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Lorrie Jones' Memories of the Home Front in Oxford

by Museum of Oxford

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Museum of Oxford
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Lorrie Jones
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Contributed on: 
16 December 2005

Name Lorrie Jones
Interview Date 20th April 2005
Subjects covered Home Guard, Evacuees, Digging for Victory, Make do and Mend, Rationing,
Location Oxford, Tackley, Banbury, Cornmarket,
People Included Major Cooper, Marks and Spencer’s

This is an edited extract of a recorded interview conducted by Museum of Oxford with Mrs Lorrie Jones. It has been submitted to the People’s War website with her permission. A full version of the interview transcript and audio recording will be available at the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies.

Home Guard
Oh, my father was, my father was in the Home Guard and it was, um.. the, sort of Captain of them, a bit like Captain Mannering in Dad’s Army, was Major Cooper from Tackley. And he’d got herds of Jersey cows which he used to milk and I can always remember that they, they were on parade and he sent his men off to milk the cows and my father said he wanted to go cos he’d go animals to see to and the pub to see to. “Oh, no, you can’t do that” so he said “Well I’m going to” so he said to the man standing next to him, “arrest him” and it was his brother so he wasn’t going to.. wasn’t going to be likely to arrest him.

…the two evacuees I mean, the room that they were in couldn’t have been bigger than just from that window. There was room just for a single bed in it and a chest of drawers and the two of them had to sleep in the single bed. I mean, people today would be horrified, why they wouldn’t have let it you see…

Digging for Victory
Living in the country was an advantage over people in towns because you did have access to rabbits, pheasants and that type of things, eggs from your chickens and suchlike.

Make do and Mend
We used to knit sea boot stockings for Russian Sailors with this horrible oiled wool. They used to allow it for you knitted these long socks. And we used to stick little… I shouldn’t think they’d ever read them… we used to stick little notes down in the toe… you know, when they went. You know ‘hope these fit and keep your feet warm’ probably, or something like that. Or ‘sent from a lonely little girl in England’ or something you know.! I mean everybody’d ‘make to and mend’. It was not like it’s a throw away society like it is now isn’t it. I mean your sheets were always turned sides to middle, and if, and handkerchiefs were a thing you didn’t get because they were always on coupons and you didn’t get the coupons just for things like handkerchiefs and I still, even now, are obsessed with handkerchiefs I must have got boxes and boxes, hundreds of handkerchiefs. ….

…especially with school uniform you see at Banbury, it took all your coupons to keep yourself in uniform so when I sort of left school and started work all I’d got was one skirt and one blouse which I bought in Marks and Spencer’s. My school friend and I went potato picking and earned some money and we came into Oxford and bought, and that’s when Marks and Spencer’s was down Cornmarket, and I, you can tell this blouse… I mean I was as skinny as they come and this blouse was, I think, size 38 bust which was miles too big but I didn’t even know clothes had sizes… do you know what I mean?

But, er… you got by. Soap was another thing, you see, you couldn’t get soap and um I can remember when we were at school and somebody would come and say that one of the chemists in Banbury had got shaving soap in, men’s shaving soap cos that wasn’t rationed or on points or anything so you used to all go and get these and then use that as soap.

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