May Clement’s War

Speaker: Sandra Moore

18 February 2020

Our presenter at the meeting in February was Sandra Moore, a local lady whose information is always imparted with enthusiasm and humour. This time, dressed in a ‘pinny’ and turban and under the name of “May Clement”, Sandra recounted one woman’s experiences and memories of the Second World War.

Her stories: of children being evacuated, of couples parting at railway stations as their loved ones went away, of people’s houses being demolished by bombs and of the times spent in air-raid shelters (where both laughter and fear were part of everyday life), were amusing, informative and, at times, very sad.

She described food rationing from the point of view of the ordinary housewife whose pre-war cleaning job and been supplemented by a job in the munitions factory.   Descriptions of long waits in queues, desperate to purchase the rapidly disappearing meat or sausages, were followed by accounts of families trying, in comical ways, to retain normality, as festive occasions had to be catered for.   “May Clement” recalled eating odd meats (whale?) and equally strange “vegetables” gathered from hedgerows as attempts were made to eke out food supplies.

Each story brought back memories to those people in our audience, whether they remembered the war (and some did!) or whether the account reminded them of stories their own parents had told them years ago. The pre-recorded sound effects, alongside the somewhat unexpected thunder and lightning outside the Memorial Hall, added to the atmosphere.

Sandra’s presentation and role play were, as usual, most realistic. We enjoyed here ability to entertain and enlighten us in such an interesting way.