How life changed during war
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The aftermath of the London blitz (Photo: New York Times Paris Bureau Collection)
For many people the war meant considerable change from their usual daily routine. Many men, and a considerable number of women, went away to war. They saw their families only ocassionally and for those captured whilst on active service there was the possibility that they would not see their families for up to 3 or 4 years. Some men were away from home for such a long time that their families did not recognise them when they came home.
For the people in Britain life also changed greatly. Many women found themselves called up to help the war effort by working in factories or as part of the Land Army which helped keep the farms working and productive. Some people worked in what were known as 'essential occupations'. These were people who were not asked to join the armed forces becasue the work they did was so important to the country. Some of the 'essential occupations' were shipbuilders, firemen, welders, ambulance drivers, some farmers, miners, railway workers and those that worked in the gas, water and electricity supply industry.
Many everyday aspects of life in Britain changed as well. Many everyday foods were in very short supply and so they were rationed. Other foods, such as oranges and lemons, disappeared from the shops altogether and some children were 8 or 9 years old when they saw their first banana.
Clothes were rationed too and so many people got used to making do and mending the clothes they had rather than buying any new items of clothing.
Phyllis talks about how people seemed to be very united during the war, always willing to help each other out and generally keeping a helpful eye on each other, especially if members of the...