During the war the radio was very important to people. In those days we called it “the wireless” but I don’t know why because it plugged into the power point and had a wire ariel! We had two radios, one in a rather imposing walnut case with a gramophone –a radiogram, which lived in the sitting room and the one we used most often, in the living room, an ugly utilitarian boxy thing which gave off mild electric shocks sometimes.  

We relied on the wireless for news (no TV) and everyone used to gather around the set  at news times, but it was also the source of so much of our entertainment, there was dance music, variety, plays and Children’s Hour at 5pm every day with Uncle Mac. We also got tips from the Radio Doctor and hints on how to make the rations last longer. Occasionally Lord Haw Haw managed to get on and we used to laugh and jeer at him, so I don’t think his propaganda did much good in our road.

One of the popular programmes was ITMA with Tommy Handley and we all went round quoting the catchphrases, “Can I do you now sir?” from Mrs Mopp and ” I don’t mind if I do!”  from Colonel Chinstrapp.

I think the adults knew what to expect on VE day but I can remember sitting round the wireless and hearing Mr Churchill give out the message that the war in Europe was over. Everyone rushed out into the street and hugged one another and immediately began planning a street party!

All the carefully hoarded food was brought out and next day they set up trestle tables and gave the children the best feast we had ever seen. I don’t know where all the bunting and flags came from. We had a white ensign flying from our top window, which I suspect had come from my Dad’s ship, HMS Biter, which had been decommissioned earlier that year!

Everyone joined in the celebrations, even those who had lost sons, daughters and husbands, maybe they were sad in private but they put on a brave face for the rest of us.

I was quite amazed that the news was on even after the war finished. I thought there wouldn’t be anything to report on:)

After the war we used to follow the serials which were on in the early evening, “Dick Barton Special Agent”,  “Journey into space”and “Paul Temple”

One of the saddest broadcasts I remember was February 6th 1952. We were all mystified when we were marched into the school hall and then they turned on the radio and the news was given out that King George VI had died. It was very sudden and we had had no prior warning so it was quite a shock.

When we were teenagers there were no special services for the young, just the three services the Home- predecessor of  radio 4, the Light –radio2 and Third– radio 3, no commercial programmes until Radio Luxemburgh, which we greeted delightedly.

I still enjoy the radio and would be lost without radio 4 especially.

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