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Author Topic: Home Life in WW2  (Read 140919 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #60 on: January 18, 2010, 19:54:42 »
Isn't memory strange? I vaguely remember the Paddock Restaurant but didn't associate it with the British Restaurant. Do you know if it was still council owned? Is 'Paddock Gardens' the official name? Local press calls it 'The Paddock' which can cause confusion with the road near New Road. The 1907 map of Chatham calls it 'The Shrubbery'.

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Peter.
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Offline afsrochester

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2010, 17:29:25 »
Hi Peter.

The Paddock Restaurant was there up until the time that Paddock Gardens was re-developed which would have been around the mid-70's.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #58 on: January 18, 2010, 09:11:24 »
My impression was opposite to yours. I didn't realise they were still there in 1964. I thought they closed at the end of the war.

A bit more info:
They were started in June 1941 and run by local councils with government guarantee against losses. Prices seem to have varied:
Ashford: Soup & bread - 2d; Meat & 2 veg - 8d; Sweet - 2d; Tea - 1d.
Maidstone: Soup - 1d; 2-course meal - 9d; Tea - 1d
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Offline Lyn L

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #57 on: January 17, 2010, 18:28:36 »
Thanks for that Peter, and I remember the Restaurant in the Paddock, we had our wedding reception there in 1964 ! The 1st they had there, the floor was red Cardinal polish which didn't do a lot for my wedding dress either. I hadn't realised it was there in War time though, too young for that.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2010, 17:31:45 »
All I can remember is ration books, when  did they finish.

Briefly, food was rationed from 8th January 1940 to 4th July 1954. Which items were rationed, and their quantities, varied at different times. Clothes were rationed 1st June 1941 to 15th March 1949. There's more information in this link: http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/Homework/war/rationing.htm

Bread and potatoes were not rationed until after the war. In some respects post-war conditions were worse than during the war.

I can't remember much about buying and preparing food (there's a surprise!) but I can say we were never hungry, although food was basic and dull. We never had anything like an orange or banana for the whole of the war. Some foods, like fish, were never rationed but usually had to be queued for. I remember powdered egg, mixed with water to make a sort of omelette. I also remember whale meat, rather like liver (or leather!); it was off-ration but after trying it I don't think we bothered any more.

You had to register with a specific butcher and grocer, which caused problems for people moving about.

I remember we had to take our own newspapers to get food, especially fish & chips, wrapped.

Restaurant meals were a bone of contention because people who could afford it could eat out as often as they liked. There was some control on this by limiting meals to 3 courses with a maximum price of 5/- (25p). Even so, that was about 4 hours average wages.

There were 'British Restaurants' serving a very wholesome 2-course meal for 9d (about 4p). The only one I remember was in the Paddock in Military Road, Chatham. There were still cafes where you could get a cup of tea and a bun, and we got cakes at break time from the shop near our school. Pubs didn't usually serve food other than crisps, but that was not an effect of the war - it was much later before pubs became the 'restaurants' that most are today.

There were virtually no toys on sale. Model aircraft kits were available, but the shapes had to be carved by hand from balsa wood.

There were salvage collection drives, and many parks lost their railings. If anyone wonders why, even today, there are stumps of cast-iron in the low wall in front of some houses, it's where council workers with an oxy-acetylene cutter nicked the decorative railing.

There were fund-raising weeks, with exhibitions: 'War Weapons Week', 'Salute the Soldier Week', 'Wings for Victory Week', and 'Warships Week'. My first ever visit to London was to one of these exhibitions, held in the basement of bombed-out premises.

Just before D-Day access to coastal areas was limited to people who had reason to be there, and one of the local check-points was at the 'Coach & Horses' at Strood, and I remember being there on a bus from Gravesend while police examined Identity Cards.

A trip to Gravesend and a walk along the promenade was the ultimate 'day-out'. No way could we go to the seaside, other than Gillingham Strand or Safety Bay, a little beach on the river at the bottom of Manor Lane, Borstal.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2010, 17:01:02 »
The story of the metal strips known to the RAF as 'Window'.

Metal strips of a certain length, dropped from an aircraft, would match the wavelength of radar signals and completely swamp radar screens. Despite the obvious advantages for Bomber Command, the War Cabinet would not let window be used until we had developed radar that would not be affected by it, because the enemy would copy it and overcome our defences. Eventually the radar was developed and window was used.

The irony is that the Germans didn't need to copy it; they had also developed it themselves but didn't use it for the same reason as we didn't!
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #54 on: January 16, 2010, 16:42:17 »
I'm surprised at how things seem to have 'hotted-up' again in 1944, even before the advent of V1s.

Here we go again, thinking about one thing has brought back memories of something else. This time it is of finding strips of metal foil, about a foot long and an inch wide, on the ground after a raid. This was designed to swamp our radar so that it couldn't locate individual aircraft, and has an interesting history that I'll mention separately.

The increased activity was what became known as the 'Little Blitz', a series of attacks using the new Heinkel 177 bomber, a new radio navigation system copied from the RAF systems being used against Germany, new heavy bombs filled with a more powerful explosive (the 'England Mixture'), and new incendiary bomb containers. The attacks copied the RAF method of concentration to swamp the defences (compared to the 1940/41 blitz, where the raid would be spread over several hours). (I'm getting a lot of this information from 'Blitz on Britain', and again some of it is new to me :)).

The first attack was on 21st January 1944 and there was a total of 11 raids before the last on 24th February. The attack on 29th January started 343 fires in London, yet of 245 incidents in the last attack, only 64 were in London, 110 were in Kent, 53 in Sussex, and 18 in Essex. Of the approx 250 raiders that night, 25 were shot down and another 18 crashed at their bases due to the inexperience of their crews, a total loss rate of 17%.

For comparison an RAF raid on Germany was commonly about 800 aircraft and a loss rate of more than 5% was considered serious.

The result was the destruction of the Luftwaffe's heavy bomber force, but a British Government report (summarised) is interesting: 'The population was more jittery than in 1940 due to the belief that there were no more air-raids to fear, and to war weariness. There was no sign of panic, but people were less able to help themselves than in the old days'. And this after just 11 attacks, compared with ?? in 1940.

I suppose I must have been as much affected as anyone else, but have no specific memories of any incidents.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2010, 15:09:16 »
Many thanks Grandarog, and this was supposed to be a topic about my personal memories. :)

A bit more from 'Blitz on Britain'.

Up to the end of August 1940, about 8600 V1s had been launched against London and Southampton from ground ramps in N France. During the same time III/KG3 aimed about 300 at London, 90 at Southampton, and 20 at Gloucester, but it was some time before we realised that some V1s were being air-launched. The attacks against Southampton were so scattered that British Intelligence thought the target was Portsmouth, and Gloucester was not even recognised as a target until German records were examined after the war.

The last V1 from ground ramps in France was launched on 1st September 1944. The book then gives a description of how the units launching V1s were re-organised and increased, and how their operations were hampered by lack of fuel. 50 bombs were launched against Manchester on Christmas Eve. A total of 1700 V1s were air-launched before the last one crashed at Hornsey on 14th January 1945, all but about 150 against London.

I've had the book for over 30 years, so it seems daft to say that a lot of this is news to me, but it is!
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Offline grandarog

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2010, 15:01:16 »
Very interesting post you are running Peter.
  Now Doodlebugs and V2.s are being mentioned members might like to look at these 2 sitesfor a few statistics etc.
                                                                              Cheers Rog

            http://www.zenza.se/vw/                  http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/timeline.html

seafordpete

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2010, 12:26:42 »
Cap Gris Nez is 117 miles to fareham as is the mouth of the River Somme. So any sites firing along coast could have taken Portsmouth etc, 150 miles from Cap GN  takes you almost up to Leicester

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2010, 11:53:59 »
Re the V1 on Fareham, I've found some snippets in 'Blitz on Britain' by Alfred Price:

"Attacks on London by V1s, from ground launching sites in France, began on 13th June 1940. Most were intended for London, though as the attack progressed a few were also aimed at Southampton. The attack by ground-launched V1s continued through July, supplemented after the first week of the month by air-launched missiles fired from He111s of III/KG3, based in Holland".

There is then a description of how the aircraft had to position themselves over the North Sea to within an accuracy of 6 miles in order to hit London.

So it seems possible that Fareham could have been hit by a ground-launched V1, either from the Pas-de-Calais (question of range arises), or from Normandy (question of it being in D-day invasion area arises). Air-launched ones seem to be ruled out. Intriguing!

What is certain is that the first ever V1 didn't fall on Fareham. Perhaps the report meant that the first V1 to fall on Hampshire fell on Fareham.

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2010, 10:11:48 »
On 19th and 20th November 1940, 8 shells fired from the French coast landed near Rainham, and on 24th November 2 landed near Bearsted. On 13th June 1944, several fell in the Maidstone area, killing one woman. Nobody seems to know the reasons for these isolated incidents.
At 00:40 on13th June 1940 shelling started at Folkestone, and an hour later several shells fell on the southern part of Maidstone and a woman was killed in Hayle Road.

Information is from 'Front Line County' which states the splinters found at Rainham were examined and found to be from an 11 inch shell. Book 'Conflict Across the Straits' lists German Batteries in France and shows the 'Grosser Kurfurst' battery to be equipped with 28cm (11 inch) guns, also that Germans "brought up" .......28cm railway guns.

Casualties lists in 'Front Line County' are stated to be from Civil Defence War Diaries held by the County Archives at Maidstone, and there is this entry:
13th June 1944. Maidstone. 1 fatal casualty. Cross-channel shelling.

Perhaps the 28cm guns used a booster charge. There seems to have been some puzzlement as to why these long range shellings were so infrequent.
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seafordpete

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2010, 10:09:12 »
Fareham is under 100 miles from a large section of the Normandy coast.  I remember surveying a pub in Porchester and the cellar was much older than the building (1960s Whitbread standard glass & woodpanels) and was told the original pub was a V1 casualty.

Offline unfairytale

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2010, 23:30:58 »
From what I know I don't think a German shell could get within 25 miles of south Maidstone. The Lindermann Battery had a maximum range of 56km which wouldn't even reach Ashford and that's with long range shells. The standard shells could only be fired 42km which would only just reach Hythe.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2010, 20:45:43 »
The first V1 on the night of 12th June (I think). I was in bed when I heard what sounded like a motor bike overhead, and called to my parents "that plane's in trouble". Then later there was the distant 'thump' when it crashed at Swanscombe. Then a week later they started the full attack.

I've broken my rule that I would mainly mention only my personal memories for this topic and have looked up some info:

At 00:40 on13th June 1944 shelling started at Folkestone, and an hour later several shells fell on the southern part of Maidstone and a woman was killed in Hayle Road. At 4:18 a V1 crashed at Swanscombe, which must have been the one I heard. Then within the next hour V1s crashed at Cuckfield, Sussex; Crouch, near Sevenoaks; and on a railway bridge at Bethnal Green, where 6 people were killed and 9 injured. So there was the first ever V1 and the first on London, on that night, as in Paul's post. I had previously thought the one at Swanscombe was the only one. Also, I didn't know where the shelling in Maidstone was. So it shows we never stop learning!

There were no more V1s until the main attack started a week later.

At first V1s were launched from fixed sites all aimed at London, until the RAF destroyed them and portable sites were developed. V1 range was 150 miles, so could one have reached Fareham, even from a portable site?

Agreed it could have been launched from a He111, but my understanding has always been that wasn't done till all sites in France had been over-run
.
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