Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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

"My father was the vicar of our village. During the war we had to dig up our lawns and gardens and turn them into allotments. Close to our garden was the park. My father used to take my sister with him and they used to go off with the wheelbarrow each week to gather sheep droppings for manure for the garden. I remember my sister was asked at school what she had been doing at the weekend and I shall always remember her reply 'I had to help my father gather up the sheep motions for the garden!'"
East Coker, Somerset

Monica Whipp
of East Coker recalls.
In The Home
Everyday Life
South East
1939 - 1945

"Alf was born in London in 1910 into a middle class family. One of his earliest memories was of Zeppelin airships bombing London and research has shown that there was a raid on the night of 31st May - 1st June 1915. When he was 28 he joined the RAF hoping to be a pilot. He was very disappointed he failed the medical due to colour blindness. Instead he became involved with the development of ground based and later airborne aircraft - intercept radar, which was proceeding at a rapid pace with war imminent. After the outbreak of World War II he was stationed at Bawdsey Manor in Suffolk at what was then the cutting edge of British electronic research.
It was here that he met his future wife 'Dinks' and they were married a year later at Sherborne Abbey, Dorset. Best man was his brother in law Wing Commander 'Gerry' Lawrence.
Their romance was against a background of Britian at war and Dinks recalls being in a cinema in Exeter with Alf when a bombing raid occured, and the pandemonium that ensued. She also recalls during their honeymoon, walking with Alf and being shot at by German Messerschmidts flying low along the road.
Alf recalled the chaos of Dunkirk in May 1940; for several days and nights he was one of many helping with the rapid refuelling and servicing of fighter aircraft flying in and then straight back to France, often with their engines left running and pilots remaining in their cockpits; such was the speed of their turnaround - and aircraft flying in so shot up they were unable to take off again.
Alf and Dinks spent several idyllic months stationed on the Isle of Man before Alf was posted overseas to Calcutta, India, in September 1941. He was on a troopship called 'The Empress of Russia'. It was part of a convoy which sailed first to Iceland and then down the Western Atlantic to avoid German U-boats. Conditions on board rapidly became appalling and the convoy was attacked at leasty once by U-Boats, with neighbouring ships being hit and going down.
In Calcutta, Alf helped build small radar stations on barges so they could be moved about. Then he moved to Burma where the British 14th Army were fighting the Japanese. Alf never talked much about his time in Burman. He was lucky to avoid caputre by the advancing Japanese on a number of occasions. During this time his borhter, Hubert, was killed in April 1942, while defusing an unexploded bomb in Birmingham.
His war ended when the Japanese surrendered in August 1945 and after some time in Bombay was able to return home to England where his wife, Dinks, hadn't seen him for several years."
Worldwide

Flt Lieutenant Alfred Lewis Winn
25th May 1910 - 17th June 1998. Extracts from his memoirs written down by a friend.
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Missed the ice cream man that used to cycle round the outskirts of Southampton and the villages on his Walls ice cream bicycle and storage box. He used to sell 1d, 2d and 3d large and small bricks of ice cream. That all disappeared until after the war."
Southampton

Bert Jenkins
of Southampton
Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South East
1939 - 1945

"My father was a Major serving in the Middle East. When he came home he found we were in the path of the flying bombs. I remember him lifting me up to see one flying over. I remember it so well. I wasn’t frightened. I was only small and didn’t see the fear in it. My father had seasoned a piece of olive wood and had it made into workboxes for me, my sister and my mother. That was where my interest in needlework and boxes started. He also had a bookcase made and it was shipped back wrapped in sugar bags, put together in this country and then had glass doors added. My father found us a safe home in Scotland to get us out of London. When I was about seven I made a little needlecase. It annoys me now because the stitches aren’t straight! I worked it in chainstitch, featherstitch and other stitches. After the war we returned to London and I worked for Jacqmar and was lucky enough to work on the Queen’s Coronation robes and dresses."
London

Beryl Lawrence
recalls her early year in wartime London.
Food and Cooking
North West
1939 - 1945

"Ethel Carter of Bradford recalled she had never made jam before the war. However on finding her pot of wartime raspberry jam was a bit chewy she asked a friend who worked in the jam factory what was in it. She found out it had very little raspberry in it but 75% rhubarb! The pips were in fact tiny wood shavings! She managed to contact a cousin in the country and started to make her own jam."
Bradford

Ethel Carter

In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Relations of the late Miss Adeline Mitchell also gave this certificate to the museum, sent to Adeline's mother, Mrs E Mitchell, after the war. To date we know little about its history. It thanks Mrs Mitchell for opening her house to strangers during the early years of the war. It may be a thankyou for taking in evacuees although we do not hold any similar certificates and would appreciate more information about it. The museum holds more memories from former residents of Coombe Terrace and their evacuees"
Dorset

Miss Adeline Mitchell

In The Home
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Relations of the late Miss Adeline Mitchell who lived at Coombe Terrace, Sherborne have donated this certificate to the museum collection. Adeline was thanked by the Duke of Gloucester for contributing to the 'Penny a Week Fund' for the Red Cross of St John during the war."
Dorset

Miss Adeline Mitchell

Food and Cooking
Everyday Life
South West
1939 - 1945

"Len Batten died at Horfield, Bristol in June and was born in Bristol. During the Second World War he recalled being evacuated to Westward Ho! Near Bideford in North Devon and kept in touch and continued to visit the family for the rest of his life. He had a passion for cooking and sailed on naval mine sweepers followed by a career in the merchant navy where he sailed on banana boats. His favourite dishes included making pasties, faggots and bread pudding."
Devon

Len Batten

Food and Cooking
South West
1939 - 1945

"Eva Bartlett of Bath recalls not only milk being delivered in bottles but, during the war, in cartons to the Bristol Aircraft Factory and feels many people will not think cartons were introduced at such an early date."
Bristol

Eva Bartlett

Everyday Life
North West
North East
Midlands
South West
South East
1939 - 1945

"It was announced on 9th August 2011 that Nancy Wake has died in London aged 98 on Sunday 5th. The Second World War French Resistance heroine was called 'The White Mouse' by the Gestapo for her elusiveness and several site readers have asked that she should be added to 'Make do and Mend'. Her name became a household word after the war and her exploits were retold across many kitchen tables. She became the most decorated servicewoman. She was trained by British Intelligence in espionage and sabotage and helped arm and lead 7000 resistance fighters having left Australia in 1935 with the help of her Aunt's legacy and arrive in London where she trained as a journalist.
Nancy Wake was born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia and was quickly recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) who were keen to have French-speaking women to act as couriers. She was also a very good shot. In April 1944 she was dropped by parachute into the Auvergne region along with Major John Farmer, leader of the Freelance resistance circuit. She worked in Parish and saw first hand the work of the Nazis. She married wealthy industrialist Henri Fiocca but when he was called up for war service she enrolled as an ambulance driver and began helping British soldiers to escape from France. The Gestapo were hot on her trail in May 1943 and she escaped from France to Spain with Henri promising to follow her. However he was picked up by the Gestapo and shot, for which she blamed herself. After the liberation of France Nancy Wake returned to London where she was awarded the George Medal. The French awarded her three Croix de Guerre and the Medaille de la Resistance and later, made her Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. The Americans awarded her the Medal of Freedom. Her autobiography was published in 1985 and was followed by a TV drama. In 2004 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia and latterly lived in the Star and Garter home for ex-servicemen and women in Richmond, Surrey."
UK

Nancy Wake

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