- Contributed by
- Chepstow Drill Hall
- People in story:
- Marjorie Pinchin-Chepstow Memories
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 24 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by volunteer from The Chepstow Society on behalf of Marjorie Pinchin and has been added to the site with her permission. Marjorie Pinchin fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
Continued from ID No 4110201
Mrs Horan was the Billeting Officer, Dr Horan’s wife at that time. Because I remember her coming to Mother late on the Thursday evening, which would have been the 31st August. Asking Mother if she would be a Billeting Officer with her on the Friday morning. And if she came up between sort of nine o’clockish would she come? Then off she went, to help with the billeting. Mother thought it was a dreadful arrangement, it was who would take them. People were eyeing them up and down you know, for social reasons, there was not a great deal of kindness. No people really didn’t want the children, as you can well imagine. She arrived back at late evening with Alfie & Jean. I think those two actually came from London, and Dad was in the Merchant Navy, and Alfie had been told not to lose sight of Jean. Well we were most impressed. Because they arrived they were terribly tired and they were very tearful. Father was here banging with a bag of nails, and rolls of black tarred paper, that he was putting up at all the windows. We were angry because we hadn’t had our dinner or our tea that day. Of course it was still quite light, it was sort of evening time, half past sevenish. And these two children arrived with a box, and we hadn’t seen a gas mask before, that was quite an impression. And the biggest bar of Cadbury’s dairy chocolate that we’d ever seen in our lives! we had never seen a bar of chocolate as big as that. But fortunately that Mother wrote, there must have been somebody in Chepstow that was responsible for these children, I don’t know, I really don’t know, I cant remember. But this lady wrote, and the letter came to Mother several times. She must have got a job as a Housekeeper, or somewhere as a resident, in a school that was evacuated. And she came before Christmas, and took the two children back with her.
I remember that food was very scarce, and I’ve seen Mother with slices of bread that she’d cut, trying to find something to put to keep the bread apart, for sandwiches for him for the night. And there wasn’t anything, you know, we just didn’t have anything.
Get the wallpaper off, you know, like you used to. Not that we had new to put on, but we had some sort of emulsion of a sort of, I don’t know what colour you would call it, it was off yellow, I called it! But it was very limited you see, I mean I expect Father had mooched that from somewhere!
And then we went to Porthcawl where we always went, to my Grandparents for Christmas, and when we came back we had Rita and Connie, who came from the Bull Ring in Birmingham, and when I look back on it now, it was horrendous. Well they were nice little kiddies, very clean, very frightened, and their Dad was in the Merchant Navy. I don’t know what happened to him, one doesn’t, never heard from them. Well Mother’s sister was a trained nurse, and the first thing she said to Mother when she saw this one child “do you realise that that child is a congenital syphilis child”. Well Mother didn’t know, we didn’t know such things. If there’s been a long history going through the generations you get a child without a bridge to its nose, it’s got a what you call a saddle back nose. And this child had open lesions on it. They are not infective, they are not. But poor old Mum nursed that kiddie, she dressed her arms and legs for the years she was with us, I don’t remember how long it was. It could have been two years. They certainly brightened our life up. We didn’t know anything about a Jug and Bottle. They used to go the Jug & Bottle, they used to get something in a, they were sent to the Jug & Bottle. And then they used to have to go to the ‘bag wash’. Well the ‘bag wash’ must have been a communal laundry. So that was quite an eye opener, we didn’t know anything about that.
And what was available for two children, I was already at Monmouth, which was an expense in itself. Had to be shared between four children, they all had to be treated the same. And my Grandparents at Porthcawl and at Rogiet were exceptionally kind, because they knitted and sewed, and shared what they could. And my Grandmother was good with her needle, so she had hand-me-downs. They were, they were lovely little children.
You came to like anything that filled that you up? We always seemed to be hungry, but we were never without food, but it was certainly not ‘a la carte’! We had wonderful pancakes, and we had wonderful scrambled egg, that was wonderful. Dried milk was horrible, didn’t use that at all, but we always had milk from Sharp’s, so I don’t remember being without milk. No, we always seemed to have porridge of some sort or bread and milk, or some such concoction.
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