Our random date generating time machine has taken us back to Friday 31st August 1945 and given us a copy of the Yorkshire Post to read.
Just over three months ago the war in Europe came to an end, just under three weeks ago the war in the Far East also came to an end, so it is little wonder that the newspapers are still focusing on the impact of that horrendous world war and the prospects for the future. The Yorkshire Post leads with the first eye-witness reports of the situation in Tokyo – “a city of ashes”. “Most of the people are living in huts with thatched roofs on the outskirts Tokyo or crude dug-outs and air raid shelters in the ruined areas”, writes Robert Reuben, the Reuter correspondent. “The food situation is critical in some areas. A lorry filled with Japanese soldiers passed us, but only one drew his sword. None raised their guns”. Another article tells us that in Germany, charcoal is now the main fuel of motor cars.
“Northerner II” in his “This World Of Ours” column, bemoans the shortage of cigarettes which has befallen on post-war England. The likely culprits, he informs us, are British troops in the Rhineland who are using cigarettes as a currency to buy cameras and watches from German civilians. Cameras are obviously in great demand because a camera shop in Leeds has just experienced its second smash and grab raid of the summer.
The rest of the newspaper is full of that meaningful minutia that is the stuff of social history. A farmer wins a new tractor in a raffle, and they are hay making down on the farm. You can buy a new fur coat (ocelot-coney, no less) for just 19 guineas – but you will still need 18 clothing coupons because rationing is still in place and will be for many years to come. If you can’t afford the coat you can always treat yourself to a night out at the cinema to see Johnny Weissmuller in “Tarzan and the Amazons”, or perhaps Penny Singleton in “Leave It To Blondie”. On the way home you can buy fish and chips – complemented by a liberal sprinkling of Champion’s Malt Vinegar.