War Time at Rofford House in Thorley Road
Now during the war, Rofford House in Thorley Road was used by service men. One day Granny Hunt and Aunt Alice and I were sitting in the kitchen at Downs View, Thorley Road, when suddenly the back door opened and two young men with shirts over their arms walked into the house, much to our surprise. One looked at Gran and said: ‘ Hello Ma, we are living in Rofford House. Can we borrow your iron?’
The other one explained they were (I think) Canadian. They had dates with two young women that evening, and there were no irons in Rofford House to iron their shirts.
Gran went out to the shed and came back with two flat irons because this is what she used then, and said: ‘They will take a while to heat up, boys, I have to put them on this range.’ Their faces were a picture. ‘What are they, Ma?’ one said. They could not believe it when Gran explained. They had had electric irons for years at home they said.
Gran decided if they tried to use the irons there would be two young ladies, with young men who had shirts full of holes, so she did it for them. Next day they came back and brought Gran several packets of biscuits. She said, ‘I can’t take them, it’s not right when things are rationed.’ They laughed and said they had plenty. Gran did bits of ironing for them and Gran got several lots of biscuits and then one day they came to say they all had to go back to the mainland.
They certainly had a forward approach but they were very nice young men. It seems that people just walked in and out of people’s houses in their home town. It seemed rather strange to us but then lot of things were strange in the war years.
Delia Whitehead nee Hunt b 1934