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School Days

by M Davies

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M Davies
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M Davies
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20 August 2003

I went to Grammar School for the first time on the Tuesday after war was declared. In many ways it was a blight on our school lives. We had to get used to shortages and living with a certain amount of fear and disruption. There was a shortage of books and paper. There was a tennis court but no equipment, so none of us learned to play tennis. There had been a tradition of performing one-act plays but we had no after-school activities because there was blackout and air raids tended to be in the evenings. I do think the war was used as an excuse for the imposition of some deprivations! Perhaps these things were good for our character development, because we appreciated things when we did have them and learnt to be careful with everything. I still save brown paper and string! We did not mind when velour hats became unobtainable and we were allowed berets instead!
A measure of the seriousness of life was that, if we forgot our gas-masks, we were sent home to fetch them even though most of us lived two miles away. We were given extra clothing coupons if we were over a certain height and really we had very few clothes except our school uniforms.
One strange aspect of experience was that we had very close friends among the evacuees from Liverpool and London, but suddenly, when the bombing stopped, they disappeared and we never saw nor heard of most of them again.

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - School days.

Posted on: 21 August 2003 by Alan Vickers

Regarding the shortages, I remember that there was a general shortage of pencils. Because of this I learned to write using a 'nibbed pen' and ink from an 'ink well' in the school desk. The pen nibbs were usually 'crossed' and replacement nibbs were not often available, again due to the shortages. As a result my writing, and also that of many other pupils, was very poor.

The pencils that were available were unvarnished and were stamped
'Utility'. I still have four of these (coloured), one each of black, green, brown and yellow.

Alan Vickers.

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