The post I was going to publish today has been magically deleted by blogger (the title is there but all the text in the post is from another yet unpublished one? How? Three evenings work evaporated!! I'm not a happy bunny!)
So instead (while I go off and have a sulk) I'll give you another installment from the Imperial War museums Collection Archives. Today we follow society girls Patience Brand and Rachel Bingham as the go about their daily operations of the Blitz Canteen in 1941.
Patience 'Boo' Brand wakes up Rachel Bingham at the WVS Canteen Service depot at 2:30am, in order that they can prepare to distribute refreshments to shelterers emerging for work after a night in the shelter.
Patience 'Boo' Brand fastens the belt at the back of her coat, whilst Rachel Bingham ties up her shoe laces at the WVS Canteen Service depot in London, 1941. Rachel is wearing a steel helmet and Boo's helmet is on the bed, ready to be put on.
Women in the Voluntary Services: Two WVS girls working at a Blitz canteen. They are pictured lifting a heavy urn full of tea.
Patience 'Boo' Brand and Rachel Bingham of the WVS distribute tea and buns to ladies sheltering in a trench shelter in a London park, 1941. The ladies have made the shelter more comfortable by bringing chairs, tables and lamps from home.
|It is now 8am, and having returned to the depot and cleaned the canteen, Patience 'Boo' Brand loads a tea urn into the smaller tea car, in preparation for a call to another location, somewhere in London.|
Rachel Bingham serves tea from the back of her WVS tea car to a man who has been helping to clear up the rubble and debris caused by an air raid in this area of London, 1941.
|It is now 11am and members of the Pioneer Corps help WVS ladies unload trays of buns and pies from the WVS canteen, somewhere in London, 1941. The Pioneer Corps have been helping to clear up the rubble and debris caused by an air raid in this area.|
|At 11:30am, a queue of hungry Pioneer Corps men forms at the WVS canteen. These men have been helping to clear away debris and rubble caused by an air raid in this area of London and are now waiting to buy their lunchtime snack.|
|Patience 'Boo' Brand, a WVS volunteer, stands on the 'wrong' side of the counter of the WVS canteen amongst a group of thirsty Pioneer Corps. She is receiving a cup of tea from a WVS colleague inside the canteen and is just about to hand it to one of the waiting Pioneer Corps men. These men have been helping to clear rubble following an air raid in this area of London, 1941.|
|Miss Patience 'Boo' Brand is 18 years old and is part of London's 'Society'. She is now a member of the Women's Voluntary Service and runs a mobile canteen in London. Here we see her raising her cup in front of the canteen vehicle.|
Men of the Pioneer Corps eat buns and drink tea alongside a WVS canteen during their midday day break on a bomb site, somewhere in London. The photograph is taken from the site of a house that was completely destroyed in the raid. More bomb-damaged houses, including one with a sign for 'Lloyd's Laundry' can be seen in the background.
Patience 'Boo' Brand and Rachel Bingham serve tea to men of the Royal Engineers from the back of a WVS tea car, donated to the WVS by the American Red Cross. The Royal Engineers had been building bridges across bomb craters in main thoroughfares. This photograph was taken somewhere in London in 1941.
A Royal Engineer smiles for the camera in front of the WVS tea car, donated to the WVS by the American Red Cross. He is holding a mug of tea and a fruit pie, which are his 3 o'clock afternoon tea, purchased from the WVS tea car. The Royal Engineers had been building bridges across bomb craters in main throughfares and this photograph was taken somewhere in London in 1941.
|After tea, a group of Royal Engineers help Patience 'Boo' Brand with the washing up, by drying the mugs and stacking them back in their trays. The Engineers have been building bridges across bomb craters on main thoroughfares and have just bought afternoon tea and buns from the WVS tea car, (which can be seen behind them), run by Boo and her friend Rachel Bingham. This photograph was taken somewhere in London in 1941.|
|18 year old Patience 'Boo' Brand and her friend Rachel Bingham prepare for bed at the WVS Canteen Service depot. Rachel sets the alarm for 2:30am, so that they will be ready to supply refreshments to shelterers emerging for work after a night in the shelter.|
So there you go Patience 'Boo' Brand (what a great name by the way!) and Rachel's day in the Blitz Canteen, It must have been quite a culture shock to these young society girls, to suddenly have been thrust in amongst the devastation of the Blitz, but I'm sure that though it was hard work and the hours were long, it must have been an endlessly rewarding role to have had.