Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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Sherborne Bombing 70 Years On


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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.
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.
Clothing
South West
1939 - 1945

"I remember Gran Garrett cutting off the worn out feet of Granf's hand knitted socks. She then picked up the stitched on the leg and knitted new feet on to them."
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
South West
1939 - 1945

"I remember Aunt Lil showing me how to make a new belt. We saved the cellophane wrappers off of the cigarette packets. Everyone smoked in those days. She showed me how to fold the wrappers to make a strong section and then interlock it with another section to make a fashion belt. When you had a long enough belt you fitted a buckle."
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

"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.
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.
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.

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