The Hinckley Territorials – I can remember coming down and watching them coming out of the Palladium as was. There were rationing. I’ve known when I was up at six o’clock to go down to Aldridges, the fish monger – he used to sell rabbits as well – waiting for them to open to get anything, a rabbit or anything. By the time I got there there might be a big long queue. Many a time I’ve got right up within the last twelve or 14 and they’ve sold out so I’ve had to go home – nothing.
My father was in the First World War. He was a miner so he needn’t have gone. He volunteered and was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He used to buy me stacks of cigarette cards that he used to save off the people. He brought a German officer’s field glasses back home with him when he was on leave. Of course I asked him how he got it, he says, ‘Well I was that good to him, he come in he had frost bitten feet, and I got him whatever he wanted. I were looking at these glasses…and he said, ‘You have ’em,’ and he showed them to me.’
He brought them home and could tell the time from Nuneaton, Tuttle Hill – it were high up Tuttle Hill – when the sun was on Hinckley church clock we could tell the time. I can’t remember a big lot of celebration just bonfires and effigies of the Kaisers – we never had street parties like World War II… The Sunday School gave you a mug.”
I can remember the outbreak of the First World War, definitely, it was August 4 and it was a very hot day and I certainly remember the Armistice because that was a wash day. During the First World War things were hard to come by, vegetables and that, word got round that there was a certain shop that’d got potatoes and I went up to get some ‘cos they were valuable then. Of course, it made me late for school. We used to queue at the Co-op up Hill Street for tinned jam – the word went round that they’d got some…I’d go up there, you’d stand in a long queue you know. At the bottom of Priesthills Road, over the road was Clarendon Road, there was a big house there with a stone wall round it. On there was posted Kitchener with his finger pointing, ‘Your country needs you’.