The 1st World War started in 1914 and at once my father became a special constable to see windows were in the dark every night. It was German zeppelins that were feared then. Past our Chapel and right at the top of the bank a search light was placed and so we often saw the soldiers in the village. I can remember when Hartlepool as bombarded in 1915. I also remember a zeppelin being hit and brought down over the sea. Tom and I stood in the bedroom facing east and saw the great rockets going up, the lights on the zeppelin, one was from our own searchlight, and the whole great machine lit up. 'Then the zeppelin broke into two and scattered into the sea.
Food was short. The store, Coxhoe Co-operative Society, had bought the Scott's shop, and we became members, but not very good ones. My father's cousin, Uncle Matt Hope, had a very good shop too and we bought there. I remember bags of flour and potatoes being hoarded in the cupboard under the stairs. There was plenty of milk brought from Lee's farm. Everybody went for the milk about one third of a mile away. My father used to shake the cream in a big jar to get butter and very nice it was too. If he shook it too long it became cheese, but still very good. I have liked cheese all my life because there was always Cheshire and cream cheese in the pantry. During the war there was much meat too, because if the butcher had "little" someone was always killing a pig for sausages etc., and some were given away. The bacon was perfect, no salt like it is now. Looking back, flour was very scarce as the war dragged on, because so much was imported and the British Navy was having a bad time because of the German submarines.
Many men were "called up"; there was no exemption and many never came back. They wrote to their f'amilies often and sent us children lovely mother-of'-pearl beads which were really Rosary Beads since most of the soldiers were in Catholic countries. Alice Jackson's uncle was in the navy. Near the end of the war we got our R.F.C. in action and Tom was called up when 18, and soon became a 2nd Leiutenant. I remember a silk scarf he wore round his neck to keep him warm and my mother kept that for years. We sent parcels to him with Dainty Dinar Toffees, made in Chester-le-Street, kept for him and sent with other choice bits. Every parcel had to be covered with cloth and sewn on. Lovely silk cards came from France, especially there were so many that we never kept them and now they are worth money. My Brother Jim was living in Newcastle, not married, and was helping to make tanks at Armstrong Whitworth's great works. I believe these tanks really surprised the Germans. Stan was at Greenock. T'om really wanted to be a doctor, but there were few grants in those days, so when he came home he became a teacher and went to St. Bede's College, Durham. Until the year began, he taught at Kelloe school, all one age group then, 7-14, and I was a pupil. He never seemed to notice little me! The staff seemed to have great fun in that staff room.
My parents were members of the Primitive Methodist Chapel right at the top of the village. It must have been an old building that was rebuilt by a builder, Regan, from Trimdon Village. I 'laid' a stone when 4. My father played the little harmoneum until we got a real organ which Tom learned to play. My father was always at Chapel in the evenings, and three times on Sunday. I always went to Sunday School and there were big groups or classes of children. We learned a 'golden text' each week and we said it in order of classes. We sang from the Sunday School Hymn Book and at the end of the service one teacher spoke to ns all. My father had a paper for each week about the lessons. We really read a great deal from the bible and it was always the Old 'I'estament that I liked. The teachers' meeting was often on a Sunday morning after service and my mother used to be angry if my father was late. It made the Yorkshire puddings hard! On Thursdays we went to a meeting in the vestry if 'we were in the choir.
The Sunday School Anniversary was held on the first two Sundays in Junc. My father and then Tom, together got special hymns for us to learn too, and we were given poems to learn too. Some girls learned very long ones, each having a story. We all got two new frocks and no-one told any other girl what her mother had bought her. There were some lovely dresses especially from Miss Roberts who had a shop and post office and a very nice house. I learned afterwards that she got the clothes from Bainbridges at Newcastle. The hats were lovely too. Of course, the material was good, silk, satin, wool and cotton and the colours were beautiful. I remember a black satin summer coat trimmed with a lovely blue, and one winter I had a red wool coat and hat and black gloves and a fur muff. We all had long hair, often in plaits with ribbons to keep it tidy. Every girl had her hair ‘searched' each week! I was fair and my hair had a curly finish.