Crowle at War: Part 6. War Weapons Week, Rationing – submitted by Bill Goldthorp
War Weapons Week.
The whole of Crowle, Catholics and Protestants, Women’s Institute, Men’s Clubs, Pubs, Political parties, Sports’ clubs all joined together in a special week dedicated to raising money for the war. The Crowle Show and Gymkhana occurred that week together with children’s sports day with fancy dress competitions etc, etc. All sorts of
money raising activities were organised which not only raised cash but had an equally important social effect of pulling the little town together, making us more friendly, mutually supportive and bringing to an end disputes and arguments that had lasted years.
There was one extra demonstration at the show, which had not occurred, in pre-war shows. This was the Home Guard demonstration, how to attack an enemy held pill-box or bunker or defend one against an attack, lots of noise, thunder flashes etc. all very satisfactory for small boys. Subject to extensive barracking by non-members, that is the Special Constables, Auxiliary Fire Service, Air-raid Wardens etc. who took the Mickey in a dreadful fashion.
A target sum was decided upon, I think that of 1940 was sufficient to buy a bren-gun carrier. The following year part of a spitfire, I believe that was a joint project with two or three small places.
Crowle Town Band, War Weapon’s Week. ? year.
I hope I can find a copy, but there is a photograph of the market square in Crowle during a War Weapons Week. Everyone is facing the Town Hall, in front of which a platform has been built; standing on the platform is Pinky Green, the County School headmaster, haranguing the crowd. on the front of the town hall a thermometer, with the target amount at the top and the amount so far raised marked in red on the thermometer. on the photograph the mark is black but I remember its actual colour
The second girl from the right, holding a tray is Hilda Mason nee Lowthorpe who still lives in Crowle, her friend on her right was an evacuee.
This was not too much of problem in Crowle, or I suspect for Scunthorpe surrounded as it is by a large agricultural area. Clothes were much more of a problem than food.
Food. Eggs, no problem, most people had plenty. We had no problem and after 1941 when I was given 6 bantam hens and a cock I was myself supplying other families, half a crown, two shillings and sixpence, (12 ½ p) a dozen. The following year I set three broody hens, 36 chicks and needed a proper chicken hut, absolutely impossible wood was rationed. That is what the authorities said; I gave an uncle the money I had saved and he ordered one. It was delivered in two weeks.
Aunt Ella who lived in Dinting a suburb of Glossop, my father’s sister would visit us about every four months bringing two suitcases containing her nighty, toothbrush and a change of underclothes. My father toured the local farms and bought all the eggs he could lay his hands on. I would cut up the Daily Mirror and Daily Express into squares. Aunt Ella, mother and I would the wrap the eggs up and pack them in the suitcases. Aunt Ella would go home with two suitcases full of eggs, except when there was an R in the month, then there would some links of sausages, a pork pie. Brawn etc. R in the month, you only kill a pig when there is an R in the month, May, June July and August are too hot. At home Aunt Ella had a large earthenware pot about three feet tall, the eggs were kept fresh by filling the pot with isinglass.
Milk was rationed, but my mother had been diagnosed as having a duodenal ulcer so we had two extra pints for her diet. All the farmers had two or three house cows but the problem with milk was transporting it. Most milk was put through a separator, the cream kept and the skimmed milk fed to the pigs. Friday morning the cream was put into a large barrel and churned to make butter.
A boring job, just the thing to occupy a boy, or so my aunts thought. The churn at Boltgate farm was bigger than a beer barrel. When I stayed with my cousin Arthur at Boltgate, Friday morning was when we went without breakfast and left the bedroom by shinning down a drainpipe as soon as we got up.
There was never any shortage of butter but few farmers ran proper dairies so we had to make do with our cheese ration. Mother and I went to Boltgate by bus every Saturday and every third week when he had the afternoon free my father came and fetched us in his car. Then we took some of milk home, which my mother used together with any milk that had gone sour to make cream cheese.