our schoolfriends
After a doodlebug damaged our school I found a chunk of it with a bit of german wtiting on it, I handed it in to the ARP Post and I got half a crown for it.

Later on I found a Butterfly Bomb an anti personnel mine, I knew what it was as my father who was an Air Raid Warden had shown me a picture of it after they were dropped for the first time on Hull.
I set my friend on guarding it and ran to the Air Raid Post and reported it, later the Army came and made it safe and took it away

I got another half crown


Jean (Monmouth)

Jean (Monmouth) Report 19 Feb 2008 19:29

Anyone remember queueing for Nylons? I had a friend who was stationed in South Africa, and used to send me one stocking at a time in letters to avoid Customs taking them. That was in the days when we wore stockings if we could get them. White ankle socks were quite usual. Jean


MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 19:32

No, don't think I ever queued for them !!



Mauatthecoast Report 19 Feb 2008 19:36

The character looking over the wall with a big nose and crosses for eyes was MR WOT

We called him Chad

I remember when I was young, Mam getting mad at Dad when he wrote on the dressing table mirror,(which needed cleaning)... "wot no duster"! she chased him with one! ;O ahh happy days!


MacTheOldGeezer Report 19 Feb 2008 19:40

You're right Mau,

He was Chad, I had forgotten that but we as kids, or at least my friends and I called him Mr Wot



Mazfromnorf Report 19 Feb 2008 19:42

Mac if you record this thread we could buy a copy and give the money to one of the causes on here like autism or cancer we do war menus at school for dinner every now and again .my son has read this tnite he thinks its brill slowly each addition is nudging someone elses memory .Maz


~Lynda~ Report 19 Feb 2008 20:26

Does anybody have contact with retirement homes? I'm sure that some of the ladies and gents who live there, would be only to pleased to give there accounts of the war, especially if there was a chance of the memories being recorded. If nobody has contact with retirement homes, I'd be happy to ask in one near me.
Mac I have pm'd you.