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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Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1939

"We moved from Thornford to Yetminster in April 1939 so I had a few months to enjoy it before war broke out on September 3rd. I went to the Girls School in Church Street. They dug a trench on land behind the school and put a tin roof on it. It was supposed to be an air raid shelter but we always thought it was more dangerous to leave the school and walk down the side of the building to the field."
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.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"At school we had to save every bit of paper for the war effort. We were told three envelopes would pack a [gun] cartridge."
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
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.
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.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Nothing was ever wasted as very little was manufactured owing to the factories producing military uniforms, shells, bombs, planes, tanks and guns."
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.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"At Yetminster school we made contact with an Australian soldier through the Red Cross who was in a prisoner of war camp. The Red Cross chose people who did not have any family. We used to write him letters and make cards and when it was Christmas we made things and gave a few pence towards buying him warm items for his Red Cross Christmas Parcel. Our schoolteacher said she had bought a wool vest and pair of long wool pants in large size as she said all Australians were big. When he sent us a thankyou card he said he was 5' 2" so he probably had to wrap them round twice!"
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.
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.
Everyday Life
South West
1940 - 1940
Heather Helliar recalled the day Sherborne was bombed.
"On the 30th September 1940 I had just come home from Yetminster school and was indoors. It was about 4pm. Mother had gone up the road to Petties Farm to see her sister, Aunt Freda, and I was home alone. I heard the planes but there was a lot of low cloud and I couldn't see them. Mother heard the first bombs start to fall and came running home. The windows and doors vibrated in our old cottage. I thought they were going to fall out! I've never been so frightened - made worse because of the cloud and I couldn't see what was going on. I could hear a low rumbling noise of planes but couldn't see anything.
The following week, exactly a week later and the same time, the weather was so different. It was sunny and clear. I was walking with a friend along the Chetnole Road. We were walking along and could see planes overhead having a dog fight. We had soldiers billeted in the village. One called "you children go on home. We've got a raid going on" so I went home. I was ten years old and remember both raids were on Mondays. The planes were heading for Yeovil. I remember bombs were dropped around but I think most of the planes were turned back but several people were killed. A few years later when I was working in Yeovil I lodged with Norman and Phyllis Glover of Newton Road. Norman had shrapnel in his head from the raid and used to get really bad headaches. He had gone to see his Aunt that day and her house had received a direct hit and they had been dug out of the rubble. Norman had been operated on. They had lifted a flap of skin from his scalp and had tried to remove all of the shrapnel but couldn't get at the very deep pieces.
I remember the air raid siren used to go off at the same time in the evenings. We used to listen for the planes overhead. They were mostly heading for Bristol. We would wait and listen. Our planes had an even sound but the German ones had a thump, thump sound in the engine so we could always tell whose planes they were.
There was a big naval gun in Barwick Park near Yeovil. It was very loud and fired big shells. We called it Big Bertha. I remember our old fashioned wide chimney used to pick up the sounds. Once we heard one of Big Bertha's shells whistling over - its range was that great. We had a searchlight battery on the Chetnole road - on the site that is the abbatoir now. It wasn' t there for all the war but it was there for a time. I am not sure why it was moved. Then for a short time we had a German Prisoner of War Camp there. It was a small camp but it was definitely Germans. This was in addition to the Italian Prisoner of War Camp on Wardon Hill. The Germans used to be escorted by soldiers with guns into the village to work on local farms, like the Italians did. I remember one man told us he had been a Doctor in Germany. We used to think what a waste of his skills as he was hoeing and stone picking."
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.
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945
Recollections of an evacuee family that arrived at Yetminster on their own.
"We had a lot of evacuees in the village that arrived from a London school but we also had some that came on their own. Many were billeted with families in the village but others occupied empty cottages when they arrived as a family. I remember Mrs Bone and her four children Barbara, Peter, Rita and David came from London. We never heard or saw Mr Bone. They lived at the bottom of Mill Lane – at Crossing Cottage – a Victorian red brick house that belonged to the railway and was empty at the time. The children went to our village school and one of the girls was my age. Most of the evacuees returned to London before the war ended but the Bone family stayed until the end of the war. Crossing Cottage was a nice house compared to others in the village and very well built. It is sad that the railway is thinking of demolishing it in 2011."
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
Everyday Life
South West
South East
1939 - 1945
IVY MITCHELL nee PULLMAN RECALLED 17th Jan 2009
"I was born at Templecombe but was working in Sherborne at the start of the war. If I had stayed working at the boys and girls school I probably would not have been called up but I went to work at Milborne Port Glove Factory and that was when I was called up. I was sent to work in Reading for four years. First I had to fill shells, not the very big ones, and then later on I was trained to test them - that was dangerous. You had flames coming out of the machine around your legs. I was in lodgings and had a day off a fortnight. I couldn’t afford to go home more than once a month. My Uncle who was a Police Inspector at Bognor Regis used to pay for me to go to stay with him once a month.
I used to travel from Templecombe by train and changed at Basingstoke. I was in lodgings. I had three days off one Christmas and was going to travel back with my friend. We knew the train would be packed so we gathered a bunch of prickly holly. We soon cleared a space.
I was quite popular because I didn’t take sugar so my sugar ration was shared with the others. There was hardly any cake. Sometimes we managed to get some Huntley and Palmers cake - but that was under the carpet! It was lovely.
If we had relations working in food factories they used to share the extras their employers gave them. We swapped with something we could send them. Father used to shoot rabbits and we sent them up to Bristol relations. They used to send back cheese from the factory they worked in.
My friend’s brother was in the army. He sent a wooden box of fruit to me from France. We couldn’t get any. When it arrived the fruit had been stolen and all I got was the empty box!"
Reading

Ivy Mitchell nee Pullman Ivy Mitchell
Ivy Mitchell nee Pullman born at Templecombe (90 in November 2008) and sent to work in Reading filling shells.

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