Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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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.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1940 - 1940

"I lived with my father Albert, mother Julia and my brother who was also called Albert, next door to the Warren household. The sirent went off as I was coming home from the Abbey School. I wasn't scared at the time, because the sirens were frequently going off. When I got home my brother Albert was at the Warren house playing with their boy Ronnie who was around his age. My mother went into the house to get him. Mrs Warren said he could stay with them if he wanted to, but she decided to bring him home. We were inside the house when all hell broke loose. There were suddenly very loud explosions all around us. Our other neighbour, Mrs Norris, was coming down the street with a young baby at the time. My mother rushed out to get them both, and we all dived in under the stairs. All five of us were under the stairs. It was quite dark and there were loud noises all around us. I remember being very scared, but I asked my mother if I should go upstairs and get our gas masks. She told me to stay put. It was lucky she did because when I came out from under the stairs and went to go to the landing there was nothing there. The top of the stairs had been blown away. Through the hap I could see the Warren house about eigh feet away. It was almost completely razed to the ground. I was told that one of the children had broken their back and the mother, Annie, had broken several ribs. An evacuee called Peter White lived with another of our neighbours, Mrs Lane. He came over to us, wearing no shoes. He told us he had been buried in rubble but had managed to get out. My mother noticed he had a big dent in the back of his head. She took him inside our house where we could heat up water and washed his wounds.
My father was coming back from Yeovil and saw the bombs dropping on the town. He was extremely worried for us. He was dropped off by what is now The Skippers pub and was told we were alright."
Sherborne, Dorset

Roy Herbert
was a boy when the bombs fell on Sherborne on 30th September 1940. He lived at 27 Lenthay Close, next door to the Warren family who tragically lost three children and an evacuee who had only been billeted there the night before.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Rona Moore nee Parfitt was the eldest of five children and lived for over 70 years in the North East Somerset village of Timsbury. On leaving school she worked at Fry's in Keynsham until the Second World War when she recalled she worked on Lancaster bombers. After the war she returned to Fry's and later joined the staff of the Cheshire Homes at Timsbury where she stayed until she retired."
Somerset

Rona Moore

In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1940 - 1941

"I was 11 years old in 1940 and my brother, Cyril, was 13. We lived with our parents at No 13 Horsecastles - our grandparents lived at No 17. As the siren had sounded on September 30th I was indoors playing 'patience'. My brother was in the garden, probably feeding our pet rabbit and guinea pig - but he managed to rush indoors - through the glass-roofed scullery to join my mother and me under the kitchen table.
I remember the boise, the shattering of glass, and the choking dust which seemed to go on for ages, though I am told it was a mere 3 1/2 minutes! I remember Cyril crwaling out at some stage to prevent a wooden door falling across us. The nearest bomb was in the garden of No 15 - quite close enough!
When things had quietened down my brother made his way up to No 17 to check on our grandmother. He found her safe, but shocked, hiding behind the door of her downstairs bedroom. Our grandfather was at Sturminster Newton helping the auctioneers 'Senior and Godwin' at the weekly market. Our grandparents stayed for several weeks with the Headmaster and his wife, Mr and Mrs Avery at the Abbey School.
Our father was working as a threshing machinist somewhere in the locality - and when he got back to Sherborne the police tried to stop him going down Horsecastles because of the debris of slates, electricity wires, glass and so on but he said "my family is down there" so they let him pass.
We stayed with Dad's sister in Kings Road for a week or some - some nights spent in their Anderson Shelter in the garden in case it should all happen again. Eventually Dad found us some accomodation in part of a farmhouse with Mr Casely at Adber - and because we had a safe place to stay the workmen used our house to store their equipment and have their 'canteen' while repairing all the houses in the row. I remember going up to the attic, which was my bedroom, and being able to see daylight through the lath and plaster ceiling.
We enjoyed living on the farm and cycling into Sherborne to school. Cyril learnt to milk cows, drive a tractor and we rode the car horses and cut wedges of hay from the hat-ricks to feed the stock.
The farm was sold in March 1941, so we moved again, to share some rooms with Mr Casely's son Leslie and his family in Trent for some weeks - so it must have been Spring or Summer 1941 before we moved back into our repaired house in Horsecastles."
Sherborne, Dorset

June Helson
nee Pike of Sherborne enjoyed her Bombing Memories afternoon at the museum on 30th September, exactly 70 years after the bombing raid on the town. Afterwards she was inspired to put pen to paper and record her memories of that day.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1940 - 1940

"I was 6 1/2 and can remember the Sherborne Bombing Raid well [30th September 1940]. We lived in the middle of town, in Hound Street. I was sick that day so I hadn't been to school. It was Mother's Monday washing day. I should have been at Abbey School. My brother was at Foster's Grammar School. Our neighbour Lucy Pearce took me in with them and put us all under the bench in the larder which was in the middle of the house. There were three bombs within 100 yards of us - one on the opposite side of the road in the entrance to what is now the Digby Hall, one in the Digby School tennis courts and one at the back entrance to Woolworths, a short distance down the road. I remember the bed coming through the ceiling - it is crystal clear still - and the smell - I can still smell it it was a funny smell. There were no ceilings and no roof on our house and next door. We were evacuated to an Aunt in Coldharbour. It was amazing the house was repaired in just six months! Father was a glove cutter in Yeovil. He heard of the road on the bus back to Sherborne and was told Hound Street was no more! I remember his face when he got back in town and found us. He got on his knees 'thank God' I remember all the rubble. We lost everything. Before we had gas - it was a shilling [5p] in the meter but afterwards we had electricity. We were diverted to my Aunt's in Coldharbour via The Avenue where there was a house on fire, because there was an unexploded bomb in North Road. I remember coming back into our house after it was repaired so clearly. I remember one of the bombs landed on the field of the Boys Boarding House in Hound Street. They had dug trenches all around the field. Fortunately there wer no boys in them on that day. The crater stayed there until the Digby Hall was built in the early 1970s."
Sherborne, Dorset

Mike Tompkins

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

"We were up in Lenthay Playing Fields at 4pm - out of Abbey School in Horsecastles. I remember the sirens sounding and we ran home [Monday 30th September 1940 Sherborne]. Mum and my sisters and the Air Raid Warden were looking for us and Mr Wiscombe from the Cemetery house [ at No 1 South View, Lenthay]. The Air Raid Warden heard a noise and looked up and saw a plane 'Good God Mrs - bombs'. Mum turned us back to go under the stairs but we only got as far as the front room. I was heading for under the stairs but tripped over a broom and Joy fell on top of me. Mr Wiscombe followed us in. The Air Raid Warden threw himself on top of us. When we got outside after it was all over we saw The Warren's house was flattened. Before that we had always gone to the Digby Mausoleum for Sunday School but we couldn't because of an unexploded bomb. I remember the ARPs and Rescue Squads arriving and wondered what to do. The Public School Army Cadet boys also arrived to help. We had no ceilings and damaged walls and were told to go and stay with relations. My Gran in Coldharbour was pleased to see us. We had a bomb crater in the garden - I remember the squad digging down to find it and then it was abandoned because they were called to Portland to deal with unexploded bombs - I wonder if it is still there. Six soldiers were billeted in our ruined house and their canteen was set up next door. Our potatoes and cabbages were dug up!
Father was billeted at Shroton near Blandford after getting out of Dunkirk. He was a Sergeant in the BEF in France. He found a place for us and we moved there for 19 or 20 weeks. I remember going to school at Shroton and then we all returned to Sherborne."
Sherborne, Dorset

Tony Noake

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