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Open Features: Family Life: Seven A Grunting Pig

Lucy Oates recalls a time of gas masks and ration books.

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1940 was not a good year. We all had to register, then we received ration books and identity cards. This card had to be carried at all times and the ration books had to be produced when buying food or clothing.

The food rations were much smaller than we had been used to. I think we got two ounces of butter and four or six ounces of meat each week. I may be wrong about the quantities but they were very small. We were also supplied with gas masks in cardboard boxes, which we had to keep with us at all times. Thankfully I never had to use mine as you sounded like a pig grunting when you breathed out.

Things were going from bad to worse with Frank also. Instead of paying for furniture he had spent the money, then began to sell the contents of his home. Hilda was left only with the things she had with her at the hospital. The only remark she made was Hes buried me before Im dead.

Father went to a solicitor to arrange a legal separation for Hilda. Before he had time to take action Frank was picked up by the police. He was sent to prison for having sold goods he hadn't paid for.

The police Inspector was very good though. He arranged for Hilda to get a wifes allowance from the Army. Frank was eventually sent to the Glass House for stealing, then given an ignominious discharge. Hilda was put onto Disablement Benefit for which she received 7/6 a week. I saw Frank twice after that, but I refused to acknowledge him.


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