1940s Afternoon sing a long
Posted on May 1, 2012 by Milkwood Admin
The 1940s, commonly abbreviated to the ‘Forties”, was an era that began on January 1st 1940 and ended on December 31st 1949. Most of World War II took place during the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on many countries. Many millions of men joined the armed forces and roles of women expanded where they took on many of the paid jobs that previously had been held by men – such as a bank teller, shoe salesperson, aircraft mechanic, a factory worker or working on the land. Prior to the war, women had little say in society and were stereotyped to stay at home, have babies and be a good home maker. On 8 January 1940, bacon, butter and sugar were rationed. This was followed by successive rationing schemes for meat, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, lard, milk and canned and dried fruit.
Air raids, gas masks, shelters and blackouts became part of people’s lives. Warning of enemy planes was given by sirens. When people heard the sirens, they went into the air raid shelters. Big bombs exploded with a loud bang and blew buildings apart. Small bombs called ‘incendiaries’ started fires. Firefighters worked bravely to put out the flames. Rescue teams pulled people from fallen buildings. Ambulances took the injured to hospital. When the planes had gone, the sirens sounded the ‘all Clear’. Vera Lynn became known as the Forces’ Sweetheart, and in 1940 she got her own radio show, Sincerely Yours, which became a favourite of soldiers serving overseas. To her audience, she was the ‘girl next door’ type, reminding those away at war of their loved ones back home. She often sang sentimental ballads on her program, with “We’ll Meet Again” and “White Cliffs of Dover” becoming two of her signature songs. Fashion in the 1940s was a mixture of comfort and glamour. Men were still pretty dressed up and suits, ties and hats were commonplace in public. Women wore dresses and skirts. Women always wore gloves, preferably a pair that matched their outfit. Fur was very popular, as were animal skins. Crocodile purses, wombat collars, lambskin lining, and leather sleeves — no animal was off limits. To remember these years, Chatterwood had a 1940s afternoon on February 24th where some dressed up in swing dresses and others as land army girls. We put up Union Jack bunting around the home and were entertained by Miranda dressed in a Ladies Army uniform and singing 1940’s songs, that we all sang along to. Miranda also played the trombone and clarinet. It was a great afternoon which we finished off with a buffet tea.