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The Beginning - Part Three.

by Lancshomeguard

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Lancshomeguard
People in story: 
Mike Levens.
Location of story: 
Saddleworth
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4210949
Contributed on: 
17 June 2005

Shortly after the beginning of the war, my Mother joined the Womens Voluntary Service, or (WVS) at the first available opportunity.
They started their duries by cleaning out large houses, requisitioned for Refugees, but the houses they worked on were never used for this purpose.

My Mother, in conjunction with the lady next door, started a savings club, but they soon tired of it and so I got landed with it. The savings stamps varied from either six 'Old' Pennies, or, Half a Crown, (Two Shillings and Sixpence). You could also buy a Savings Certificate which cost fifteen shillings. I went round collecting the money from people who were saving, twice each week, usually on a Wednesday and a Saturday, and I did that right through to the end of the war, except for the two weeks during the war, when we went away on holiday to Blackpool.

This job of collection Savings was quite a responsibility for a 7year old who had to carry around between Ten and Twelve Pounds a week, in all kinds of weather. Rain, snow and mountain mists, which led to problems for small fingers. When it did rain, the stamps, which were gummed on the back, used to get wet and tended to stick together. This meant that they had to be floated in a saucer of water, separated, dried, and
re-gummed.

It wasn't without other problems. On one occasion I lost the purse with Fifteen Pounds and some stamps in. This caused panic and chaos, and that was just my Mum. My Father just went to sleep. But I re-traced my steps and found the purse in a heap of grass in the open meadow. It was a miracle. To me the loss would have been terrible, for in my mind I was trying to get enough money each week to pay the Pilot's wages in a Spitfire Squadron.

The Air Training Corps (ATC) found another way of raising capital. Yet again it was by the use of Saving Stamps. The ATC pulled a hand-cart around the villages. On the hand-cart was the tail-fin of a bomb. Locals were asked to purchase stamps and stick them on the fin. When they had enough stamps on it, it was returned to the Armourers who fixed it back on the bomb and then it was dropped on the enemy.

They also came round selling stamps to raise money to buy a Sunderland Flying-Boat.

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