St Vincent de Paul

In those difficult War Years, it was the young married couples with small children that got it hardest to survive.

Those a few years older, with teenage children who could find some kind of paid employment were not so bad. The purse would not be full, but it wasn’t always empty! 

We had a small roughage, with a little income from the Raffertys, our guests. On the other hand, our own family income was dependent on the regular arrival of the yellow money telegram from England where my father worked sometime on the docks at Trappston near London, and other times in aerodrome construction in Lincoln. And anyone in the same position will testify that such a source was not always regular. 

Come six o’clock of a Saturday night, with no money telegram arrived, my poor mother’s face would lengthen visibly. By Monday all hope was gone and it was emergency help time!  

A hasty note would be scribbled and I would be dispatched to drop the appeal in the St Vincent de Paul box at the back of the Cathedral’s main aisle. 

By Tuesday I would be instructed to await the St Vincent de Paul men doing their rounds of Chapel Street. From six o’clock I took up position on the steps at Customs House Avenue. 


They did their round in pairs. If we were lucky they would call at Number 5 and leave a ticket for a half-hundredweight of coke from the local gasworks, right next door to us. If we were luckier still it would be a note to O’Hare’s general grocery store to guarantee us a week’s provisions.  

The relief on our mother’s face was just as valuable to us as any provisions!

 … Sharing with neighbours …


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