Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
North East
1939 - 1945

"We lived in a semi-detached house in Sheffield. I was two. I remember hearing Great-Grandfather had been a table knife grinder. I remember the noise of the bombers coming over Sheffield. Our shelter was underneath in the cellar. We had metal beds in it and I was in the underneath one. Neighbouts used to come in and share our shelter with us. They made it exciting - not frightening.
I was a long awaited child. My father worked in the steel works. I had wanted a teddy bear and one night be went into Sheffield's large department store called Atkinsons and came home with this teddy in his siren suit. Stores stayed open longer in those days so he was able to go in and buy it on his way home from work. He just got there in time. That night the store was bombed and raised to the ground. Teddy was the last toy sold there. He will be 70 on 12th December.!
I remember when the whole of Sheffield was bombed one night. 17 restaurants were hit in one night. Next day Dad returned from work and had see firement outside of a pork butchers frying bacon!
I remember spam - it was quite nice actually. It was one of those pseodo meats devised for the war I believe. I also remember corn beef and snoeck.
There was a prisoner of war camp on the Moors in the south part of Sheffield. There was a big prisoner of war camp there. I saw the officers with their long coats and peaked caps and their guards. One day one took a detour up our road! Mum ran up and fetched us in saying 'That's a bad man'."
Sheffield

Brenda Spencer
Brenda joined our Memories Tea Party at Sherborne Museum and brought her very special teddy bear to show everyone.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South East
1939 - 1945

"I don't remember a lot about wartime shortages because I was still at Cambridge. My family home was at Birkenhead where there was some bombing. We were staying at the family holiday house outside of Holyhead when war broke out four or five days later. I remember the evacuees arrived from LIverpool - three children were sent to our house. Some evacuees didn't stay long. Our holiday house was large and slept 15. It had been requisitioned as a Recovery Hospital in World War I and the same thing happened again in the Second War. I remember Mother and an Aunt went down after the war to arrange for everything to be put right. I was not aware of any shortages."
South East

Hibbert Binney

In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"I was born in Sherborne but my father took the farm at Henstridge that is now the aerodrome. I went to school in Henstridge. I was a cow boy. I had to milk by hand ten cows before school and ten cows afterwards. During the war we had to get cards to exempt us from school. It was child labour really. I was 9 - 10 years old. I became a full time tractor driver at about 11 or 12. We were allocated with a plough and so many acres to plough up. I remember Mr Louch of Henstridge came round and told us how much land had to be ploughed. I remember the farmer over the road had an incendiary bomb land in his hay rick and was killed when he went to move it.
Then the Fleet Air Arm came and my father was given just six weeks notice to move out. Our farm was to become an aerodrome. While we were at Henstridge I remember the evacuees came from London and Southampton. A lorry went over the parapet of the bridge one day and landed on a troop train.
A cattle truck came off the railway track one night. We went out with torches to help and wondered if we would be bombed. Later on I remember two planes got stuck in the runways - they had not been made thick enough!
My father managed to find another farm to go to at Bruton so I wasn't at Henstridge when Sherborne was bombed. I heard about the raid. At Henstridge we often had bombers going over us on their way to Bristol. I remember a pinnacle at King Alfred's Tower was knocked off by a German plane. It lay on the ground for years. People below were killed and all at one farm.
At Childs Farm we had 10 - 12 in the house. - a cousin from Bristol, Grandparents and a lodger.
My brother was in the Home Guard. Father used to go up the church tower fire watching. At Henstridge we had a searchlight battery in Lancher Lane.
I was near Bruton when peace was declared. Times were hard during the war. I remember we had coloured fuel and had to have ration coupons for fuel for stationary engines, tractors and all equipment."
Sherborne, Dorset and Bruton, Somerset

Jim Adams
was born in Sherborne, Dorset but spent the early war years at Henstridge, Somerset on the family farm. Jim is now a resident of St Johns Almshouse close to Sherborne Abbey.
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"I was born Lucy Evans, one of 11 children. My father was in the Dorset Yeomanry and retired at 55 and came back to Sherborne where he became a member of the Kings School maintenance team. We lived at Coombe but my mother was completely worn out and died at the age of 51. I was sent to an orphanage at Salisbury from the age of 7 until I was 17. It was a Catholic one and you would never believe how cruel those nuns were to us. I was there at the start of the war. We never had a bombing raid. They used to say it was because of the spire on the cathedral - they were told not to bomb it. I was glad to join the Land Army. I went to a private farm at Wareham where I had to milk the cows but then I caught an infection and I wasn't allowed to milk any longer. I was sent to Mere in Wiltshire to work in a gang. When I came out I went into nursing at Salisbury and then Odstock Hospital and then on to St Thomas's in London. We decided to go out carol singing one Christmas. It was still the blackout and we couldn't see to read our carol sheets so we still stood under the lamp posts although they were not lit and sung the verses of the most popular carols that we could remember. As we finished we started to hear people calling out from the darkness thanking us. It cheered a lot of people up. I especially remember sugar and butter being rationed."
South West

Lucy Goldsworthy

Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
North East
1939 - 1945

"I was a war baby so I can't remember a lot about the war. My Mum told me I was born at seven months so was quite premature but she was only allowed to stay at the hospital for a few days because it was being taken over by the army. There weren't any incubators or any of the things they have now for premature babies so I am lucky to be here. I was born at Hull and it was bombed a lot. I spent the first fortnight after coming home in the air raid shelter as it was safer. Then my older brothers and sisters caught either measles or chicken pox and they were so afraid I would catch it too so we were kept apart. We were bombed out four times. My father was out on fire watch and once when he had only just got it he was so tired he wouldn't come down to the shelter with the rest of the family. He insisted on staying in the house. We heard the bombs dropping. The daughter of the woman next door was killed and the blast threw father out of the house through the door. Luckily he survived. The house wasn't habitable so we were re-homed. We were in a row of cottages down a long alleyway. There were no services - no electric or running water. I had to go and get the water with my sister from the pump a long way away and we had to keep going backwards and forwards to get enough - especially on Mondays because that was washing day. I must say I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Everyone was so friendly and we all helped each other. I also remember at the end of the war and afterwards we children used to get paid to go out into the fields pea picking, bean picking, potato picking and we were all allowed hooks to cut down sprout stalks and other greens. You wouldn't be allowed to do it today but I don't remember anyone getting hurt. I used to love it and of course we earned a little pocket money. My husband Colin's family had a different war. His mother came from Yorkshire but she married a Londoner and they lived in Deal when the doodlebugs came over. He will tell you all about it."
Hull

Stella Powell
nee Coultas. Stella, who now lives in Dorset, plans to record more of her memories over the next few weeks.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"We lived at Lake. It was a good half a mile out of Thornford Village. Our postal address was Thornford Road. The children had to walk into the village to go to school. The evacuees had arrived in the village and our neighbour Mrs Garrett had two - a boy and a girl. The little girl was about three or four and her brother was a bit older. They had all come down from a Roman Catholic School in the east end of London. I remember one day I had crossed the road. It was never very busy. I was in the fields on the other side of the road with some friends. The others were playing in the garden with a ball. Suddenly the ball came over the hedge out into the road. I saw Cecil starting to run and shouted to him not to come out into the road as I could hear a motorbike coming. He either didn't hear or just kept on coming anyway. The bike hit him and skidded a long way and took him right down the road to where our well was. We didn't have any mains water. It was a Despatch Rider. He wasn't hurt but he could see the little boy was. He picked him up and carried him back up the road to the cottages. He had to go as he had an urgent message to deliver. Someone sent for the ambulance - we didn't have the phone - and he was taken to the Yeatman Hospital. Later we heard he had died. His mother came down from London for the funeral and took the little girl - I think her name was Rita - back to London with her."
Thornford, Dorset

Kathleen Gray

In The Home
Everyday Life
North West
North East
1939 - 1945
Kathleen Willcock and her husband visited the museum in August 2010 and Kathleen recalled
"I was living with my family near Leeds and was evacuated to Lincoln. I was at the High School and had hoped to complete my last year and get my school certificate. We thought it was a strange place to be evacuated to as we all thought Lincoln was more likely to be bombed and it had been quite peaceful at home. I remember the whole school left by train. I remember the very tearful goodbyes. I thought I would never see my mother again! However I had a very happy year - and no bombing! I got my school certificate and left and got a job. We were evacuated to a very old house - a lovely old mansion not far from the cathedral. It was lovely. We were lucky as I lived there with my friends but some of the others were in another part of Lincoln and had a long walk to school. It was a very happy and peaceful time after all!"
Leeds and Lincoln

Kathleen Willcock

Clothing
Food and Cooking
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1940 - 1945

"I was born in Bristol in the winter of 1940 and as a baby of course blissfully unaware of the conflict in progress. It is family folk lore now that at that time my father did not have a car and cycled and slithered along icy roads to his best friend's house who then took him and my mother in his car to the Bristol Maternity Hospital. My mother, so the story goes, was dressed to the nines in a coat, hat, fox fur stole complete with it's head and tail, and gloves.
However, gradually I became aware that my father, who was a Special Constable, disappeared off into the blackout on his bicycle, to spend the night on duty. Father was by day in a reserved occupation in a Bristol factory.
I remember visiting an aunt and uncle at their farm just outside Gloucester and standing at the roadside watching and being almost deafened by enormous army tanks trundling past. I can remember the sound of the sirens - but cannot remember being at all frightened. I remember the shelter under the pantry which we got into by clambering thru' a trapdoor in the pantry floor. When we were all ensconced in there one night there was an almighty crash and my parents feared the worst, but in fact some saucepans had fallen off a shelf!
Most of all I remember much laughter, happiness and silly jokes between parents, relatives and neighbours, which I now find quite amazing as at times conditions must have been terrifying and so many husbands and sons were away.
I remember that on VE Day 1945 all the neighbours who lived in our road organised a fete and sports day at what was later to become Cleeve Rugby Club, at which we were all presented with red, white and blue rosettes and I was taught to plait with the three tails of my rosette. I remember that my mother kept eggs in isinglass in a bucket under the stairs. Fresh eggs were a rarity which we enjoyed after a visit to my grandparents in the country.
I also remember dried milk and orange juice from the 'clinic'. A real and rare luxury was a tin of salmon and a tin of peaches - kept for special occasions such as when the family visited. A friend of my grandmother's made me a skirt to wear to school from the handed down suit trousers of my father's. All my jumpers were hand knitted."
Bristol

Wendy Mellish
was a wartime baby, born in Bristol and now resides in Dorset.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Mr Reason (I think his wife called him Billy) was very badly injured in the German bomber raid on Sherborne. He lived in the second house next to Newland School which received a direct hit. He spent a number of weeks in the Yeatman Hospital. As they were friends with my parents Mrs Reason came to live with us at Glenville in Long Street. When Mr Reason was discharged from hospital he joined his wife with us in a bedsitter in our house (Glenville) in Long Street. They stayed with us for most of the remainder of the war years. When he was well enough he went back to his taxi work ( He had his own taxi business). He also helped Horace Hamblin at the radion shop at the top of Long Street."
Sherborne, Dorset

Mr H Reason
Raymond Baker of Wingfield Road, Sherborne has donated a photograph labelled Mr H Reason to the museum collection.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1940 - 1940

"We had three girl evacuees staying at the shop. Their father was serving abroad and their mother had come down from Kennington, London, because she had been bombed out of her home. [Kennington is a village near Ashford, Kent]
On that day the local Rector, the Rev. Mousley, took her into Sherborne to the Labour Exchange to collect some documents. While there she heard the bombers coming over and, having lived through bombing raids, recognised the sound and was terrified. But as a stranger couldn't find anyone to tell. She couldn't find the Rector but someone took her in and, after the raid, she was found by the Rector and they returned to Glanvilles Wootton. It took her a long time to get over the experience but eventually she returned to London but the girls stayed for some while longer."
Sherborne, Dorset

Mrs J. Jones
has sent us her mother's memories of the Sherborne Bombing Raid on 30th September 1940. Now aged 88 she recalls she lived at the village shop at Glanvilles Wootton, Dorset.

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