- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Harold Ashton, Albert Ashton
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 17 May 2005
This story has been submitted to the Peoples War website by GMR Action Desk on behalf of Harold Ashton and has been added to the site with his permission.
I was about 7 year old when war was declared and everybody was glum but as a child I didn’t really understand why. My father Albert Ashton was a coal merchant at Aspull, Wigan - and with coal rationing in place me dad was in great demand because the allowance wasn’t enough to keep a family fire burning for a week. He always said the hardest thing he had to deal with was the fact the government said the rationing for a family was only 50cwt per year- and he delivered fortnightly- so he used to say how do I cover the 52 weeks with only 50cwt of coal- there’s two weeks missing! Try telling that to the local customers- in effect there was a delivery short every year and he had to put up with a lot of grumbling because of it. And because of the coal shortage there was no black market in coal so me dad would spin out the ‘lost two weeks’ with off-cuts of wood or anything else he could get.
As a boy I used to spend all me spare time on the coal wagon - it was a big attraction for me. And because of that I never saw Wigan Athletic football matches or Wigan Rugby- so I’m probably the odd one out round here who even to this day has never seen a local football or rugby match- and that’s all because of the war and me dad being a coal merchant.
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