These letters belong to my aunt Joan Punter ( nee Toller ). These contain interesting home front information and political views of the war. They were written by my Great Aunt Marie to her husband George Cruden. ( both now deceased. )
In several of these letter Marie refers to George as Peter Precious- as she was a Catholic from Ireland and didn't want to introduce him to her family as George ( the English kings name) she called him Peter.
Saturday the 25th April. [c. 1941]
138. Harrow Road.
My Dearest and Best
was pleased to get your letter this morning, of course, and was unhappy at the thought of London being in such a terrible state. Fancy the Shell Mex House being down- heavens what a crash that must have been, and they had super-shelters under there to. Whenever is all this awful destruction going to stop. Jerry seems to get every damn thing his way, and the powers that be do not seem at all capable of being able to relise what to do about it. Its to be hoped there are no Quislings in the government or in Offices. The falling back from North Africa, and gradually being chucked out again from Greece is worrying me very much.
More so, when ther seems to be no effort on the part of the Government to explain it - and poor old General Wavel is thrown aside now for someone else. It seem preposterous that such a thing could be done after the galant and brilliant achievement in getting his troops to the north in that record time. I have said, and I still maintain, that he was not backed up with either munitions or men to hold those places and to have allowed Jerry to have landed in such hugh numbers and at such speed, is surely where someone is grossly at fault. The watch was not strict enough obviously, and even though troopcarriers were used to a great extent, ther was surely some means either from the Navy or the airforce there to have prevented to a very great degree. It worries me terribly. They are nearer now and look very much to me as though we shall be bottled up between the Meditteranean and the Suez. The Conservative Government have been traitorous without a doubt. Either their ambassadors or Agents have not been doing their job properly, but letting the Germans filter through all our possessions in a disgraceful manner, or on the other hand the government have been warned by their representations in other countries, but they have not chosen to take any notice of them but adopted the attitude that our financial resources could achive anything which they ( the government ) chose to bribe or act on. The most recent glaring instance of this, is the trouble in the Iraqi district. How come they to allow a coup d'etat to come off if they were so anxious to watch the Oil pipe line. And a rebel to be in charge there? Can you answer me that?
My word, you boy, if you were anywhere about, I reckon you'd say "hold your nagging row for goodness sake, girl I Don't know write Winston Churchill" Well, and belive me I'm so utterly fed up with the mismanagement of affairs that I feel I'd do that too!!!!!
Ha.... Well, that's off me chest, so now I'll proceed with the business of this letter. ahem!!!!
Oh, grateful thanks for the parcel!!!! Everything is just exactly what the doctor ordered. Hope you got my letter of yesterday with the P.O. in. Do hope you have not quite spun out, love, did you get paid yesterday? Could you do with a little more dough? Don't empty the post office treasury.
I was extreamly interested to read how you spent your day's work. You do not seem to have such a harassing time as at Hatfield. Nice to know you have the same officers, and not such a long day in working for them. However, do please take care of yourself, and for goodness sake R E S T - got that?, rest a bit, and dont go careering round sight seeing. Fancy Waller Road looking so forlorn and damaged like that. Its awful to think about.
Now look, here young man, what on earth am I to do with the following returns:-
1/12 scarves?????????????? which I didnt knit anyhow??????
Sorry but our credit department is now closed, but if you wish us to return in your next parcel, we will give same our very best and undivided attention, thanking you for past favors, trusting you are, as we are at present, we remain.... Oh dear I have just been doing some letters for Smithy, and quite forgot. By the way, he's got the job he applied for at the Midland Bank here, so now we are waiting to see the sparks fly,
Well please dont faint, but we're going to the pictures this afternoon. I asked Mrs W if she would like to come, and then Guy said she would also, so we are going to see "All this and Heaven too" sounds quite etheral, but have heard it is good. Hope I don't have a good cry and come out with a fat head - you remember how I used to, when we had been to see "a good picture"
Well, love, its just noon, so I want to get this off to you to-day.
Well, cheerio, darling, all my love, kisses and everything else, and keep to the country side. Darling.
ever your own little wiff.
As written by my aunt Val Burroughs ( nee Toller ) March 2005.
Toys, Games and Occupations.
As my mother was into toys herself, she would be on the look out for any toy that she could obtain second-hand. She was delighted with a pedal-car she found in a second-hand shop in Bridge Street [Cambridge] and we would visit Shrives the toy shop near Christ's Lane and Eaden Lilly's basement toy shop. I remember going with my mother to an art shop in Trinity Street and buying watercolours in the four primary colours. Coloured pencils were restricted to those four colours. After the war I remember being just thrilled to have a wider range of colours. A girl in my class at Cambridge High School for Girls arrived at school with a packet of about a dozen coloured pencils and we all clamored around her asking where she'd obtained them. She told us a shop in Newmarket ( Woolworths I think ). Then Derwent pencils came out in Heffers and my friends and I used to go there each Saturday to choose another colour to add to our collection at 9 pence per pencil, which was quite expensive.
My mother used to take us to a shop at the corner of Bermuda Terrace to buy colouring books or magic painting books.
My uncles used to make me toys like dolls houses, monkeys or clown acrobats that swung between two sticks you had to squeeze; a balancing parrot.
We used to spend our time on the allotments- so many of my memories are of playing there and on the local Rec. in Richmond Road, where there were swings, a long rocking horse with a row of seats behind the horse's head and a really long swing with handles all along for several seated children- an older child would stand each end to keep the swing momentum going. Miss. Chandler used to take us onto the rec' sometimes towards the end of the school day. Then we would gather by a tree for the final afternoon prayer before being collected by our parents.
Mum went to Belfast for three weeks holiday to spend time with dad who was a Sergeant in the Army. When she came home she brought a baby doll for my sister and a white fur dog with lead weighted feet. My auntie used to knit dolls clothes for us.We decorated twigs with sealing wax-"blossom".
When my dad was due to come home on leave I remember drawing a picture of him in his uniform using the 'khaki' chalk.
When I'd been to the dentist in Newnham, mum took me to the toy shop there and brought me an orange pop-gun. The same shop sold us a toy sewing machine on another occasion. It did chain-stitch.
I remember tracing outline pictures from the newspaper using toilet paper as tracing paper as it was smooth, shiny and transparent.
Val Burroughs ( nee Toller )
About Michelle's Archives
This is a blog page for the archives in Michelle's own collection. It includes many of Michelle's personal family archives, tales and scrapbook items to all kinds of general archive items mainly from around Cambridge and East Anglia but some even more further afield. Search for items or subjects of interest under the categories below, by date or keyword, name or place etc. Any problems finding something or if you've any questions or comments please do get in touch by using the 'Contact' page on this website.