ss sail
What they did before they had mobile phones.
ss dave files 00
Dave sent these sad, and pretty abrupt business-like letters from the MoD. 
ss dave files0
Almost impossible what it must have been like to receive one.
ss dave files
Thanks for sharing them, Dave.
ss dash
ss 44 londres v1
Wartime in …
ss bofallan
Where and when?
The answer is blowing in the wind.
Seems it did more than clean baths without scratching…
Cough, cough…

55 thoughts on “ALL OUR YESTERDAYS”

  1. Sad to read those pro-forma army forms. I wonder what the reaction from the person opening the buff coloured envelope was? My Dad’s cousin was killed in North Africa and it devastated his mother when she opened her envelope.

    Regarding the soap powder – were the old suds harmful? You no longer see Omo, Lux, Rinso and Tide, we used to be bombarded with TV commercials for these brands in the late 1950’s and 60’s.


    1. Devastation, I think.

      I dunno. I think they probably cleaned as well. I mean does anyone remember “grey” whites? But maybe they weren’t that good for the environment… or maybe they left scum everywhere.

      Things have been “new” and “improved” all my life!


    2. That wartime photo might be in 1944 at the height of the V1 attack on London. It looks like Fleet Street not too far from Aldwych where a bomb landed at lunchtime and many were killed when it hit the left side of Aldwych.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Is the first wartime new somewhere in London ? The church tower has a Wren look about it and doesn’t look like any I recall north of the border.

    Am off to zoom in on second scene on laptop to see if I can get hint of bus destination.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ajax was advertised as “the white tornado”, a phrase which soon came back to mind when Ajax, in an all white strip, took Liverpool apart in a European tie, an early sign of the rise of Dutch “total football”.

    The second picture looks to me like early 50’s since the AYJ registration on the Anglia (or Popular) has moved on from the basic 2 letter plate. Glasgow registration on the Wolseley behind but that in itself is not necessarily an indicator. Bus tone looks like red but unable to read destination or number – Central SMT, south side Glasgow ?

    Likely of course to be totally wrong but the Inspector Clouseau of evidence analysis never gives up.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Which makes it an Alexander’s bus presumably – knew that Perth and Kirkcaldy were red for town buses (rural double deckers were blue) but never thought of Stirling area – assuming that I am correct about the colour of the bus.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Red shows a slightly darker tone than the light blue of Alexander’s buses – but only works if guessing between two known colours (Central SMT were a slightly darker shade of red than Alexander’s in my recollection). Will check more some b and w photos to test hypothesis.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. 1960s. We’d hear the ice-cream van and me and my brother would rush out to buy our sliders. Mum would give us the money and some more to buy her a packet of 10 Cadets. I’m sure the packet of cigarettes had a picture of a grenadier guard on it, but I can’t find any images on google so I must be thinking of something else.

    Jings! But I did find this:

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The old fag packets made me wheezy just looking at them. I remember going to a job interview in 1982 and sitting puffing away with an ashtray on the arm of my chair while I answered the questions. How times have changed.

    There’s so many restrictions that smoking is just too much hassle nowadays, never mind the, your damaging yourself and anyone in the vicinity bit.

    I’m glad to say I finally gave the addiction the dicht, going cold turkey on January 13th 2001 and haven’t had a fag since.

    I don’t mind folk smoking if they want to, I’m not some reformed smoker fascist because I remember clearly what a powerful addiction it is and the months of purgatory giving it up involved. I do look at folk standing outside pubs sometimes though and all I feel is relieved that I no longer have that wee nicotine voice scratching away inside my head, ruling my life.

    So if your a smoker, try to quit, there’s lots of help available and it still won’t be easy, but honestly, if you stick with it you won’t regret it.

    Freedom awaits.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was lucky, I suppose. Having attempted on occasions, and failed dismally, I got a very bad bout of gastroenteritis some years ago.

      For over a week I couldn’t eat anything, and could only drink water.

      The thought of a cigarette made me want to throw up.

      By the time I was on my feet I realised that not having smoked for 3 weeks, I’d be mad to start again.

      I’ve never fancied one. I hate the smell of it now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was a complete addict, I’d stopped a few times, once for as long as 3 years but started again. Even nursing my dad while he died at home from lung and bone cancer only scared me into stopping for a year.

        My past failures to stop were mainly due to being passed a wee splifferooney when in company and because they contained baccy, the addiction would get a grip once again. I know a guy who claims to have stopped but on further analysis it emerged he was smoking around 20 joints a day. Nicotine addiction is indeed a perfidious affliction. I can remember times when I decided to only smoke with a drink but the addiction was so strong I had to start smoking full time again or I was going to become an alky.

        I don’t smoke anything now, it was the only way I could kick the addiction. I’m avoiding saying habit because that’s a euphemism, it’s definitely an addiction. I’ve got pals who say they can control it, they insist that they regularly don’t have a fag for long periods of time and it doesn’t bother them. They’re always smoking when I see them though and have been doing so for years. I’ve argued about this with them many times but it’s pointless so I’ve given up.

        I only stopped getting the occasional urge to smoke about 3 years ago, the worst was when my pal would smoke his Cuban cigars, even though I hated cigars when I was on the fags. The rich cigarry smell tugging at my heart strings while the old longing would return with a vengeance.

        Like you I hate the smell as well but if you’ve got palls that smoke it’s often a price you have to pay.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well done though. In the end you go there.

          Yes, I accept the smell of smoke when I have to, although I seriously dislike it, and I won’t allow it in my house of the car.


    2. What no Woodbine? Always thought that Player’s Weights and such like were just poor imitations of the real thing.

      Best cigarette commercial ever was the “film noir” Cassavetes style job for Strand – “You’re Never Alone with a Strand”, complete with Miles Davis – like music. Conventional wisdom in the advertising world was that the ad was so good, it helped to kill the brand because it attracted buyers who would otherwise not have considered a rather cheap and nasty product and so generated a wave of adverse word of mouth publicity which led to its demise – illustrating the truth that a brilliant ad cannot sell an inferior product for long and may indeed serve to make the mediocrity of product common knowledge. Mind you, I loved the ad and quite liked the fags. Late 50’s/early 60’s.


      1. That’s it… 3/2d for 20? That’s about 16p. What are they now? About £9 for 20?

        Good point about the advertising … but listen to his accent!


  6. That interchange between ‘The War Office’ and a parent is insensitive. Though I do not know what else the bureaucrat could have said. Perhaps:

    “Dear Mrs McLean,

    I am so sorry that your son appears to have died in the War. This was a just fight and we shall overcome this evil someday. Your son payed the ultimate penalty by fighting for our freedom, he died a hero.

    Perhaps the country will honor him in the future. And his families and grandchildren, who will only ever enter into ‘just’ wars like this and not class based murder.”

    I am,


    Your obedient servant.

    etc, etc , etc.


    Fast forward, what, 70 odd years, and we have a US President running a similar Ponzi scheme? And our own government subscribing to this?

    It is pretty sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye it’s hard to know how to break that kind of news. I thought that COs wrote personal letters. But maybe in the heat of the battle they didn’t have time.


    2. Douglas
      Andrew Mclean was my uncle, he couldn’t get work in the area and so joined the army, ended up in the infantry.
      Was posted to Hong Kong in 1941, just in time for the Japanese invasion from China.
      Taken as a POW to be transported to Japan to work.
      He was on a ship called the Lisbon Maru which was sunk, eventually, by the USS Grouper, a friendly fire incident.
      The rest of the story is horrendous, the prisoners were held on the ship as it slowly sank, those that got off were shot at in the water.
      Andrew was in the Royal Scots, 2nd battalion, his name is on the wall in Edinburgh Castle.
      A victim of Nationalism.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave,

        It is good and sad that you finally got the clarity that all families deserve about their relatives. No matter how horrendous. Not one word of your narrative was revealed in the ‘official’ correspondence of the time. Which was, somewhat, banal.

        How did you finally learn the truth?

        I am glad he is properly commemorated, I am sadder though that he died at all. Such a waste.

        Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. OT but for those of you with Netflix there’s a new Ken Burns ( ) series out which is, as usual, quite exceptional : The Vietnam War.

    For those of you who haven’t come across Ken Burns before then I thoroughly recommend his work – most if not all is produced for the Public Broadcasting Service ( ) so its not your usual USA fare 🙂

    Now of course I have to go buy (for the third time, vinyl/tape/CD all gone!) a couple of Bob Dylan albums. Oh and Blood on the Tracks which has bugger all to do with the 60s but I suddenly remembered it. Thankfully I have all the Stones/Doors/Hendrix/Joplin/etc ones on the network 🙂

    If you do choose to watch then (unlike now) the TV footage didn’t get censored quite as much so there is video of marines picking up bits of former human beings etc.

    I think (like his previous series) this one is up amongst the best (World at War etc). He has a style you’ll either like or loathe – and he has a habit of using the Brit national anthem on piano in the background on some scenes (The War had this too).

    Also be aware its ten episodes each 60-90 minutes long so not a trivial bingefest 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. More like plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose I’m afraid.

        There’s some seriously disturbing footage in there which reminds us what the USA still is – in Eisenhower’s own words 70 years ago when he warned about it : a military industrial complex.

        The use of music is (again, as always with Burns) very effective.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Also this series apparently took 10 years to make. Its worth watching for all sorts of reasons – one of which is the USA at war with itself back then, now mainly suppressed bar a few thousand blacks shot by police each year. They seem to think that worthwhile even now.

          Boris et al want to bring that all “home” – again.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. PBS has had this on freeview. An exceptional series. If you still read books then “A Bright Shining Lie “ was Neil Sheehan’s magnum opus, 16 years in the making. A fascinating history of the Vietnam War seen through the eyes of John Paul Vann, a military advisor from the beginning and who died in the last days of the war.

      Many lessons for today, including describing how accurate reports from the field were changed as they progressed up the command chain because reality was deemed unacceptable to the hierarchy, all the way to the White House.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If Sheehan wrote it then most of it came from what was called “The Pentagon Papers” which is a report Robert McNamara (US Defence Sectretary) comissioned but never personally received as he was booted out to the World Bank.

        I found it interesting to see how someone I really don’t remember (LBJ) was actually one of the good guys (civil rights, labour reforms, education programs etc) to begin with. He’s now (somewhat unjustly) remembered with the chant “Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”.

        Powerful series.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sheehan was a war correspondent based in Saigon during the Vietnam war and knew Vann personally. I do not know if the Pentagon Papers were an input but I do know that his first-hand research was painstaking.

          Another book, actually a trilogy, is the Path to Power, about LBJ. You will need a strong stomach to read just what LBJ was like.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Mmm thing is that Martin Luther King supported LBJ for years and years so things are never quite as simple as they seem. I always assumed LBJ was your typical 50s/60s Texan – ie borderline sociopath – but seems not. Well not when JFK died anyway, afterwards its probably the same old story about power corrupting…

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry Tris but I’m way off topic here.

    Marchers (by the 10’s of 1,000’s) CHECK

    Welcomers, greeters and applauders (by the 1,000’s) CHECK

    Statue (of the AWESOME variety) CHECK

    Weather ( of the Sun shines on the righteous variety) CHECK

    Brilliant family atmosphere CHECK

    Wee Ginger Dug CHECK

    Wings stand CHECK

    Saltires a plenty CHECK

    Saltires (in the sky) CHECK (THREE)

    Neighbours and friends from Eastiggs area CHECK (bloody ridiculous we had tae travel 120 miles tae meet oor neighbours and friends)

    I’m not fully convinced yet but I think I’m verging on thinking today was a pretty damned good day!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 15,000?

        Arbroath suggested tens of thousands. BBC being economical with the facts again?

        AUOB seems to me to be the ony way forward.

        What policies an independent Scotland follows and what head of state it has are matters for a Scottish government once elected by the people after independence.

        We’ve no need to be fighting about that now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Arbroath suggested tens of thousands. BBC being economical with the facts again?”

          Probably, but they at least reported it. And without their usual venom.

          I, too, am falling into the AUOB fold.

          Which, hopefully, switches the middle ground from them to us.

          I think that some of that middle ground fears a state ruled in perpetuity by the SNP. Just to argue against that, I would be far more likely to vote Green in an independent Scotland than I could now, given the existential argument.

          Which, I take it as a given, is what AUOB is about?

          Was it not Vaclav Havel that allowed ” a thousand flowers to grow”.

          Which is the point, perhaps. We have to grasp our own future. And deal with it.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. In fairness Tris they did announce the official number as 15,000 at the start of the speeches etc but that was just for the march. Remember there were around 1 to 2,000 already at Bannockburn before the marchers arrived I reckon. so I think I can’t be far out with my 10’s of thousands “claim” 😂

          Liked by 1 person

      2. “Bannockburn is where Robert the Bruce claimed victory over Edward II’s English army in 1314.”

        “claimed victory” – the BBC can still belittle Scotland when they purport to be neutral.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. SOOOOOOOOOO happy.

      Really wanted to be there, but family responsibilities made it impossible.

      Great that you had a good day 🙂 🙂 🙂


  9. Ré “Wartime in”:

    Fascinating and horrifying.

    We can perhaps limit it a bit.

    It was not a nuclear attack, like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, for all photographs would have been extinguished.

    It was not an attack on the UK, given the ethnicity of the people.

    It was a British colony, given the writing on the bus.

    Well, if my assumptions are right, that narrows it down a bit!

    We appear to be looking at a WW2 image, perhaps later but probably not earlier.

    That’s it.

    Perhaps readers could reach further, or contrary, conclusions.

    We need to know!

    Liked by 1 person

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