This is my aunts story ( Joan Punter, nee Toller )- as she wrote it- March 2005.
I was born in 1940 so war was a normal state of affairs for me and my sister. The family ( grannie, aunts, uncles and cousin ) all lived in Oxford Road Cambridge. My father was away fighting the war in France, in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Uncle Bill was in the Fire Service and Uncle George was in the R.A.F. so men in uniform was normal. Uncle Russ and Uncle Arthur worked away some of the time in munitions, so ours was a world of women.
We grew our own veg and salad, kept the allotment going to help Bill, with chickens and pigs to feed. We made our own clothes often and baked cakes and pies.
Nights were spent sleeping under the air-raid metal ) table, surrounded by wire mesh on a red cross blanket. We had an Anderson shelter in the garden, which was cosy but cold and damp. e also went in the cubord under the stairs when the siren went, and took it in turns to sit on the gas meter! Luckily for us the bombers which came over Cambridge usually headed up north to bomb our factories which made munitions, but I remember the sickening siren sound, followed by bombs exploding. My daddy was driving these baddies away, and he later told us how he came back from Dunkirk with bombs dropping all around and near their boat. He kept saying " Please God get me home to my wife and children."
I was five when it ended, and all I remember then was red, white and blue everywhere, street parties, and best of all a new baby brother! ( Sadly I had friends whose daddy never came home as ours did.)
Joan ( nee Toller )
These letters belong to my auant 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. )Also letters from Georges mother Ada Broom, who lived in Cambridge.
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.
138 Hannair? Road
My Dearest & Best
Isn't it lovely to be able to walk & move about without feeling nipped up & numb with cold? It certainly has been a nice weekend, & it sure makes a difference to ones frame of mind. I have posted a letter to you yesterday telling you about the trek to a place called Beeston. am just having my afternoon cup- just ambling through today. No bosses about. I have not used half that lb sugar wich i brought back with me from my stock. I keep it in a cuboard just off the back of where I sit, & fill an envelope up to meet my immediate wnt. Does help a cup of tea down. Well, theres talk of rationing it still more, its going to be a bit of a 'do' & that together with less fats will certainly make us sit up & take notice. Try & eat everything you can- make a point of getting to your meals quicker so that you dont have to grab whats left. Get on with the codliver oil too dear. They are making an issue to children now, so the wireless told us yesterday, so, ( as usual ) on these stunts, there will be less avalible to the general public. We also hear there are some coupon shocks coming tommorow too. Well! Well!
Did you see "Hattus Bastle' now boy? Its on tis week, but, no thanks!! The morbid effect from reading the book still remains, so Im off those chcolates but am anticipating Sullivans Travels, which is a coming attraction & wouldn't mind betting it'll be on during Holy Week- all the best shows are somehow. I suppose you will hear now from Russ [ Broom brother] if Eddie [sister Connies husband ] got home this week after all. Hope he did .....
all my love
64 Wallor Road New Croos London SE 14.
1356935 LAC Cruden G
104 Wing Royal Air Force B L A
These letters belong to my aunt Joan Punter ( nee Toller ). They contain interesting home front information and political views of the war. They were written by my Great Aunt Marie Cruden( deceased ) to her husband George Cruden( also deceased ).
Marie refers to George as Peter Precious in many of these letters, this was because she was a Catholic ( originally from Ireland ) and when they first got together she didn't want to introduce him to her family as George because that was the Kings name! Some of these letters are written from London and from Nottingham where she lived at one point and also from Cambridge where they finally settled.
Friday. the. 16th May
138 Harrow Road.
Nottingham. ( plus Park of course )
My Own Dearest Peter Precious,x.x.x.
Anyway, the first thing to do is to apologise to you Mr Cruden, Dear Sir, for the omission to call you something, however, meagre, when sending an epistle. Its the old story, many around, and I leave the address until the last thing before closing the letter, and then forgot all about it while postbag is being closed up. As regards the X.X.X.X.X.well....... there's not the slightest excuse as you will notice.
Thanks for your long newsy letter, and ere this I hope you will have got the one sent you with the little photos in it. If you want the one with the hat on- keep it, but there's not a bit of stipulation about this. Well, I'm sorry that you had all that trapse around to get to G's. Anyway, it was nice to know that they made you so wecome. I say, I really was suprised to know that it had come to Smith going to 134. Old Margy has things all her way nad no doubt- even to mucking things up in her married life. Well, that's that, they cant marry, but have got to go on being pals. I'm sorry really, for the old people's sake, as they are such a dear old pair, that it must worry them actually, when they have such high moral principles. Now dear, as regards the weekend which you say you might possibly be able to get during my holiday. If it would be on the 6th, love, I really don't think it would be worth the rush and expense, because I should have to come back on the Saturday the 7th, in case there are no buses back on the Sunday, but still, if you could get leave so that YOU need not report back untill the Monday midnight, it would be worth it from your point if view. However, dear, I know you will do what you think is worth it. I could help with your fare if necessary, but my point is that unless you can have the benefit of a good few hours stay, it would not be worth risking a longer time of later on. What do you think?
It makes very sad reading indeed to hear of how London is gradually disappearing, and more especially the City as we know it. I take it Gamages are still going strong, in spite of Holborn being a bit knocked about. I somehow felt that the Houses of Parliament would be unlucky. Of course it was a nice building architecturally, but it was under 100 years old, as I see by the encyclopedia, that it was built in 1858.
This Hess business is certainly as bewildering as the events in the war in different parts of its theatre. Anyway, Bevin spoke his mind in no uncertain terms, and also the papers tone generally seems to be for more stronger measures to be taken as regards his person. It is ironic to read of his getting eggs, chicken, and everything else that is good, when the poor people of Plymouth and Liverpool, are probably looking for somewhere to house themselves, never mind, feed. I want to know why he should have wanted the Duke of Hamilton above all other personages, and WHY????? even when Hess was on the way to hospital was the Duke of Hamilton sent for to interview Hess as he had requested?????
Have we some fifth columnists amoung our- or rather the Scottish nobility? It rather looks as though they are after getting seperate Government, if they are adopting these king of tactics. Perhaps there was some arrangement for troops to be landed in Scotland- its a wild and rugged country in many parts, but the fact that Hess machine caught fire, and he himself was injured, rather than mucked the whole thing up. Personally I feel it wants a lot of explaining. Do away with the soppy senimentality which some of the press articles seem to try to indulge in, and use the third degree to the fullest on Hess, and then stick him up against a wall, and put all the bullets that his body will take into him. That would br the fate of any of our blokes who tried the traitors stunt, anyway. And what about the rotten French too. Fuelling the Jerry planes from Syria. Well let 'em, and may the R A F bomb and bomb em to blazes, for their treachery.
Well, darn the war talk.
Had another warning last night, or rather this moring 2 to 5. Jerry passed over, not much noise from him, and we did not have any guns. Our windows in the premises are now in, so thank goodness we are out of the dungeon like place, which until to-day has had thick wooden shutters up. Well, its wind up official in our house now. Mrs Wilde had all her case packed with clothes and valuables. deeds of the house, probate, etc. etc. which action has been caused through the evacuation which has gone on during the past few days of people from their homes on account of D. A's. Anyway, the whole idea is not a bad one ( I mean as regards getting some things packed up ) they might drop a few in Wollaton Park sometime.
I hope by now you have got the little photo back. Yes, I thought Boots were taking a long time over them- but I didn't ask why, because photographers who do the printing and developing seem to be few and far between here. The one nice place where I got the others done is no more, so that is why I took them to Boots.
Well, now, love I must ring off there are three or four certain persons, who suddenly find there are many things which must be answered tonight, and that is why I feel it in my bones that if I dont finish this now, you wont get it.
Cheerio, darling, all my love, and thoughts, and I hope you have a nice weekend. They have got the "son of Monte Cristo" running here and at the moment I am not sure whether to go, or wait a bit and get over my last weekend expenses. Do you want any cash by the way?
All the very best of love, thought hugs kisses, and I am so very sorry that you have such a bad cold. I somehow felt that it was unwise even in the heat of the last weekend, to leave off that pullover, and on one occasion you went without it altogether didn't you?????? I should have hagged if I had started on you, I know, but you will do what you think sometimes, and take a chance. Anyway, love I do hope you are feeling better. Mine is still hanging around, and my poor old lips couldn't be kissed even gently by you now.
Ever and always
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