It has been so interesting and informative to find out about The York Chocolate story and the treat everyone enjoys. Author Robbie Cheadle has been sharing The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK.. You can find part four HERE
The York Chocolate Series Part Five – Chocolate in wartime Second World War 1939 – 1945
When World War II commenced in 1939, the confectionary factories again producing chocolate for the troops. This time, however, chocolate was part of the soldiers’ official rations.
Affected by restrictions on sugar imports and rationing, part of the Rowntree’s factory buildings were temporarily converted to produce items to help the war effort. The cream department was reconfigured for the production of munitions, Ryvita and dried egg, and the gum department was converted into a secret fuse factory. Much of Rowntree’s office space on Haxby Road was utilised by the Royal Arm Pay Corps.
Florence Clark, a woman who started working at Rowntree’s in 1923 at the age of fourteen, became one of the so called “canaries”, filling fuses at the factory during WWII. The TNT powder turned everything the workers touched yellow, including their faces, hair, hands and arms and any other exposed skin. The work was dangerous and one of Florence’s colleagues had her fingers blow off while packing boxes of shells.
At the beginning of World War II, confection production was also reduced at the Terry’s factory and part of it was taken over by F. Hills and Sons of Manchester as a shadow factory to manufacture and repair aircraft propeller blades.
Terry’s made boiled sweets for use in emergency rations that were packed for the Navy’s life-boards and also in the rescue inflatables used by air crews when their aircraft went down at sea.
Terry’s also produced chocolates for Charbonnel & Walker, London based producers of high-end chocolates, who were unable to manufacture for the period of the London Blitz.
Terry’s clock tower at their Bishopthorpe Road factory was used as a place where volunteers kept a look out for fires during and after air raids. As the factory stood next to the racecourse which was converted to a prisoner of war camp, the clock tower was also used
Picture of Terry’s clock tower from https://c20society.org.uk/botm/terrys-clock-tower-york/
British bomber plane made from fondant on a large chocolate cake iced with black icing.
©Robbie Cheadle 2019
Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton co-authored While the Bombs Fell set in the Second World War.
About the book
What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes
“The family ate their plain meal, accompanied by milk, fresh from the dairy, or tea. The milk tasted slightly sweet with a thick layer of cream on top of it.
Mother and Father enjoyed fresh butter on their bread. An incredible luxury during this time of war, Mother occasionally bought it on the black market in the town.
Luxuries of any kind were few and far between. Food and clothing were rationed, as well as meat. The meat allowance was only one shilling and two pence of meat per family member each week. Bacon and ham were rationed to eight ounces per family each week.
Every member of the family owned a ration book which allowed Mother to buy a limited quantity of food and clothing for the family. Father said that as an island nation, Britain imported a lot of its food and other goods from other countries across the sea.
“The Jerries are trying to make Britain weak by attacking our cargo ships with their E-boats and U-boats,” Father said. “They want to cut off our supplies of food, clothing, and petrol.”
Each family member’s ration book contained coupons, and when Mother went shopping for food or other rationed items, the shopkeepers would cut out or sign the coupons. Mother still paid money for the things she bought. The coupons didn’t replace the money they just ensured that everyone got a fair share of the food and other goods that were hard to
get hold of during the war.
Game was available, and, in this respect, the family had an advantage over others living in the towns and cities.”
One of the recent reviews for the book
While the Bombs Fell is a collection of memoirs written jointly by Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton. While some of the tales might be fictionalized, everything is based on memories and history experienced by Elsie during the 1940s WWII bombing of England by the Germans. What a wonderful way to conclude my July month of [mostly] autobiographical and non-fiction works.
Elsie was born shortly before the war began but knew only a life about rations, ducking for cover, and living without… at least in her first few years. While I know a lot about the war and life in the last century, I learned more through these stories. Elsie and her siblings struggled immensely. Imagine daily life without showers, toilets, heat, prepared meals, or other modern conveniences? We think we know what it’s like when we catch a 30-second glimpse on a television spot or hear someone mention it, but to read twenty or thirty pages in each major tale–reliving the experience through Elsie’s words–it’s a whole lot different. I wonder if people today (born in the last 30 years) could survive such a life. I’d definitely struggle, and I’m somewhere between these two generations.
This memoir isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive look at life during the war. It’s more like the authors have shined a spotlight on 8 to 10 specific experiences that as a larger collection offer a taste of the past. It’s also an opportunity to understand where Elsie came from and for her to remember both the good and the bad. What I liked most about the book was Elsie’s focus on turning negative events into something positive or a lesson for the future. The book could’ve easily just told a sad story and let readers wallow in the pain of the past. Instead, it’s an inspirational outlook on how our past sometimes denotes who we are capable of becoming. Elsie seems like a wonderful woman, particularly seeing the way she was raised and how special her mother was.
I’m really glad I had the opportunity to read this one. Not only did I feel several heartwarming emotions, but I also saw the wonderful relationship between the two authors. Having read other books by Robbie before, I can see where she gets her talent at weaving together descriptions, characters, and personal experiences. This is the kind of story to share with your older relatives who might remember going through some of these moments in their own lives. It’s also good to show those who are so far removed from it what the past was really like. Kudos to both authors. Seeing the “Nethergate” reference in this book makes me even more excited for Robbie’s upcoming fall YA release – I wonder how they will connect?
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GZ2NZFK/
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07GZ2NZ
A selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other books by Robbie Cheadle
Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.
I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.
I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.
Connect to Robbie Cheadle
Website/Blog Roberta Writes: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/
My thanks to Robbie for sharing this series with us and I have discovered so much more about my favourite food group.