The OD Issue 2 - page 17

15
2012 · ISSuE 2
WarTIME
Food and Clothes
All the ground behind School House was
put to good use for growing vegetables.
Cherwell House and the Music School
were not yet built and this land, which had
previously belonged to St John’s College,
still remained as fruit orchards. Apples
and pears from the trees were baked or
bottled. Eggs were a highly prized bonus
to the weekly rations and the Lynams’
neighbours in Frilford donated them to
the school. By 1943 there were accounts
of eggs coming up on the train to Oxford
sent from a neighbour of the Lynams at
Trebetherick in Cornwall.
Every child’s ration allowance included
a ⅓ pint of milk and a bun each Bun
Break, delivered from Boffin’s Bakery in
the centre of Oxford. The milk was given
in addition to the household supply of
rationed milk and therefore considered
to be a great concession for the children.
Under 7s were also given a bottle of orange
juice a week.
The introduction of clothing coupons
served to ensure that all clothes were
recycled and frequently mended. Older
siblings passed onto younger ones their
patched and darned uniforms. As rationing
took hold it became difficult for Dragons
to present anything approaching a uniform
appearance. This led to the distinctive sartorial
innovation of the boiler suit: a long-trousered,
dark blue overall. Smart at first, these too
eventually became faded and patched so that
over the war years they presented “a somewhat
variegated appearance” according to historian
C. H. Jaques.
Plane Crash
For most Dragons the most alarming
incident of the War came on a Sunday
afternoon in May 1941. A Whitley bomber
got into difficulties over Oxford and flew
very low over the playing fields where boys
were playing cricket, before crashing on a
house in Linton Road, injuring five people.
The sound of the crash was heard by many
all over Oxford. The plane was burnt out and
did considerable damage to the house and an
adjacent cottage.
End of War
The long years of the war finally began to
draw to a close. Dragons were at school on
8th May 1945, in the middle of scholarship
preparations, when VE Day was announced.
Work was abandoned at 10am for a service
of thanksgiving and all listened to Churchill
broadcast in the afternoon and the King in the
evening. Most of the day, though, was given
over to suitably Dragon ‘mucking about’
before a four-hour party in New Hall with
games and dancing. Finally a celebratory
bonfire in the middle of the playground (an
unprecedented location necessitating the
damping down of surrounding buildings)
provided a fitting end to a tumultuous
period and culminated in the symbolic
burning of a gasmask.
Excerpts from A Dragon Century
can be read via the OD website at:
news/our-history
Wartime uniforms
Skating on the River Cherwell, 1940. Patrick Jenkin
(OD 1940) and Kim Bellamy (OD 1941)
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