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The War Years

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Deanna Report 22 Feb 2008 18:17

Thank you Lynda.

I was just remembering that my mum used to unravel cardigans, wash the wool and then knit them up for us.

Many people did, but years later when I tried... all I got was an unmanageable pile of wool, which would not straighten.

Deanna X
PS... I will be back, but tea is ready now.


*Sharm Report 22 Feb 2008 18:18

Just out of interest what happened to your pets when the war was on as regards to feeding them on rations? i remember my mum said her mother bought bird seed for her pet budgie of the black market and refused to get rid of him i dont know how true this would be. anyone know?

Jean Durant

Jean Durant Report 22 Feb 2008 18:21

Deanna .... I remember my mum doing that. After it was washed she used to put the skeins of wool round the back of a chair to wind into balls again.

Jean x.


Deanna Report 22 Feb 2008 18:59

Yes so did my mum Jean.

Other times she would ask me to sit and hold it.... a nightmare job for a little girl. I keep getting tired and she would tell me off for dropping my arms!!
that is probably WHY she put it on the chair. ;-0)

Something else which came to mind.
It was after the war, and my father's Regiment was amongst the first to be sent over to Germany.
I think he should have been there, but was wounded and sent back (when he recovered) to a Barracks in Scotland.

When we went over with my dad, we were given a LABEL.... like the evacuees, with our names and where we were going , and our fathers name and regiment etc.
We must have looked like parcels.
Our mothers were given lovely Enamelled UNION JACK brooches to wear on their lapels on the journey.

We had to be taken on deck in the middle of the night in out nightie's and dressing gowns. where we were wrapped up in life jackets. There were still mines , so I expect that there was one somewhere and they had to sail around it.
I found that very exciting I remember... today I would not be so pleased about it.

It was an amazing experience and I loved it.... every time we went on a train I was filled with excitement.
I still love trains... and ships, but in those days... I could not travel in cars and buses.

Well, time for today's thrills EMMERDALE.

Good night,
Deanna X


Jac Report 22 Feb 2008 20:23

This is a lovely thread - I am really enjoying reading everything - keep em coming please.



MacTheOldGeezer Report 22 Feb 2008 23:50

Throughout the war Mum and I always went to stay with our relations up in Gateshead for our two weeks holiday, it was always the last week in July, first week in August, August Bank Holiday was the first Monday in August then

Travelling then was an adventure, We usually caught a train from Kings Cross at about 10 or 11 oclock at night, we very rarely got a seat as it was packed with Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, but it wasn't too bad as they let us sit or sleep on their kit-bags, it was a bit like a sleeper train.

We used to arrive about 8 in the morning having taken 9 or 10 hours

Sometimes the train would come to stop and the lights turned out due to an air raid warning and I can remember waking up as the train went past the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge which was not on the usual route, I didn't know why for a long time after until I read an article about York Station being bombed, then I knew why.

The cost in those days was about £2 return by train but sometimes we were a bit short of money and went by coach from Victoria Coach Station because the fare was only 19/- (95p) return, but it used to take forever to get there

There were no Motorways and very few Dual Carriageways in those days and the coach had to go through every town and village all the way

To get to Kings Cross we had to take a 667 Trolleybus to Hammersmith (my fare was 6d ) and then a Metropolitan line Undergound train to Kings Cross (I think my fare was 4d), once we got underground the station platforms were full of people getting ready for bed, leaving only enough room for passengers to get off the trains

Happy Days



GinaS Report 23 Feb 2008 10:52



Littleimp Report 23 Feb 2008 11:14

I think this thread is fantastic and agree with Jac Please keep them coming

Jan in Kent


BrendafromWales Report 23 Feb 2008 11:38

Hope Ann doesn't mind but I've taken this off Ann's thread of Childhood memories,as it applies to the war.
Ann has done the same,and it may be interesting for those who didn't see the other thread.

Brenda x x

I was born 1935,in a nursing home in a very select part of Manchester.?At least it was very select then,but is a dreadful,unsafe place now,not far from the University,and although a listed building,is now the Chinese Embassy!
My dad was a carpenter,and my mum didn't work,as she had rheumatoid arthritis from the age of 20.
We lived in quite a modern house with a long garden in North Manchester.Dad loved his garden and we grew lots of vegetables.We went on 2 buses twice a week to see my maternal gran(she was lovely).My other gran and granddad lived quite near them,but she was a real Victorian lady,who didn't cuddle,so I wasn't as close to her as my lovely one.
We took my gran on holiday with us in 1939 to St Annes on sea,and although ,looking back she was around 50, my dad made her a little fold up stool so that we could take it for her to sit on every so often!
This was just before the war started,and I remember it well! I fell in a pool on the beach,and my mum stripped me down to my liberty bodice,and I was very indignant and embarrassed about being undressed!
Didn't go to school till I was 5 .My mum said I would be there long enough! Of course the war was on then and we had to go to school with our gas masks,and had visits in the school playground of a big van,that obviously had gas in and we had to try them out!
We had an Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden.that I remember my dad putting turf on to disguise it.It got very damp at times,and although the head teacher suggested the children be put in there to sleep,my mum wouldn't hear of it,and when the siren went,she would bundle me up,and down to the shelter,where we had bunk beds,and a little primus stove to make drinks,but I remember the condensation running down the corrugated sides.
Before we had the shelter,my mum put me in the pantry under the stairs.
We were quite a target for the bombers in Manchester,as we had Trafford Park and lots of aircraft factories,and munition works.Dad worked at an aircraft factory,so he wasn't called up,but was in the Home Guard.
When the siren went when we were in school,we were sent to the basement and sat on the steps,so we had to take a cushion to school,which we sat on at our desks,and then took to the shelter when necessary.
I enjoyed school,and loved playing out,all the games that others have mentioned (It's amazing that different areas all played the same games,and it seemed to be that there was a season ,or craze for each game in different areas of the city)Who remembers whips and tops,and chalking different colours on,some tops were shaped like mushroom,with a long stalk(we called them window smashers,as they used to go up in the air and land quite a long way away)and others that were cone shaped that showed off the colours well.One season would be marbles,and swapping and treasuring special ones,and then skipping,with sometimes mothers turning the ropes.What wonderful times we had,and very healthy with all the fresh air!


BrendafromWales Report 23 Feb 2008 11:44

a bit more..........

Growing up in the war years.......Very few sweets,chewing woody licorice sticks and getting them all stringy and yellow!
Having blackout curtains,and not being able to show a chink of light or else the warden would be round to tell you off.Trying to see your way along cobbled streets,as there were no street lights,with a tiny glimmer from a small torch.
Having to get of a bus when the siren went,and sheltering in the basement of a library until the all clear went.
Drinking Camp coffee.Stopped taking sugar in tea to help save it.Picking peas in the garden and eating them raw,and turning the pods inside out and sucking the juice! When we occasionally had lamb,I had to pick the mint and chop it for the mint sauce.I still do that though! grew all sorts of veg,even celery.
Dad built a swing in the garden and we had a lot of fun on that.
I remember one day,I had been at my friends house when the siren went,and her mother took me home.As we were standing on the back step,a German plane came down so low that we could see the pilot,and my mum grabbed me and covered me up.
We had a radio with batteries that stained the wood on the table ,and I also remember playing about with "A Cat's Whisker",and trying to get the wire in the right place to hear if it worked.
Dad made me a dolls house one Christmas,and it happened to be when there was the terrible raid in the centre of Manchester,and the whole of Piccadilly Gardens and the hotel that stood near were bombed.
My gran and granddad were staying,and they stayed up painting the doll's furniture,so it was wet on Christmas morning when I got up.
When you had a goose or duck for dinner,it didn't come with all the giblets out,in fact,it usually came with it's head on and all the feathers intact.
My special friend(my almost twin!) had a pet chicken called Penny,and we really got to know her.One day I was invited to dinner,and we had chicken,and in those days it was such a treat.We really enjoyed it until her mum told us we had eaten Penny!!!
We cried and cried!!


Fairways3 Report 23 Feb 2008 14:56

People used to write letters down one side of a page then turn it sideways and write across the page then write on the back and then write across that sideways and then you could hardly read ithe letter but it saved paper. My mother used to get letters from her brothers who were up in the Pacific Islands in the Army and they would have big holes cut in them or sometimes just a whole sentence would be cut out where they had been censored.
She also used to save elastic and cut out all the good bits and sew them together to replace elastic in our school pants. Rubber was scarce in N.Z. We were short of lots of thing but not food.
Tea and sugar were rationed as they were imported and so was meat but that was only because most of it had to go to England. We used to get an apple every day at school because there was no export for them and it saved dumping them.
Our next door neighbour and his friend made a lot of money making gas producers for cars to run on because there wasn't much petrol for private vehicles.. Farmers had a big petrol allowance because they had to travel a long way to town. Our relations were mostly farmers and visitors to their place would be surprised to see my little cousins playing shops with sheets of petrol coupons
My mother used to hope that we didn't break all our cups and saucers before the war ended as they brought in glass crockery for replacements. People getting married had a hard job getting anything together to start married life with.
Travel on the train up the North Island was restricted except on compassionate grounds and the trains used to be full of soldiers either going home on leave or going back to camp. Once I remember a soldier sleeping in the luggage rack above peoples heads but mostly they stretched out on the floor or sat on the arms of seats. It was a long trip and we often shared our seat with a soldier.
All the beaches had barbed wire entanglements on them in case the Japs invaded but we hardly ever went to the beach because we didn't have a car before the war and you couldn't buy one. There was no weather forecasts broadcast in case the japs thought it might be a nice day to invade so we got quite good at guessing what the day would be like. Pretty hard for farmers wondering if they should get their hay in or not.


Deanna Report 23 Feb 2008 14:58

I just forgot to say.
My mum kept that UNION JACK BROOCH and it was in her jewelry box for years.
After she died, and we were clearing out her stuff it was gone.
She must have given it to one of my girls, but I did not know.
Actually I would have liked it for my collection of memorabilia, it was my memory, not theirs.
I am more likely to keep something like that safe that my daughters would.

Deanna X

Jean (Monmouth)

Jean (Monmouth) Report 23 Feb 2008 19:51

Do you remember Spitfire Day, when we bought flags to help with paying for Spitfires. I had a little tin brooch of a Spitfire which I wore for years. The buses round here were slatted wooden seat affairs, very uncomfortable, and they were always breaking down. You were lucky if there was a relief bus coming behind as the passengers were sorted out into those with the furthest to go. These went on the bus in the seats, the rest were crammed in any old how in the order they got off, nearest last. Then there was the problem of seeing the next stop in the blackout, as all lights were dimmed to a glimmer. We had a 2 mile walk up hill by torch light before we got home. There was abetter bus service then than now! Read my book by candle light in bed, couldnt make out how Mum knew I had only just put it out when she was coming up the stairs. Forgot about the smell! We took a candle and matches to the outside toilet, too. Sometimes used mothballs as fire lighters when the sticks wouldnt light. This thread is making me remember things I had forgotten. Jean

Joe ex Bexleyheath

Joe ex Bexleyheath Report 24 Feb 2008 01:26

My mother was a tailor during the war, together with her brother they made lots of officer uniforms for all services. As far as normal tailoring is concerned I can remember mum turning many old suits - became a family affair - unpicking all the old stitching, buttons etc., and remaking the suits inside out !


LittleWhiteDove2022351 Report 24 Feb 2008 02:05

Ooh Just off to bed but going to bookmark this lovely thread to read later.
Tricia x


Mazfromnorf Report 24 Feb 2008 08:42

Although I was born after the war .my parents were older and thier behaviour and the frugality of my aunts is so understandable One aunt cut down her daughters police shirts to make shirts for my brother .another when she bought a dress length would make one out of remnants for me. we had a large garden the pea pods were a real joy to do .and eat. Maz


Pat Report 24 Feb 2008 12:47

My mother had two grey army blankets dyed them one dark green and one maroon. She had a friend make them into coats, two for herself and one each for my sister and me. No clothing coupons needed and we all looked very smart.


Deanna Report 24 Feb 2008 12:52

Pat... you are right, even women who had never sewn a button on, were making dufflecoats for their children from old blankets.

I still have a grey army blanket from when my dad was in the army.
It just lies there in the cupboard doing nothing, but I wouldn't part with it for the world.
My memories.... my blanket! ;-0)

Deanna X


MacTheOldGeezer Report 24 Feb 2008 19:13

nudging yet again


Jean (Monmouth)

Jean (Monmouth) Report 24 Feb 2008 19:33

Not quite wartime only, but was trying to tell ayoungster about the outside privy. It was generally at the far end of the garden and was a small shed (ours was corrugated iron) Inside would be awooden seat which stretched across between the two walls. In some larger ones there could be several holes of different sizes in the seat. Underneath would be either agalvanised bucket which was emptied at intervals into a pit in the garden, or it could be an earth closet which was used until it was full, and then either dug out or like ours , you moved the shed. All residue was covered in earth and quicklime. You can imagine the shock that many town children suffered when they first saw one of these! In the night you used the old goesunder, or chamberpot. Jean