- Contributed by
- BBC Cumbria Bus
- People in story:
- William Lennox Hall
- Location of story:
- Warwick Bridge, Cumbria
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 23 February 2005
After Dunkirk, when a German invasion was highly probable, the war office ordered all signs and names of villages to be taken down from signposts lest they were helpful to the enemy. One example of this in the village was on a building which was built with a dual role - part school and part Methodist chapel. It had, above its large front door, the words Warwick School engraved in the sand stone. This had to go to a local builder who got the job of filling it in with a special mortar mix to make the building anonymous, and it remains there to this day.
The black out as it was known was another feature of wartime Britain, with the country subject to enemy bombing raids, all windows which had lights had to be blacked out with dark material attached to the curtains. Every town and village had their air raid wardens and one of their duties was to check all windows for the smallest chink of light. If there were any, a knock on the door followed and the matter had to be put right. Also, all cars (but they were few) had fittings on the headlamps to allow only slots of light shining onto the road. The nights, consequently, were very black, but I remember the stars were very bright indeed.
During the war there was a big campaign “Dig for Victory”, where to ‘grow more food from gardens and farms’ was promoted because of the big loss of ships by U-boats, carrying food to this country. Every available square yard was cropped and farmers ploughed up pastures that had not seen a plough for centuries. Also in line with this food production, many villages up and down the country, kept a pig in sheds and small buildings, which were fed on scraps and later butchered, giving a good supply of ham, bacon, sausage and black pudding to help out the rations.
The wireless was big in these days — of course it was all BBC. The Churchill broadcasts were memorable and everyone made a point of listening if possible to the moral-boosting speeches of the great man. There was plenty of propaganda, but we did not see it in that light. A lot of advice was given, and one particularly useful one I remember was by a Mr C. Hill, a family doctor (who later became a minister in the Tory government). He had a five minute slot in the mornings which was useful and also entertaining.
With the evacuation of large numbers of North East children to this country, the schools had to be shared. Hence the local children would go in the mornings, and the North East classes in the afternoon. This lasted for about 12 months until the evacuees slowly drifted back home.
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