John thinks back to the items the war brought with it which led to an entertaining and humorous memory of his cousin Tom, Tom’s sister Nancy, and tinned pilchards.

The war, 1939-1945, brought us many things, most from America of course; Spam, Dried egg, Concentrated orange juice, the latter two were extremely good, and Wondermend, a rubbery glue for sticking cloth together, I remember how the village teemed with ‘Josephs’ [ coat of many colours ], and I also remember the arrival of tinned pilchards.

One day I called on cousin Tom Thompson on Brunswick Street, and was halfway between the gate and their open door, when came a loud blast from the house; Tommy the cat and Jerry the dog shot out of the doorway as I entered to an amazing sight! Nancy, Tom’s sister, had placed an unpierced tin of pilchards in the coal fired oven and quite naturally it had exploded, to blow off the door in several pieces! They whizzed over Tom as he lay by the fire with the dog and cat, and slammed into the wall behind Nancy, spattering the walls and ceiling with bits of pilchard and tomato juice! “I’ve never known a tin of anything to go so far,” laughed mam in her usual witty way.

— John Davison