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Banburyshire Family History

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Smokey

An activity class was in progress. Most were watching mustard cress grow on wet flannels, but a few reactionaries at the back were using straws to blow bubbles in inkwells. Suddenly, a senior teacher entered: 'Sit up straight, hands on head, and listen!' Hands-on-head meant serious. Princess Elizabeth was going to get married, and in celebration the school would close on the day.

Opinion back in headquarters was mixed. Uncle Fred thought that with everything rationed, such extravagance was out of order; 'all right for some'. Granddad thought it a smart career move; 'lieutenant one day, Duke the next'. Grandma approved; 'it'll cheer everyone up and she deserves it, poor dear'. Local interest centred on the news that anyone named Elizabeth marrying on the same day could apply for a financial benefit.

The ceremony would be the first to be shown on television. This caused little excitement since the whole country only contained about two thousand sets, all within 60 miles of London. There was always the wireless, assuming good reception.

More seriously, although schools closed, factories didn't. Fortunately, Thursday was early closing for most shops. The Nation could not afford any interruption to the packing of piston rings in greasy brown paper, so my sister and I would join all our cousins at Granddad's.

We eagerly anticipated the wedding since the day before saw the biggest snowfall for fifty years. Sadly it all disappeared overnight. Local shops dug out all the bunting previously used for victory celebrations, but otherwise the day itself passed without significance.

My only memory is the Flying Wing aircraft passing overhead, en route to Bitteswell. Strange; all wings and no body.

Written by Smokey