Faire Brothers was fairly typical of the kind of business
which had made Leicester prosperous. They made all kinds of
elastic products including ladies suspenders, men's belts,
Their factory although not the Company, is still there
in Rutland street near the Odeon cinema. The attitude to staff
was typical of the time, a little paternalistic but
a safe place to be employed. There were dances, cricket and
football teams and a feeling of belonging. During the war
the Company published a small magazine which contained contributions
from Staff members away in the forces and those left behind.
We have reproduced some of these letters here to help recreate
the background of the City as it was in those times.
FAR FLUNG OUTPOSTS !
The war took people away from Leicester to far flung parts
of the world exposing them to experiences and sights they
would never have seen.
From 1737589 LAC Don Weston, India
Eighteen months since I said farewell too the shores of
England since when I have been in West, South and East Africa,
Madagascar and last but by no means last, India.
My preconceived ideas of this vast land have received
a severe shaking and only the fact that this letter must pass
the censor stops me from going into too much detail
The enlightenment I have causes me to to know and appreciate
my own country and as a result I long to return to that which
I once took for granted.
Before I was posted here I was in a jungle outpost. There
were six of us and we were visited jut once a fortnight with
rations and mail. We were very isolated. Last time I was sick
with malaria it took them three days to get me to hospital.
But it was on the whole a healthy life with clean air untainted
by the nauseating effluvia's of India's civilization.
I spent a few weeks in Calcutta where the famine was at
it's peak. Maybe you have seen pictures and read about the
famine but unless you have witnessed it your knowledge will
be very limited. I can still see the hosts of emaciated human
beings fighting over the contents of refuse bins and grovelling
in the gutters. My mind conjures some revolting but sad to
say truthful pictures which my pen cannot convey as censorship
would be contravened.
From 1121235 Cpl William Beattie RAF India
Another one from India.
We had an uneventful voyage out here, the sea being
particularly 'Gentlemanly'. This was followed by a 3 week
stay in a transit camp then a 60 hour train journey in India's
I have visited two of India's cities, Bombay and New Delhi,
and was very impressed by the latter. The memorial to India's
soldiers called the Indian gateway is almost identical to
Leicester's Arch of Remembrance and is most impressive.
The Viceroy's palace, the secretariats, the King George
V memorial are all modern architectural beauties and one sees
in the distance India's ancient beauties in her tombs, mosques
The people are most interesting in their clothes, customs
and languages but the climate is tough. At present it is 95F
in the shade and Winter is approaching
From 14426756 Private Arthur Hull
Arthur gets his feet under the table.
I have been with this unit for about five months and have
done a lot of travelling. To start with I had eight weeks
at Eastbourne where I had the pleasure of seeing the RAF boys
knock down a large number of flying bombs.
Then on to Aldershot which was not as bad as I had been
informed. I didn't care for the town very much but the army
had provided plenty of facilities for sport. Eventually orders
came to move abroad.
The first fortnight was spent near the town of Bayeux
in Normandy. My next move was by lorry and took me through
the devastated towns of Caen and Lisieux. They had both caught
quite a packet.
Continuing we came to Rouen which fortunately was not
damaged to a great extent. Eventually we reached our destination
and are in a large warehouse previously occupied by Jerry.
He certainly got out in a hurry and left lots of stuff behind.
We have been made very welcome by the French people up
here particularly the children who crowd round asking for
bon bons, chocolate or cigarettes supposedly for daddy.
Several of us to use an army term have our feet under
the table of a french family who give us cordial welcome wherever we go
From 2061267 Cpl Maise Gilbert, Buckinghamshire
It's a strange thing with all boys overseas wanting to
get home. I am the opposite. I would love to get overseas
and was thrilled to learn in February that the WAAF were to
be allowed to volunteer.
I did so poste haste, passed my medical a few days later
and have heard nothing since. It's a hard world.