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My trip to the SEAC with WVS: the Diary of Services Welfare member Miss Yellowley

This week we return to the Mauretania and the adventures of Miss Yellowley on her way to the South East Asia Command.

We rocked all night and all day of Monday the 22nd most of the party were sick, I stayed in bed all day living on two day biscuits and an apple.

Tuesday 23rd nearly everybody feeling better got out of the bay and in the straits it’s a lovely day sun shining beautiful and feels quite warm we are all up on deck enjoying the sun at 11 o’clock we shall be having lifebelt drill. The time has been put on 1 hour and already we can feel the difference in the weather we are passing the coast of Spain and can see the hills in the distance. After lunch sunbathed until time to dress for dinner, the food here is excellent. After dinner we went to an open air concert on the deck it is a glorious moon light night and the deck is floodlit and everybody sitting around on their life saver. Babs sang two songs for the troops and quite a number of chaps sang and various other things it was very good and we enjoyed it very much. While we were listening to the concert we had passed by the rock of Gibraltar about 9o’clock it was all lit up but I was very sorry I hadn’t seen it, we are now in the Mediterranean.

Wednesday 24th it is a lovely day the sun is shining beautiful and it is getting quite hot. Everybody on deck is gradually getting into shorts and sun bathing and the sea looks divine, we are on deck sewing for the troops, the piles of sewing are gradually getting bigger and it looks as though we’re in for a good time. We can see the Libyan coast and we have come in quite close to Algeria, we had really good views of these places. In the evening there was a concert and dance for the troops on the lower deck, it was jolly good and ended another grand day.

Thursday, a lovely day we did the usual things sitting about and sewing etc. passed the island of Pantelleria off the Sicilian Coast. In the afternoon we passed Malta not very close to it and that will be the last land we shall until we reach Port Said on Friday morning. In the evening we went to the pictures and saw Sonja Heni in “Wintertime” enjoyed the skating scenes very much but the story was poor, after the pictures there was a dance and concert in the officers lounge and that was very good and I had a good time at midnight the clocks were advanced one hour, now we are two hours ahead of British time.

Friday we all woke up feeling tired but got up on deck and the skies were very grey. Soon after it started to rain and we went inside and squatted down anywhere we could find a spot. After lunch the sun was shining again and we were on deck until dinner, there was a grand concert in the Officers Lounge for the troops and the girls were invited it was very good indeed. At midnight the clocks were again advanced one hour, that is 3 hours since we left England. Saturday about 9o’clock we were just at the entrance of the Suez Canal, it was a glorious sight …

We will join Miss Yellowley again in a few weeks when she travels through the canal and there is more sewing to be done.

Posted by Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 13 February 2017.

Labels: WVS, , Services Welfare, , SEAC, , Mauretania, , Suez Canal, , diary

My trip to the SEAC with WVS: the Diary of Services Welfare member Miss Yellowley

This year we will be following the adventures of Miss Yellowly and her fellow Services Welfare Members in the South East Asia Command (SEAC). Look out for our regular installments each month. This week we start at the beginning with her journey from London to boarding the Mauretania in October 1945.

"Today the 20th Oct 1945. Sue Dorothy and baby came to London (Euston Station) to wave me off. All the girls and myself were thrilled to bits and very excited. We left Euston Station about 11am hardly realising we were off. Arrived at Liverpool 3.40pm and boarded the bus for the docks. We were all amazed to see the Mauretania in the dock and to know we would be sailing on it. After seeing customs etc. we boarded the Mauretania and what a moment, my cabin was on the main deck and I shared it with Nom Dewey, Clare Chamberlain and Mrs Cranston, we are very comfortable. After a clean-up we went out investigating walking around the decks and chatting to the soldiers. There are about 6000 troops on board including about 60 girls. We had a lovely dinner, pea soup, lamb, vegetables, fruit salad, rolls plenty of butter, coffee or tea and I’m sure we all felt better after the meal. After dinner we went into the lounge and wrote some letter cards and had another stroll around until bedtime.

I slept like a log until 6 o’clock Sunday morning. We pushed off 9 o’clock, we were in our own cabins and everything was so calm we didn’t realise we were moving. We went on deck and it was a queer feel[ing] when I thought of leaving England behind. We strolled about all day and in the evening there was a concert given by local talent, it was funny seeing everybody sitting on the prom deck on their lifebelts what a crowd, the concert was good and we enjoyed it very much. By 10 o’clock at night we were beginning to rock, we are now in the Bay of Biscay, I had a cup of tea (which was quite the wrong thing to take) and when I got to my cabin I was very sick indeed ..."

We will re-join Miss Yellowly next month as the ship approaches the Suez Canal as she and her fellow WVS members' journey to the SEAC.

Posted by Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 16 January 2017.

Labels: Services Welfare, SEAC, Mauretania, Suez Canal, diary, WVS

Spinach and Beet - Part 19

This week’s diary of a Centre Organiser and recipe come from April 1949.

MONDAY

Too touched when old Mrs Stoutley pressed a small package into my hand when she came to collect her “Cash and Carry” meals today. “That’s all right, dear,” she said as I took it protestingly. “I’ve just had a parcel from Australia. You give us what we need, I told my husband, and it’s only right we should give you what you need when we can.” Thanked her warmly... and only discovered after she had gone that she had given me a CAKE OF SOAP ! How do I take her remark now?

TUESDAY

Stopped on my way to the office by an elderly man who pointed a quivering finger at my badge. “What crown is that on top of it?” he demanded. “No - I’m not disputing that W.V.S. has earned the right to wear a crown, but it’s not like any other I’ve ever seen. It hasn’t the blue emeralds of the Post Office - and it’s different from the one worn by the Coastguards...” My - frivolous? - suggestion that perhaps our crown is “a female of the species” was treated with contempt. "You ought to know about your own badge,” he grumbled, and I promised to make enquiries. (N.B. Shall enjoy being “superior” - when I know the answer!)

WEDNESDAY

Miss G. came in rather thoughtfully this afternoon from a Hospital Car Service journey. The small boy she had taken for treatment from an extremely dirty looking house had been worried about something he had learned at school that morning. “Teacher said we’re all made from dust,” he said. “Is it true?” Miss G. had felt it best to agree. “Then there’s an awful lot of people going to be born in our house,” he had declared, looking rather scared, “and most of ’em under my bed !” Miss G. admitted she had felt quite inadequate to deal with the situation.

Recipe

Here is a good recipe for individual Simnel cakes

4 oz margarine
3/4 lb mixed fruit
4 oz castor sugar
2 oz mixed peel
2 eggs
1/4 tsp spice
4 oz flour
Grated rind of half a lemon
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Almond essence
Salt

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Add eggs gradually and beat until the mixture is stiff and uniform. Stir in flour, soda and salt sifted together. Add fruit, chopped peel, spice, grated lemon rind and a few drops of almond essence. Mix well, then place in greased patty tins. Cook in good oven for 35 minutes.

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 00:00 Tuesday, 05 April 2016.

Labels: WVS, Spinach and Beet, Simnel Cakes, Hospital car Service, Soap, Post office, Coastguard, Cash and Carry, Meals on Wheels , Diary

Spinach and Beet – Part 8

This month’s extract from the diary of a centre organiser comes from the WVS Bulletin, January 1950:

MONDAY

A young woman brought two little girls, dressed identically, to the Clothing Exchange this afternoon. “Hallo, Twins,” one of our members greeted them. “They’re not twins,” their escort retorted sullenly. “Not -  ?” someone else asked, “but they’re exactly alike. How old are they?” “Same age - six; just a couple of hours difference,” was the answer. We looked at each other in bewilderment. Dressed alike, looking alike, born within two hours of each other and yet not twins ? “This one’s my daughter ; t’other one’s my sister. Me and my Mum, we had ’em the same day,” came the explanation. Our members bustled into activity, endeavouring to fit out aunt and niece!

THURSDAY

A would-be member, Miss Hope Less, for who - so far - we have been unable to find a job (“I’m not really good at anything”) joined a Work Party this afternoon at which we were all busy unravelling old knitted garments prior to re-using the wool. She managed, somehow, to spin a positive cocoon of tangled wool around herself and I could see our efficient Mrs. Wright was itching to get her fingers on to the job. Miss Less, blissfully unaware of the emotions she was rousing, giggled happily at the muddle and said, “‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!’” This was too much for Mrs Wright who swept the wool away from her with fierce possessiveness, muttering as she did so: "‘If at first you don’t succeed’ - try another method!” Hastily suggested a pause for tea.

A JANUARY DINNER (a menu and recipe suggestion from the WVS Bulletin January 1950)

Fish Soup

Wash 1 lb. filleted cod or haddock. Remove skin and bones and put these in a saucepan with cold water to cover and a pinch of salt. Add a small piece of celery, chopped, a small carrot and a little chopped onion. Simmer for one hour and then strain. Put some flour into a basin, allowing 1 tablespoonful to 1 pint of soup. Mix smoothly with a little cold water, stir into the soup and boil for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Add the fish cut up into neat pieces. Simmer for five minutes then add 1/2 pint milk and hot water, and chopped parsley. (This makes an excellent supper dish by itself).

Vegetable Pudding

1 soup-plateful chopped vegetabled
3 soaked dinner rolls
1 1/2 oz. margarine
2 eggs
Salt to taste

Wash and dry and well drain all vegetables before measuring. Drain all moisture from the soaked rolls. Melt margarine in a saucepan and stir in gradually the rolls and prepared vegetables. Mix well then stir in the beaten yolks of eggs. Lastly lightly fold in the frothed whites of eggs. Turn into a buttered pie-dish, dab with pieces of margarine and sprinkle with a little grated cheese. Bake in oven until nicely crisp on top.

Cranberry Tart

3/4 lb. cranberries
1/2 pint water
1/2 lb. brown sugar

Wash and pick over cranberries. Put them on with water and sugar and simmer gently until soft. Break up with a fork and cool. Cover plate with short pastry. Spread over cranberries. Place cross-bars of pastry on top. Sprinkle with sugar and bake in hot oven for 1/2 hour.

For the convalescent: Marmalade rolls

Cut some bread and butter in very thin slices. Spread with marmalade and roll up very carefully. Put in a hot oven for 5 minutes until brown and crackly. A wonderful appetiser at tea-time.

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 00:00 Tuesday, 06 January 2015.

Labels: Spinach and Beet, WVS, WRVS, RVS, Diary, Fish Soup, vegetable Pudding, Cranberry Tart, Work Party, Wool, Twins, Clothing Exchange