World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Phyllis Lee (Brown)

Book Written At School In 1941....Part One - Clothes Rationing

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Phyllis Lee (nee Brown)
Background to story: Civilian

Front cover of book

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Phyllis Lee.
This is an extract from a book written at school by Phyllis at the age of 14. The authenticity of the punctuation and grammar has been preserved as written in the book.
Bill Ross, BBC People’s War Story Editor.

Part One: Clothes Rationing

The clothes rationing scheme was imposed upon us by the government for the good of the country. It may be a little tough for some people who are used to buying a lot of clothing, but we have to make allowances in war-time, and grin and bear all sacrifices. It really is a very good idea, and it goes a long way in helping us to win the war. The scheme functions as follows. On June the first we were informed we have twenty-six margarine coupons to last us till December of 1941. The reason for using margarine coupons is because they are spare, and they will save paper for new coupons. We have to tender a limited number of coupons for each rationed article of clothing we purchase. Children under four, seem very lucky for they don’t need any coupons at all. Milliners won’t have to be worried with coupons, for hats aren’t rationed. Coupons are not transferable, but you can use the coupons of any member of your family. Rationing helps the country in various way. It saved the unnecessary import of raw materials such as cotton, silk, leather, flax etc. It also helps us to sell our goods to other countries for money, with which we can’t do without. May people will save more. It will release many workers for war work. So do not get discouraged because you can’t buy what you want so often, but call upon your fingers and let them help to freshen up your last year’s clothes, and make those do instead of new ones.


Suggested Clothing...............................................................No. of Coupons
1 Jumper............................................................................................3
1 Overall............................................................................................4
1 Pair Pyjamas...................................................................................6
1 Petticoat..........................................................................................3
3 Pairs Ankle Socks..........................................................................3
1 Pair Shoes.......................................................................................3
1 Pair Slippers....................................................................................3
2 oz (ounce) Woolfer Gloves.............................................................1
TOTAL DEC. 1941............................................................................26


A longer lasting shoe

Part Two:Making Clothes Last

Longer In War Time


Most people in war time spend their holidays and weekends by going for hikes in the country because we’ve been asked by the government to use as little transport as possible, and so leave conveyances free for war works. Consequently, walking is making a lot of difference to our shoes and is wearing them out quicker. To make footwear last longer, we first have to pay attention to cleaning them. As a result of walking, our shoes and boots collect a considerable amount of clay and dirt. When cleaning them, the best way to remove the surplus dirt is to use a wet scrubbing brush and scrub it out. Stuff the shoe with paper and dry it slowly. To polish footwear it is advisable to use white cream, for coloured polishes are inclined to mark stockings. Suede shoes can be brushed with a wire brush or fine sand paper, to prevent them from getting dull and shabby. Shoe trees should be used to keep the shape in footwear. These also help to make the shoes last longer, for some people are apt to crack the stiffening in shoes. It is much more economical in the long run to buy two pairs of shoes and wear them alternately. It keeps footwear in better condition to give a rest. It also makes walking easier and doesn’t tire the feet so quickly.

New Spring Shoes:

A fine array of attractive colours can be seen in many shoe shops in Spring. This Spring, various new styles have been introduced in the way of footwear. Low heels, crepe soles, coloured laces, built in insteps and studded shoes are very fashionable now. We must be very economical with shoes in war time and great care should be taken to make the life of a shoe last longer than ever.


Keeping outer garments neat and smart

Outer Garments

We should take very special care to keep outer clothes neat and smart. By brushing them daily we can help to do this. When removing our coat, we should hang it on a coat hanger to keep the shape. If a coat has covered buttons, as soon as the buttons begin to wear, and the covering material rubs away, they should be removed from the garment and new ones replaced. To renovate cloth, use a little ammonia in boiling water and sponge lightly, then hang the garment up to dry. When it has dried, cover with a wet cloth, and press with a hot iron.

New from old

New Clothes From Old Ones

Clothes can be rejuvenated in various ways. A posy of flowers can make a lot of difference to a dark dress or a plain coat. Bright coloured hankies, clips, beads, brooches, can be used to break the monotony of a plain garment. A very attractive decoration can be obtained from the use of embroidery on belts, collars and pockets etc. Small bows on the shoulder and a frill around the wait of a frock in a contrasting colour looks very chic and becoming. In this way we can make our last year’s Spring and Summer frocks look like new and serve the purpose of new clothes.

Fabric gloves are the most economical gloves to buy. They can be cleaned by the simple method of washing, whereas kid and nappa gloves must be sent away must be sent away to clean and they soil very quickly. Fabric and woollen gloves look very charming when embroidered with pleasing coloured cottons.

The crown of a hat which is out of shape can be reblocked by damping with cold water, stuffing with paper and left to dry in a warm place. Steaming a hat freshens it, and removes the shiny surface, which may appear after a period of wearing. New ribbons and flowers help to brighten old hats.

The secret that isn't concealed

Inexpensive Beauty Hints
A Secret That Isn’t Concealed

The care Of Hair

If a person’s hair is glossy and bright, it is a sign of a good health. Dull and lifeless hair shows worry and ill health. Shampooing is essential to keep the hair clean. The regularity of washing the hair depends on what type of hair you have.
Greasy hair should be washed fortnightly, and dry hair less frequently. Shampoos vary, as does washing, and there are different shampoos for different coloured hair, but if nothing else is available, a drop of Lux dissolved in hot water is adequate. Hard soap should never be rubbed on the head for fear of damaging the hair. After washing, the hair should be rinsed in many rinsing waters until the last water shows no trace of soap in it. Then it should be dried slowly, and away from fire, for heat bleaches the hair. The hair should be brushed vigorously at least once a day. Brushing helps it in many ways. It brings a glossy sheen on the surface and loosens any knots in it, it also helps the pores to breathe. Grey hair should never be bleached or dyed because it is dangerous for the head and when it grows out, it looks worse than ever. The style of the hair should depend on the shape of the face. A round full face should ear something to make it look slimmer, for example, sleek at the sides and long at the nape of the head and curls on top. A long face wants a style to make it look broader. If the hair has a slight kink, it should be encouraged and coaxed into a natural wav. The beauty of a woman depends a lot on her hair, for it is said to b her crowning glory.

How To Have Admirable Nails Without Artificiality

A few minutes devoted to the care of the nails each day will keep them in good condition. The first and most important detail is to keep the nails clean, and free from surplus dirt, which tends to collect at the summit of the nails. To do this constant washing is intrinsic. If the hands are allowed to soak for a few minutes in soapy warm water, and a nailbrush used, it should removed all the unwanted dirt. A drop of olive oil rubbed well in before washing is very good to keep the cuticles soft, and pushed well down, to allow half moons to show, which adds to the beauty of the nails. After washing a little cold cream, or any other such like cream should be rubbed well into the hand to keep them soft and smooth. The shape of the nails should be made to follow the fingertips. A nail file is the best instrument to keep the nails trim and neat. To obtain a beautiful natural shine on the nails an amami stone is very good. It is a small pink stone, which should be rubbed on a wet palm of the hand until it produces a powder, which should be rubbed onto the nails. A buffer should then be used to buff the nails, and complete the process. It is advisable to use nail varnish and artificial colouring only on festive occasions, but it should never be allowed to stay on the nail after use because it makes the nails brittle and they break. Don’t let dirty and unkempt nails spoil the appearance of your hands for the sake of a few minutes devotion to them.


Lend to defend

Lend to defend the right to be free,
Is one of the slogans we frequently see,
It’s meaning is simple, its purpose is true,
If you help the government, they will help you,
They need the money to win this war,
So if it is possible, please lend them more
We’re fighting for freedom, justice and pity,
That is the moral of my little ditty.


Be a self supporting man
Help your country all you can,
Dig, Dig, Dig, for victory,
And win this war heroically
Think of the sailors on the sea.
Bringing food for you and m,
Guarding our shores from every foe,
Gratitude to them we owe,
Free the sailors from their dangerous task
Please carry on as the government asks
One and all respond to their plea
Dig Dig Dig for victory.

The Daily Round
It is morning again. There is the same monotonous routine of housework to be executed as there was yesterday, and the day preceding that. There is the fire to be lit, the breakfast to make, packing the children off to school, clearing away the breakfast things etc., all done with only the slow rhythmic beat of the clock and the occasional song of a bird to let you know, there are others at work. There is of course special work to do on special days, but you know if you do the washing on Monday, the following Monday the washing has to be done again, because the clothes have been used during the week.
There is of course a certain amount of joy in the daily round. You have the satisfaction of knowing that certain things have been accomplished, and they won’t have to be done again till the following day.
There is also the joy of knowing that each little article you clean or arrange belongs to you, and that you have the joy of taking care of it. You know that you windows look very charming, and that people admire them, because you’ve chosen such a pretty curtain, and you have taken such pains in hanging them up, you feel thrilled to know your labour has been appreciated.
When a housewife invites a friend to tea, she always has some pleasure in arranging the house, and preparing the tea. On such occasions, the best china, silver, table glass and table napkins are brought out. There is that special guest towel, and a tablet of toilet soap to be put in the bath-room, for the guest to use when she arrives. Vases of flowers are generally used to make the house look decorative. Then there is the tea to prepare. On a hot day it may be served in the garden. The most important of all is to be hospitable and make your visitor feel at home. Everything should be prepared before the guest arrives so that every available moment may be spent with her.
Whilst you are working through the day, you always look forward to a pleasant evening, whether it be spent tranquilly sitting doing some mending or knitting, or reading or entertainingly at the cinema or perhaps even a delightful walk on a summer’s evening. However we spend it we should always enjoy a well-earned rest, and you should make the most of it.


Wrong Side, Right side

How To Put On A Print Patch
Choose a piece of material that is large enough to cover both the whole and the thin area round. Never use new material. New print can be washed and faded to match. A pocket might be taken off or the sleeve cut short when material is short.
1. Cut the patch to a convenient shape. Make a single turning on the wrong side.
2. Place the patch in position and pin. Jack, then fold back the garmen and sew on the patch. Do not hem.
3 Remove the tacking and press.
4. Turn to the wrong side. Cut out diagonally from the hole to within ¼” of the sewing. Fold back trianglular flap, crease and cut away.
5. Blanket stitch together the newly cut edge of the garment and the turning of the patch. Make a special corner stitch.



Learn to laugh. A good laugh is better than medicine. Learn to tell a story. A well-told story is as welcome as a sunbeam in a sickroom. Learn to keep your troubles to yourself. The world is too busy to care for your ills and sorrows. Learn to do something for others. Even if you are a bedridden invalid, there is always something you can do to make others happier, and that is the surest way to obtain happiness for yourself.

Is Life Worth living?

Yes, so long
As there is wrong to right,
Wail of the weak against the strong,
Or tyranny to fight;
Long as there lingers gloom to chase,
Or streaming tear to dry,
One hundred woe, one sorrowing face
That smiles as we draw nigh;
Long as a tail of anguish swells,
The heart, and lids grow wet,
And at the sound of Christmas bells
We pardon and forget;
So long as Faith with Freedom reigns,
And legal hope survives,
And gracious Charity remains
To leaven lowly lives;
While there is one untrodden tract
For Intellect or Will
And men are free to think and act,
Life is worth living still.

Help me neither to proffer, nor to receive cheap praize.

If I am called upon to suffer, let me be like the well-bread beast, who goes away and suffers in silence.

Teach me to win when I may, and if I may not win, then above all I pray, make me a good loser.

Every child comes into the world with the message that God does not yet despair of man.

Take joy home
And make a place in thy great heart for her,
And give her time to grow and cherish her!
Then she will come, and often sing to thee,
When thou art working in the furrows! Aye,
Or weeding in the sacred hour of the dawn,
It is a comely fashion to be glad
Joy is the grace we say to God.

O Lord of Hosts, stretch forth, we pray Thee, Thine almighty arm to strengthen and protect the forces of our King in every peril of the sea, and land and air. Make us ever mindful of the price that is paid for our protection. Watch over the schools and homes of our land, that we the youth of this troubled time, may be filled to serve Thee in a better world where, in security and peace, all nations may freely love and praise Thy holy Name,

A good name, in man and woman, dear lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls,
Who steals my purse, steals my trash,
‘Tis something, nothing,
‘Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands
But he who filches from me, my good name,
Robs me of that, which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.


You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out above everything else are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.


It is a good thing to be rich, and a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be beloved of many friends.

Out of life’s duty shall blossom in beauty
A grace and glory to gladden the way.

Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best will breed in you a hundred virtues which the idle never know.