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Patricia Jane Watts (my Auntie Pat) memories of working for the BBC and rationing

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posted on 2024-06-05, 19:06 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

I recall my Auntie Pat telling me that when war was announced, her mother said that sugar would be rationed and there wouldn't be enough for adding to tea, so Auntie Pat gave up her two spoonfuls of sugar in her tea from that moment. When war broke out, Pat (14), her sister June (13), brother John (9) and mother Eveline, were holidaying with family in a caravan in King's Lynn. As children were being evacuated to the country, it was decided that they would stay in Norfolk with their Aunt Eleanor, whose husband and sons were in the RAF, and their Grandparents. The adults and Pat are listed on the 1939 register at an address in Norfolk. The stay in Norfolk didn't work out and they returned to their Chigwell home and schools not long after.

Pat recalled that there was always butter or some treat under the counter at the local shops.

My grandfather travelled to The United States at least once during the war - he worked as a buyer for Macey's. He couldn't serve in the Second World War as he had lung damage from an engine oil spill when the minesweeper he was crewing in the First World War hit a mine. Kind friends from the States sent food parcels. A turkey was included in one parcel, together with a note to say 'this bird is stuffed'. My grandmother cooked the turkey, which exploded - there was a bottle of whisky in the carcass.

My cousin Richard remembers his mother saying that she was out riding in Chigwell with her Mary when one of the first doodle bugs came down nearby making her slide off the back of her horse.

Pat worked for the BBC towards the end of the war. She remembered the build up to D-Day, saying that they knew something was about to happen, but didn't know what. She really enjoyed working for the BBC.


Person the story/items relate to

Patricia Jane Watts

Person who shared the story/items

Amanda Edwards

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Contributor's aunt

Type of submission

Shared at Godalming Library, Surrey on 22 November 2023.

Record ID

119082 | GOD020