Vera’s Wartime Valentine


Vera was excited. The bus was due shortly and it was going to take her to meet men. Real live men, and they were thin on the ground in her life.

Apart from the farmer of course; he didn’t count. He might be male but Samuel was old, married and ignorant, he was never going to be the object of her desire. Not even his wife appeared to be too enamoured with him; they bickered constantly. It was becoming tiresome, she picked at everything he did and nothing was ever good enough for her.

No, the bus would take her to the army camp nearby where tonight there was a dance. Best of all it was a St. Valentine’s dance; soldiers lived there and were sending out requests for local females to join in, and if you couldn’t find a boyfriend at a St. Valentine’s dance surely there was no hope for you.

The Americans hadn’t been there long, the build-up for the invasion of Europe was finally under way and soon the Nazis would have a taste of their own medicine. In the meantime there was time and energy to enjoy life. Who could be certain if they would even have a life in a few weeks? Vera was safe enough, but there were plenty who were surely about to die.

This dance was a big event. There had been weekly hops of course at the local ammunition works but they were full of man-hungry women and precious few men; and they were mostly already married. Now the area was swarming with smart, handsome lads, and people had been out posting up notices advertising the party — even begging for unattached females to turn up.

Vera worked all day on a farm; awake early to milk the cows, muck out, heave bales of hay and sacks of feed. After the livestock were seen to, there were walls and fences to repair, potatoes and other vegetables to sort. There were a few pigs and chickens to feed from table scraps or whatever else was available. It was relentless hard graft, from dawn till dusk. Luckily she was tall and strongly built — not classically good looking but some of the girls were petite and struggled with the work.

Some unkind people said that she was built like a horse, looked like one as well. Those comments upset her but she refused to let it show, give them the satisfaction.

Now it was time for entertainment and relaxation. She had spent many long lonely nights watching Hollywood films, imagining that a hunk would sweep her off her feet. But it was a fantasy; she was unlikely to meet a heart-throb in the fields. She spent her free time reading pulp novels, absorbed in their tales of romance and lust with their heavily censored language. One foot on the floor at all times for the hero, a swooning heart for the heroine.

Sometimes she would lie in bed rubbing her magic lantern – touching herself where she imagined that a tall dark stranger would please her (what ridiculous euphemisms gained from those books she used in her fantasies) but now after her supper she was hopefully going to meet one of those knights on white chargers (and off she went again with t hose silly expressions).

She couldn’t complain at all really. Farm work was National Service, part of the war effort. Everyone had to do their bit; it was on the posters everywhere. She knew girls who worked in factories making parts for aeroplanes, others who were sewing linen bags for the cordite that propelled the shells from the naval guns on the ships struggling in Atlantic storms and Russian convoys. She didn’t know anyone who was totally uninvolved with the war effort, some more than others. They couldn’t talk about it much; walls had ears and loose lips sank ships but everyone knew roughly what was happening. The build-up was plain to see.

Compared to the factory girls it wasn’t a bad life. At least she wasn’t a ‘canary’, working with explosives that turned the skin yellow. She sometimes got cold and wet and was shouted at by Samuel for not working hard enough, but at other times the sun shone on her back and the calves ran to her to be petted and fed.

The food was OK on the farm; that was the best part. It was better than most people had on the ration. There was always extra supplies available, titbits that escaped the attention of the Ministry; proper eggs instead of the awful powdered stuff that was shipped across from the States, milk, cheese and butter as well as bread home-baked by the farmer’s wife Edith. But the downside was that there was precious little opportunity to meet different people.

But now none of that mattered. The Americans had arrived at the camp and they had gum, nylons and chocolate. They had smart uniforms that only had creases where they were meant to be and were all very handsome. Not like the British soldiers, who had dreadful coarse baggy uniforms and had no glamour at all.

Some girls worked in the American camp itself. They were all tarts, everyone knew that; people called them ‘ground-sheets’. They were something for the men to lie on, keep them off the wet grass.

Not like her at all, she wouldn’t surrender herself for escort a pair of nylons. Not that she didn’t desire them, her own stockings were thick ugly woollen things that were fine for keeping her legs warm in the cold mornings and protect her feet in the heavy work boots but no-one would admire a fine pair of ankles wrapped in sagging wool.

She pulled off her voluminous trousers; pants, the Yanks called them but for everyone else pants were dainty things that covered the bottom. These were appalling great things that were supplied as her uniform of the Land Army, replacing all the male labourers who had been called up into the armed forces. She would die of embarrassment if any boyfriend saw her in them. They were brown dungarees that gave her a huge arse and she hated them. She didn’t need anything to make her rear look bigger than it was.

National Service had arrived for women now and they had some choice in what to do. There were the war factories of course, or the ATS — which usually meant working on trucks or helping with AA guns. Or the Wrens, or the WAAFS; the Navy or the Air Force. But she had chosen a less military existence with the ‘Land Army’ not realising that there could be a lack of male company.

Her father would not have approved of her going to the dance at the American Camp. ‘Over-paid, over-sexed, over here.’ That’s what he said whenever they were mentioned on her rare trips home.

Vera took a bath in the tin bath, with cold water from the iron pump in the yard. She avoided the normal carbolic soap, using a scented toilet soap that she saved for special occasions. When she had dried off she diluted a spoonful of gravy browning and smeared the brown liquid over her legs, with a line of eyebrow pencil up the back to simulate the nylons that she couldn’t buy, not on her pay and the clothing ration.

She thought back to the first time that she had taken a bath at this house. The tub had been hanging on the wall outside from a nail near the back door and Samuel had lifted it down and carried it into the main living room. He had filled it with water, warmed on the fire as it had been cold at that time of year. Edith had used it first, then the other girls had all climbed in, in turn.

Edith had stripped off to show her pendulous tits, sagging down to her waist without a care. She was middle-aged, probably as old as 40 or even 50 thought Vera, automatically comparing her own firmer pair. She had soaped herself all over and one of the others had rinsed the suds off using a jug of the same water.

That was the way it was with the limited resources; scoop water up from the bath and pour out, repeat.

Then Samuel had entered the room ‘accidentally’ while the ladies were all still naked, to see if the bath was ready for him. Seeing his wife unclothed, he had grabbed her breast and lifted it up whilst making a honking noise. Edith had yelled at him and he had run out until everyone was decent. Then all the girls had gone to bed, leaving him alone to bathe in the same bath with the same water, now tepid, grey and scummy. Revolting perhaps, but fuel was in short supply even on a farm with hedgerows and woodland on the steeper hillsides.

Vera soon learned that Edith was not actually averse to being observed whilst unclothed. Perhaps it was being surrounded by farm animals all her life; she was at one with nature and if she wanted to change her clothes she did not require privacy. The only water supply to the house was from the yard pump and in summer Edith would frequently wash at the pump, stripped to the waist. She had perfected the art of swinging the handle with one hand whilst bent over with her head under the spout.

Vera shared a room with two other girls, in a double bed. It was cramped but cosy in the winter, especially when they piled their overcoats over the top of the thin blanket to help keep warm. Sometimes the frost would form over the inside of the glass so they could scratch their names in it, but under the piled coats with only their noses exposed it was snug.

It was difficult sometimes to place arms so that they were under the covers comfortably and eventually all three became accustomed to embracing each other in the night, feeling warm female flesh.

Vera had come to enjoy embracing her friend Agnes in the dark, sometimes cupping a soft breast, feeling a nipple stiffen in her palm. Sometimes she woke in the night to find fingers intruding between her thighs and would allow her legs to part so that the probing could continue ever deeper. Whether it was Agnes or Doris, the other room-mate, it mattered not. In the morning there would be no mention of these delicious nocturnal contacts.

Instinctively her own hand reached down and tweaked that sensitive spot. It was alright, but not the same as having someone else do it for her.

Today though was luxury; she had first use of the bath so she had clean water but the others would follow so she did not delay. She finished her ablutions izmit escort bayan quickly and towelled dry.

She pinched her cheeks to try to get some red colour in and took out her hair rollers that she had worn all day under a scarf. After a good brush her hair was fashionably wavy. There was only one decent dress, which she had repaired numerous times and shortened in the new style herself with needle and cotton. Higher hems saved on material and showed off an enticing leg to the boys. The spare cloth could then be used for patching worn spots or for handkerchiefs.

Everybody darned their clothes if there were holes; ‘Make do and mend’ was the slogan. Where would they be without slogans, she wondered. Every bus shelter and hoarding had posters with a slogan or adverts for War Bonds. The entire country had been given over to the war effort, she did not know a single person engaged in a non-war occupation whether transport, food, coal, munitions. Even the pots and pans in people’s kitchens had been needed to make Spitfires.

So her thin worn-out dress did not stand out or mark her down as poverty stricken – there were few shops selling new ones anyway. It was getting tight on her chest, the hard work was filling out her broad shoulders but giving her a lovely narrow waist that emphasised her hips. Luckily it had sleeves which hid her muscular arms. It was most unbecoming for a lady to have biceps — all the movie-stars had soft gentle curves.

She pulled the box containing her gas mask over her shoulder and set off. Everyone had to carry their gas mask outside — there had been no gas attacks during this war at all but it made no difference. She knew of some women who just used the box as a hand-bag and left the mask at home, nevertheless there was always the risk of a check by the Air Raid Wardens so she didn’t.

Vera stood in the queue at the end of the lane until the bus arrived. The ageing vehicle chugged along slowly but she had a good view of the countryside that had changed so much. They passed the river bank where a rifle range had been constructed, then an airfield gunnery range for the RAF and after a couple of miles the immense new ammunition factory where some of her friends worked. It was known by everyone as the ‘Admiralty’, due to the shells being made mostly for the Royal Navy. Not that anyone knew this for fact of course, but that was the rumour.

There were empty brass shell cases mounded up at the roadside waiting to be filled, the factory’s own power station had a massive cooling tower which was belching steam and a train was hauling empty wagons into the plant. The place even had its own railway station built specially for the workers never mind the sidings yard and a separate railway system that carried materials around the site itself.

It was like a small city with buses constantly circulating carrying staff to the canteen or other departments and she wondered what would happen to all this after the war.

Then they came to the American camp itself, with tents as far as you could see. On the hillside nearby there were tanks, trucks, Jeeps, motorbikes, enough for an entire war just there it seemed, all lined up and ready.

Everyone knew that the big push would be coming soon, that everyone would be headed for France. No-one mentioned the likelihood of everyone being killed. That had happened before, on disastrous raids in France and Italy.

If it was obvious to her, it must be obvious to the Germans. There was just no way that this amount of equipment could be hidden, the cooling tower for the power station had been painted with camouflage but who did they think they were kidding. The numerous fighter airfields in the area were always busy with planes taking off to look for German raiders but inevitably the odd reconnaissance plane flitted over, never mind the occasional bomber.

At the beginning the vehicles had been dispersed but there were so many now that there was just no space left. The farmland was incredibly important to the nation anyway, every square inch was under food production. Sailors were being killed whilst bringing food across the ocean so it was important for the country that everyone produced as much as they could. All the gardens of the houses had been dug up for vegetables, and people clubbed together to keep a pig or chickens on the kitchen scraps.

The blitz was long over now and air raids were unusual — mostly lone planes that dropped their bombs in random spots like fields or wooded hillsides before hurrying home. But the blackout was still strictly enforced and the trees along the road all had white rings painted around them so that they could be seen more easily in the dark with dimmed headlights.

Not that anyone drove their cars any longer. Only the essential services could get petrol, everyone else walked or caught the bus. There was a massive bus station outside the ‘Admiralty’ for the workers, so she could get a izmit sınırsız escort bus to most places from there, provided it was at the time of a shift change. There was a meagre fuel allowance for the farm tractor, not enough for anything but the most important and heaviest of tasks.

The bus grumbled and whined its way into the main camp, which had a huge hall where the entertainment was to be held. This place had originally been built to accommodate workers for the ammo factory but had never been occupied. The people mostly preferred to live at home or in one of the other hostels that had been constructed in the pre-war mad rush of re-armament. Shoddy brickwork, cold and damp – ‘jerry-built’ was the insult used to describe it. Good enough for the army though.

Vera looked at her reflection in the bus window to check her make-up and pinched her cheeks again before alighting.

Once in the hall, there was bunting and banners to decorate the place. ‘Happy St. Valentine’s Day’ was emblazoned above the stage. She was surrounded by extraordinarily polite young men who called her ‘Ma’am’ and she was offered drinks.

The local British boys would have stood sullenly until almost the end of the evening, then expected a kiss and a grope afterwards. But here she found herself being asked about her family and her life by good looking lads with cheerful dispositions.

One of the boys was called Ken and said he was from Glasgow. She was confused; the boy was wearing an American uniform and he didn’t have any Glaswegian accent that she had ever heard. However he soon clarified himself. He lived in Glasgow, Montana and not the one in Scotland.

She could never understand this practice, why move half way around the world to escape the life you had – and then name a place after the hell-hole you left behind. She had never been to Glasgow but she had heard of the area called ‘The Gorbals’ and did not wish to live anywhere like it. Perhaps it had been named as an insult, maybe the new place was a total shit-heap. That would make sense, but she decided to keep that thought to herself.

Ken was cute, she decided. He didn’t have the brash over-confidence of many of the others, so she accepted his offer of a small beer and a dance to the music of a band that had set up on a stage. He was a few inches taller than her, for which she was grateful.

She hadn’t seen a great deal of this sort of dancing except in films. He caught her hand and swept her around, it was wild and exhilarating. She drank another small beer and then another. More dances followed and even a cigarette or two.

Feeling heady from the drink, the smoke and the dancing, she followed him outside. Through the doubled doors to protect the blackout it was suddenly pitch dark. However after a few seconds her eyes became adjusted and there were stars in the sky fighting to provide some light through gaps in the clouds.

He produced a scrap of paper, on which he scribbled down his name and address with a pencil. Then he led her into the shadows between the brick buildings, bent down and took her in his arms.

He tilted her face up and kissed her gently on the lips, then spoke about the days to come. They were to move out he expected, to a new camp somewhere. General Eisenhower himself had come to speak to the troops a few days earlier and it seemed to Ken that the invasion was imminent.

His division wouldn’t be in the first wave, but would follow swiftly into the thick of the fighting. So as the first divisions left, their camps would be re-occupied by the next lot so that they were ready to embark and join the fighting.

She was fearful for him; who knew what it would be like, what the casualties would be? She noticed that his hand was holding her breast and it seemed a small thing for a man who was possibly about to die.

Vera didn’t have a very large chest considering her frame. She wished that she were somewhat bigger upstairs, like some of the other girls. She had been at the back of the queue when tits were handed out — too small and too late. Her school friends had all developed well before her but the upside was that hers were nice and perky and with very sensitive nipples. Not at all like Edith’s.

Ken didn’t have a sweetheart back in Montana, he told her. She felt guilty even at the thought of refusing his touch and when his warm hand slid inside her dress to feel the soft flesh of her cleavage she didn’t protest. Instead she kissed him deeply and allowed his tongue to penetrate her mouth.

It was exciting and dangerous. His fingers eased further down inside her brassiere and encircled her nipple. It felt like an electric shock when he touched it but she felt her shoulders shrug forwards so that her bra straps allowed more space for his hand to wander.

Soon his hand was supporting the weight of her breast with his thumb stroking her aching nipple. This was a different touch to the nightly strokes of the other girls.

The touch on her skin underneath her breast was possibly the most seductive that she could imagine. She wouldn’t ever be a slut, no-one would be calling her a ‘groundsheet’. But it wouldn’t do any harm to indulge herself with this nice boy.

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