Growing up in Langley, some recollections

Rose Bowd (nee Orman) was born 1931 and lived at New Cottages, Langley.

I remember clearly the day of September 3 1939. As a family we were all at the Blackfield Baptist church and one man stayed home to listen to the 11 o’clock announcement by the Prime Minister. The man came dashing in and handed the minister a note which he read out, and said we were at war with Germany. I was seven at that time and my 8th birthday was nine days later. We didn’t have parties or celebrations in those days like they do now.

While the girls at school did the knitting the boys made vegetable garden and had gardening lessons. I can remember when cooked dinners began at school and we had to take 12 old pennies or a shilling a week for them. Before that we took our packed lunch along with our gas masks.

Mottoes were:

  • Dig for victory
  • Careless talk costs lives

Also the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service) used to come to school at about 11am with great urns of hot chocolate and we queued up with our mugs – it was really lovely.

Later in the war things were really bad with lots of air raids and little sleep.

All of our teachers at school were women as the men had gone to war. We all had to do our bit to help the war effort. We used to go into the fields after the harvest was brought in and pick up corn that had fallen on the ground to feed our chicken which we had about a dozen at the time. This we called gleaning.

Also we picked Rosehips to make into syrup which was good vitamin C for babies. This we had to give over to the Food ministry to make up. We made all our own jam. We had to give up having sugar in our tea to save for making preserves. We picked great baskets of Blackberries for jam making.

When we had a lot of eggs left over we used to put them into a big earthenware jar with Ising glass – a sort of jelly like preservative.  We could also use dried egg that came in a tin later in the war. Some people quite liked it. We used to mix it with water, then dip shredded wheat into it and pop it into the frying pan.  It was really nice for breakfast but not to today’s tastes!

Remembering the Home Guard bringing their rifles home for cleaning and polishing up their badges and boots.

The Black Out
We had to put up dark blinds or ‘blackouts’ up at the windows and doors as soon as it was dark. We couldn’t let any light shine from the house so as not to alert any enemy planes that there was a town or village below them. So if someone came to the house they had to call out who they were so that you could put the lights out to let them in.

Had to walk to Hardley School every day. Saw the troops shaving and preparing for D-Day

Black soldiers singing spirituals

Italian prisoners erected electric poles to bring electricity into the area.

At school knitted Balaclava helmets – put names in these

Fawley School closed for twelve weeks while air raid shelters were built.

Stirrup pump trials to put out incendiary bombs

Kept pigs, most pigs had to go to the war effort, and the Min of Ag took the pig away after it was killed.

Planes’ coming over at night before the brick shelter was built – it used to fill with water.

Ran to shelter with cushion on head to protect from flying metal or bomb casings sometimes called shrapnel.

Carrying gas masks all the time

Tanks and ‘bucks’ all down road to Lepe.

Used to stand in yard and watch the Doodle Bugs fly over.

After a bad night in the shelter still had to get up and walk to Hardley.

Italian Prisoner of war camp in Langley?

Contributed by Rose’s niece Heather Lowe

Date: 1939

Your Comment