WW2: the role of women in the Second World War

WW2: the role of women in the Second World War

'I remember,' she continues, 'one time when I was sitting by the fireplace crying – it must have been an anniversary – and Ray coming up, and this little voice saying, "Don't cry, Mummy. Don't cry." And I said, "No, darling, I'll never cry again." And I didn't – not in front of him.'

Phyllis moved in with her parents on Hayling Island and was soon being asked to naval dances. 'I was without a partner and they fixed up a partner to come, and that, of course, was my second husband.' (John Clemens volunteered for the Navy in 1939.) Her mother was deeply opposed to the marriage. 'He's not Navy, Phyl,' she would say, 'He's only a call-up man!' Phyllis, too, had deep reservations. But what swung it was the prospect of a future stuck with her mother on Hayling Island ('I felt she was trying to control my life'), the social norms of the day ('There was no way out') and the fact that 'Clem' clearly adored her son.

After the war Clem became an accountant; they moved to...
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