From the Australian Women’s Weekly, February 1940 –
Hello, again, I know it’s been a while…but I have busy working and setting up my new online vintage store (still hoping for bricks and mortar one day). If you have time please visit at. http://www.kittenvintagemackay.com/
Anyway, it’s gray and cold and wet here in usually sunny Mackay, the perfect day to read old magazines and cuddle up with a cat or two.
We only get a few weeks of winter here, but on a rainy day like this I’d love to be sitting in front of a fireplace. I usually put the fake fireplace on the television (through YouTube) but the television blew up this morning after a severe thunderstorm…Well a chance to make the living room more vintage perhaps!
I have mentioned in another post that my grandfather was in the Dutch Army Bicycle Corp during WWII. Today I finally dug out the photos that my grandmother left me some years ago and found the photos he had kept of those days.
Weren’t they so handsome?! My grandfather is the one standing with his arms stretched out and no hat!
You may also like a post on my other blog about Victorian Military Bicycle Uniforms
My grandfather was Dutch. He emigrated to Australia in 1956 and when I was a teenager he told me stories of his time in the war. He was in the bicycle Corp of the Dutch Army, and told many tales (some exaggerated I’m sure) of being in work gangs for the Germans. My grandmother gave birth to two children during his ‘internment’.
This page made my think of today’s media, where sometimes we ignore or pass over what’s happening, thinking, “it won’t happen” or “it doesn’t affect me.” This is from 3 February 1940. Germany invaded Holland on 10 May 1940.
Imagine inheriting diamond jewellery – a lot of diamond jewellery….and during WWII. Would you keep it or turn it over to the war effort?
As a royal I suppose you’d need to keep a few, and anyway personally owned diamonds could not be taken by London’s Diamond Comittee during the War, according to this article from February 1940.
Of course Holland was invaded two months later, in May 1940, so let’s hope the diamonds did travel to England the the US.
This article from October 1938 shows that some smart (and obviously rich) people were already thinking ahead about war and investing in diamonds. There are interesting comments about Jewish people too, and how diamonds were easily transported across “unfriendly borders”.
Unfortunaltely diamonds did not save many, if any, Jews from persecution and execution. Many had sewn their diamonds and other jewels into their clothing, and these were routinely removed from clothing after the Jews were murdered at the concentration camps. There are accounts of diamonds being moved to a vault in banks in France in order to provide “rainy day” money for nazi officials to make new lives for themselves after the war.
Of course this article could have been just part of De Beers 1938 American marketing campaign encouraging people to by diamond engagement rings – a campaign that was obviously extremely sucessful, with a jump in US diamond sales of 55% in the four years between 1938 and 1941 – but then again I haven’t actually been able to find any Debeers ads from before 1948, so maybe it was the war……
I did find this ad from 1938 for an Australian Jeweller, which advertises diamond rings, and watches, as anniversay gifts rather than engagement rings.
I now work in a an antique jewellery store and find it interesting that many couples are now buying diamond bands for their wedding bands, as well as diamond engagement rings. Debeers really did well…..
Read more about diamonds in WWII here.
We hear a lot about ‘Make do and Mend’ during Wartime, especially when clothing rationing was in effect, but maybe you haven’t heard about sewing bees. Quilting Bees were popular in America in the early 1800’s, as a way for women to meet others and tackle large quilts that would be cumbersome by themselves. They provided socialization, friendship, wisdom and sharing of supplies and tools, and basically involved a group of women getting together and sewing.
The first mention I have found of a wartime Sewing Bee is in this article from December 1939 –Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia. Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was probably the one who began to make Sewing Bees popular in England and Australia during the War, forming a Red Cross Sewing Bee for the women of the royal household at the palace each week from as early as November 1939. You can also watch a little video her Great Sewing Bee of 1939 here.
This article from the American Woman’s Weekly in March 1942 is a little different, as rationing is not really mentioned, and the ladies are sewing more for themselves than the troops, but it is interesting to ‘see’ these ladies in action at their sewing bee.
Sewing Bees are obviously meant to be a cooperative event. There is a recent British TV show called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which is a reality TV contest type show, which to me loses the point of sewing bees, but you can watch it here.
Have you joined a Sewing Bee or thought of doing so? Tips for joining an online sewing bee can be found here.