A few impressions of WW2



A few impressions of WW2


Writes that everyone was issued with identity cards, ration books and gas masks. Comments on necessity to carry gas masks and possible fifth columns. Continues with description of black out, bomb shelters, call up, an aircraft crash and taking in evacuees.


Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage




Three page handwritten document


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Copy to DA to keep
March 1995.
A few impressions of W.W. 2.
(Mother and I were living alone in Brent Eleigh – George was in Uganda until 1941.).
Every one was issued with Identity Cards. Ration Book – our numbers were TZDH1 & TZDH 2 – and a gas mask. This latter had to be carried at all times. For Mother, rules being rules, this meant AT ALL TIMES. I had a very smart red (invitation?) leather case for mine, but it soon wore out and was replaced by a black cylindrical tin. Most children seemed to me to be allowed to leave their’s [sic] at home sometimes but not me! I am sure I can remember Mother telling me to beware of German Soldiers disguised as nuns who would offer me chocolates! We can laugh now but there was a serious threat of invasion and obviously parents were worried for their children.
In order not the help the Luftwaffe all windows and doors had to be blacked out at night. This caused Mother – no great needle woman – great anxiety. Some of the curtains were quite thick and lined but we also had black [deleted] sateen [/deleted] thick cotton curtains on wires top & bottom [deleted] rather [/deleted] hung like net curtains. Car and bicycle lights had metal strips over them. All the sign posts were taken down in order to delay the German invaders.
Fairly early in the war huge army convoys
[page break]
there was an awkward bend [inserted] in the road. [/inserted] A soldier was positioned there to direct the traffic and I used to go up to talk to him. It turned out that his name was Francis (Gent). It seemed an amazing co-incidence. The convoys and the conversations with F. Gent seemed to last for ages. Perhaps this was in holiday time.
Families were advised either to build themselves an Anderson Shelter (from air raids) in their gardens or to [deleted] make [/deleted] [inserted] use [/inserted] the cupboard under the stairs. During an air raid you were supposed to go and huddle there. Quite often air raid warnings were false alarms and Mother got so fed up with trying to wake me up and drag me down stairs – quite often unnecessarily that she gave up.
Many of the older men in our area worked on farms and were not called up into the forces. Because food was rationed quite strictly the farm workers were issued with meat pies to give them strength for their work. Mother was in charge of this operation, which happened in the Old School, unused even then. People had to exchange a ticket for a pie [deleted] during [/deleted] [inserted] between [/inserted] certain times and God help anyone who was late?
One day an aeroplane crashed into a
[page break]
Copy to DA to keep
and all the local children rushed up to have a look. All I can remember is a big hole tons of mud and a few bits of silver metal.
Because we lived in the (fairly) safe country we had to take in [deleted] ic [/deleted] evacuees from, in our case, London. A Billeting officer inspected everyone’s house and decided how many evacuees you could accommodate. It was quite difficult to avoid having them. We had a Mrs. Tolly and two daughters from Tottenham. The food rations were pooled and Mother did the catering. I suppose Mrs. T. helped with the cleaning. The Tollys didn’t stay long as they hated the country. Mr. T. a lorry driver, missed his family and there was a [deleted] quite [/deleted] [inserted] quiet [/inserted] spell in Tottenham so they departed. Later on we had a Mrs. Lewis and two sons – a problem family who gradually were inflicted on houses all through the village. Because of their reputation Mother arranged to make them look after themselves. They were awful, dirty and disorganised, and eventually Mother managed to get rid of them by persuading her G.P. to say she would have a breakdown – probably not far from the truth. We were also responsible for finding a cottage for Michael Brown and his wife (cousin of George) to rent – again because it was safe in the country.


F A Cooper, “A few impressions of WW2,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 5, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/31385.

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