OUR August meeting was very different in that we began with a WW2 Vintage Tea Party.
The committee had gone to a huge amount of trouble to make to make this a memorable occasion with decorations, exhibits of our scrapbooks and an excellent tea.
Bev had made a lavender bag for everyone and members had been encouraged to dress appropriately.
Guests included members from each of our group W.I.s and we welcomed Rowan Ross, our County Advisor, who thanked everyone especially the committee for such a successful event.
Marion read excerpts from our first meeting in September 1915 but unfortunately there were no minutes from the war years and a few years on.
There was a seventy year old felt waistcoat from Nina Bishop who had used coupons to get the material and make the waistcoat herself.
The very apt talk - ‘Where did you get your first pair of nylons?’ - was given by John Dixon assisted by his wife.
His talk was inspired by a girl who worked in the Post Office at Ashurst Camp, Tewkesbury and here she got her first pair of nylons.
Ashurst Camp was a British Army Camp and was the most important logistical base in Europe.
The girls here were moved around the country to where their skills and work were most needed.
An article in an American newspaper said how much that they needed was made at Ashworth including machinery and tyres and some of this was taken to Poland.
A visit here was made by General Patton who was in charge of the ‘ghost’ army at Dover which was to deceive the Germans on the Allied landings in France.
Women worked hard too at various occupations to help the war effort, e.g. in factories, as toolsetters and on munitions.
Married teachers were not allowed to teach but this rule was not enforced during the war.
G.I.s at Ashurst were very resourceful and even had a five-man bicycle on which to get around.
Social life carried on as much as possible and girls were bussed in to dances.
There were a lot of prisoners-of-war in Britain, mostly Italian, and the majority were employed to work on the land.
Joachim, a German P.o.W. eventually stayed in the U.K. for the rest of his life.
Several members asked questions and contributed their own memories from families and friends.
Karen thanked John for a really interesting talk and everyone for helping to make a memorable meeting.