Wartime Letters

Who's Who
1944 letters
1945 letters
Childrens Letters
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Afterthe war
1943 letters
Food and Drink
Book List
History of Leicester
Childhood Memories

The letters which Olive and Eric wrote to each other contain references to many family members, neighbours and work mates. The following index lists some of them
For more information about individuals click on the name.
GRANNY ROSE MASON. Eric's mother
GRANDMA JOHNSON Olive's mother
GRANDAD JOHNSON Olive's father
AUNT MABEL Eric's sister
UNCLE HARRY Mabel's husband
BERNICE Mabel and Harry's daughter
PEGGY Mabel and Harry's daughter
LES Peggy's Husband
AUNT NORAH Eric's sister
UNCLE ALF Norah's husband
JOHN Norah and Alf's son
BILL Norah and Alf's son
ERIC Norah and Alf's son
UNCLE BILL Eric's brother
AUNT MADGE Bill's wife
JANET Madge and Bill's daughter
AUNT GLADYS Eric's sister
UNCLE OLIVER Gladys's husband
RON Oliver and Gladys's son
KATH Oliver and Gladys's daughter
JACK Oliver and Gladys's son
OLIVER Oliver and Gladys's son
AUNT GLADYS Olive's sister
UNCLE TOM Gladys's husband
JOHN Gladys's and Tom's son
ALLEN Gladys's and Tom's son
AUNT EDITH Olive's sister
AUNT AGNES Olive's sister
AUNT ETHEL Olive's sister
UNCLE HAROLD Olive's brother
UNCLE PERCY Olives brother
UNCLE BOB Olive's brother
MRS. SAUNDERS Neigbouring family
MRS. WOODCOCK (EVE). Neighbouring family
MRS. BROWN Neighbouring family
MRS. QUINN Neigbouring family
MR. STEVENS Neighbours
MRS.POTTER Neighbour
MR. LILLEY Eric's boss
BILLY Evacuee boy who lived opposite

Information about some of the characters.

Granny Rose Mason

Rose was Eric's mother. She was a country girl in domestic service who married a Policeman, John Mason. They moved to Leicester where John served in the City Constabulary. They lived in Newfoundpool for many years. 

John Mason PC 103 Leicester Constabulary

Rose was bedridden for the last part of her life and stayed at Mabel's, Nora's and Olive's houses. She always had a tin of biscuits ready for any nephews, or nieces who visited. I only ever remember nice things about her.

When she stayed at Mable's house in Balfour Street,Woodgate, her bed was by the downstairs window. The window was always open even on cold days so she could chat to people as they passed by.

The house had no electricity at that time only gas and even the radio was worked by a large accumalator. I never heard Granny complain about life.

Grandma and Grandad Johnson

Olive's mother and father. They lived in a small terraced house/shop in Conduit street in Highfields. Grandad was a shoe repairer but he also had a taste for horse racing, gambling and snuff. According to my mother, he led his wife a bit of a dance. Grandma was a very tiny woman and the strain of having some eight children affected her health.

 One lasting memory of their house is the radio run off accumalators, the smell of condensed milk she used in her tea and the smell of leather. I always wondered how so many children could have been brought up in such a small house.

Today although Highfields remains, the streets of house have mostly gone, replaced by flats which though modern when built are today showing their age.

Aunt Aggie, Uncle Ernie

Aunt Aggie was my mothers oldest sister and lived with her husband in Coalville. Because of this we saw less of her. Her husband was a coal miner and both were strong Salvation Army members.

I still remember visiting their tiny house and seeing the pit from the back door. Life was very tough for both of them but  Aggie lived to see her one hundreth birthday and get her telegram from the Queen.

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Aunt Ethel

 Aunt Ethel was Olive's sister. She had an unhappy marriage and eventually left her husband, something quite shocking at the time. She came and lived with us for a time and while she was of some help to my mother she had a full time job in Lewis's department store and went out rather a lot with men my mother didn't always approve of. 

To me she was a rather severe figure, a little frightening especially in the black clothes she had to wear for work.

Today I have a lot more understanding of her and what she went through and a lot of sympathy. Her daughter's name was Beryl

Aunt Edith, Uncle Harold, Uncle Percy, Uncle Bob and children

 There was less contact with this part of the family although I did sometimes visit Aunt Edith's house. I did not find her as warm as her sister Gladys and prefered to go there. She lived in Percival Street.

Harold, Percy and Bob I only ever really saw at family 'do's', funerals,weddings and christenings.

Aunt Mabel and Uncle Harry
Without a doubt my favourite aunt and a second mother to me. Aunt Mabel was Eric's sister and had two daughters. I was treated like her son and could do little wrong where she was concerned.

To this day I think of her as a loving, warm woman who coped with life despite so many difficulties.

 She had quite a hard life, living in a house off Woodgate with no electricity and only gas on the ground floor. Granny Rose spent a lot of time at her house with her bed against the window so she could speak with people passing by.

Peggy and Bernice

Daughters of Mabel and Harry. Peggy and especially Bernice were great support for Olive during the war. Peggy was involved with her boyfriend, Les but Bernice was younger and spent a lot of time at our house. Without her I don't think my mother would have coped.

Uncle Bill, Aunt Madge, Janet

 My Father's brother, a teacher and later headmaster of a school in Birmingham. Because Birmingham was almost as far away as the moon we only saw him once or twice a year. He was a lovely man.

I did not see as much of him as I would have liked as Birmingham was on the other side of the world in those days without cars. The occasional trip we did make by bus or train was always a big adventure.

One of the highlights for me was seeing the tram cars in Birmingham some of which had eight wheels while ours only had four !

Aunt Gladys, Uncle Oliver, Kath, Ron, Oliver and Jack

 Another favourite aunt, sister of my father. This family lived on a small farm on the Groby Road, Gilrose Farm. Glady's always saved comics for me, the Beano, Dandy, Hotspur and Wizard. Water came from a hand pump. Glady's also had a hard life and died fairly young. Their children, Kath,Ron.Oliver and Jack were older than me but they were always nice to me.

The farm has long since disappeared under streets of houses. I was brought up on milk from the farm which was delivered every day in a horse drawn cart and measured out into jugs.

Aunt Gladys and Uncle Tom

My other favourite Aunt. Olive's youngest sister. Lived with husband Tom in Mornington Street and had two sons John and Allen. They were all regular visitors to our house and we to theirs. They were never very well off and life was a struggle at times but they were always cheerful.

Aunt Gladys I will alwys remember as the aunt with the photos because she always had some new ones in her handbag to show around.

John and Allen

Tom and Gladys's sons who I spent a lot of time with as a child. John went on the become a champion ballroom dancer.

Aunt Nora, Uncle Alf

 Norah was Eric's sister and lived with her husband Alf in Oban Street in the 'Pool' Being in walking distance of home, we were regular visitors there and they came to see us a lot especially on Sundays. Aunt Norah was a large easy going woman and I always treated her home as mine.

 She worked for a time at the Fosse cinema and was an active member of St Augustine's church

Eric,John and Bill

 Norah and Alf's sons. All slightly older than me but I saw a lot of them. 

Mr and Mrs Saunders and John

 Neighbours whose garden backed onto ours and a gate led through. John was my closest friend as a boy. Their house always seemed a bit posher than ours and John was more strictly controlled than I was. Mr Saunders used to cut local children's hair including mine in the back garden.

 Mr. Saunders was in the brick industry and this was a reserved occupation. This did cause some jealousy I think to my mother. John was my best friend but we lost touch when I left Leicester at 18 to go into the Air Force.

Mr and Mrs Woodcock, Christine, Peter and Ray

 Neighbours with a backing garden to ours. A nice family and Mrs. Woodcock was a close friend of my mother and a great help although she had three children of her own to cope with. Mr. Woodcock was an insurance agent and after the war they set up a bakers shop in Newfoundpool

Mr and Mrs Brown, Colin and David

 Another family whose garden backed onto ours with a gate through. Not quite as close as the Woodcocks but a nice family all the same. Mr. Brown was in the Navy

Mr and Mrs Quinn and John

 Mr Harry Quinn was a life long friend of Eric and they were very close right up to my father's death. Lived in a house in Barton Road which was a bit posher than ours. Mr Quinn was one of the first people I ever knew who owned a car. 

Mr and Mrs Stevens

 Next door neighbours who were no problem but my mother did find some of Mr. Stevens comments on the war hard to take.

Mrs Potter

 Next door neighbour disliked by all the local kids because she would not return lost balls. Also kept a very scruffy dog called RoRo. Held a grudge against our family for reporting her to the wardens for having lights showing through her windows during an air raid warning.


 My dad's boss at Faire Brothers. My dad worked at Faire Brothers all his life from 16 to 60. When he was made redundant at 60, he considered that he had been letdown and his loyalty to his bosses misplaced. 

In fact he was an early victim of Thatcherism although he continued to vote Tory. Fair Brothers was eventually swallowed up by a much larger company.


 A boy about my age who was evacuated from London and lived with a family across the road.

I would welcome information from present day members of the extended families of people named in this web site, the Johnsons, the Benifers, the Crookes, the Hardings, the Gills, the Langdales, the Lanes, the Masons.

In the late seventies there was a family gathering at the Cooperative Hall in Leicester at which 200 relatives turned up to celebrate the birthday of Grandfather Johnson. Thirty years later there must be hundreds more !

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