Forging a New Jerusalem:

Photo:Prudentail Penny Insurance insured against childhood mortality

Prudentail Penny Insurance insured against childhood mortality

Peter Daniel

Photo:Letter to Joe Seaby writtennon the first day of the Blitz 7.9.40

Letter to Joe Seaby writtennon the first day of the Blitz 7.9.40

Peter Daniel

Photo:Joe had to worry about medcial bills for his daughter whislt on active service at Anzio, Italy in February 1944

Joe had to worry about medcial bills for his daughter whislt on active service at Anzio, Italy in February 1944

Michael Foreman

Photo:Pte john Hibbett on his wedding day March 1940

Pte john Hibbett on his wedding day March 1940

Ann Hibbett

Photo:Dibs Seaby's application for payment of her daughter pat's medcial bills which she couldn't pay.

Dibs Seaby's application for payment of her daughter pat's medcial bills which she couldn't pay.

Peter Daniel

Photo:Rationaing introduced the concept of fair shares for all

Rationaing introduced the concept of fair shares for all

Imperial War Museum

Photo:Pte Joe Seaby Royal Fusilers Egypt 1943.  Joe did not smile as the army removed all of his teeth.

Pte Joe Seaby Royal Fusilers Egypt 1943. Joe did not smile as the army removed all of his teeth.

Lucy Robjohns

Photo:Pte Joe Seaby embarkation leave at East Peckham Hop Farm September 1941

Pte Joe Seaby embarkation leave at East Peckham Hop Farm September 1941

Peter Daniel

Photo:The Victoria Hospital for Children, Tite Street Chelsea.  This was a charitable hospital for lcoal chidlren.  I t was demolished in 1965.

The Victoria Hospital for Children, Tite Street Chelsea. This was a charitable hospital for lcoal chidlren. I t was demolished in 1965.

Westminster Archives

The Impact of WW2

By Lily Hart

Medical Insurance

The precarious nature of life in the 1930s can be seen from the fact that Joe immediately took out an insurance policy to cover the funeral expenses of his new born daughter, Patsy Ann in 1938. A few pennies to the ‘Man from the Pru’ protected him from the shame of a pauper’s funeral.

In the same month Patsy Ann was born the government began to distribute gas masks to 46 million citizens. Many began to argue that if such an expense could be afforded in preparing for war then similar funds should be found to prepare for peace.

Rationing

In January 1940, the government introduced food rationing. This introduced the principle that food should be distributed equally irrespective of the ability to pay. It established a principle that could equally be applied to health care.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Togetherness

Joe, Dibs and Patsy Ann lived through the trauma of the first day of the Blitz, September 7th 1940. A letter written on that day highlighted that Joe had, ‘put on twenty years in fourteen hours.’ Strong communities helped people to get through these difficult years. Acts of heroism were highlighted by the government to improve morale. People were encouraged to be less selfish and this spirit provided the foundations on which the NHS was to be built.

Off to War

In July 1941, Joe, now a Private in the Royal Fusiliers, said goodbye to his family after a week hop picking in Kent. He didn’t smile in the picture Dibs took, not just because he was sad, but because the army removed his teeth prior to him going overseas! A sad indictment of a country where very few people could afford to visit the dentist.

Medical Bills

After a short spell in North Africa, Joe took part in the invasion of Italy in 1943. The trauma of the Salerno landings can clearly be seen in this photograph. In February 1944 Joe was at Anzio when Patsy Ann became seriously ill with scarlet fever. Dibs was unable to cope with the medical bills and was forced to rely on charity to cover the cost of her treatment. The very least Joe should have expected was that his family should be looked after whilst he was away fighting.

Comradeship

Comradeship helped many soldier like Joe to keep going. It was a powerful force in forging a new Britain after the war. Fellow soldier Private John Hibbett wrote about this from a POW camp in Poland at Christmas 1944. He had high hopes that victory would bring a New Jerusalem:

True to our promise to those who fell,                                                       Each of us living for the good of all,                                                     Each of us digging a foundation stone                                                None of us building for ourselves alone,                                         Fashioning the future for years and years.

Private John Hibbett, Stammlager POW Camp Poland                     December 31st, 1944

This page was added by Peter Daniel on 11/01/2019.

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