Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I am now going back many years to when my (adopted) mum was a young person in London.  She told me the sad story of when, on her 15th birthday (12 April, 1912), she and her mother were in church when the minister was handed some important news which he shared with the congregation.

He had been told that the Titanic had hit an iceberg and had sunk.  Mum said she remembered everyone being absolutely devastated and that the congregation all sang "Abide with Me" while thinking of and praying for those poor souls who had lost their lives so horrifically and unexpectedly.

She would also speak of what it was like to be in London during WW1.  The Germans bombed London and other places but of course it was nothing like the devastating bombing that took place during WW2 but very frightening, and sometimes deadly, for those in the city at that time.  Mum said they would walk along the footpaths under the shelter of shop awnings and would hear the shrapnel bouncing off those very awnings.  I believe they became rather blase about it after a time and as mum said "One just had to get on with one's life."

Another WW1 story was when her brother-in-law Ted arrived home on leave.  Apparently he was covered with body lice which was commonplace for men in the trenches.  Mum said Ted was told to go immediately to the bathroom to have a hot bath and to throw his clothes out of the window into the garden so they could be fumigated.  It was said he really enjoyed that hot bath and fresh clothes.

Towards the end of WW1 Mum and dad were married in Woodberry Down Church in Edmonton on 22 December, 1917.  This date was chosen so she and dad could have a few days honeymoon during the Christmas holidays.  She said it was impossible to buy an iced cake nor even possibly to buy the ingredients.  Fortunately, after much 'phoning around mum managed to finally buy an uniced single deck  cake from a firm of well-known wedding cake specialists.  It cost her five pounds, a whole week's wage and her mother iced it for her.  Mum said it didn't look too bad when finished.

They were not allowed to have cars for the wedding owing to the petrol situation but dad knew someone with a car who was able to take them to and from the church and later to the station to leave on their honeymoon.  Being wartime no photographs could be taken but a friend did snap a few indoor shots which apparently were rather indistinct.  I never say them as they would have been destroyed in the fire that destroyed their home on the farm in Australia several years later.

More 'mum' stories coming up so watch this space.


  1. My own mother was English and much of her background was, we discovered after her death, fabricated so I will look forward to your stories about your own mother.

  2. I love when you share stories, I am sure that your grandchildren and great grand-children will one day enjoy them as well. xxx

  3. I only hope I tell the stories well enough....a few are stolen from her book but many of them are from my own memories of my life with her. Thanks for the helpful comments. xxx