Memories of WW2

Discussion in 'The CookingBites Cafe' started by Dive Bar Casanova, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Dive Bar Casanova

    Dive Bar Casanova Regular Member

    Hollywood Ca
    Some years back I was visiting relatives in London and one Cousin was studying for the taxi driver test. Evidently a pretty tough test. Grueling more like it. Often in London street names change each block I was told. That has to be rough getting dialed in on that. The test questions are tricky goes the tale.

    My Aunt Merle, my cousins mom, took us to a pub my dad and other bomber crews hung out at during WW2. Their names were still visible from where they signed the ceiling. When I came back home my dad asked about a few locals and mentioned where they sat in the pub. They were there when I visited.

    I had family that owned small farms and ranches and a vineyard here in California before and during WW2. Wine, champagne and brandy was produced at my Grandfathers Vineyard. A sweet old Scottish can do it kinda guy.

    My Uncle Lou was high ranking in the US Navy and ran food supply from the US to be distributed to the US troops in England, then on Europe after the invasion. Well, at the pub I learned they (and the surrounding neighborhood) were well stocked with wine, brandy, fruit, eggs, nuts, canned hams on and on from California. Gee,, I wonder who it came from and how it all got there?

    My Aunt Connie was a separated-at-birth look-a-like to Vivien Leigh. A dead ringer for her and this is the early 1940's. Just imagine that back then. Married my Uncle Lou, they got rich in the premium meat business after the war. Aunt Connie was a war bride that came over on the SS Lurline with my mom. A smart liner goes the tale on the brochure, (the war brides will tell you differently), and is still living in Sand Diego Calif at the Hotel Del.


    I was contacted by a college kid that is doing a story on war brides. Aunt Connie is still a dynamic, witty, charming Brit and they are working together now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2019
  2. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Detroit, USA
    Aunt Connie or Vivien Leigh? :)

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  3. CraigC

    CraigC Senior Member

    SE Florida
    With new discoveries, history keeps adjusting. I never new that Germany had developed a stealth bomber during WWII. Knew about the V2's but never new of the HO 229 until I saw a documentary about it.
    Dive Bar Casanova likes this.
  4. Dive Bar Casanova

    Dive Bar Casanova Regular Member

    Hollywood Ca
    I love that stuff. Thanks for posting.

    An old elderly dapper German gentleman walks by our home most every evening. He became a POW during WW2 and was sent west to pick oranges, lemons and maintain farm vehicles. "We were treated very well, even paid" he told me.
    After the war he managed to get a job with Mercedes and eventually got transferred to the USA and married a farmers daughter he met during his "stay". There has to be a good romantic story there.
    He retired and lives close by to be near his Grandchildren.. He pets our straight razor toting cat without incident.

    In school we had a teacher that had been Hitler Youth. Mr. Geto.
    Still had the attitude. Extremely difficult person. Ridiculous describes it better.
    It didn't go well with us kids. Especially British kids that had immigrated to the US whose parents worked for Jag and other UK companies setting up shop in the West.

    Especially "those smart mouthed Hamstead Village girls" as my mother would say.
    They gave Mr Geto a time.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  5. Dive Bar Casanova

    Dive Bar Casanova Regular Member

    Hollywood Ca
    Spot on. Red Hot Red Lipstick.
  6. Wyshiepoo

    Wyshiepoo Senior Member

  7. Wyshiepoo

    Wyshiepoo Senior Member

    I live in Guernsey, Channel Islands, the only part of Britain to be occupied during WW2.

    Family legend has it that when the Germans were going around commandeering vehicles for their use my Grandfather on my dad's side buried the wheels for his lorry in his garden so that they wouldn't be able to take it.
    When the Germans came round to take his truck the officer in charge said "Where are the wheels?"
    Grandad said "dunno mate".
    The officer grabbed my Gran and pointed his pistol at her head, "Where are the wheels?"
    He got the wheels sharpish.

    Some of the local girls fraternised with the German soldiers, they were young, handsome, tall, uniformed and had money and access to luxuries.
    Decades later, and even now, those few that are still alive, are known by the older generation as 'Jerry Bags'

    The occupation was credited with hastening the end of the local patois, Guernesiase or Guernsey French. days prior to the occupation many schoolchildren and young fighting age men were evacuated to England. They left Guernsey saying "A la perchoine mon vien." and returned saying "How now brown cow".

    The main export of Guernsey at the time was tomatoes grown in the extensive 'vineries' (they were called vineries as they used to grow grapes).
    The tomatoes were shipped down to the docks for export in canvas covered lorries. when the first wave of German aircraft swept over the island they thought the lorries were ammunition trucks and strafed and bombed the area killing several innocent islanders.

    Towards the end of the war many people, Germans and civilians were beginning to starve as supplies were largely cut off, hence the famous potato peel pie. dogs and cats were allegedly at risk of being eaten. A few of the local police were caught raiding German supply sheds and passing the food on to OAP's and were sent to concentration camps. It wasn't until the Vega arrived that peeps had food to eat.
    The Vega and the end of the occupation are celebrated every year on the 9th of May.
  8. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Detroit, USA
    @Wyshiepoo: thank you so much for sharing a part of history that I didn’t know existed. I do recall reading with the Germans had occupied some of the Channel islands, but your recounting of what actually happened there brought it to life.
  9. Wyshiepoo

    Wyshiepoo Senior Member

    You're welcome.

    Obviously my recounting is second hand. Dad was evacuated to Knutsford, Manchester, and Mum stayed on the island.

    When the British troops liberated Guernsey on the 9th May 1945 the crowd spontaneously burst into song, our national anthem Sarnia Cherie. Sarnia is the old Roman name for Guernsey.

    Sarnia; dear Homeland, Gem of the sea.
    Island of beauty, my heart longs for thee.
    Thy voice calls me ever, in waking, or sleep,
    Till my soul cries with anguish, my eyes ache to weep.
    In fancy I see thee, again as of yore,
    Thy verdure clad hills and thy wave beaten shore.
    Thy rock sheltered bays, ah; of all thou art best,
    I'm returning to greet thee, dear island of rest.


    Sarnia Cherie. Gem of the sea.
    Home of my childhood, my heart longs for thee.
    Thy voice calls me ever, forget thee I'll never,
    Island of beauty. Sarnia Cherie.

    I left thee in anger, I knew not thy worth.
    Journeyed afar, to the ends of the earth.
    Was told of far countries, the heav'n of the bold,
    Where the soil gave up diamonds, silver and gold.
    The sun always shone, and "race" took no part,
    But thy cry always reached me, its pain wrenched my heart.
    So I'm coming home, thou of all art the best.
    Returning to greet thee, dear island of rest.

  10. Dive Bar Casanova

    Dive Bar Casanova Regular Member

    Hollywood Ca
    Correction: Aunt Connie did not come over on Lurline liner it was the Saturnia.
    My Aunt Robin Came over to the USA on the Lurline from New Zealand.
  11. rascal

    rascal Senior Member

    A kiwi connection huh?

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  12. ElizabethB

    ElizabethB Über Member

    Lafayette, LA. US
    Thank you all for sharing your stories
    My Dad was too young to serve in WWII
    His brother served in the Philippines
    He refused to ever speak of his experience
    I do not think that he was part of the Bantaan Death March. He did witness unspeakable things
    Mother "s Brother was in the Navy CB division.
    He served in Guam
    He was younger than Dad's Brother and did not enter the war until near the end
    After Japan was bombed and capitulated his assignment was to dump heavy construction equipment off of cliffs into the ocean
    The U.S. decided that it was more cost effective to destroy the equipment rather than transport it back
    Uncle was always asked "Why destroy the equipment instead of leaving it for the locals to use in rebuilding?"
    Uncle said that there were still Japanese on the island
    The U.S. did not want the equipment to get into their hands
    Fact or lore IDK.
    There is a national WWII
    museum in NOLA
    It is amazing. I have been 3 times and want to visit again. The exhibits are Constantly being updated and added to
    A trip to NOLA is worthwhile even if all you do is visit the museum
    The fun, food and music are an add on.
    Thanks to all of your friends and family for their selfless service during this horrible conflict
    The lives lost are beyond counting
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  13. It was only at my father's funeral that I found out what he really did in the war.

    He lived in Newcastle, born in 1926, so a schoolboy at the outbreak of WW2. He and his best friend in 1940 bowled up to the River Tyne river pilot house and applied for positions working on the tugs. They were 14 and lied about their age because you could not apply until you were 15. My dad got the job and was trained as a radio operator, working the tugs as they brought merchantmen and some warships into Tyne Dock for unloading or repair.

    The job also involved working during air raids, towing bombed and burning ships out of the river and harbour to burn out and sink in deep water, often whilst having munitions dumped on them as the waves of German bombers took the flaming ships as their target.

    My dad never mentioned this part of his life, given what a feckless idiot I was at 14 I am in complete awe at his bravery when he was just a child.

    Piecing it together, he was found out when he was 16 and was called up to the RAF and had to come clean to the harbour master. Then came the bit I knew about, he was trained as a radar operator and flew Wellingtons looking for submarines over the Irish Sea. I like to hope that he got the radar gig because he already was familiar with electonics from his radio experience and was placed away from direct gunfire because he had gone out under bombs every night for two years before hand.

    He was always my hero, but I could never have thought how properly brave he was.
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  14. rascal

    rascal Senior Member

    Great background there, my grandfather was in ww ll. He was captured and spent time as a p.o.w. Every Xmas we used to go to p.o.w picnics with races and presents and such. I never realised how serious a deal it was until I got older. He never talked of the war. It's funny this has come up as my wife and I visited cemeteries yesterday. My granddad died in 1989 aged 82. I read his head stone yesterday and didn't think he lived that long.

  15. It is only as I get older that I link together memories from my early life back in the very late 60s and early 70s. I was born into a nice part of Newcstle called Jesmond. Next door to us lived a middle aged woman on her own. My earliest memories involve her taking care of me and my little brother around 70-71, her babysitting us whilst my mum went shopping, or my parents went to the pub. I used to spend ages plunking away on Mrs Mac's piano, and looking back she had infinite patience with me. It was only years later when reminicing about my earliest memories with my mother that I found out that her husband was a merchant seaman whose ship was sunk in the Atlantic, and her only child was a fighter pilot who lost. The reason why she was alone was that the war took her husband and son, but for the couple of years I was aware of her she was the best auntie I had.

    We moved away and by the time I was able to comprehend her loss and the love she showed me it was far too late.
    ElizabethB, morning glory and rascal like this.

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