Ralph Mollet's diary - food supply

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Vegetables were not rationed, but prices were controlled

All food was rationed, except vegetables; the amount of the ration varied, but the average, prior to the invasion of the Continent, was a follows:- weekly: butter, 2 oz; breakfast food (oat and barley flour), 7 oz; meat, 4 oz; salt, 4 oz; sugar, 3 oz; bread, 4 lb 4 oz; potatoes, 5 lb; whole mile, 1/2 pint daily (the Field Command tried on several occasions to put the population on skimmed milk, but this was successfully opposed by the States Departments). Macaroni, 8 oz every fortnight; jam, 1 lb every six weeks. Coffee substitute, dried beans, peas, tinned vegetables, tinned fish (sardines or tunny), margarine, cheese, oil, saccharin, chocolate, and sweets for children were issued from time to time, when obtained from France. Cooking fat, tea and flour were issued every week during 1940 and 1941, until the supplies became exhausted. Sea water was issued, when salt became short; it was also used in making bread. The retain price was one penny per quart, and many jokes were made with reference to the sale of the Atlantic at that price.

Owing to the various military restrictions on the use of the beaches and harbours, a very limited supply of fish was caught by the local fishermen. This was rationed to the public after the troops had claimed a percentage of the catch.

Necessity being the mother of invention, tea and coffee susbstitutes were made by many of the inhabitants, from barley, parsnips, sugar-beet, mangolds, carrots, acorns, bramble leaves, etc. Sugar beet was grown freely, and the syrup was extracted on quite a large scale; this proved a great boon in supplementing the sugar ration.

Tobacco ration

A ration of 1 oz of tobacco was issued weekly. This was imported from the Continent. From 1941 tobacco plants were grown on a large scale, and in 1944 the cultivation had to be controlled by the States Finance and Agricultural Departments.

Potato flour was made very extensively, and efforts were made by the States to control its manufacture.

Special rations of extra milk, biscottes, rice, macaroni, and brandy were made to invalids and expectant mothers, on production of a medical certificate. Also extra milk was given to the small children attending schools. Heavy workers received extra rations of bread, meat and potatoes.

The potato known as the Royal Jersey FLuke became the chief food of the inhabitants; these potatoes were grown on every available plot. A late potato imported from France was also grown as a late crop and proved of great value. The potato and the milk, together with the locally grown vegetables, kept the inhabitants from starvation.

Carrageen (a species of seaweed) collected from the rocks, bleached and dried, became very popular in making jellies, etc.

Beer soon became unobtainable, as the brewers had no malt; the population had to become accustomed to do without. A limited amount of brandy and wine was imported by the States from France, the former issued only on a medical certificate.

Rabbit keeping became an Island-wide industry; some of the inhabitants continued it throughout the Occupation, but many soon gave it up on account of the difficulties in obtaining the necessary food, also in consequence of robberies.

Communal kitchen

The States organised a communal kitchen and a communal restaurant for cheap meals of cooked vegetables for town workers. A scheme for supplying vegetable soup on a large scale was attempted by the States, but did not prove popular. It was only kept on to supple the school children daily.

The 'Secours National' of France sent several gifts of biscuits from the children of Jersey.

The Field Command ordered that the German residents must receive increased rations, as the ration in Germany was on a higher scale than in Jersey, so they said. Increased rations had consdquently to be supplied to them.

The Animals Shelter issued rations of meat, etc, for dogs and cats from time to time.

Large quantities of limpets were gathered from the seashore and sold as food for dogs, cats and poultry. The supply of limpets was endless.

Besides food, rations of matches and soap were occasionally issued.

I order to obtain meat for the population, the Agent at Granville bought cattle in France, but the Jersey authorities would not allow live cattle to land in the Island, on account of the restrictions in force to combat foot and mouth disease. Owing to the unsatisfactory means of transporting dead meat to Jersey during 1940 and 1941 it was finally decided to send live cattle, and after a lapse of many years sixty head of live cattle arrived in Jersey, as a first consignment, on 28 July 1942.

The captains and crews of the French and DUtch ships and b arges arriving in the Island from Granville, St Malo and CHerbourg, smuggled quantities of food and spirits into the Island and sold them on the Black Market. With the proceeds they bought articles of value, including Bank of England notes, one pound notes being purchased for two pounds in reichsmarks, whose currency was restricted to occupied areas. Both the occupying and the local authorities endeavoured to stop this illicit trade, which was impoverishing the Island, but their efforts proved futile.

Substitutes

The islanders became accustomed to the use of substitutes. Here are some of them.

Tea Parsnip, sugar beet, green pea pods, camellia leaves, blackberry leaves, lime blossoms and carrots (shredded and baked)
Coffee Parsnip, sugar beet, acorns, chicory, barley, wheatm beans, lupin seeds (roasted and ground)
Tobacco Cherry leaves, sweet chestnut leaves, rose petals, sweet scented butterburr, coltsfoot and clover
Sultanas and currants Sugar beet, cut small and dried, elderberries dried, and dried grapes
Gelatine Carrageen moss (seaweed)
Bicycle tyres Rubber garden hose, with rope inside. Rope. Many cyclists rode on the rims without any tyres
Salt Sea water
Clothing Curtains made into garments; blankets and rugs into coats
Boots and shoes Clogs (manufactured locally) and the 'Jersey boot' with leather tops and local beechwood soles
Flour Potato flour, used for puddings and gruel. Used also for thickening stews, gravies etc
Soap The ration was increased by boiling ivy leaves till quite soft and adding one half packet of soap powder and one tablet of soap
Cod fish Macaroni boiled stiff, with half a spoonful of anchovy sauce added, and cut up when cold and fried
Brooms and brushes Cane or rope to replace bristles. Stable brooms of wire bristles

Prices

Prices of all goods increased enormously. Here is a selection. Some are prices on the black market.

Textiles

  • Blanket, single, second-hand, much work, £2 10s
  • Sheets, cotton, double, second-hand, much worn, per pair £4
  • Elastic, 3s 9d per yard
  • Handkerchief (3d kind) 1s 9d

Foodstuffs

  • Haricots, per lb, 7s 6d
  • Cooking fat (meat dripping) 24s per £
  • Sugar beet, 30s per cwt
  • Butter (Jersey) per lb, £2 2s 9d; French £1 10s
  • Pork, per lb, 17s 11d
  • Pig's head, per lb, 10s
  • Veal, per lb, 14s 11d
  • Beef, per lb, 14s 11d
  • Boiling fowl, 35s
  • Wheat, per 100 lb, £23
  • Eggs, 2s 1½d each
  • Flour, per lb, 12s 9d
  • Sugar, per lb, 21s 4d
  • Tea, per lb, £18 to £25
  • Chocolates (from Paris), per lb, 38s
  • Unripe loganberries, per lb, 4s 3d
  • Rabbit (large size) 45s
  • Onions (March 1943), per lb, 5s 6d
  • Pullets, £2 each
  • Salt, £1 for 1lb
  • Broody hen, £4
  • Bicarbonate of soda, per lb, £2 2s 9d
  • Coffee beans (raw) 2½lb, £24
  • Sardines (small tin) £1 1s
  • Kid, per lb, 15s
  • Dripping, per lb 30s
  • Cocoa, 3/4lb for 17½ reichmarks

Sundries

  • Bowls (kitchen) white ware, used, 4s 6d and 6s 6d each
  • Cup and saucer, secondhand, 2s 6d
  • Tobacco, 1oz, 12s 6d
  • Cigarettes, 8½d each; German 7s 4½d per packet of 10), ration cigarettes 10s 8d for 20
  • Coffee mill, £3 15s
  • Petrol, 21ss 4d per gallon
  • Farm horse, £500
  • Soap (Pears Coal Tar) 6d tablet for 25s; Sunlight in exchange for 100 lb wheat
  • Gold sovereign, £16
  • £5 piece, £80
  • English £1 note, £3
  • Bicycle, £40
  • Boiling water, 3d per quart
  • Vim (packet, 9d size) 17s 11d
  • Matches, 7s 6d per box of 50
  • Piano in exchange for 1 cwt wheat
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