World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                           M Hampson

Gravy Browning on Legs

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Mr. M Hampson
Location of story: Bradford
Background to story: Civilian


 

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Roger Marsh of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Mr. Hampson.

Gravy Browning on Legs

By
Mr. M Hampson

My two sisters used to buy leg paint at a local chemists, then they used an eyebrow pencil to draw a seam, they had to wash their legs before they went to bed because if they didn’t, it came off on the sheets. The chemist's was called Goodall’s; it was pulled down a long time ago.
During rationing the local women, some who had large families, used to exchange surplus items, so none went too short.

My mother, like a lot of women, had a shop bill which was paid at the end of the week. One week, on my mother's bill there were a few single items, e.g. one ounce of butter. She asked who bought these items, it turned out it was the son of the local vicar who'd come home from boarding school and brought his ration books with him and the items where put on my mother's bill. From then on she paid on the spot.

My mother threw nothing away; if an item of clothing got worse for, it was pulled to bits and remade into some thing else, the bits that were left, were cut into strips and made into a rug. We had an upright frame, my mother used to get sacks from the local shops and used them as backing. We had a new rug every Christmas; the old one got passed onto one of the local families, who in turn passed their rug on to someone else. The rugs must have, after a few years got very dirty.

I remember once we, as school children, got a food parcel from Canada, but I have forgotten what was in it.

My brother once brought a small uniform home. My mother remade it to fit me when the local soldiers went past. They used to salute me. Across the road from where I lived, was a cobbler's who was said to be a German, but he was never interned. My mother told me not to tell him where my brother was stationed as he was a spy, I could not have told, as I didn’t know, I think he was somewhere in Lincolnshire.

He once came home on a motorbike; he was only supposed to come to Leeds but as it is not very far he came home. The motorbike would not start, so he brought into the house to mend , he once brought a parachute home. This was made into knickers and underskirts for my two sisters.

My brother never saw active service; he was in three different regiments: The Royal Engineers, The Royal Artillery and finally The Durham Light Infantry. Why he got transferred I never knew.

My brother and eldest sister both got married on the same day, it was found that it would be cheaper.

At my school, the girls were taught to knit. They made matinee coats. My sister had a baby and I was given money to buy the coats if the girl who had made them did not want them.
At the wedding I was sent to bed a bit worse for wear. Under my chair was a crate of beer, so I had some bottles, how many I don’t know.


Pr-BR

 

 

More stories from Bradford in Wartime

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Mr. M Hampson
Location of story: Bradford
Background to story: Civilian

Photograph of war equipment that had been scraped and sent to Low Moor Iron Works for re-cycling

 

More stories from Bradford in Wartime

By
Mr. M Hampson

The local parks had what were called holidays at home. Events took place in local parks and the only one that I can remember where sheep dog trails, there was most likely others but I do not remember these.

There used to be a dance called the ‘Nelson Waltz’ at the end of the dance couples kissed. My eldest sister caught gingivitis with doing this, all her teeth were pulled out at home by the dentist who was called Ridev. There is a dentist of the same name currently working from the same surgery, if it is the same family it must be at least the grandson may be the great grandson.

During one the Bradford air raids my father claimed to have seen, from the attic window, bombs falling on a local radio station. During the blackout my mother woke up my youngest sister and told her to hurry up or she would be late for work . She ran to the main road and asked if the first tram had gone. She was told if she waited she would be in time for the last tram.

When my eldest sister got married her brother in law was in the fleet air arm he served on H.M.S. Battler, he got me some photos of hell cats landing and taking off, on the back they were stamped not for publication , what became of them I do not know. My brother brought a book home on aircraft recognition there where photos and silhouettes of British German and Italian aircraft.

Cigarettes were not easy to get, my father smoked woodbines, he was only allowed five woodbines and five pashas these were oval in shape. Yet on newsreels Churchill is always seen with a Havana cigar was this one law for the rich and one for the poor.

At the end of the war one of my family brought home some chocolate with German writing on the wrapper. I suppose that it had been diverted and a lot of things got the same treatment.

The Photos were take after the war near to Low Moor iron works, I think this may have been a case of turning “swords into ploughshares”.

I used to have two tinplate buses the livery was red and white, at the time local buses were painted khaki so got green paint and repainted them.

There was few Americans about if we saw one we used to say “Got any gum chum” they usually had.