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Fortunately my family had no members taken as prisoners in the Second World War, nor any who suffered immediate casualties. I knew that others had not been so lucky, but to me at the time these seemed fairly remote consequences. My immediate family came through unscathed although we learned later that my father had been on the Nazi 'hit list' because of his political affiliations. Fortunately the 'hit' never came to pass.
I remember the excitement of helping my father in his activities during the 1945 post-war general election which led to the sweeping political and social changes, some of which we still enjoy today.
During the 1945 election the chant of us children in Edmonton was, "Vote Vote Vote for Mr. Durbin, He's the man who'll give you bread and jam" - a powerful social commentary! Evan Durbin was the Oxford lecturer who my father introduced to the local labour party as their prospective candidate and who won a landslide victory in 1945.
Most of all, though, I recall the feeling of hope for the working classes - that the Government cared for them - that they mattered - that there would be job creation - that schools would no longer need to operate a 'boot fund' to prevent children having to go to school barefoot. I remember that even during my time at Silver Street School this fund operated and was sometimes needed. Years later in about 1967, the reality was brought home more forcefully to me when I visited Belfast on business and saw children running round barefoot there in the middle of winter.
It was just after the war in late 1945 that I went with my parents to see the 'bomb dump'. This was somewhere in Epping Forest, near Chingford, and was a large fenced-off compound where all of the locally collected unexploded bombs had been brought after being defused. Having wrought so much havoc, they were a source of awe, but I remember being rather disappointed. They seemed so ordinary and flimsy - not at all what I had expected!
Men who had been in the armed forces had often worked 12 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. The result was that they had earned big wages. As there was little to spend this money on, the government introduced Post War Credits. This meant the men paid large amounts of income tax into the system from their wage packets, with the promise that it would be paid back after the war. The government kept this promise and some people were getting re-paid as late as the 1960s.