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Noel Care WW2 Memories - Hastings in WW2


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SHORTAGES AND RATIONING

Click for larger image "I worked in a grocers at the start of the war and I saw that the shortages we anticipated soon happened. Luxuries like tinned fruit disappeared, even biscuits were in very short supply. Such "treats" were kept hidden under the counter for regular customers. Eggs became less available and were replaced by dried egg powder, a useful substitute but nothing like fresh eggs. Spam too arrived from America. No one had ever heard of it and it was long time before it became really saleable. The only coffee we had was Camp liquid, made of chicory. Real coffee beans were for the well off.

Petrol rationing started in 1939. Essential services such as the ARP were kept supplied. In the early days of the war nearly all the vehicles used by the ARP were privately owned. The ordinary motorist, of whom there were very few, who's vehicles did not have a duty purpose, were kept in very short supply.

Food rationing was the bureaucrat's dream! The government stated that everyone was entitled to a certain amount of a particular item each week. The customer was obliged to register with a food supplier who clipped the food ration coupons from each person's ration book. These coupons were passed to the food office who returned a coupon to the shopkeeper for the total amount which then went to the wholesaler who supplied the goods.

The quantity of any item allowed per per person varied throughout the war according to government instructions. At one time it was one fresh egg per person per month and things like sugar, tea, butter or margarine were two ounces per week for each person of course the most strictly controlled items were those which came from overseas. It is only thanks to the bravery of our merchant seamen that supplies reached this country at all. The basis items which were rationed were tea, sugar bacon fats (butter, margarine) and meat. Cheese and sweets were added to this list later.

For other foods such as rice, tapioca, beans, tinned meats, there was a points system and the customer could use their points as they wished, if the food was available.

Clothing was also rationed on a points system and women became very adept at make do and mend. The one food which was freely available to all were vegetables, if you grew them yourself. The men who had gone to war had left behind allotments and gardens which the women took over, sometimes helped by the older men who could not go to war.

Click for larger image The government started a "Dig for Victory" campaign and parks, public gardens and even household flower beds were given over to growing vegetables. Oranges, bananas and lemons were never seen and were regarded with suspicion by young children after the war. As the war progressed other shortages began to take effect. Torch batteries, combs, hair grips, razor blades, even paper clips. Paper was reduced to a very poor quality. Squares of scrubby newsprint did duty in the smallest room! One thing was in plentiful supply. Cigarettes. Smoking was encouraged by the government as it was seen as being good for the nerves


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Letters from Lavender Cottage by Victoria Seymour
ISBN: 0-9543901-0-5   Copyright© Victoria Seymour 2002