If you have been reading the blog for a while, you have probably gathered that I quite like crested cutlery and I am always on the look out for examples I haven’t got. Normally what you find are desert spoons and forks. Knives and teaspoons are far more uncommon, but a month or two back I came across a delightful example of a NAAFI crested tea spoon:
The crest is particularly small as this is of course a teaspoon. Despite a small amount of wear from stirring many cups of tea, the crest is still visible:
The crest is more easily seen in this illustration:
The crest uses imagery from all three services it supports in its design, so we have the laurel wreath of victory to represent the army, an anchor for the navy and a pair of wings for the air force.
The tea spoon itself is marked with its manufacturer’s name on the rear:
In this case it is made of stainless steel by T Turner and Company of Sheffield, who used the ‘Hygenic’ brand name for this pattern of cuttlery.
Rhoda Woodward spent the war working in a NAAFI:
I reported to the kitchen, a small Nissen hut, on the side of a larger one, which turned out to be the W.A.A.F. canteen. Morning break had just finished and it was now the staff coffee break. It was a very large kitchen with four large sinks, two on each side. In the centre was the biggest kitchen range I had ever seen. There were also, two large scrubbed top tables, and a smaller one with an aluminium top. This was called the beverage table. It was used for making tea and coffee etc. It was one of my many jobs to keep that table top highly polished with whitening.
I was just finishing my coffee and getting to know Nellie, the other assistant and the cook, when this voice seemed to come from nowhere saying,
“All R.A.F. personnel will assemble in the W.A.A.F. canteen, at 1930hrs. The bar will remain closed.”
This was my first experience of the Tannoy. It was something I would soon to get used too, as in all military camps, we were never too far away from a speaker. They were even installed in the bathrooms. Our manageress laughed.
“You will have an easy night tonight.” she said.
Nellie looked up and answered.
“Yes.We’ll have to keep the kettle boiling, just in case we have any bodies.” I kept quiet, not liking to ask what was going on.
I soon found out what they were talking about. A couple of young airmen were brought into the kitchen. They had passed out during what I thought in my innocence, was a first aid lecture. I was then informed that it had been a men only lecture on Venereal Disease.
At the lunch-time break, I was shown how to weigh the tea and coffee into white cloth bags, ready for putting into the tea urn and coffee pans. I began to adapt and was soon out on the bar serving. In the mornings, I had to be up at 0700hrs, to rake out the flu’s, clear the ashes and get the fire lit. The kettle had to be boiling on the big old range, so the girls could have a morning cuppa at 0730hrs
The cook would have breakfast ready for 0800hrs. Then there was the bar and our billet to clean. The cook had to get about 200 cakes ready for morning break. Everything was done on those ranges. There was always a constant supply of hot water for the tea urns and large pans of coffee. The only electricity we used, was for the lights.