Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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All | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950

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In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1941 - 1942

"In 1941 I had a cyst on my kneecap and was put in a plastercast from hip to ankle and had to stay in bed. On January 2nd 1942 I went down with scarlet fever. I was taken to the Yeatman Hospital, Sherborne for a month. Sherborne was full of scarlet fever. A woman was brought in with a really bad throat. By the time it was diagnosed it was too late. I had caught diptheria - or so they thought because one of the junior nurses also caught it and we were both transferred to the Isolation Hospital at Sturminster Newton because the Isolation House in Sherborne had burnt down. Sturminster Newton's was called Penny House, in Penny Street near the church. It was a big house with a big garden and it was my home for the next 3 and a half months. We weren't allowed visitors but even if we had been mother wouldn't have been able to visit because there was no petrol. Only farmers and essential workers could get it. Mother wrote to me every day. We weren't allowed to write letters. First of all I was in a scarlet fever ward with two other girls. When they finally diagnosed diptheria I was put in a ward on my own. I was sure I had caught it in Sherborne.
Tom Baker was the Ambulance Man and he lived at the Coffee Tavern at Thornford. Gran Garrett lived at Vine Cottage next door. She used to give Tom apples and eggs for me. He used to deliver it to the home but I rarely got it. A cleaner at the isolation hospital finally blew the whistle on what was happening. The nurses used to eat it. She was dismissed.
I spent my twelfth birthday with scarlet fever and diptheria in March 1942. Mother used her rations to make me a blancmange for a treat. She managed to come and see me. As I was slightly better she was allowed to stand at the ward door but not to come in. That was the closest she got to me. She was really pleased to see me walking. They had taken off the plaster cast."
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
South West
1939 - 1945

"There was hardly any food at the hospital. We used to get breakfast at 7am. It was a single piece of bread and margarine with lard on it. A cooked dinner was served at 12. It was swimming in water. That was supposed to be gravy. Tea was at 3.30pm and was a sandwich and a small bit of cake. Nothing else was served after that. When I was allowed home I did nothing but eat. I put on nearly a stone in a month!"
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"We only had basics at home. Everything got so bad. Nothing ordinary was being manufactured at all. Factories were taken over for munitions or for making army uniforms. I remember reading a tip in a magazine it said if you couldn't buy a comb comb your hair with a fork!. Combs were in short supply. I thought I must remember that."
Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
In The Home
South West
1939 - 1945

"Aunt Freda [King nee Garrett, her mother's older sister] showed me how to make a fireside rug. We opened a hessian sack and then cut strips of material from old coats, stockings, or any clothes that had worn out. Then we had a rug hook and wove the strips in and out of the hessian. If you were clever you made a patterm, depending on colour and quantity of material."
Thornford, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Clothing
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Some older pupils knitted balaclavas and socks for the troops. Some of us made blankets. I remember being told off for wasting a piece of unpicked wool. I tied a knot in the end half an inch up from the bottom as I was afraid it would come undone. Our teacher showed the class what I had done and said I had wasted wool by tying a knot!"
Yetminster, Dorset

Heather Helliar (right) pictured at Thornford shortly before the Second World War with her sister Sylvia (left) and Aunt Lily Heather Helliar
Heather Helliar moved to Yetminster while still at primary school, shortly after war broke out. Her grandparents still lived at Thornford and she recalls.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
South East
1939 - 1945

"Mum and I were living in Earls Court, Kensington. My Dad was serving abroad. I remember being taken out to see the light in the city from the blitz. We could read a newspaper at night in the street it was so bright. Then we got bombed out. Mum and I went to live with my aunt and uncle at Brookwood.[ near Woking, Surrey ] Uncle Bob was serving in the RAF and based in Ireland. Every time he came home he would bring some fresh hens eggs. Aunty used to keep them in a crock in the cellar for safety."
Earls Court, Kensington

Jane Weymer
Jane is now living in Stalbridge, Dorset
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945
Dennis Mitchell was called up for War Ag. work.
"I was working for Dukes at Martinstown, near Dorchester, Dorset. I didn't live in with the family but in the old tack rooms next to the stable. We had to plough up a lot of grassland and I had had to go back to the farm for something. It was a good job I did because when I got back up to the far side of the ridge it was peppered with craters where some German planes had been turned back and had dropped their bombs. We weren't far from the coast so they often dropped their bombs before they got to the Channel.
We used to get lots of incendiaries dropped on Martinstown. There was a lot of army activity there. We were always meeting them on the road but there were also a lot of thatched houses that would have burnt well if they had been hit.
I remember Dukes kept a lot of sheep. The shepherd used to turn them out by day and get them in and fold them over a lot of crops at night - sometimes it was turnips, sometimes mustard or other root crops. When the shepherd was away old Walt had to see to the sheep. I was ploughing across a field and saw him take the sheep across to the gateway. I could see something sticking up out of the ground. The sheep were all jumping over it. Walt didn't take any notice but later on I went over to see what it was. There were fins sticking out of the ground. I thought it was a bomb! I went to tell Mr Duke and he came back up with me to have a look at it. We sent for the army and they had to detonate it. Walt said it had been there for several days but he hadn't taken any notice of it. He had been walking across by it to open the gate and had said the sheep jumped over it so he didn't worry!"
Dorchester, Dorset

Dennis Mitchell
Dennis's parents living at Bembury Farm where they were fortunate to have four or five cows and were not short of milk
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Mum was expecting me. She was living in Newland, Sherborne. Dad was serving abroad. She was bombed out in the only Sherborne bombing raid. Dad was not allowed to come home. She was re-homed in a little cottage in Trendle Street."
Sherborne, Dorset

Ann Guppy

In The Home
Everyday Life
North West
1939 - 1945

"John Porter recalls the women of his village, near Wilsden in Lincolnshire, held regular knitting groups. All spare wool was gathered and knitted into squares to be made into blankets for the bombed out families in London"
Wilsden, Lancashire

John Porter

Clothing
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"I went to Westminster Bridge Road Primary School. I was evacuated with my younger brother Peter who was four. I was almost six as my birthday was the 7th October. We thought it was an adventure. It was like going on holiday. Our headteacher Mrs Campbell, Mr Foster and Miss Dobson came with us. I remember we were given barley sugar sticks to suck on the journey. We all enjoyed those. We stopped at Templecombe Station [ some eight miles outside the town, although Sherborne had its own station] and had to get off the train. I don't know why it didn't steam into Sherborne. I remember it was dark. We had to get on to coaches and were transported to the Digby Hall in Digby Road. It was very late by then and we spent the night at Cmdr. Nash's house in Sandford Road [ now called Dymor]. In the morning Peter and I were collected by Win and Jim Gould and went to the home at 2 Coombe Terrace. Win was organist at St Paul's Church Coombe, a red brick building now an engineers, on the other side of the road. She also played the organ at Sandford Orcas and Poyntington and walked to those villages as they didn't have any transport of their own. I didn't enjoy having to go to church three times on Sundays. I sang in the choir. I did enjoy collecting the stamps for good attendance at the Sunday School. They were very colourful and we stuck them in our albums.
The Goulds were such nice people. We had a good home. Jim was a carpenter - the best in the street. Jim had a large garden that stretched right up from Coombe to Marston Road where he had his workshop. They had a large chicken called Henrietta who laid well and they grew most of their own food. The meal I didn't like was fried egg and mashed potato!
At home father worked on the railway, an essential job so he wasn't allowed to join the RAF. Mum and my younger brother Bill were evacuated to Exeter but they were bombed there and evacuated to Wells! Mum and Dad sent me a pair of heavy boots once. I didn't like them at all and called them 'clodhoppers' and tried to kick them and wear them out.
We were able to take part in potato picking and paid six pence an hour. We had to walk to Crackmoor on the outskirts of Milborne Port to pick up conkers. They were packed into wooden barrells and once full sold off to the Council Offices at Ludbourne Road, Sherborne and were used as pig food. We also picked rose hips which were rich in Vitamin C. When we had filled a two pound kilner jar full we could take those to the Council Offices and wer paid two pence. They were made into rose hip syrup. Mum used to send us a three pence postal order each week from London. We used to go to Woolworths. They still had sweets. We used to spend it on MIlky Ways and Golly Bars - these were toffee strips and you got four for a penny. We always managed to get treats. Sweets were not rationed then and we also had a tuck shop at school. We could also get ice cream.
Jim made a shelter under the stairs of plywood with benches round it. When the air raid sirens went off we had to hammer on the wall to Mrs Penny next door because she was deaf and couldn't hear the siren.
When it was harvest time we used to go into the fields to catch rabbits. All of the children were given a stick and we had enough to stand right around the edges of the field. As the harvest was cut the rabbits would go into the centre of the field and when the machines got closer they would run out and we would kill them. We weren't allowed to take home all the ones we caught. We had to put them all into a pool and the farmer would share them out at the end of the day.
We would also go out sticking - collecting sticks for the fire.
We used to play a lot of games. We had a darts board and we also used to do a lot of drawing. Paper was not in short supply. Jim was good artistically, being a cabinet maker. I remember painting a large picture of a parrot and it won a local competition.
The countryside seemed strange to us. We were frightened of cows at first but soon got used to them. We thought the hills around us were mountains!
I remember the only bombing raid that hit Sherborne in 1940. I was walking home from school. I remember at least one evacuee was killed in it. I remember the strong smell of gas in the air afterwards and Uncle Jim going out with his first aid kit on patrol. One night I heard a German plane low overhead. We knew it was going to crash it was so low but we boys were not allowed to get up and watch it. The men saw it in flames. It crashed in Poyntington village a few milesd away and the crew were buried in the churchyard for some time. After the war their bodies were returned to Munich.
We used to search for bits of plane and shrapnel to keep.!
We kept in touch with the Goulds for the rest of their lives."
Sherborne, Dorset

Peter (4) and James Whiting (6) - a photo taken by their parents the day before they were evacuated from London to Sherborne. James Whiting
James now lives at Seaton, Devon after falling in love with the countryside after being evacuated to Sherborne on the 2nd September 1939 from London.

Do you remember having to make do and mend? Please submit your experiences.