From the Australian Women’s Weekly, February 1940 –
Category Archives: 40s Life
Hello, again, I know it’s been a while…but I have busy working and setting up my new online vintage store (still hoping for bricks and mortar one day). If you have time please visit at. http://www.kittenvintagemackay.com/
Anyway, it’s gray and cold and wet here in usually sunny Mackay, the perfect day to read old magazines and cuddle up with a cat or two.
We only get a few weeks of winter here, but on a rainy day like this I’d love to be sitting in front of a fireplace. I usually put the fake fireplace on the television (through YouTube) but the television blew up this morning after a severe thunderstorm…Well a chance to make the living room more vintage perhaps!
We hear a lot about ‘Make do and Mend’ during Wartime, especially when clothing rationing was in effect, but maybe you haven’t heard about sewing bees. Quilting Bees were popular in America in the early 1800’s, as a way for women to meet others and tackle large quilts that would be cumbersome by themselves. They provided socialization, friendship, wisdom and sharing of supplies and tools, and basically involved a group of women getting together and sewing.
The first mention I have found of a wartime Sewing Bee is in this article from December 1939 –Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia. Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was probably the one who began to make Sewing Bees popular in England and Australia during the War, forming a Red Cross Sewing Bee for the women of the royal household at the palace each week from as early as November 1939. You can also watch a little video her Great Sewing Bee of 1939 here.
This article from the American Woman’s Weekly in March 1942 is a little different, as rationing is not really mentioned, and the ladies are sewing more for themselves than the troops, but it is interesting to ‘see’ these ladies in action at their sewing bee.
Sewing Bees are obviously meant to be a cooperative event. There is a recent British TV show called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which is a reality TV contest type show, which to me loses the point of sewing bees, but you can watch it here.
Have you joined a Sewing Bee or thought of doing so? Tips for joining an online sewing bee can be found here.
I am in between scanners at present, so here is one Post I prepared earlier…
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the UK for most of WWII, from 1940 to 1945 (and again from 1951 to 1955). He is often stated as being one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, and his radio broadcasts help inspire the British people during the war. His children also did their bit to help the war effort.
Churchill’s only son, Randolph, served with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and the SAS), Eldest daughter Diana gained the rank of officer between 1939 and 1945 in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, middle daughter Sarah, between acting jobs, joined the WAAF and went on to interpret aerial photographs for British invasions.
Youngest daughter Mary worked for the Red Cross and the Women’s Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain). Mary also accompanied her father on several of his overseas journeys, including his post-VE trip to Potsdam, where he met with Harry S Truman and Joseph Stalin.
This article from November 1940 shows how the girls captured the publics interest-
Unfortunately Diana suffered nervous disorders and in 1963, age 54, while working for a suicide prevention organisation, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates.
Sarah is best known for her role in the film Royal Wedding (1951), with Fred Aistere, and she made about nine movies in total. Problems with alcohol led to her death in 1982 at the age of 67.
Mary, on her marriage Lady Mary Soames, was the last surviving child of Sir Winston Churchill, and died in 2014 at the age of 91. She left a fortune of more than £22 million, in trust to her five children, and in December 2014, Sotheby’s London auctioned on behalf of her heirs, 255 items out of her collection, including paintings by and memorabilia attached to her father. Mary’s daughter, Emma Soames, has written a book about her mother, which you read about Here.
- The utilities were often cut off after bombing raids – water, power, gas. Be prepared. Store bottles of water and some easy to prepare food ( a 3 week to 3 month supply is a good start). Have a back up way of heating water and food. Learn how to make a fire without matches.
- Grow a vegetable, herb and fruit garden for food, barter and healing (like comfrey for sprained ankles).
- Keep chickens and ducks for eggs. Be prepared to breed and butcher your own if you want to eat meat. Think about other small animals for meat and fertiliser, like rabbits and cavies. (People did actually resort to “roof hare” in war torn Europe ie. Cat). Get into aquaculture – fish are often easier to farm than cute and furry animals!
- If you have room, get a milk goat or two and a couple of beehives. Dairy foods and sweetners were rationed and hard to get.
- Learn to cook from scratch – especially basics like bread, stews and basic yoghurt and cheeses. Practice with powdered agh and milk and have some on hand.
- Learn to sew and have a good sewing kit so you can “make do and mend.”
- Have ” no tech” days – turn off the TV and cook, cool and heat without power.
- Have a stock of real books and games for entertainment when the power goes down. Get the kids to make their own board game. Learn an instrument.
- Keep a diary, or blog, or write letters to keep your language alive and your brain active.
- Cut down or cut out the alcohol, unessessary drugs and cigarettes, otherwise you may need to quit cold turkey.
- Shop locally and eat fresh (to back up your own home grown), walk to the shops and leave the car at home. It saves waste, can be cheaper and healthier and is better for the planet.
- If you want a job and can’t get one, volunteer – it can give you a boost as well as helping others.
- Keep a couple of lipsticks and hair dye kits (if you use them) on hand. They can boost morale.
- Also keep a stock of toilet paper – it is REALLY important! Moisturiser, toothpaste and soap are also important.
- Be nice to your family members, and ensure your children know to to do basic chores!
I am so grumpy with Blogger at present, and am again in WWII mode, that I have decided to resurrect this blog – I hope you’ll stay with me!
Being an avid watcher of shows about WWII, I am always interested to see that many people could identify an enemy plane by its silhouette, paint color and markings, and even sound. I suppose that after seeing enough of them, you would, but what about the first time – how did they recognise them?
They had help of course – propaganda posters and ads, and even articles in magazines, like this one from February 1942 in the Australian Women’s Weekly.
Of course the red dots, or rising suns, help a lot. I can just imagine little boys all over Australia and the US making models and painting them – and then probably pretending to shoot them down.
I have a kit for the boy somewhere, might have to dig it out!
Hollywood did it’s bit during WWII in raising much needed War Bond money. Hoyts Theatres and Fox films had ‘buy a bond to get in’ film premières, which in November 1942 alone raised three and a half million pounds. Stars such as Gene Tierney, pictured below, sold ‘a billion dollars’ worth of bonds in September 1942, in 300 US Cities.
Other actors helped out in different ways. In 1942 Hollywood workers themselves contributed 160,000 pounds to the Red Cross, and invested around 80,000 pounds a week in war savings – not bad for a little town of 33,000 people.
Actress Linda Darnell qualified as a nurses aid, and with her friend Ann Miller ran a day-nursery for mothers enaged in war work. Here is Linda Darnell rolling bandages for the Red Cross.
More than 2000 of Hollywood’s workers were in the Armed services by the end of 1942, and Hollywood also make training films for Allies, Government propaganda movies and sent copies of movies to troops in remote locations.
Some stars gave their metal jewellery to scrap drives, and others, such as Cobina Wright, pictured below, did their bit for the ‘Dig for Victory ‘ campaign.
As many movie making technicians joined the service, some actors spent their free time learning a trade, in case manpower shortages meant that movies could not be made. Here is Ann Corcoran using an Acetylene Torch.
Some glamour girls, such as Ginny Simms and Ann Jeffreys shown below, simply helped out as hostesses in US Service Canteens.
Photos from PIX Magazine, December 5, 1942
This wartime article from 1944 has great tips on how to store food in your fridge and pantry, and how to store things if you don’t have a fridge. Not everyone had a fridge in the 1940s – I know my grandparents didn’t have one until the 1960s, and used a Coolgardie safe instead, a very basic form of fridge which works on the simple principle of evaporative cooling, developed from the old meat safe.