Norman was only five at the start of the Great War but he certainly remembers a neighbour telling his mother about it whilst walking along King’s Road, Ditton, with his sister in a pushchair.
He felt that he was so sheltered from aspects of the war by his parents that to him life seemed to go on almost as normal. He certainly remembers trips into Kingston to watch the cattle market where sheep were herded in pens and the children used to sit and watch them. Maybe that’s why he felt so at home with sheep in Australia all those years later. The highlight of the day was when he and his sister were treated to a saveloy sausage in a roll, from Folletts the butchers, before heading home.
Food seems high in his memories because he didn’t like the new butter which he called ‘Flag Butter,’ which was probably the introduction of a type margarine due to the food shortages. I cannot find any reference with this name on the internet but he said it had two crossed flags on the packet. To Norman the war marked the beginning of synthetic foods, which he didn’t approve of.
Reserved occupations did not come into existence until the Second World War but his father was never called up to serve in WW1. Norman believes this was due to the fact that he worked in the car industry which had turned into a munitions factory for the duration of the war.
Norman’s most vivid memories at that time were his school days. Like Marcus’s father in the last post he remembers several of his teachers’ names, especially his headmaster Bouncer who used to ‘bounce’ around. He started a football team and Norman recalls with glee that Bouncer had an AC car, a two seater with a Dicky seat on the back, and the teacher managed to transport the whole team to matches!
I’ll finish with a quote from Norman himself:
“The other thing I remember was when we had a doctor and a nurse and they used to come around and look through your head for nits with a knitting needle. I suppose I must have had this sour expression on my face and the doctor said,
‘Here you are son, here’s a penny. Get yourself a penny’s worth of laughter.’
Then Norman chuckled to himself. One day I’ll share one or two of his video’s with you.