Battle of Britain diary

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
603
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
Mum’s family had a Morrison shelter, but after the first few weeks it wasn’t used by the household because Salisbury wasn’t targeted and for the occasional alert they preferred the communal shelter just up the road. Apparently the dog used to sleep in it, and the kids used it as a stage....
She hated the gas masks though, and her sister struggled with one because she suffered with asthma.
Not surprised she hated them Tim. They were pretty revolting the smell of the rubber alone. Plus not as easy to breath as you were fighting with exhaling air through the valve then in haling through the filter.

Actually they would probably have made a rustic type model maker's mask :smiling:
 

Tim Marlow

SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
Messages
4,407
Points
113
Location
Somerset
First Name
Tim
I haven’t handled one, but I assume they were natural rubber rather than the synthetic stuff we have these days? If so, I can imagine how bad the smell was! Quite a logistical exercise though to make, distribute, and assign a gas mask for every individual!
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Wednesday 27 September

Fair in the south, but with cloud in the Channel.

Today would see a level of fighting not seen since Battle of Britain Day. It would be another decisive day in the battle, arguably one of the three most important of the Battle. This entry will again have to be split into several sections, covering the three major actions of the day.

After the successes of the last two days the Luftwaffe would make a large effort today. The Bristol works at Filton would be targeted again, a sensible follow up raid to ensure that production was further disrupted or halted, but London would also be the target for two daylight raids. It would be the first time a significant force had been sent in daylight, against London, for many days.

The day started badly for the Luftwaffe when a Ju 88 reconnaissance plane from 2.(F)/123 which had been sent out to reconnoitre before the main attack was intercepted and shot down by a Spitfire. P/O Eric Marrs of No 152 Squadron was the victorious British pilot.

“I set the ball rolling by finding a lone Ju 88 at 23,000 ft. I had a long running fight during which we came down to 50ft and skimmed the hills of Devon. I did continuous quarter attacks aiming at his engines and was able to hit both of them. Glycol streamed forth and I hovered around waiting. As I expected, both engines soon stopped. He made for the South coast of the Bristol Channel and landed about 20 yds from the beach. I circled around and watched the crew get out. They waved to me and I waved back and then hordes of civilians came rushing up. I watched the crew taken prisoner, beat up the beach and then climbed away.”

First attack on London:

In the morning the Germans dispatched twenty-nine bombers against London, divided into several smaller bomber formations, Ju 88s from II./KG 76, escorted by JG 52 and JG 54, Ju 88s of KG 77 and He 111s from KG 53. Fighter Command countered them with twenty squadrons with over two hundred Spitfires and Hurricanes. The majority of these were concentrated against the fifteen Ju 88s from I./KG 77. These had been provided with a close escort of twenty-three Bf 110s from V.(Z)/LG 1 and ZG 76. Forty Bf 109s from JG 27 flew ‘extended escort’. Twelve Hurricanes from No 213 Squadron were the first to attack. They got past the Bf 109s and went for the Ju 88s at full speed. The Bf 110s, however, caught them and shot down one of the British machines. In the confusion that arose, the ten Bf 110s from V.(Z)/LG 1 lost contact with the bombers and the other Zerstorers and flew northwest instead of towards London. This had disastrous consequences. V.(Z)/LG 1 immediately drew the attention of the RAF air controllers who ordered several squadrons against them. In the ensuing battle one of the Bf 110s would be shot down, No 303 Squadron would lose three of its Hurricanes. ZG 76, heading towards London further east, was attacked by twenty three Spitfires from 72 and 92 squadrons but managed to shoot down one of the attackers without any losses. Then the Spitfire pilots got into a difficult battle with the Bf 109s from JG 27 and JG 54. Both sides lost fighters, JG 27 two of its Bf 109s, JG 54 one. Nos 253 and 602 Squadrons, each with ten Hurricanes and Spitfires, also had joined the attacks on this formation when a second Bf 110 from V.(Z)/LG 1 was shot down. At Redhill, twenty-four more Hurricanes from 17 and 249 squadrons came in to attack the Bf 110s. Shortly afterwards, near Biggin Hill, another two dozen Spitfires and Hurricanes from 66 and 605 squadrons turned on the last seven Bf 110s of V.(Z)/LG 1. Several of them chased the Bf 110 which was flown by the commander of 15./LG 1, Oberleutnant Ulrich Freiherr von Gravenreuth. The German pilot flew low to escape his pursuers and did not notice he was coming in over Gatwick airfield, where several anti-aircraft guns and machine guns hit his Bf 110 with devastating effect. The Messerschmitt exploded, and the burning wreckage rained over the airfield.

The Bf 109s, with their limited endurance now began to turn for home with dwindling fuel loads, and there was not much that II./ZG 76 could do to rescue the remaining crews from V.(Z)/LG 1. Oberstleutnant Walter Grabmann, the commander of ZG 76, said,

“Over London we came under concentrated attacks by superior numbers of enemy fighters, which separated us from the bombers. The thirteen aircraft in ZG 76, I led the formation, flew in a defensive circle over London for more than twenty minutes.”

The aircraft of ZG 76 were pinned down by twenty-four Hurricanes from Nos 73 and 501 Squadrons which reported combat with ‘30-40 Me 110s flying in circles at 18,000ft over London’. In this protracted clash three Hurricanes and a Bf 110 were shot down. No 303 Squadron’s pilots launched an attack on the Ju 88s, which then broke off and turned southwards, four were shot down along with another Bf 110. Spitfire pilots from 602 Squadron who had taken off from Westhampnett, joined in and also attacked the bombers. None of the German units was in as much trouble as V.(Z)/LG 1 which finally turned and fled back towards the coast, it had been almost annihilated, with only three Bf 110s remaining. One of the pilots, Unteroffizier Peter Voelskow said,

“I did the only possible thing: low-level flight at a few metres over willows, hedges and the occasional houses. As I did so I made repeated quick, steep turns very near the ground in order to give my pursuers a more difficult target. Once one of them went too high and lost sight of us under his engine cowling. My radio operator Kurt Schwarz fired at him. The Hurricane rolled to the right and I almost rammed it as I had also just made a right turn and was flying roughly parallel to a slope. Then my other two pursuers lost sight of me, they fired over the crest of the hill. I continued to stay low at maximum speed until the middle of the Channel, when Kurt Schwarz pounded on my shoulders with his fist and screamed: “Let up!” The Hurricanes had not followed us any further.”

Having lost eight of its aircraft and crews, V.(Z)/LG 1 joined the German units that were taken out of combat. The morning had not gone well for the Luftwaffe. Its next effort would be against the Bristol works at Filton.
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Wednesday 27 September-Part two

Attack on Filton:


This attack would be undertaken by the aircraft of Luftflotte 3. Detailed to the raid were Thirty He 111s from I. and II./KG 55 and nineteen Messerschmitt 110 fighter-bombers from Erprobungsgruppe 210, escorted by the Bf 110s of I. and II./ZG 26. This time Air Vice-Marshal Christopher Brand was not fooled and correctly guessed that the raid was heading for Bristol. 10 Group met the Heinkels and their escort with five squadrons, making such a violent attack that the bomber formation was torn to pieces. The bombers jettisoned their bombs, mostly in the Sherbourne area, and headed for the protection of ZG 26, which was flying a defensive circle over Swanage, but the zerstorers were themselves under attack from No 609 Squadron, up from Middle Wallop.

The Bf 110s of Epgr forced on towards Filton and now attracted the attention of the 10 Group controller. The Observer Corps posts accurately tracked the movements of the Bf 110s for the entire 80 kilometres to Bristol. The German report reads,

“Five kilometres before the target we were attacked by fifteen Hurricanes in a closed formation, which interfered with the accuracy of the bombing.”

These Hurricanes belonged to No. 504 Squadron, which had moved to Filton following the previous raid on the Bristol works, and despite the twenty Zerstorers that escorted Epgr 210 having the advantage of both height and numbers, the Hurricane pilots quickly managed to gain the upper hand. They shot down four Bf 110s without any own losses. Then twelve Hurricanes from 56 Squadron joined in and shot down two more, also without any losses. I. and II./ZG 26 not only lost three of their Bf 110s, but they also failed completely to protect the assault planes. Of the nineteen crews in Eprg 210 four were lost. The Gruppenkommandeur, Hauptmann Martin Lutz and the ‘experten’ Oberleutnant Wilhelm Richard Rossiger and their crews were all killed. Forty of the Gruppe’s aircrew, including its last three Gruppenkommandeurs (Rubensdorffer, von Boltenstern and Lutz) and four Staffel commanders, had not returned in the last thirteen weeks of effort. As Epgr 210 was bleeding to death in the skies of SW England Luftflotte 2 was starting its second operation, against London.

Second attack on London:

There were two separate parts to this raid.

The first wave followed the orders that small bomber forces should be escorted by large numbers of fighters. The 30 He 111 bombers from II./KG 53 which would carry out the attack were covered by no less than 200 Bf 109s and Bf 110s. Park responded by ordering up twenty squadrons. While the fighters on both sides clashed, the Heinkels were able to reach London and drop their bombs across London, though no major damage was reported. All the He 111s returned to their bases with just two reported as damaged. For once the bombers had got through.

The second wave was not so successful. The units returned under orders to meet and escort a large formation of Do 17s and Ju 88s to London. The fighter pilots climbed above the agreed rendezvous point to wait for the bombers, but never found them. There was no wireless communication between the fighter and bomber units. The 55 bombers of KG 77 took off into cloud. Some crews tried to climb above the clouds, some tried to take a detour around them, others lost orientation in the poor visibility. As the bombers emerged from the clouds the unit commanders desperately tried to assemble their crews but when KG 77 eventually moved off towards England, the unit was stretched out in a long stream that allowed fighter attacks from all angles and reduced the mutual support of the fire from the bombers. When the Luftwaffe fighters finally made contact with the bombers they were already low on fuel. The debacle was concluded when almost 200 British fighters attacked. Many of the Bf 109s were attacked as they sought to withdraw to France and KG 77 lost eight of its Ju 88s. The unit’s losses for the day now totalled 12 Ju 88s. This action was once again an unequivocal victory for the defenders.
 
Last edited:

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Wednesday 27 September-Part three

The reckoning:


In total the Luftwaffe carried out 1,173 sorties over England in daylight today with almost no success. Less than 30 aircraft had scattered bombs across London and the Bristol factory was unscathed. For this it had lost 56 aircraft with a further 10 damaged. All of the crews from the aircraft shot down were either dead or prisoners of war. For its part, Fighter Command had lost 28 fighters with 11 pilots listed as killed or missing. Among those killed was No 303 Squadron’s P/O Ludwik Paszkiewwicz, the first of the Poles to shoot down an enemy aircraft when supposedly on a training flight, back on 30 August.

Today Adolf Galland was not flying. He had been summoned to Germany to receive the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross. He was hunting with Goering at his East Prussian estate. According to Galland (who is not an always reliable source) Goering left to study the report of today’s actions in the evening. Shortly after Galland was summoned to the Reichsmarschall’s study.

“…an Unteroffizier came and took me to the Reichsmarschall’s study. Instead of my jovial host from the breakfast table, I saw before me a broken man. With a tired gesture he showed me the latest reports. It was disastrous news. Deeply shaken, Goering asked me to tell him the truth without any euphemisms. He couldn’t understand why our bomber losses kept increasing. I told him about the same as I told Hitler… my admiration for the opponent and what I thought of exaggerated reports in the press and radio.”

The British were sure that they had won another victory. Churchill would say,

“27 September ranks with 15 September and 15 August as the third great and victorious day of the Fighter Command during the course of the Battle of Britain.”

On this day Fighter Command’s controllers had managed to lead 513 fighter pilots into combat with the enemy, the second highest figure since the record of 550 on 15 September. It should be emphasised that the Germans carried out almost twice as many fighter sorties on 27 September, a total of 998, which was in accordance with the new tactics, escorting bombers with overwhelming escorts. They had not worked, this time they were simply defeated by the RAF. No less than 36 Messerschmitt fighters had been shot down. The scale of losses in some units was unsustainable. V.(Z)/LG 1, which had been in the front line the whole time, had lost 42 Bf 110s in combat since the beginning of July 1940. In less than ten combat missions over the English Channel II./JG 52 suffered a loss of 13 aircraft and as many pilots. Oberleutnant Johannes Steinhoff, who at the time served as Staffelkapitan of 4./JG 52, explained how this affected the mood of II./JG 52.

“It had a great impact on the pilots’ strength. Our morale was badly affected and many simply couldn’t take it psychologically. We felt helpless and confused.”

Ulrich Steinhilper from I./JG 52, the only Gruppe in JG 52 that performed well during operations over the Channel, wrote a letter to his mother. He had led the Gruppe for the first time today, just 13 Bf 109s was all it could muster.

“It seems that you don’t think it will be over by Christmas. I believe there is still a chance. If not, then all of our missions which have hit the British fighter defences really hard will have been for nothing.”

These are not the words of men who see victory within their grasp.

On a lighter note, the dozens of aircraft crashing across southern counties provided opportunity for some, particularly the unidentified eleven year old boy in this Sussex Constabulary report. The aircraft concerned is a Bf 110 of LG1 which came down at Coppice Farm in East Sussex.

“Despite repeated police warnings that any person who took parts of crashed aircraft was guilty of theft and would be prosecuted, souvenir hunters were soon on the scene. One man took the spark-plugs out of one of the engines and used them in his own car. Mrs Message, on whose land the aircraft had crashed, had one of its wheels and kept it in a wheelbarrow in her back garden. One eleven year old boy got a set of spanners and dismantled two machine guns. That evening two policemen, Sgt Hibbs and PC Howard went to his house and took them away saying ‘If we don’t want them we will let you have them back’.

Good lad! I bet he didn’t get the machine guns back.

The Luftwaffe was back tonight, bombs again fell across central London. There were reports of bombing from all but one region of the country. An estimated 25 bombers attacked Liverpool. One bomb landed in the ground of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. For its part Bomber Command dispatched 86 sorties, mainly to the Channel ports, but railway targets in the Ruhr and the U-boat base at Lorient were also attacked. 1 aircraft was lost.
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
603
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
Food was a problem.

Father transformed the front garden into a potatoes field. The house semi two up 1.5 down

The back a chicken run 12 chickens. The remainder of the back garden rows of carrots cabbages turnips swedes & lettuce.

One naughty boy it was noted managed to rip all the leaves from the carrots. Tut unruly behavior.

Favourite on a Sunday tea. Mother made up a bowl of vinegar & sugar. Home made bread with the thinnest of margerine covering. Old fashioned deep yellow.

Dip the lettuce into the vinegar sugar mix & it was heaven on earth. Munch the lettuce & bread.

War was not all bad.
 

colin m

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
SMF Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
6,367
Points
113
Location
Stafford, UK
First Name
Colin
Great work again everyone and thank you all for your input. I know it's been discussed already, but I'm still quite surprised by the scale of the numbers Steve is quoting.
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
I'm still quite surprised by the scale of the numbers Steve is quoting.
It certainly was a different era!
I remember reading somewhere that the UK government had ordered a total of 160 Eurofighters to be operated by the RAF. The notion of hundreds of aircraft in the air at the same time makes no sense today.
On July 10 1940, shortly after the Battle of France and as the Battle of Britain began, Fighter Command alone disposed of 56 Squadrons, probably about 700 aircraft.
Then there were all the aircraft in Bomber, Coastal and Training Commands.

A fully equipped Spitfire in 1940 cost about £12,000. It is notoriously difficult to say how much that would be in today's money, but in terms of purchasing power that makes a Spitfire equivalent to over £600,000 today. That's still a bargain. How much for an F-35? Well, it depends on the type and specification, but let's call it £200,000,000....EACH.

BTW, to 'buy' a single engine fighter, invariably a Spitfire, your Spitfire fund had to raise £5,000, so you didn't really meet the cost even though you got your name on the side. Nonetheless, that was equivalent to raising about £250,000 today, and it was done time and time again. Try that with a 'go fund me' page :smiling3:
 
Last edited:

spanner570

SALAD DODGER
SMF Supporter
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
9,439
Points
113
First Name
Ron
I'm really enjoying this, Steve. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to give us a day by day, minute by minute account of the goings on during the B.O.B.

Here's couple of true stories told by my late father's bestest buddy.

In October 1940 HMS Ark Royal came to Liverpool for a re-fit. He was given the task of replacing parts of some wooden decking.

"I had just finished planing the boards nice and smooth when the air-raid sirens sounded, I ran for the nearest cover". The carrier received minor damage - Right where his lovingly planed deck happened to be situated.

On another occasion, he was walking at night with his wife along the riverside at Wallasey, which is on the Wirral side of the River Mersey, opposite Liverpool, When again the sirens sounded. it was night time and 'Blackout Black'. They ran to a small building and hurled themselves under some benches. The bombs dropped and when the 'All Clear' was sounded, they emerged from their shelter only to discover the small building was a glass bus shelter.

Thanks again to Steve and the contributors to this great thread.

Ron
 
Last edited:

stillp

SMF Supporter
Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Messages
3,613
Points
113
First Name
Peter
I'm still quite surprised by the scale of the numbers Steve is quoting.
Me too, not only the huge numbers of aircraft involved, but also the small proportion that had any success. Hardly surprising when you think how difficult it must be, first to find the enemy, then to get enough hits to put them out of action, but many books/films/comics seem to imply that most sorties involved shooting down a couple of enemies!
Pete
 

adt70hk

I know its a bit sad but I like quickbuild kits!!!
SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,907
Points
113
First Name
Andrew
Steve, Laurie and all the other contributors - thank you so much for this!

ATB

Andrew
 

minitnkr

Rabble & escape committee member
SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
Messages
3,013
Points
113
First Name
Paul
Great blog. Thanks Steve. PaulE
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Wednesday 28 September

Cloud over the Channel, Thames Estuary and much of southern England.

Following something of a debacle the previous day the commanders of all German Jagdgeschwaders at the Channel had again been summoned to a meeting with Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring and General Loerzer. Kesselring explained in very clear terms that Goering was furious about the high bomber losses. His instructions from 20 September that airstrikes performed in daylight would only be carried out by small formations of bombers, a maximum of one Gruppe’s size, escorted by very strong formations of fighters and Zerstorer units had obviously not been followed. The 60 Bf 109s and Bf 110s sent to escort 15 Ju 88s on the morning of 27 September were far too few. In contrast, the mission had gone much better when 200 fighters had been dispatched to escort 30 He 111s. This was the only raid that had reached and bombed its objective. Goering reiterated the importance of sending out overwhelming formations of fighters along with only small groups of bombers.

Today these instructions would be followed to the letter. In the morning Luftflotte 2 conducted two major operations with 120 fighters and only half a dozen bombers at a time. On both occasions both the British radar and air observers gave too low altitude for the intruders, with the result that the British fighter pilots ended up at a height disadvantage. The German Bf 109s were operating at up to 30,000 feet, where they had an advantage over the British Spitfires and at which height the Hurricane could barely fly, let alone fight. Richard Barclay of No 249 Squadron made a diary entry to this effect.

“We had hundreds of 109s above us. We were too high for the Hurricane anyway. An awful trip as we were quite helpless, just waiting to be attacked.”

Kesselring’s plan to use a few bombers to lure Fighter Command up to fight worked today. 11 Group committed squadrons which were ‘bounced’ by the Bf 109s, suffering heavy losses. Twelve British and only two German fighters, not a single bomber, had been shot down when the British radar detected what appeared to be 100 German aircraft on their way towards the Portsmouth area. With the raids on Southampton and Bristol fresh in his mind Brand was obliged to send off his fighters. The raid was comprised entirely of fighters, 42 Bf 110s from ZG 26 and 53 Bf 109s from JG 2 and JG 53. In the ensuing clash five Hurricanes were shot down. No 607 Squadron lost two of its experienced pilots, F/Lts William Gore and Maurice Irving. P/O Richard Jones of No 19 Squadron was another shot down.

“Suddenly four feet of my starboard wing just peeled off, my initial reaction was that it was poor show on a new aircraft. Then a loud bang and a hole appeared above the undercarriage. I was obviously the target for an enemy fighter up-sun…the aircraft was not responding to the controls, I realised too that the hood was completely jammed. I subsequently crash landed with a dead engine in one of only two suitable fields in a heavily wooded area outside Hawkhurst. Unfortunately, I did so amongst a flock of sheep and regret that several were killed.”

Air Vice-Marshal Brand would likely have been even more unhappy if he had known that the Germans had not lost a single aircraft.

None of the bombers had reached their targets, but that was not really the point. Fighter Command had lost 15 aircraft with 9 of the pilots killed. 11 of the aircraft lost were Hurricanes, which could not fight effectively at the elevated altitudes now used by the Luftwaffe fighters. The Germans had lost just 3 Bf 109s. The Luftwaffe had won today’s battle today, but it was no nearer it objective.

The Luftwaffe, as usual, was back over London tonight. Bombing was described as ‘evenly distributed over London’. Other bombs fell in the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent, but bombing was not as widespread as on previous nights.

Bomber Command dispatched 109 sorties to targets in Germany and the Fokker factory at Amsterdam as well as making the now routine attacks on the Channel ports. None of the aircraft sent to Amsterdam identified the target and none bombed. 1 aircraft was lost tonight.
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
I've just noticed that for some reason, probably as I saved the texts to my computer, the last few days have gone wrong relative to their dates. I can't edit them now but they should read as follows:

Wednesday 25, Thursday 26, Friday 27 and Saturday 28.


This leads us to:

Sunday 29 September

A fine start but cloud developing with rain.

Luftwaffe operations were limited by the weather today. Bombers, mostly solitary, raided extensively but were not intercepted. Between 06.50 and 09.00 bombs were reported falling on Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire and Surrey. Later, between 11.00 and 12.00 Essex, Kent Suffolk and Sussex reported bombing. Lowestoft was hit. Sittingbourne also reported heavy bombing.

At 18.00 KG 55 set off to bomb Liverpool. In order to avoid 10 Group’s fighters the bombers flew over the Irish Sea, following the Irish coast. They were intercepted by the Hurricanes of No 79 Squadron based at Pembrey in Wales. One bomber was shot down and two others damaged, but three Hurricanes were lost. P/O P F Mayhew made a forced landing at Enniscorthy, County Wexford, in Irish Republic. The Irish kept his aircraft, but he was subsequently repatriated.

Today the RAF had lost 5 fighters, including a No 253 Squadron aircraft shot down by another Hurricane, and had 2 damaged. The Luftwaffe had lost 5 aircraft with another 8 damaged.

The Luftwaffe made its usual nocturnal effort. London and the counties of Surrey and Sussex were most heavily bombed, but Liverpool was also attacked and bombs fell in Edinburgh and as far north as Aberdeen.

Bomber Command dispatched 79 sorties tonight, Homberg, Cologne and Hamm were the principal targets. Though invasion barges were know to be dispersing they were attacked in Dutch ports. All the aircraft returned safely.
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
603
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
Now running out of recollections.

Ration books. Issued to families. One for food one for clothes. At 2 years old I was unaware but they became more significant as I got to four or so.

1601374467044.png1601374503374.png
Going with my mum shopping to the Coop. They had a system in ugly metal rail. Money was put in a canister they pulled a lever & it wizzed around the shop to the accountant.

Sainsburys was also fascinating. Two long counters the length of the shop. Butter was cut from a block then patted into shape. Took a bottle & they poured milk in. Cheese mostly chedar stood on the back counter a great big roll. All ticked off in the ration book.

Clothes. grandma was a seamstress. Where she got the cloth no idea but she made my sister & I tailored clothes. She got hold of some American officer's cloth & made me a suit short trousers & a tunic.
Mother a knitter. My grandfather, a Shetlander also knitted Fairisle. he used a a round needle so there were no seams.

So here my sister & I all in handmade clothes . They were special . One of few pictures during the war as film was more or less unavailable.

1601373386068.jpeg
 

Attachments

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Laurie, my mum was fairly young during the war (born '32) but her mother taught her and my aunt to knit and it's something they both continued to do for the rest of their lives. My mum is no longer with us but as far as I know my aunt still knits.
My daughters both have dolls kitted out in clothes my mother knitted for them. They are much too old to play with them now, but they still keep them and their clothes :smiling3:
My maternal grandfather was a professional soldier before the war, so obviously he spent a lot of time away, though sometime after he got back from Dunkirk he became involved with the training of our earliest airborne forces up at what is now Manchester airport. I have a lovely letter he wrote to my mother on her birthday in 1941 (IIRC) from Ringway. At least he was based in the UK.
My grandmother came from a family of Kentish market gardeners and like your parents turned the garden into a large vegetable patch. They also kept a pig and chickens. I still remember a split level shed from when I was little. Apparently the pig lived below and the chickens above but the details of the arrangement I don't remember, I think the shed was replaced in the early '60s.
I do remember my mum telling me that the pig had to be registered with 'the Ministry', presumably of agriculture. I don't know about the chickens but I'm sure that any eggs would have been a welcome addition to the rations and also tradeable on the 'alternative' market. Again, my mother told me that what we now call rather disparagingly 'the black market' was, for most people who didn't have much money to spend, an unofficial barter economy. People who had a little extra of one thing swapped it for something else that someone else had a little extra, hardly the stuff of hardened criminality!
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
603
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
Yes certainly a different life now Steve.

Just to confirm we did not have a pig. We did have goose later although the poor thing did not know it was for Christmas. Also the agony my father went through in turning the goose into a non walking goose.

On the chicken thing. On the ration book you had so many eggs per week. There were 4 of us in the family not sure how many eggs you got but certainly not many.

Now if you kept chickens then you had to trade in your egg ration for chicken feed. But there is no doubt that the eggs we had were superb bright orange.
12 chickens probably 6 eggs a day so a good trade off. We were selfish the neighbors did not get any.

My mother was also a superb cook but even more a pastry & cake maker so we had some gorgeous food. Her jam tarts were something to behold which my sister & I scoffed in quick time. Plus got told off by mother for pinching them while my father sniggered behind her back. Sure that he pinched some.

She used to make stew a lot, cheap meat etc. however this was supplemented by dumplings. These were suet dumplings & wow this was the meal of the week.

Shame a lot has been lost. Shame we had a KFC last night. The KFC faces our flat. But first for a whole year after all we have the Pizza Hut also facing us.

Temps passe never to be reclaimed.







https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2010/01/29/temps-passe-pictures/
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,904
Points
113
First Name
Steve
My mum used to make a neck of mutton stew with dumplings (suet). She would have learnt that from her mother. Apparently, this is regarded as a cheap meal today, but I used to love it! Just writing it down is making me feel hungry.
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
603
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
My mum used to make a neck of mutton stew with dumplings (suet). She would have learnt that from her mother. Apparently, this is regarded as a cheap meal today, but I used to love it! Just writing it down is making me feel hungry.
Yes on the shopping list Steve the suet that is. Assume they still sell it.

Couple of lamb chops suet dumplings few sprouts & a baked potatoe.

Queen may not like it but I will invite Prince Phil. Bet he had that at Dartmouth College.

Added extra. No chicken in those days. Chicken was a Christmas day delicacy until the poor turkey reared it's ugly head above the parapet. Probably 1950's sometime. Depends how wealthy you were or not we were a not.
 
Last edited:
Top