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Author Topic: Home Life in WW2  (Read 107328 times)

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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #180 on: January 19, 2015, 18:54:25 »
peterchall. I seem to remember that cooking schnoek (whalemeat) was rumoured to smell pretty strong - which is probably why we didn't have it! I don't think you need to worry about that loaf, if you hadn't had it someone else would. Was Southill barracks in Brompton? My cousin trained as a Sapper there in the early 30's & when he left became a surveyor for the LCC. During the war, he was in the RA, sighting gun positions. Got injured soon after D Day & convalesced at Leeds Castle. As you say, the working class had basic but pretty good food before & during the war but, like you, I wasn't much interested in the complexities. The one thing I do remember specifically was my Mum adding a spoonful of " curry powder" to a stew - great! Wonder what she'd make of the Rhogan Josh's/Dupiaza's etc. now!  Dave Smith

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #179 on: December 14, 2014, 17:53:58 »
Dave Smith, I think we tried whale meat once, then never again. But considering the difficulties of obtaining it I’m amazed that it was obtainable at all, although that applied to fish in general.

That RE Museum booklet stating that the sugar ration at Christmas 1944 was increased to 1&1/2 pounds seems dubious – that was 3 week’s ration. The meat and sweets were about a1/2 week’s extra ration, perhaps more believable. I’ve always thought there were no extra rations at any Christmas during the war but – perhaps hard to believe – I took little interest in food beyond eating it, so may be wrong. But I agree that, dull though the food may have been, we never went hungry, although by the ‘working class’ standards of the day food was pretty basic in peace time anyway.

Regarding bread, I have a confession to make. On one occasion when working as a Trainee Electrician for the RE’s we got a job in the army bakery at Southill Barracks and my mate, Bert Poole, chatted up the ATS ‘Queen Bee’ in charge. As a result we each acquired an RASC produced white loaf of peacetime standard. That has been on my conscience for 70 years!
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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #178 on: December 13, 2014, 19:33:15 »
peterchall. By Christmas '40, bread would have been "national wholemeal", so your " mock turkey" would be turkey coloured!  At that point in the war, rationing hadn't really begun to bite. I remember late in the war -'44/45 - butter ration was reduced to 2oz/p/week; 1/2lb block (smaller than the current 250grm block) between 4 of us!  As I remember, the only thing off ration was snoek ( whale), but my Mother didn't buy that. Dried egg, I much preferred scrambled than fresh egg & we had saccharin in our tea - sugar was for cooking. We kept a couple of rabbits in a hutch in the garden so that was our Christmas dinner, except for one year when my Dad won a small turkey in a raffle in the Dockyard. He had an allotment so we did well for veg. & the peelings, boiled up with bran, fed the 6 or so chickens we kept for eggs. Soft fruit from the garden to make jam. No oranges, etc. but plenty of apples, pears, plums from the orchards/gardens in Grange Road (Gillingham). Incidentally, the tinned Spam we had then was really flavoursome, much more so than that on the market now. Although I suspect that my sister & I had a bit more than our fair share, I think one can say that generally, we never really went hungry. Dave Smith (b 1930).

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #177 on: December 03, 2014, 20:59:43 »
Extracts from a booklet on wartime Christmases, published by Royal Engineers Museum:

Christmas parcels had to be posted by December 18th.

Christmas decorations were mostly home made. A frosted look could be given to pine cones, holly and other greenery by dipping it in a strong solution of  Epsom Salts and letting it dry.

In the week before Christmas 1940 the tea ration was doubled and the sugar ration increased from 8 ounces to 12 ounces. For 1944 there was an extra 1&1/2 ponds of sugar, 8 pennyworth of meat and half a pond of sweets.

Christmas Dinner Recipe (Mock Turkey)
1 loaf bread with crust removed and torn apart (can be stale)
2 pints milk
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, minced or finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash of pepper
1 pound sausage meat
1 teaspoon seasoning.

Put ingredients ingredients in a buttered baking dish, add milk and mix well.. Bake at 180c for 1hr 30min..

It looks really appetising!

Personally I don’t remember much about wartime Christmas Days and Boxing Days. Who among my fellow oldies does?
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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #176 on: August 08, 2014, 20:35:04 »
peterchall. I don't know specifically what the school did, my Mum & Dad came to collect me on the Sunday & then on to my Aunt's on the Monday. I suspect that the rest of the school went en bloc straight to S.Wales otherwise there would have been so much confusion going to G'ham, then home & then re-training onwards- with losses on the way! DaveSmith

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #175 on: July 31, 2014, 16:32:31 »
Did you come home from Herne Bay before being re-evacuated to S. Wales, or did you go there from Herne Bay?
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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #174 on: July 31, 2014, 13:55:22 »
I was a 9 year old at Barnsole Road School in 1939. We were evacuated by train from Gillingham to Herne Bay the day before war was declared, complete with gas mask, small suitcase & name label. Two of us were billeted with the Duncans in New Street ( I've kept in touch) & had a happy time as we didn't really understand what war was all about & H.B. had been one of our "days out"  holidays during the summer (my Dad had 1 week's annual holiday, standard before the war). I well remember the morning that war was declared, for the air raid siren "went off" just round the corner on the roof of the fire station and it was LOUD! Schooling was part time as we shared with the local school and we had parent visits every 2/3 months. At the end of the "phoney war", the school was re-evacuated in mid 1940 to Bargoed, S. Wales. I was lucky, as an Aunt who lived in Shepperton, Middx. offered to have me, for there was no way my parents could have visited that far. My friend went with his Brother ( G'ham County Sch.) to Sandwich initially and then Rhymney, S. Wales. Very remote " up the valleys", I remember him saying they had a travelling picture show on Saturdays, probably in the church hall where the " tuppenny rush" really was that, to sit on a mat at the front! We all came back home in late 1941/42. At that age, the real war was remote and, if anything, exciting. We had an Anderson shelter in the garden into which we went when there was a raid (mostly at night), aircraft (friend or foe), even " doodlebugs", (as long as the "engine" was still running!) were there to be watched and we ate reasonably well (my Dad had an allotment). In 1945, I became a Shorts' apprentice, building Sunderlands, etc. so did have just a tiny bit of input toward the war effort. DaveSmith55.

Offline Signals99

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #173 on: July 13, 2014, 01:14:35 »
Hi! A wee bit about being evacuated, may be of interest to younger forum members.
Peterchall has dated my evacuation as circa 1944, thanks for that.
I would have been four years old then, I recall three of us toddlers being allocated to a young student nurse, for some reason we ended up at the military sidings Chatham vie Strood? Then by train to "somewhere " in Yorkshire. Ihave since been told it's not possible to do that, but we did.
I was allocated to a family called Beryman at Railway Cottages, Pickering. A whole new world opened up to me, fresh food and plenty of it, roaming the countryside at leisure, three afternoons a week, school.
Did I miss my family? Not one bit, I did not want to return to Kent .
But on reflection, my whole life was affected one way or another by that experience. There was never a real bond, family wise, after my return, which probably accounts for my two failed marriages. I suppose I could not understand I was sent away for my own good, in later life I recognised what I felt at the time was betrayed. It was all a long time ago now.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #172 on: July 12, 2014, 10:28:51 »
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

John38

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #171 on: July 11, 2014, 23:01:42 »
I'd always assumed there was one evacuation circa 1940. Thanks for the gen PC.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #170 on: July 09, 2014, 19:44:41 »
Signals99, there were 3 official evacuations during WW2:
At the outbreak of war in 1939, after Dunkirk in 1940, and after the start of the flying bombs, in July 1944. So yours would definitely have been the latter, in 1944, as per these recent posts.
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Offline Signals99

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #169 on: July 09, 2014, 15:31:22 »
Peterchall, I haven't heard the term Nitty Nora for many a long day, how it brings back memories. I was evacuated to Pickering in Yorkshire from Rochester; can't recall any dates but 'twas late in the war, 1944/45 maybe. Reason:- buzz bombs. One thing I do recall is we certainly did not have a medical.
Did have nits though. Can you still get "dust combs" and lavain oil? :)

Offline peterchall

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #168 on: July 09, 2014, 12:38:00 »
Yes Ted H, I think that's it! :)
Inspection of schoolchildren’s heads for nits (louse eggs) makes sense, with the reporter probably interpreting some scrap of information as a ‘medical’.

Routine head inspection by the visiting school nurse - known as ‘Nitty Nora’ – was a  feature of my schooldays and, according to my ex-teacher daughter, was still a feature of school life until about 30 years go.
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Offline Ted H

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #167 on: July 08, 2014, 21:00:52 »
There is a remote possibility that the "medical" was in fact a result of the first evacuation when many children from the London slums were reputedly found to have "nits" [lice?]. At least that was the story circulating after the war ended. I don't know if  there was any truth in it.

John38

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Re: Home Life in WW2
« Reply #166 on: July 08, 2014, 15:14:47 »
Oh yes. Their intentions were good ... their sense of direction flawed  :) :) :)

 

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