When food parcels from the US brought delight to British families

For some of the children it was the taste of their first ever evaporated milk. For others it was a tin of ham and eggs, or peaches scooped out of cans with their fingers.

Seventy years on the recipients of a huge programme of humanitarian relief, aimed at helping war-ravaged Britain, can still remember as if it were yesterday opening the parcel of food aid sent from the United States.

  • andycanuck

    Mmm. Chocolate.

    • pike bishop

      The English kids I went to school with had really sweet teeth. I mean gobs of candy of every variety before classes every morning. Seems quaint now.

  • eMan14

    Now they spell CARE differently. CAIR… but the UK doesn’t need help with that kind of CAIR. They are screwing themselves up quite nicely without American help.

  • FactsWillOut

    England was still on food rationing into the 50’s. The US showered Germany with largess, not the UK.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      What do you mean?
      The U.K. Received almost 90% of all Marshal Plan aid.
      The rationing was mostly an artifact of the post war welfare state that was swallowing up all their money.
      Saved from fascism so they could eventually embrace socialist totalitarianism.
      Had we stayed out and Hitler won, would we know the difference today?

      • Brett_McS

        Exactly. The Germans embraced the free market policies championed by one of the great Austrian School economists who became the equivalent of finance minister. Unfortunately, the Brits embraced socialism.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      You received almost 90% of the Marshal Plan money.
      The US and Canada also loaned you almost 6 billion with virtually a “pay back anytime” option in addition to almost a half billion in privately collected charity from Americans alone.
      You could have had an almost 10 billion more in loans and credit guarantees had you agreed to economic reforms (like promising not to nationalize everything under the sun) and the stupidly high (by 50%) exchange rate that you pegged the Pound to that you spent the next twenty years chasing downward.
      That one idiocy alone killed your manufacturing export capability and ushered in a straight decade of deprivation for The UK.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    A friend of my father even brought home a London war bride.

    • Waffle

      My mother was a war bride and I was a war baby.

  • Brett_McS

    The Americans started making Rolls Royce Merlin engines during WWII and shipped them over in crates to the UK. The Brits working in the aeroplane factories loved these engines in part because each one was supplied with its own complete tool-kit in the crate. Before that they were always scrounging for tools – where’s that damn 5/8 th spanner!

  • Xavier

    You’re trying to tell me Americans once cared about something other than junk food and reality shows? I don’t believe it.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      That was when we were a bunch of rubes clinging to our guns and religion and standards of human decency.
      We are far more sophisticated now.

  • Millie_Woods

    It wasn’t just food.

    • Exile1981

      Most of those guns were crated up by the British Government and given to 20 men to hide until the Nazis invaded and then they were to use them to help fight the occupation force. The names of those men were destroyed from records so that an occupation force could never find them out. After the war half of them came forward and returned the guns to the gov’t (who destroyed them) and over the intervening years several depots have been uncovered. The most recent one was in 2007ish when someone found tons of ammo and guns buried under the floor of the barn they had recently inherited. Last I heard there were still 6 of those stashes undiscovered.

      • Millie_Woods

        We’ll distribute the guns AFTER the invasion. The Brit is authorities were as wacky back then as they are today.

        Thanks for sharing that.

        • Exile1981

          They did distribute most of them in case of invasion. Those caches where in case the Nazis invaded and took over Britannia. They were supposed to be the stocks for a resistance movement.

          The article doesn’t discuss the arms caches that are missing since the gov’t of england doesn’t like to mention that the keepers of said stashes never turned them back in.

  • Frances

    Back in the day, I remember my parents sending shortbread to English aunts. Dad would build small wooden boxes, and Mum would make large shortbread rounds which would just fit nicely in the boxes. The parcels went out in September. This stopped when rationing was over.

    Some years later, Granny returned to England for a visit. One family still had all the shortbread boxes, empty, stored away. Others mentioned how much they appreciated those small parcels.