Thursday, 27 December 2012

Street Photography

Back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, enterprising photographers shot photographs of passing couples. A few  shillings changed hands and addresses were exchanged. A couple of weeks later, the print(s) arrived through the post. This is my mother and father in London circa 1947. They were probably off to the West End to see a show when they were photographed.

My father's war didn't end until late 1946. He was a recipient of the General Service Medal clasp S E Asia 1945-46. It was awarded to British personnel involved in South-East Asia after the Japanese surrender of 15 August 1945. They were engaged in various activities such as guarding Japanese POWs and maintaining law and order. By November 1946, the troops had handed over their responsibilities to the territories' former colonial powers.

It was not just routine work. British troops fought a major battle as part of the Indonesian National Revolution. At one point, Japanese POWs were given weapons and fought alongside the British. My father was there!

For more on this remarkable battle, click HERE

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Healthy Footware?

I am not entirely convinced that these wooden-soled boots would 'safeguard your health'.  They look painful to wear and I wonder how they would stand up to working on a muddy vegetable patch!

Wikipedia reveals that a sabot is a clog from France that covers the whole foot. From the 16th to 19th centuries, they were associated with the lower classes. During this period of Industrial Revolution, the word sabotage gained currency. Allegedly derived from sabot, sabotage described the actions of disgruntled workers who wilfully damaged machinery by throwing their sabots into the works. But, according to some accounts, sabot-wearing workers were simply considered less productive than others who had switched to leather shoes, roughly equating the term sabotage with inefficiency.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Men with Watering Cans!

What is it about Edwardian  Gardeners and their watering cans? In Country Houses and Municipal Parks across the land, teams of men looked after magnificent gardens. In the large glass houses, plants and fruits were nurtured. The First World War saw many gardeners enlist and many never returned. Some country house gardens became derelict as a result. Perhaps these men went to war, too?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Malnourished Children Work Out!

Bushy Park is one of the larger Royal Parks and lies immediately north of Hampton Court Palace. Between the wars it was home to the King's Canadian School - a camp school for children suffering from anaemia and malnutrition. In the postcard, the children are seen tending the garden.

During the First World War, the Royal Canadian Hospital was based there and in the Second World War, Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings there in the Surpreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. The headquarters of the US Eighth Air Force was also based in Bushy Park.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

George Rodger, War Photographer

These fell out of an envelope this afternoon. At first glance, they seem like family snaps of a young man in uniform and one of him with an elderly couple. The accompanying newspaper cuttings reveal the real story. The man is actually the British war correspondent, George Rodger who stopped off in America on his way back to England for his first furlough in two years. He was staying with his friends, Mr and Mrs Arthur Whitcomb of New London at their summer home beside Lake Sunapee.

George was more than just a war correspondent. He was a LIFE magazine photographer who was the first to photograph the horrors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and a founder member of the Magnum Photo Agency. For more information on his career, click HERE for his Wikipedia entry. Click on the images for a closer look.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Jack Frost Cometh!

I fear Winter is on its way! I sometimes worry about the Vegetables but, more often, about the creatures large and small who live outside. Imagine the cold endured by those sleeping rough - awful. Not the same I know, but I once had to sleep overnight lying on my side on thick ice in very, very sub zero temperatures - not nice!