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Second World war

by John Sneddon

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John Sneddon
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John Sneddon
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Coatbridge Lanarkshire Scotland
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Contributed on: 
16 October 2005

Second World War Memories

I was Born in Coatbridge , just at the start of the war , I remember lots of things even now ,just as though they happened yesterday. My Town was in the flight path when German Bombers came over to Bomb Clydebank and the Shipyards on the River Clyde.
So I remember the Searchlights , with very powerful beams, that picked out the planes, so that the gunners could shoot them down ,another thing was the Air-raid shelters ,tenement closes fortified and bricked up both ends filled with bunk beds ,we endured Air-raids, every day and night as the bombers tried to take out the Manufacturing sites ,Rolls Royce Engine Works and Shipbuilding Yards two of the main targets. I would like to highlight some things that may jog memories.
1/Ration Books.2/Queues.3/Dried Eggs.4/Water Tanks erected in the streets in case the mains got bombed.5/Remember how you made your own Christmas decorations.6/Real Christmas Trees, with Candles ,” A fire hazard when you think on it now”.
The Queues everyone remembers them, you had to stand in line for hours, for most Foods, even the Cinema. We had no Televisions, no Computers and worse than that, no Personal Phones, could you have survived , not having your luxury’s.
Not only did we survive, but we were the people that revived the phraise “Necessity is the the Mother of invention”. Why do I say that ? read on
Mothers made Clothes from paper patterns, they were not designer clothes but practical. We also had to make our own toys, Snow-Sledges from bits of wood and any old metal that could be used as runners, Go- Carts from again old bits of wood and Pram Wheels.
We were outdoor living we played all day outside, Hide and Seek ,Cowboys and Indians, Rounders and Fishing for Tadpoles along with Football and Peever and Skipping Ropes , Parents never saw you all day, but in those days Children could be allowed to stay out, as it was safe to do so , crime was very different,I never heard of drug taking or drug pushers, as things stand today ,spare the rod /spoil the child, too many do-gooders no one is safe from crime or worse.
Food was scarce and again Mothers performed miracles, in those days coming up with meals made out of very little ingredients, when I see those children in Africa who are starving I can relate to them, some days we had nothing to eat, it was not a nice thing, believe me, to go hungry.
I always had a Job from as early as Six Years old, Paper rounds,
Delivering morning rolls,etc, this was to bring money into the house ,as I had 3 sisters and 2 brothers ,so money was very tight.

Also when I was young I remember that Horses pulled everything , the Bakers van, the Milkmans van, the Coalmans van etc, and milk was In large metal containers you took out a jug and the milkman filled it up from the container ,no fridges in those days the only thing you had was a marble slab and food had to be eaten or else it went off pretty quickly, a firm made ice and it was in large 3ft by 2ft slab, ,he delivered to fishmongers etc.
Street lights and those in houses were either gas lights or oil lamps, very poor lighting by to-days standards. Most shops were little corner shops , none of your large supermarkets ,the Coop was one of the bigger chains they gave out dividends once a year, very popular, in those days.
I also remember the Cinema clubs that we went to , I joined them all, as you got a gift at Christmas, and on your Birthday you got a card, does anyone remember the Odeon club song , I can sing it yet ,” We come along on Saturday mornings, greeting everybody with a smile we come along on Saturday morning, knowing it’s well worth while, as members of the Odeon club, we all intend to be , good Citizens when we grow up and jolly good company , we go along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile, smile, smile, greeting everybody with a SMILE.

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Message 1 - Re: Second World War

Posted on: 16 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Mr Sneddon

Could I very respectfully point out that the saying "Necessity is the the mother of invention" wasn't coined in WW2. The saying dates back in English to 1519, and in Latin "Necessitas ingenium dedit" dates back to ancient Roman times. But you are absolutely right in that it had to be put into effect on the Home Front in WW2.


Peter G


Message 2 - Re: Second World War

Posted on: 17 October 2005 by John Sneddon

I thank you very much pointing out my mistake,do I have to delete that passage?or do you delete it? the phrase should have said it was "Resurrected by the Home Front" regards John sneddon


Message 3 - Re: Second World War

Posted on: 17 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear John

I cannot delete anything that you or anyone else posts, only you have control of your stories. I am not a member of the BBC WW2 Team.

As to that proverb 'Necessity is the mother of invention', it is a common adage and I can find no evidence that it ever needed resurrecting.

It is a minor matter, but if you are interested in sayings it first appeared in print in English in the 16th century but was no doubt verbally prevalent well before then. Charles Reade had it in one of his plays (Cloister & Hearth, II, vi) in 1861, where one of his characters says "You know, necessity is the mother of invention" - which gets the reply - "Ay!, ay. That's old enough ...". It also appears in Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'.

I find the history and provenance of proverbs quite fascinating. If you share my interest the finest work you can consult for English proverbs is "The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs". It's an impressive work of historical scholarship and erudition, but still very accessible and far from being dry.


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