Comment: War and chocolate

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Oh, that fond and distant reminisce of one’s first true love.

Those shy and awkward glances. That turmoil of emerging pubescence; of emotions scarce known before, of strange primeval stirrings, and a deep and dark desire to slowly unveil the object of one’s youthful passions.

Yep, I still thrill when musing of my first intimacy with a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

But true love’s path leaves many scars, and in my case mainly from teeth extractions. But what are mere dental traumas, compared to the satisfactions that only a long and intense affair can bring.

And so of all the traumas of World War Two, for fellow chocoholics surely few could have caused more anguish than the introduction of chocolate rationing in July 1942 – 2oz per person per week.

Now that really was a crime for which Adolf should have been stuck on the naughty step. But it wasn’t always so, for with the arrival of Bletchley’s first evacuees it was found that in their ration bags ‘the quarter-pound of chocolate received devouring attention.’

Even with the approach of Christmas, chocolate was on offer at Weatherhead’s at 71, Bletchley Road, and even in the Christmas week of 1941 the Co-op informed regular customers that Christmas cakes and chocolate logs would be available, as well as extra cakes.

As for Margaret Loveridge, she must have thought Christmas had come early when during the year she won American chocolate bars as the competition prize in the ‘Help for Russia Fund.’

1942 may have seen the introduction of chocolate rationing, but although few toys were available lots of chocolates and sweets were still in the shops at Christmas, because traders had been saving them up.

In fact some children complained of eating too many.

Meanwhile, at Bletchley Park on a mission to the United States one of the eagerly awaited delights for Alan Turing was to sample a Hershey Bar,‘The Great American Chocolate Bar.’

But dark forces were also exploiting the temptations of chocolate, for at the Garden Café, which often provided a social venue for the Wrens employed at Bletchley Park, a Wren was approached by a man who, if she brought him the contents of a waste paper basket from the Park, promised her Cadburys chocolates.

Pretending to comply she instead informed the authorities, and left them to deal with the matter. So if ever there was a medal for resisting temptation then that Wren deserves it, for the security of the nation could have been so easily comprised by the lure of a few coffee creams and a rum truffle.

And if proof was ever needed of chocolate’s seductive power, the Albert Street Methodist Canteen and Games Room became a legend, when servicewomen discovered it to be a useful source of chocolate. In fact when news got out they quickly formed the predominant clientèle.

But nevertheless at the end of July 1945 the facility closed, having served over 4,000 cups of tea and 1,000 cakes a month.

Chocolate and I have now been together for many, many years. But as with many cosy relationships there have been occasions when the temptation to stray has proved too great, and one has shamefully dipped one’s Cadbury’s Flake into the inviting creamy, soft depths of a cornet full of Mr William Golding’s patent award winning ice cream.

Newly married, it was in 1932 that he established an ice cream shop at 22, Aylesbury Street, Bletchley, and after winning many National Diplomas in 1953 he received the highest possible accolade, when presented at the London Connaught Rooms with a magnificent cup, for making the finest ice cream in the country. The cup was then proudly placed on display in his shop window.

As for his secret, Mr. Golding would never reveal his award winning formula, except to say that Ted Holdom’s T.T. Milk formed a part of the essential ingredients.