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intro anne norman violet and lilian yvonne olive peter  
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yvonne todayYVONNE'S STORY

Yvonne was born in 1930 and lives in Fulham.

"By the time I was six, I was quite aware that a war with Germany was imminent. Just after my seventh birthday, I was measured for and issued with a gas mask, as the government was convinced that gas attacks were inevitable.

I should have travelled on the liner Benares from Liverpool to New York just prior to September 3rd 1939.   At the last minute my mother changed her mind. The Benares was torpedoed and two thousand British children were drowned and only about two hundred were saved. After the war had ended, I was shown all these documents before they were destroyed.

yvonne on the trailThe food shortages varied. Bananas were never available throughout the war.

One classmate, Michael, had a father in the Merchant Navy and one day he brought a banana into school. Not having seen a banana in five long years we handed it round from one to another so that we could feel it and smell it. When Michael got it back, it was black on the outside and we all crowded round to watch him peel it and eat it.

yvonneIt was years before rationing finally ended. I was fifteen at the end of the war and when my third child was born in September 1954, she was issued with a ration book and an identity card. In the December of that year, nine years into peace, rationing was over, the first serve yourself shops were established and launderettes began to appear.
 
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