Views of the Man and Woman in the Street

Hornsey Journal, 11 May 1945

Profound thanksgiving so much is over

Our representatives have been out and about in Hornsey and gathered the following cross section of views which typify the feelings of those spoken to about the war:

A soldier – “I’m on leave from Burma and I hope that people realise when they are celebrating that this does not mean that we can take things easy. These chaps out in the jungles of the Far East need your support more than ever. Some haven’t seen ‘Blighty’ for five years and know that the sooner they finish the Japs the sooner they will get home. Give them your support and let them finish the job in half the time”.

Civil defence worker – “We’ve been criticised for idling during periods when nothing happened but I think we did our stuff when these V things started”.

Fireman – “I’ve tackled incendiaries and ordinary bombs. I’ve stood by listening for buzz-bombs and I’ve seen the destruction which has descended without warning upon a peaceful community in a matter of seconds. Such experiences make me determined to do all in my power to ensure a lasting peace”.

An ATS girl – “it’s been a grand life and I’ve loved every minute of it. Of course, I’m glad the war’s over, everyone is, but I for one won’t be so happy about being demobbed. I was a typist before the war but I can’t see myself sitting at a desk from nine till six again in a hurry”.

A woman factory worker – “I volunteered for this type of work way back in 1940 when old Jerry was too close to be comfortable and although I say it myself, it’s women like me who have helped Tommy in the front line, and if he needs any help when fighting the Japs, we women in the factories will do our work again”.

A schoolmaster – “I was evacuated with my school in 1939 and therefore missed the many trials of London citizens. The children were well looked after in the reception areas and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all housewives in the country for the way they housed the many thousands of London evacuees. The higher form of my school took the matriculation exam under the most impossible conditions during the flying bomb attacks and it is a credit to the children that so many were successful”.

A housewife – “When we look back at the past six years it seems impossible that one could have lived through so much. My husband has been away two years but he still has a home to come to when he returns. The two children and I have slept down the tubes for the past twelve months during the flying bomb and rocket attacks. It is a pleasure to be able to sleep on a mattress after so long”.

A land girl – “Before I joined the Land Army I was a shop assistant and never even knew how to grow mustard and cress. Now I know nearly everything about farming that there is to know. It has been a grand life and I don’t feel at all pleased when I realise that very soon I shall be leaving the Land Army. All I can say to that is, if they want volunteers to gather the harvest when I am in ‘civvy street’, I shall be one of the first to volunteer”.

A postman – “I often wonder just what proportion of happiness and misery I have dropped through letter boxes during this war”.

A bus driver – “I must say something about the way in which the conductresses have tackled a man’s job during the war. People don’t seem to realise what tiring work it is. They have done it cheerfully and deserve a pat on the back. We have stuck to our jobs behind the wheel and on the bus platform during the heaviest air raids. Let’s hope it’s not all been in vain”.

A local shopkeeper – “We have eked out the family rations to the barest ounce and have sometimes had to hold back unrationed goods in short supply. In fact, we are tired of saying, ‘No madam – not this week’ and welcome the day when we can again remark, ‘Yes Madam. We have full stocks of that product”.

A WREN – “I’ve learnt a lot since joining the Service, the main thing being how to use my time properly. Before the war I just fluttered about not thinking much about anything except myself and how to have a good time. I’m quite clear now about the things that really matter in life and intend to do something really worthwhile when I get back in civvies again”.

An airman – “On every bombing mission I have been on I have prayed for the day when it would no longer be necessary. Now that day has come, at least in Europe, and although I shall miss flying I am looking forward to settling back at home with my wife and children”.

Bomb Damage in Tottenham Lane, 1944
Bomb Damage in Tottenham Lane, 1944
Pupil from St Aidan's High School evacuated to Gorefield, Isle of Ely, 1939-40
Pupil from St Aidan’s High School evacuated to Gorefield, Isle of Ely, 1939-40
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