My paternal grandfather fought in the Second World War. I don’t know much about it, however, as he died in my early 20’s and I didn’t think to ask him about it beforehand. I thought I’d have more time. I do know that he was stationed with Americans for part of it and he always used to say that he’d never eaten so well! How true this was, I don’t know. Having seen lots of war documentaries and dramas about the war since then, I know that great food or not, it was probably horrific and I’m just glad he made back in one piece.
Nana, my paternal grandmother, built ammunition in the war. This fact still amazes me, as I can remember her knitting, baking, gardening and keeping an orderly house. And all of these are such peaceful activities that contradict what she did in the war. Neither of my grandparents spoke about it much, which I can understand. I was young and they probably wanted to forget it as much as they could.
I can distinctly remember my great aunts regaling me with stories of heading out in the evening, having drawn a fake stocking line on the back of the legs, so that they could go dancing with the American GI’s! They use to cackle with laughter and I can only imagine the trouble they used to get in to!