My family were all born in Wales, my father worked in the Welsh coal mines from the age of 12 years as his father was killed in the First World War. When the Second World War was declared my father joined the Navy and the family moved to Portsmouth to be close to the navel dockyard and dad’s job.
I can remember years later my father and mother talking about the war – dad’s boat was torpedoed but luckily he survived and moved onto another boat, many of his mates did not make it. Mum used to turn the collars and cuffs of his shirts to get more wear out of them as buying anything new was impossible at that time. Mum used to tell me about queuing for hours at a time just to get some bread or a few potatoes, even when we eventually came to Australia Mum found it hard to be ‘generous’ with butter, jam, and sugar after scrimping for years on rations.
My family were bombed out twice during the Blitz on England by German bombers, Mum said that the underground bunkers became more of a home than the one they had, I could not understand why when we moved here that we had ‘dripping’ instead of butter on our bread, it was some years later that Mum said that they got so used to going without butter that she made do with the fat that she was able to get off whatever meat was available instead, to this day I miss the dripping.
I know that my family lost most of their possessions due to the bombing but Mum never complained – we came Australia in 1951 and my brother joined the Australian Army a few years after arriving here, he said it was his bit to our new country and in memory of what we had gone through. ANZAC day is a time that I remember my parents, both now dead, and what they went through during the War and their remarkable spirit to ‘get through’ and eventually build a new life here in Australia.
photo credit: roberthuffstutter via photopin cc