There are several sources of information
of the impact World War II had on the village held in the archives.
Collectively these reports and reminiscences paint a picture of what life was
like in the 1939-1941 period and give a good impression of the effect the war
Extracts from Cyrilʼs
memories describing the effects of WW-2
The weekend that war was declared saw the
arrival of a searchlight unit in the village, situated on what is now the
playing field off Fish Street. After several moves around the village, it took
up residence in what was the village cricket square at the side/rear of
Goldhanger House, which at that time was empty. The unit became larger and had
three lights, the largest, some 6ft across, was mounted on wheeled chassis.
They had a gun pit with a Lewis gun for aerial defence and spotter chairs in
the adjoining field, all linked by field telephones.
example of a WW-2 searchlight and spotters
When the lights were on and the
electricity jumped between the carbon rods in the lamps they would throw a brilliant
blue/white light onto and through the clouds, keeping enemy aircraft high and
blinding the crews so they could not see rivers and landmarks. It was possible
to read a newspaper anywhere in the village when these were in action even on
the darkest nights. They provided their own power from diesel generators, which
could be towed by trucks. The men were housed in huts at the back of Goldhanger
On a Saturday afternoon during the Early
Days of the Battle of Britain I was helping an old village worthy, grey hair
and long white beard, Mr. Prentice Jordan to pick apples in the old garden
field, now Thistley Close and part of the adjacent woodland. I was 12 years old
at the time. Over the Blackwater Estuary proceeding towards London was a large
formation of German bombers and fighters, stacked up at all heights. I gave up
counting at 300 and the old man was getting a bit hot under the collar and said
to me, as I stood wondering what was going to happen "never mind they old
b***s boy, lets get the apples picked". He was not going to lose his
apples to the enemy. Happy Days.
Another incident which is still clear in
my mind [on the 29th October 1940] is the crash of an ME109 fighter one hundred
yards west of Charity Farm cottages, on the Maldon Road just out of the
village. . .
A group of roaming ME109s at the latter
end of 1940 were making their way homeward over Great Totham, heading out to
sea, when they pounced on a flight of RAF Hurricanes on patrol. In the melee
that followed further Hurricanes appeared and joined the fray. The pilot of
this particular aircraft parachuted out and landed at Sheepcotes Farm, Little
Totham. He was badly burned and died in St Peter`s Hospital that night. He was initially buried in Maldon cemetery
and later re-buried in the German war graves cemetery at Cannock Chase in
We also had many more hairy situations
which could be described in detail, but other than the night bombing, when
Goldhanger had its share in and around the village, which luckily escaped
damage. The exception was the barn at Hall Farm that was struck with an oil
incendiary bomb which caused a fire and gave the local AFS team some practice.
They were near and handy, being based at the Old Rectory Farm. The main centre
of control was the Wardens Post at the Chequers public house. The phones were
housed in what is now the pub kitchen. I don`t know if this situation was unique to have an ARP post in the
pub, but it worked quite well in Goldhanger.
local AFS team in the Old Rectory farmyard during WW-2
The local fire watchers, whose duty it was
to be ready to deal with incendiary bombs with a stirrup pump, water and
sandbags, made their nightly rendezvous in the Parish Room,
which stood on the site of Wheelwrights
in Head Street. All were ordinary folk who had to take their turn of duty on a
roster basis. The small incendiary bombs were sometimes dropped in hundreds,
falling from a large container. They were not good things as I remember as they
would get stuck in roofs and all sorts of odd places. They were made with
magnesium, and once ignited burned very hot and soon started big fires.
Tobacco Fund started and by 1941 cigarettes etc. were sent only to local serving
1940 Competition - how to
make the most of the meat ration.
Agreed to change meetings to 6.30 in
evening instead of 2.15 as several members now working on the land. A Wool Fund
received for 40 Blood Donors for Colchester Hospital. Raffle Prize - bag of
Mrs B Appleton offered to see that the
school children had their milk during the holidays.
Ministry of Food urged all members to
preserve all surplus fruit and blackberries. A Jam Centre was started on 10
September. 613 lbs. of jam were made. Ten members offered to gather 3 lbs.
blackberries each week.
held on 1st Wed. at 6.45 pm so Totham and Beckingham members could come on the
Cigarettes sent to B Appleton, H Appleton,
E Appleton, B Blighton, G Baker, D Brazier, J Brazier, K Bunting, P Bunting, A
Chaplin, C Fuller,
time - putting on Hitler`s
moustache. Competition - peeling potatoes while blindfolded.
1944 Began knitting for
Liberated Europe. 5 lbs knitted during month.
McMullen proposed as a war memorial that money should be raised by whist
drives, dances, fetes etc. to "Build bungalows for the Aged".
from the Victory Fund were presented to local boys J Pledger, J Willis, R
Johnson , H Appleton, R Weaver, J Moulton, A White, G Baker, J Lane, C Fuller
who had been demobbed. Cheques would be presented to all boys and girls who
were in Forces.100 members and friends present at meeting.
Draw for parcel of groceries sent from
Australia. It was decided for a few months to do without refreshments at Whist
Drives owing to bread etc. being rationed.
Collection of books to send to Australia
and New Zealand in appreciation for gift parcels received from them.
Reminiscences passed on by a
“The Camp up at the Park” - we were not
supposed to be there since it was a War Department army camp, but, with others
I went there three or four times and can remember for certain where two of the
huts were positioned...
At the age of about four or five, I recall
being allowed to sit for a few moments one evening in the bucket seat of the searchlight
and turn a wheel which moved it around – a wonderful experience for a kid.
There may well have been two searchlights, with the second possibly in the
field to the south of Goldhanger House, but I cannot be sure. I cannot recall
any anti-aircraft guns, though there may have been one in the same field, too.
There was what I took to be a machine-gun
pit. I know it was there because I dived into it as a four-year-old during a
war game which we boys were playing and I all but knocked myself out on the
sandbags which were as hard as concrete and may well have been concrete. We
later learnt these pits held “Bofor” anti-aircraft cannons
Bofor anti-aircraft cannon
The Home Guard unit used to practise
firing "Home Guard mortars" at an old wheel-less farm cart near the
Seawall on Bunting’s side.
During the war while at school, we would
sometimes see groups of forty or fifty German POWs passing the school on their
way from Wilkins’s Bounds Farm to a lorry collection point at the triangle near
the former Rectory now Goldhanger House.
It is said that a couple of German PoWs
once stole a punt on the Blackwater and tried to escape back to Germany. They
didn’t get very far.
The day the war ended I was just five
years of age, but I do remember the evening in particular. I was sitting on the
ciderstone next to the pump when an RAF lorry pulled up outside the Chequers
and several RAF men went inside, except for one. He seemed to be fascinated by
the big-wheeled village pump and came over to look at it. I asked him what was
happening and he said: ‘The war’s over.’ I have always remembered that. A
little later in The Square some people were waiting for the celebrations to get
under way and for ‘something to happen'. People were building a bonfire in the
middle of the Square from old bits of wood and furniture and other stuff just
to get a blaze going, so they could have a laugh and a cheer. Some of the men
went up to Emeny’s and dragged a cart back down Church Street to the bonfire to
keep it going.
After the war, while still at Goldhanger
school, we would get occasional food parcels and tins of malt syrup (or
molasses) and chocolate powder from Canada which were handed out by Mrs Waring.
One year our family had a big tin of boiled sweets from Tanganyika.
About the time the war ended, villagers
clubbed together to run coach outings for the war-deprived children of the
village – one to Southend, another to Clacton and the one best remembered to
Major Bill Hopwood
Bill Hopwood participated in the WW-2
assault on St Nazaire which took place in March 1942 when he was a 2nd
Lieutenant. Bill later married Winsome, daughter of Charles Page, in 1952 who
lived at The Old Rectory, Goldhanger. Bill died in 1962 and Winsome died in
2000. She always spoke proudly of Bill’s involvement in the Saint Nazaire raid,
but few details were forthcoming other than he was one of the officers
mentioned in despatches. The raid was successful in demolishing a large
lock-gate, but lost the lives of a large number of British commandos. Hopwood
survived but was one of those captured and interned as a prisoner of war until
the war ended. After his death his family presented his military medals and
papers to Chelmsford museum.
is much more here about...
Hopwood's involvement in the St Nazaire raid
(not in chronological order)
the beginning of WW-II Sadds of Heybridge were contracted cut down many of the
large Elm trees in The Avenue for use in the war effort. (the remainder
disappears due to Dutch Elm disease in the 1970s)
fine old elms once
seen along The Avenue
1939 Mrs Page of the Old Rectory received a certificated from the Queen for
"services to your country and opening your door to strangers in need of
WW-2 the Maldon Road was closed to civilians and had barriers manned by army
personnel. This was probably because of the searchlight base on the Park near
the Rectory/Goldhanger House. All residents were given passes to allow them
enter and leave the village.
well as the "spotters" referred to in Cyril Southgate`s memories above, there was also a
"listening post" post located on high ground three hundred metres
past the red brick house on the track to Lauristonʼs Farm, where two
wooden huts were located. These spotter and listening posts could have been
equipped with a "Post Instrument Plotters" similar to
spotter/listening post at Darcy and were a very simple but effective forerunner
to radar. . .
King George IV at the Darcy Listening Post
with the "Post Instrument
Plotter" and "Height Adjuster"
When an aircraft was spotted the
coordinated and elevation were telephoned to the local operations centre who
took readings from other spotters in the area and, using simple triangulation
on a large-scale map, would determine the position, height, speed and track of
the approaching enemy aircraft.
Rectory with two and a half acres of land had been put on the market in July
1939 for ₤3100. During the war the building and land was used by the army
and it has not been used as a Rectory since.
Messerschmitt fighter aircraft Bf109E-4 Wnr 5562 was shot down on the 29th
October 1940 whilst on a low level fighter bomber attack on RAF North Weald. It
crashed beside Goldhanger Road, Maldon. The pilot Hans Joachim Rank was
severely wounded and later died of his injuries. [See Cyrilʼs memories above]
air-raid shelter was built in the village school
playground in 1941 and remained there until well after the war.
an air raid in 1942 a German bomber passing over the village was caught in the
beam of a searchlight based in The Park. The bomberʼs gunner attempted to
fired his cannon towards the searchlight but one of the bullets went through
the roof of the Cricketers Inn, ending up imbedded in a landlordʼs
Boston bomber crashed in the estuary near Lauristons farm in 1942 having taken
off from Bradwell aerodrome. One of the crew was killed. Teenagers from the
village attempted to reach one of these aircraft ʼto remove the Perspex
windscreensʼ, but an RAF patrol launch fired warning shots to persuade
them to return to the shore.
is said that a Hurricane crash-landed in the field directly across the D’Arcy
road from the Park and army camp. Some boys went up to it a day later hoping to
find live bullets, but there were none to be seen. One of the boys said there
was blood in the cockpit, but the pilot was said to be okay.
1942 a Spitfire came down to the east of Osea Island. The pilot survived.
a training exercise during the war an RAF Mustang and a US Thunderbolt had a
mid-air collision just east of Goldhanger. The Mustang came down in a field
between Goldhanger & Darcy and the pilot bailed out and landed safely in
the same field. The Thunderbolt made a wheels-up
landing on Stone beach on the other side of the estuary.
1940 and 1943 the government ordered that Church bells must not be rung except
for air raids and St Peters Church would have complied with the order. However,
as in WW-1 it is likely that most of the ringers would have been serving in the
forces and so not available to ring.
January 1945 a German V2 rocket "Big Ben 544" came down in the
Estuary near Bounds Farm and exploded. The farm building were damages and
pieces remained there for many years. A large part is still in the mud flats
near Osea Island. . .
Remains of the V2
still in the Estuary
the war USA personnel from the Messing aerodrome came to Goldhanger for machine
gun practice on the mud flats. After their practices they would call in at The Chequers and a row of Jeeps would be seen
parked against the Churchyard wall.
reconstruction of USAF Jeeps outside the Church
WW-2 an American USAAF fighter pilot who was living at the Old Rectory
horrified residents with his dive-bombing antics over the village, he was
eventually stopped by the Parish Council who wrote to the Commanding Officer of
his base. However there was one final event when two fighters flew very low
over the village square just above the tree-tops at dusk preventing the
aeroplanes from being identified.
Henry John Hawkins is recorded in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
website as a WW-2 casualty and is buried in Naples war cemetery. He was killed
in 1943 at the age of 26 and was: “Husband of Joan Isabel Hawkins, of
Goldhangar, Essex”. A photo of his grave and these details are at... www.twgpp.org/photograph/view/1953924.
A Hawkins family has not been identified in the village, but genealogy searches
have identified at Goldhanger a: “Joan Isabel Sweetland, spouse of Henry John
Hawkins", she was the daugther of George Sweetland, Farmer of Falcons
Hall. She later re-married into the Campe family, who were later also the
farmers at Falcons Hall. George Sweetland donated land in Fish St. to enable
the building of the British Legion Hall.
Maldon Road resident in the Army and based in North Africa was badly burned by
a bomb explosion while he was refuelling a British tank with a petrol engine.
Fish Street resident who served as an RAF officer during WW-2 was posted Belsen
at the end of the war to help liberate the POWs, an experience he could never
widow of a paratrooper killed at Arnhem lived after the war with her parents at
Lavender Cottage. It is not know if the paratrooper himself ever lived in the
high-explosive bombs of 250 - 500kg weight fell around the farmland in the
centre of the village. One landed by the roadside, near the Maldon Rd shop and
took off most of the shopʼs roof. The thatched roof of the barn at Hall
Farm blazed and the bomb killed two of Simpsonʼs cows. During
investigation of the crater by the shop next day, a bomb disposal soldier who
climbed down into the hollow became gassed and was extracted by his mates, blue
in the face and unconscious, to be taken away by ambulance.
incendiary bombs fell in the village in WW-II. One fell on land next to the
village shop in Maldon Road, before the bungalow at number 42 was built.
Another fell near Falcons Hall. Other incidents are described above in the
extract from Cyril Southgate?s Memories above.
Hall Estate teenager retrieved an unexploded incendiary bombs and dismantled it
in his fathers shed, clamping it in the bench to work on it.
the war miniature submarines were occasionally seen across the Estuary near
Osea Island. Long after the war however it was learnt that these were mock
wooden vessels places there to deceive the enemy into thinking there was a
military base on the Island. See. . . Estuary
Activities - Military
road bridges over water near the Essex coast had holes drilled underneath them
in the structure by the army ready for explosives to be placed to demolition
them in the event of an invasion. Those holes can still be seen under many of
them, including in the Wave Bridge at Heybridge, where they can still be seen
from the towpath.
prisoner of wars billeted in Witham were brought to Goldhanger to work on the
farms. Crawshay Frost who spoke fluent German,
frequently chatted to the POWs and acted as their translator.
the end of WW-2 one German prisoner of war stayed on just outside the village,
living in an old railway carriage at Fruitfields Farm for many years. He
claimed to have fought on the Russian Front for four years. With his regimental
survivors he retreating into Germany, only to find that his wife and children
had been killed in the bombing of Dresden.
the end of the war when the searchlight battery was being removed, troop were
seen depositing surplus ammunition into Rectory Cottage pond. After they had left
the village, teenagers fished the live shells out of the pond and used them as
large semi-circular corrugated iron Hut, adjacent to Falcons Hall was said by a former Falcons Hall owner to have come from the WW-2 USAF airfield at Messing, also called RAF Birch. It was moved to Falcons Hall just after the war
when it was still a working farm, and replaced an ancient timber framed
barn that was in a bad state of repair and had to be pulled down. The history and appearance of the hut would indicate that it is a USA designed "Quonset hut" and not a Nissen hut, which were UK designed and made for WW-1.
the Quonset Hut at Falcons Hall
o After the war, surplus funds collected in
the village to support those who had served, plus a generous donation from
TESCO founder Jack Cohen, were used to purchase a
pre-fabricated wooden hut for the veterans which became known as the British Legion Hall. The land was given by
local farmer George Sweetland whose son-in-law
Henry Hawkins was was killed in the conflict.
after the second World War several redundant military aircraft seats were
acquired and were used for many years as seating in the Chequers
Inn tap room.
Armistice Day parade in Church St. in the late 1940s
or early 50s.
The village school and tithe barn are in the
Censorship at the time meant very few newspaper
articles were published
1939 An emergency census was undertaken by Maldon Borough Council in
1939 to compile the number rooms, spare mattresses, blankets and sheets that
each house had. Fees were paid to each household taking in evacuees and foster
children. Although Goldhanger participated in the Maldon Borough Council
scheme, it is not known how many evacuees were billeted in the village. The
information is held in the "Roll of Householders" preserved in the
Essex Records Office (D/B 3/10/20 - but closed until 2040). More details in the
book entitled: Migration to Maldon published
by Maldon District Council in 1995, Maldon library ref: E.MAL.940.53. A certificate was issued to the households
who took evacuees, this is a copy of the one issued to the Page family at The
Old Rectory. . .
1939 an abridged version of
a letter from the book entitled: "Migration to Maldon" published by
Maldon District Council in 1995. . .
September 1939, expectant mothers, of which I was one, and mothers with
children under five, had to report to the school in Churchfields, Woodford.
Several double-decker buses arrived, and in due course set off - none of us at
the time having the slightest idea where we were going. We eventually arrived
at Goldhanger. The people of Goldhanger had unfortunately been led to expect
that they would be getting a group of unaccompanied schoolchildren, but despite
this they turned up trumps and billets were found for everybody.
and another expectant mother were sent to the pork butcher Mr Scobell, who had
a house in Fish Street, Goldhanger. Mr Scobell didn't have a shop, adjacent to his
house he had a small, newly constructed building, where he cut up the pig
carcasses ready for him to deliver in his van. He was a German who had been a
prisoner of war during the First World War, had married an English girl and he
had remained in England since. It was a lovely billet. Not surprisingly, we ate
various cuts of pork, I didn't ever find it too rich and there were always
plenty of home grown vegetables. Mr Scobell had what he called his field garden
- an allotment at the top of the street. Mr and Mrs Scobell had two sons, one
of 21 who was in the Army and Alfred who was 14. All the water for drinking had
to be fetched from the pump at the top of the street, and I have a lovely
snapshot of Mr Scobell and Alfred standing by the pump, with the container on
wheels. The water used for washing ourselves was so soft, that it was very
difficult to wash the soap off.
occasion which stands out in my mind, was when we were invited to tea by the
novelist Marjorie Allingham. She lived in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, in a lovely old
house, which I remember as having a very big kitchen with an Aga cooker in it.
Marjorie herself looked rather like a figure from a fairy tale, wearing a long
black dress and she had a little white apron over it.
problem was where were expectant mothers to go during confinement? The powers
that were, solved the problem by taking over an empty house on the road between
Goldhanger and Tollesbury. They also managed to find enough furniture for me
and other mothers with little children, to be able to occupy the house. The
idea was that these mothers would do the cooking and look after us mothers with
our new babies. A retired nurse came in to see us each day. On the 3rd of
October 1939 one month arriving in Goldhanger my son was born. After the birth,
Mrs Scobell from the billet came in Mr Scobell?s delivery van to visit me, and
brought a little stone coloured vase with some honeysuckle. My stay in
Goldhanger was a very special time for me. The weather had been perfect.
1940 short extract from "Luftwaffe Fighter-bombers over
Britain". . .
1941 Essex Chronicle - Goldhanger Fire Watchers. A successful meeting
was held in the Village Hall, nearly 40 volunteers registering for fire
watching including 9 of the A.F.S. Group.
1942 Bill Hopwood participated in the WW-2 assault on St Nazaire which
took place in March 1942 when he was a 2nd Lieutenant. Bill later married
Winsome, daughter of Charles Page, in 1952 who lived at The Old Rectory.
is much more about...
Hopwood's involvement in the St Nazaire raid
1942 part of a letter from
the Essex Aviation Group to a Goldhanger resident in May 2000. . .
1944 The D-day landings took place on the 6th
of June 1944. Over 800 Dakota/DC3 aircraft took off from all over south east
England to transport 20,000 paratroopers to Normandy. Here is a newspaper
cutting from the time...
Some of these aircraft undoubtedly passed over
Goldhanger, having taken off from Essex and Suffolk airfields to the north of
the village, such as Earls Colne and Messing. As part of the 75th anniversary
of the D-day landings on the 5th June 2019, twenty one Dakotas took off from
Duxford and passed over Goldhanger on route to Normandy. This photo captures
the scene at Goldhanger and conveys what was probably seen in 1944...
1945 The Times - Obituary - On Active Service, 16
February 1942 at sea near Sumatra, Eric John
Kempson, Lieut. R.N.V.R., aged 25, the second son of Mr & Mrs
Eric Kempson, Corner Cottage, Goldhanger,
Essex. . .
Lt. Kempson was reported “missing at sea”
from HMS Prince of Wales when it was attacked by the Japanese. Corner Cottage
is close to Rockleys and is today in the parish of Tolleshunt Major. Maud McMullen
who lived at Rockleys and was well known in the village was his aunt. There is
an oak chair dedicated to her in the village hall. His sister was the actress
Rachel Kempson so he was the uncle of Vanessa, Lynn and Corin Redgrave.
Essex Newsman - Goldhanger, with a population
of 360, sent 50 men and women to the services, all of whom returned to receive
a gift of 17 guineas as a welcome home token.
Essex Newsman -
A fifth accident caused by unmarked WW-2 defences in the Blackwater Estuary
caused the death of a Goldhanger man while fishing from a small boat.
Conscription started on 27 April 1939 for
single men between 20 and 22 years of age. Then at the outbreak of war, on 3 September
1939 all men between 18 and 41 years of age were called up. Those in vital
industries and occupations were classed as "reserved" and some men
were rejected on medical grounds. Individual could volunteer for a particular
service and offer particular skills.
By 1942 all males between 18 and 51 years
of age and all females between 20 and 30 years of age were liable to be called
up, however there were many exemptions:
shopkeepers, teachers, priests, police, fire, ambulance workers, medical and
hospital workers, undertakers, utility workers: Water, Gas, Electricity and
workers in essential industries, etc.
It is know that a significant number of
skilled Goldhanger men worked in Sadds, Bentalls, Warren Iron foundry in
Heybridge and on the Causeway making war related items so would have been
exempt from call-up.
A list of those who serves in the armed
forces is at... Residents who served in the armed
By mid-1943, almost 90 per cent of single
women and 80 per cent of married women were conscripted into employment in
essential work for the war effort. They were not put into the armed forces and
most went into:
auxiliary services: ATS, WAAF, WRNS, WVS, The Land Army, Air Raid Precautions -
ARPs, The Fire Service, The transport services: railways, canals and buses
Pregnant women and those with dependent
children under fourteen were invited to "volunteer" for local war
The last wartime conscripts were released
or “demobbed” in 1949 and peacetime conscription called National Service was
introduced on 1 January 1949. Healthy males between 17 to 21 years old were
"called up" for 18 months service, and remain on the reserve list for
a further four years. National Service ended gradually from 1957 and the last
National Servicemen left the armed forces in May 1963.
The Land Army
Three months before the beginning of the
war the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries formed the Women?s Land Army. It
was initially voluntary, with many women from towns and cities working
seasonally and part-time as needed on farms and were billeted locally in
farmhouses and cottages. Later in the war conscription of girls over 16 was
The Home Guard
In May 1940, the Government made an urgent
appeal on the radio and in newspapers to all men aged between 17 and 65 not
already serving in the armed forces to become part-time soldiers, initially
called Local Defence Volunteers (LDVs). Women were not recruited. At first no
uniforms were supplied and only armbands were issued, and the public were
invited to donate shotguns and pistols. Only half of the force was ever
supplied with armes. In 1943 "nominated women" were admitted into the
Home Guard as cooks, clerks and drivers. One of the main roles of the Home
Guard was to patrol the coastline so this would have been an important
assignment for a Goldhanger platoon. Nationally over 1,600 members of the Home
Guard were killed while on duty. They were mainly killed in air-raids and while
disarming live ammunition.
Evacuation of civilians
The Evacuation Scheme of civilians during
the Second World War was designed to save civilians in Britain, particularly
children, from the risks associated with aerial bombing of cities by moving
them and billeting them in the private houses in rural areas thought to be less
at risk. Goldhanger was one such location, see the 1939 letter above.
"Operation Pied Piper", began in September 1939, and relocated more than
3.5 million people across the country.
Food & Drink
The Ministry of Food instituted food
rationing in 1939. Everyone had to register at chosen shops, and were provided
with a ration book containing coupons.
Some basic food items were only available
in a government controlled form eg "National bread", "National
butter", "National margarine" and "National Cheddar". Commercial
versions of these products were banned. "National Dried Egg powder"
came from the USA. The national loaf of wholemeal bread replaced ordinary white
loafs, to the distaste of most housewives who found it mushy, grey and was
blamed for digestion problems. Bread could not be sold to the public until the
day after it was baked: the stated reason was to reduce usage.
Many people grew their own vegetables,
encouraged by the successful "dig for victory" poster campaign. Many
also reared chickens in back gardens and were encouraged to do so by a
favourable exchange of food coupons for grain. Like many non-rationed items,
fish was rarely available and long queues built up at fishmongers and fish and
chip shops. Fish prices were controlled from 1941. Goldhanger had its own fish
and chip shop during the war, maybe selling locally caught fish, although
defences places in the Estuary and some practice firing ranges may have made
fishing difficult and impossible.
Fresh milk was limited and the Ministry of
Food created two types of powdered milk. "Household Milk" was dried
skim milk for general consumption. "National Dried Milk" was dried
full cream milk powder for feeding infants.
The Ministry of Food issued many leaflets
and suggesting recipes, often dedicated to specific topics such as "The
Magic of Carrots". Cooking demonstrations by school teachers and other
specialists were held regularly in public places and would have been conducted
in the village hall. Educational short movies on cooking were made for showing
at local cinemas, and BBC Radio ran a morning radio programme entitled
Aware of the impact rationing would have
on morale, the government did not ration bread, potatoes, cigarettes or beer.
More concerned about workers not turning up to work due to hangovers or worse
being drunk, so instead of rationing beer the government introduced strict
opening hours. Public houses were only allowed to open from 11am until 2pm, and
from 5pm until 10.30pm. These restrictions that were only eased in the 1990s.
In 1942 civilian petrol rationing was
terminated and was only then available for "official users" such as
emergency services, public transport and farm vehicles. Fuel supplied for these
uses was dyed and its use for non-essential purposes was a serious offence.
Black-out regulations were enforced at all
times during the war covering private and public buildings and vehicles. All
the stained glass windows in St Peters Church were blacked out so that the
normal Sunday evening service could continue. All street lights were
permanently switched off (there were none then or now in Goldhanger). White
lines were painted on roads and on the edges of vehicles (private cars were
mostly black at that time), and torch batteries were in very short supply.
Within a year the regulations were relaxed due to the many accidents and deaths
and a 20 mph speed limit was introduced. In 1940 all road and rail signposts
and maps in public places were removed.
Gas masks were supplied to everyone in
case the enemy dropped gas bombs. The majority of WW2 gas masks contain blue
asbestos, which is now classed as "category one carcinogenic". They
were never used.
Recovery of metals
A government call for scrap metal to
recycle into Spitfires resulted in the removal of decorative iron railings
surrounding civic buildings and open spaces, and millions of aluminium
saucepans were collected and melted down for the war effort.