Blackpool veterans compare lockdown to war

The lockdown of society to fight coronavirus has been likened to a war-time situation – something some of our oldest residents can remember.

One of those is veteran Ken Benbow, 94, who served in the Navy from 1943 including on the North Atlantic Convoys, but also experienced civilian life during the Second World War.
While food was rationed and many families lost loved ones to the fighting, those at home were mainly free to come and go.
Ken, from Garstang, was 14 when war broke out and had already left school to work on a farm in rural Shropshire.
He recalls: “It was tough because they were short of people on the farm so I had to work from 4.30am until 11pm at night.
“But we had no restrictions on what we could do and could still go about free and easy.
“Food was rationed but living in the countryside we had plenty of eggs and milk and as we lived on a smallholding, we were well fed.
“People all helped each other. I remember seeing queues of little children wearing their gas masks who were evacuees and they were taken into people’s homes and looked after.”
But Ken, who now lives at Thistleton Lodge Care Home in Thistleton, did also see some terrible sights and was a 14-year-old delivery boy when he witnessed injured survivors of Dunkirk being transported through a local railway station.
Blackpool councillor Lily Henderson, 93, who moved to the resort in the 1950s from Sheffield, says food shortages was one of the main hardships during the war.
She said: “It was pretty grim. We had no butter, bread or sugar.
“During the war I was in my early teens and we had to manage on a piece of sausage or bacon or anything, as food was so short.
“But at least people could meet up. This situation is different because they are shutting the schools and the churches down.”

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