1944: Bacon & Eggs before D Day! by Ena Gowland & Eric Stephenson, more recollections from Low Westgarth Farm
One afternoon in early May, my sister Marjorie and brother Eric and I were coming home from school, a long and weary walk from Butterknowle at around 4.40pm. We were aged 11, 9 and 7. As we turned into our top field off the main road, we were all aghast at the sight of tank tracks running down by the side of our cart road, through the crop of wheat, which was lush and green, then into the hay meadow to run straight to the stack yard and out of sight among the sheds and buildings. That is the only time I was frightened, we were all sure that the Germans had landed and were invading our farm. It was with great relief we realised they were English soldiers talking with mam and dad. The unit was travelling in a large tank and a sort of personnel carrier. They were purchasing fresh eggs and bacon, unfortunately the egg man had been that day and bought all the eggs for that week. The Captain asked dad if he could send the young lad to collect what was in the hen houses, they would take all we had. It meant Eric was allowed to collect eggs for the first time and felt he was doing his bit to help the Military out and proud to do so. Through the war it was called “The Black Market”, I learned that later. Whilst Eric was collecting eggs, dad cut a wedge of bacon from a side hanging in muslin in the kitchen. He brought it outside for them to see. There was a lot of laughter, smiling and handshaking. I don’t know how much money was exchanged but everyone was happy.
Now in 2020 I’m very pleased about that day because it was just before the D Day landings, who knows where these military units were going, at least they went off well fed.