Thursday, 24 July 2014

Nora Batty stockings and a dash to the altar

I've just finished reading Millions Like Us, by Virginia Nicholson, which chronicles the lives of women during WW2 (read my review here).

It's a fascinating account and the result of meticulous research. The women's recollections range from the horrific to the amusing and everything in between.

It's easy to understand the famous clamour for nylons with the arrival of the GIs, when you learn that the only alternative to silk stockings (which had become almost impossible to get hold of) were those made from cotton lisle, more suited to socks than stockings.

Not only were these less hard wearing than silk, not to mention ugly, (I suspect Nora Batty knew a thing or two about them), they were impractical too. Apparently, when washed they would take up to three days to dry!

On a more uplifting note, there's the lovely story of Eileen and her RAF fiancé Victor. It was the eve of their wedding day and Eileen had gone to meet Victor off the train at Kings Cross, only to find that all leave had been cancelled. She returned home distraught, convinced that the wedding would not now take place.

But her brother and Victor's we're not so easily deterred. They borrowed a van, hared off to Victor's RAF base in Cambridge and "kidnapped" him, returning to London at break-neck speed to meet Eileen at the church for the ceremony. Wedding completed and following a hasty toast to the happy
couple, they chased back to Cambridge and smuggled Victor back into his base before he was missed!

The heart warming end to the story is that Victor survived the war and the couple went on to enjoy 49 years of marriage.


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