We had a special Messy Church for Remembrance on Wednesday 6 November thinking about God’s message of love and peace. There was a Messy congregation of more than 60 people, aged from 3 months to some who were, well, quite a bit older! We were very honoured to have Ann Perry, Ian Silcox and Pat Alexander with us who shared some of their wartime memories of a very difficult time, reminding us how important it is for everyone to work for peace. They told us how everyday life was completely changed by war; here are a few of their memories:
Ann: We didn’t go to bed in our bedrooms…instead we dressed in our sirens suits, an all in one type of thing. Mine was green corduroy.
Pat: Heavy curtains at windows and doors. Never putting a light on in a room after dark without pulling curtains across first.
Pat: Every aspect of food strictly rationed. Vegetables grown on every available bit of land. A Mars bar would be cut into 7 pieces to last the week.
Ann: Most foods were rationed. As a child of that time sweet rationing was what concerned us most….
Ian: as an 8 year old I was frightened when an aircraft was overhead. An incendiary bomb came through the window of the bedroom where my younger brother and I were asleep. It caught the bed alight, waking us up. We rushed downstairs and quickly left the house with our mother. Our father was on fire watching duties elsewhere and seeing the blaze, rushed home and thankfully with neighbours managed to extinguish the fire.
Pat: We would hear the throb of enemy bombers and wonder if they were passing over on their way to Bath, Bristol or even Coventry. Next morning we would collect the silver foil streamers they had dropped to confuse the defence system.
Ann: We were very scared when we heard the drone of the German bombers overhead…then the whine of the falling bomb… the loud bang on landing and the awful smell of fire and destruction. The exciting bit for us was going out in the morning to hunt for pieces of shrapnel for souvenirs!
Pat: As school children we were expected to do our bit of war work – helping the farmers where we could – potato picking, stoking hay or just leading the horses. VE Day was the day I was sent away to boarding school.
Ann: We had to leave Plymouth during the blitz and schooling was almost impossible. I went to three different first schools and three different grammar schools, which meant we never made lasting friendships. But we survived!
During the session children made poppy crafts, including delicious biscuits and Chris led a very moving worship time of prayer and praise, which started with a rousing sing-a-long of some wartime songs.
We enjoyed a tasty wartime meal of bangers and mash and took part in an unusual sausage quiz, devised by Sue Eve. See if you can answer some of these questions…..
- Where does the good old sausage originate from? Is it: a) Iraq b) Germany c) Britain
- How many sausage recipes/flavours are there in Britain? Is it a) 800 b) 200 c) 500
- How many tonnes of sausages were eaten in August 2016? Is it a) 175,713 b) 50,620 c) 239,426
- When were sausages introduced to Britain? Was it: a) 1532 b) 400AD c) 920AD
- How much is spent on sausages per year? Is it a) 25 million pounds b) 389 million pounds c) 717 million pounds
- What size is the largest sausage ring? a) 2.6m b) 4.1m c) 3.3m
- What year was this world record made? a) 1575 b) 1738 c) 1894
- When did rationing start? Was it a) Feb 1940 b) Jan 1940 c) March 1940
- During rationing how many eggs were you allowed per fortnight? Was it: a) 1 b) 3 c)5
- Who banned the sale of sausages in 320AD? Was it a) the Catholic Church b) the Queen