u3a - Battle of Britain and the Blitz stories - Hazel Rolf

Hazel Rolf, Collected by Hope Valley u3a

Contributed by Elisabeth Rolf from the diary of her mother-in-law, Hazel Rolf.

I found two remnants of silk velvet in Bull's and they were able to obtain another length so that the total would be enough for a full length dress.  Mum remembered a court dressmaker in Whiteknights Road and she agreed to make my dress.  I bought some blue cotton velvet for Phyl ( bridesmaid)'s dress, which was free of coupons as it was curtain material.  As it was not possible to buy a veil, the dress-maker's daughter-in-law lent me hers, with Brussels lace on the end. 

Mum was upset at having the wedding set for February 19th as it was term-time and she would have three students at home.  But George knew the invasion of Europe was imminent and leave would soon be stopped.  One student arranged to fire-watch at the university the night before the wedding so that Phyl could have his room.

The cake was a problem, as the shops were only allowed to make  very plain ones. So we made the two tiers at home, with gifts of dried fruit and eggs.  I can't remember where the icing sugar came from, but we made the marzipan with semolina and almond essence.  Mum arranged for us to use an upstairs room at the church for the reception and as they were not allowed to charge we paid just fifteen shillings for the gas for the fire. The bakery at Tilehurst made us sausage rolls.  They were rather burned, as there was an air raid and the baker was in a shelter at the crucial time.  A friend who worked at Huntley and Palmers brought us a large slab cake.  A friend of Uncle Jack's procured a large ham, which Jack gave to George in London.  We cooked it in Mum's old iron pot and George carved it the night before the wedding. No alcohol was allowed on church premises. (They spent the morning of the wedding organising the room and food).

Snow was falling and it was very cold.  Mum turned out two old fur coats for Phyl and me to wear.  Mrs Ware, who was helping in the kitchen, kept talking about a bride who had caught a cold on her wedding day and died!  We were allowed to hire two cars..............

Back home, we drank toasts in the one bottle of port we had procured and then left for the 17.09 train to Weston super Mare.  Our best man came with us as far as Bristol.  On arrival at Weston super Mare at 9pm, George managed to commandeer the only taxi available.  When we reached the hotel, the manageress said ‘I expect you have had a meal’, but George said ‘No, we should like something to eat’, so we had spam sandwiches and coffee.

The hotel residents were mostly taking refuge from the air raids in Bristol and the beach was covered with anti-invasion barricades of barbed wire.  We could not stay the full two weeks, as I was only allowed two weeks off school (without pay).