Memories of the war

World War Two memories from Twystory member, Brenda North (née Hodges).

Brenda Hodges was nine years old when WW2 ended, and she lived on her parent’s farm at Steeple Claydon between Bicester and Aylesbury during the war years. They did mixed farming and kept animals and chickens. It was a lonely place and the farm work had to go on as normally as possible during the hostilities. None of their farm hands went to war but some of them joined the Home Guard. There were no Land Army girls to help, which was the case with some other local farms. At one time an adult couple stayed on the farm. They were evacuees from London, and they had brought their canary with them! Gas masks had been issued to everyone and there were special ones to completely enclose a baby.

Brenda remembers large numbers of German bombers flying overhead, after dark, probably at the time when Coventry was bombed. Few bombs landed in the Steeple Claydon area and Brenda thinks that any bomb-craters which she saw in the fields were made by a few RAF practice drops. She can remember large tanks passing through the village and stockpiles of ammunition stored on roadside verges in small corrugated iron Nissen Huts with tarpaulins pegged at either end.

Food was rationed, but Brenda can remember that a weekly Government allocation of meat pasties was made available at the village hall.

Too much travelling was discouraged and a lot of local journeys were made by bicycle. Brenda had to get to Buckingham when she started secondary school and shopping was done there too. If the villagers wanted the occasional treat of a shopping trip to Oxford or Aylesbury, it was usually made by steam trains on local branch lines.

Brenda’s Mum and Dad on their farm at the Poplars at the start of their dairy business

Article from the BBC WW2 “People’s War”