- Contributed by
- East Ayrshire Libraries
- People in story:
- mrs clarke, Mary Muir McCall, Mary Boyle (Borland)
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 22 June 2005
These memories of Darvel during the war were told to East Ayrshire Library staff at Darvel World War 2 café day on Saturday 18th June 2005 by Mrs Clarke, Mary Muir McCall and Mary Boyle (nee Boland).
Mary Muir McCall was 14 years old when the war started. The Dances were great but clothes were scarce. Mary had one dress to wear for the dancing. Once they got blue linen bed valances and Mary made a blouse with them while her sister made a dress. Both girls remember being made pyjamas. One pair out of red parachute silk while Mary Boyle had scarlet pyjamas made from a Russian flag. If you got a coat one year you had to wait until the next year for anything else.
How our mothers feed us was a mystery. One day a week — usually a Wednesday — when you knew you weren’t getting meat. Then it was usually soup and an apple sponge. Fruit wasn’t in great supply. Two ounces of carmels had to last you all week. Allotments were utilised to supplement the rations — one year Mary’s dad got onions to grow so we had lots.
Eggs were stored in a bucket preserved with gel — water glass — that the girls thought was horrid. Despite the rations people were happy and you didn’t have the problems you get nowadays with overweight people.
A number of different regiments were stationed in Darvel. Gordon Highlanders were billeted in the local factories ad the band practised in Hastings Square. The Highlanders marched down to the town hall for their lunch and dinner. The Highlanders were the most friendly according to the girls!
Canadians, SAS and engineers were also stationed. Once a soldier came into the GPO with a parcel to send home — it was a dead animal!
Mrs Clarke remembers the land girls in uniform coming every morning by lorry to work on the farm. They did all sorts of jobs around the farm including mucking out the byres and helping with the calving. Girls came from all over to work on the farm. She also remembers 9 evacuees from Clydebank staying in the bothy after the Blitz.
On 5th of May when peace was declared everyone gravitated towards the square.
Girls’ Training Corp
There was a Girl’s Training Corp in Newmilns that trained at Lady flora’s Institute. The girls met once a month and were taught bandaging and first aid.
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