Monthly newsletter gave helpful tips and advice

Members of the Royal Voluntary Service were able to keep in touch with what was happening in the organisation with the Bulletin newsletter.

It was produced every month from November 1939 to December 1974, and initially cost 1d for eight pages of news.

More than 419 issues of the newsletter were printed and they offered practical advice on setting up a clothing store or suggesting recipes to make the most of rationing.

This reporting of goings on from centres all over the UK became a staple of the Bulletin, with the “From the Centres” latterly the “Reports from Everywhere” column surviving until the last issue.

During the Second World War, one of the branches of the Royal Voluntary Service, the Housewives’ Service, maintained links with its compatriots in the Soviet Union.

Issue No 25 of the Bulletin in November 1941 printed an exchange of letters between the Housewives’ Service of London and the Housewives of Moscow.

The WVS Bulletin of November 1941 publishes letters exchanged between women in London and Moscow (Royal Voluntary Service/PA).
The WVS Bulletin of November 1941 publishes letters exchanged between women in London and Moscow (Royal Voluntary Service/PA)

“The meeting of housewives of Moscow sends you, housewives of London, its warm militant greetings,” the Soviet women wrote.

“We Women of Moscow are helping the front by concrete deeds, giving all our strength and labour for the annihilation of German fascism, that wickedest enemy of mankind, which has drenched all Europe in blood, which brings to the nations medieval barbarism, rape, death to children, old people and women, hunger and destruction.

“We call upon you, women of London, to wage an active struggle for the liberation of humanity from Hitlerism, for its complete destruction.”

In reply, the Housewives’ Service of London wrote: “The women of Britain are massing in their millions to work and to endure for victory in the present, and to plan for a peace based on sanity and good faith in the future.

“Out of the agony which the German blood-lust has brought upon Europe a finer civilisation must spring to life.

“The women of Russia and the women of the British Empire must play a leading part in the creation of this new world.”

The following month’s Bulletin offered advice on games to play at village Christmas parties, such as musical arms, blowing the feather and Moriarty, are you there?

The Bulletin also gave members ideas for holding children's Christmas parties during the Second World War (Royal Voluntary Society/PA).
WVS members were also given ideas for holding children’s Christmas parties during the Second World War (Royal Voluntary Society/PA)

That month there was also a recipe for the Golden Grove Christmas Pudding, which only needed ingredients readily available.

The Golden Grove Christas Pudding recipe was designend with rationing in mind (Royal Voluntary Society/PA).
The Golden Grove Christmas Pudding recipe was created with rationing in mind (Royal Voluntary Society/PA)

“Although the materials are not available for the pre-war pudding, the recipe needs only those materials which are easy to obtain; it is suitable for children and makes a delicious pudding for any festive occasion,” the newsletter said.

Women from the Royal Voluntary Service also helped run British Restaurants – communal kitchens offering low cost meals to bombed out civilians – and the Bulletins offered tips for “large scale catering”.

“Sausages are not popular in British Restaurants and it is usually found necessary to disguise them,” the Bulletin noted, as it offered a recipe for savoury roll, served with gravy.

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