1940's accents?

Discussion in 'General' started by marcus69x, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    My late Squadron Leader, “Loopy” Kennard certainly used to have a “posh” accent, not so much “cut glass” but more of an exaggerated drawl.

    I don’t remember telling this particular story about him before but I think it’s too good not to place on record while I am still here to tell it :)

    In early 1946 “A” Squadron, the 4th QOH were stationed at Monfalcone, not far from Trieste.

    “Loopy” Kennard had recently re-joined the Regiment after many years as a POW and his wife Cecelia had come out to Italy to keep him company. (He was eventually to marry three further times, as his biography shows)

    The Squadron was lined up on the parade ground for the early morning parade when the sound of horses hooves could be heard approaching. To my left I saw Loopy’s wife with another female rider.

    “Loopy” called out in his inimitable manner “Good morning dear, have a good ride?”

    To the immense enjoyment of all ranks on parade his wife called out “No I didn’t !….....I got caught in a bloody shower and I’m fxxxxxxg soaked !!! “

    A roar of laughter engulfed the Squadron, which “Loopy” made no attempt to halt and the memory stays with me to today !

    For the benefit of those who’ve never heard of “Loopy” before, see the entry below:

    Entry in the peerage.com:

    Lt.-Col. Sir George Arnold Ford Kennard, 3rd Bt.1

    M, #26559, b. 27 April 1915, d. 13 December 1999
    Lt.-Col. Sir George Arnold Ford Kennard, 3rd Bt.|b. 27 Apr 1915\nd. 13 Dec 1999|p2656.htm#i26559|Sir Coleridge Arthur Fitzroy Kennard, 1st Bt.|b. 12 May 1885\nd. 7 Oct 1948|p6255.htm#i62548|Dorothy Katherine Barclay|d. 15 Jan 1953|p6256.htm#i62553|Hugh C. D. Kennard|b. 15 May 1859\nd. 9 Apr 1886|p8211.htm#i82102|Helen Wyllie|d. 21 Apr 1928|p8211.htm#i82103|Sir George H. Barclay||p6256.htm#i62554||||

    Last Edited=3 Jul 2007
    Lt.-Col. Sir George Arnold Ford Kennard, 3rd Bt. was born on 27 April 1915.3 He was the son of Sir Coleridge Arthur Fitzroy Kennard, 1st Bt. and Dorothy Katherine Barclay.2 He married Cecilia Violet Cokayne Maunsell, daughter of Major Cecil John Cokayne Maunsell and Wilhelmine Violet Eileen Fitz-Clarence, on 12 October 1940.3 He and Cecilia Violet Cokayne Maunsell were divorced in 1958.4 He married, secondly, Mollie Jesse Rudd Wyllie, daughter of Hugh Wyllie, on 30 September 1958.4 He and Mollie Jesse Rudd Wyllie were divorced in 1974.4 He married, thirdly, Nichola Carew, daughter of Peter Gawen Carew and Ruth Chamberlain, in 1985.1 He married, fourthly, Georgina Wernher, daughter of Maj.-Gen. Sir Harold Augustus Wernher, 3rd Bt. and Anastasia Mikhailovna de Torby, Countess de Torby, in December 1992 at London, England.4 He and Nichola Carew were divorced in 1992.1 He died on 13 December 1999 at age 84.3
    Lt.-Col. Sir George Arnold Ford Kennard, 3rd Bt. was educated at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire, England.3 He was commissioned in 1936, in the service of the 4th Hussars.4 He fought in the Second World War, where he was mentioned in despatches twice, and was a POW (1939-41).3 He was Lieutenant-Colonel of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars between 1955 and 1958.4 He was with Cement Marketing Company between 1967 and 1979.4 He succeeded to the title of 3rd Baronet Kennard, of Fernhill, co. Southampton [U.K., 1891] on 3 May 1967
    RosyRedd and Chris C like this.
  2. anon123

    anon123 Junior Member

  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Hi James

    Firstly, welcome aboard !

    I see you say:
    I am not sure if this is the right forum; but the mentioning of the 4th QOH spurred me on.

    Perhaps one of our friendly moderators will shift this thread to another more aptly named one which is more likely to get you the help that you need ?

    As you probably have realised by now the 4th QOH suffered badly during the Greek fiasco and virtually all the Rgt "went into the bag".

    As a direct consequence most of the men, including your great-great grandfather took no further part in the Rgt's activities until the war ended in Europe in May '45.
    This included "Loopy" Kennard who returned to A Squadron in 1946.

    One of the problems in seeking info on Richard Sydney Grenville Smith is that he was an officer, let me hasten to explain.

    In the Forces in wartime there was a clear-cut divide between the men and the officers and mere mortals such as myself would know little about those who commanded us. I have learned more about Loopy over the past sixty odd years than I ever knew at the time when I served under him as his Tech Corporal.

    As far as Col.Smith is concerned I regret I would know even less and that is why I am pleased that you have placed your request for info into the main arena.

    I will now scout around looking for links that may be of help and will return to your thread when I have something to report.

    Good luck in your research !

  4. Bazooka Joe

    Bazooka Joe Member

    If you've read George MacDonald Fraser's McAuslan series, or his war memoirs "Quartered Safe Out Here" , you'll know that regional accents, and dialect certainly did exist and were widespread in the '40s.

    One thing we have lost since then though, is a lot of the slang of the day. Many words that were in common use back then have disappeared forever.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Firstly, for the benefit of those who like to see "background" this is from Burkes Peerage.
    Lt.-Col. Richar d Sydney Grenville Close-Smith1
    M, #491617, b. 26 January 1910, d. July 1973

    Last Edited=12 Dec 2012
    Lt.-Col. Richard Sydney Grenville Close-Smith was born on 26 January 1910.1 He was the son of Major Thomas Close Smith and Caroline Mary Elizabeth Morgan-Grenville.2 He and Florence Amelia Ompteda were divorced.1 He married Florence Amelia Ompteda, daughter of Baron Robert Ludwig Wilhelm August von Ompteda, on 19 July 1935.1 He married Josephine Judith Mullins, daughter of Vincent Wood Mullins, on 12 April 1954.1 He died in July 1973 at age 63.1
    He was commnd Buckinghamshire , tfd 4th QO Hussars 1932, served WW II (POW 1941) and Malaya 1948–51 (despatches), ret as Lieutenant-Colonel 1954, Chm Officer, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (O.St.J.) Cncl Buckinghamshire 19 Yeo 1928.1 He was educated Eton and Univ College Oxford.1 He was Officer, Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1950.1 On 20 March 1954 deed poll.1 He lived in 2003 at Stearthill Lodge, Little Horwood, Buckinghamshire, England.1

    Then there is this photo:
    Other Images

    Finally James, how au fait are you with Loopy Kennard's biography ?

    Lots of references in that to your great-great grandad who was known in the POW camp as Cyanide Smith :)

  6. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Hearing the ladies with a cut glass accent telling the most outrageous stories littered with the lingo barrack room and all laughed heartily - young Jock overheard describing something that offended as ' yon foo kin thing is gettin right oop my....would be viewed with disgust. Imagine if you will the adjutant at the depot - 'get a team of Jocks to play the staff at cricket! We thought it a joke - published on part one orders. The wicket keeper watched as a ball more chucked than bowled whistled past the batsman and hit the keeper on the toe - there was plenty of gurgling and spluttering sounds as the officers and their wives choked on their Pimms the air turned blue with threats of murder from a very irate Jock using the whole of the vocabulary barrack whilst hopping around in a demented rage . The ribbing in the Sgts' mess later was relentless.

    BBC Four - The Story of British Pathé, The Voice of Pathé
  7. anon123

    anon123 Junior Member

  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Sorry, never met him.

    If you want info on Loopy, then I have written much about him on this forum but as far as Richard is concerned, regrettably, niente !

  9. anon123

    anon123 Junior Member

  10. AMWright

    AMWright Member

    I think one of the most fascinating examples of the various accents during the war are the intercom recordings of Lancaster F-Freddie ED586:EM-F of 207. Sqn on a trip to Berlin on 3/4th Sept 43. These were made by the BBC war correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas and his sound engineer Reg Pidsley.

    The crew have a very varied array of accents, and the difference between the pilot F/Lt Ken Letford and Rear Gunner Sgt Henry Devenish is quite apparent. (Devenish actually shoots down an attacking night fighter during the recording whilst on their bombing run into Berlin).

    For anyone not familiar with these recordings I would urge you to find them, I believe there is an RAF Bomber Command at War album available on iTunes which has all of the recordings of this raid and others too.

    In the 70's Wynford recorded a program for the BBC where he returned to Berlin on a commercial aircraft and talks through the entire story. The recordings feature throughout. The program is absolutely fantastic, something very immersive about actuality recordings from the war, more so even than watching footage.

    You can download the program here.


  11. jetson

    jetson Junior Member

    During the war the "lah-di-dah" accents maybe became less prevalent as ex NCOs and ex grammar school boys called up were granted emergency commissions. Many of these were still serving up to the sixties with extensions to their commissions. During my national service we would probably be lectured by a ranker officer who would oft be guilty of dropping an "aitch" or other grammatical faux-pas. However many of these gentry had been outstanding wartime leaders which was the main thing and much respected by their men.
  12. bob90

    bob90 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    1942 I completed my wireless operators course at Guards Armoured Training Wing Pirbright, split into sections of sevens regardless of rank. Lasting six months, retaining the same Instructor he was a Scot with a soft highland Lilt, when he spoke on the Tannoy his voice and pronunciations - magic!! not a single word over emphasized. By the end of course we all had nick-names in keeping with accents. my Man-of-Kent stood me in as clrsp as in clasp/knife. As pronounced Rs when suited of course. bob90
  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    It was apparently a fashionable practice on the part of some Canadian officers to affect an English accent during their time in Britain. Needless to say, that contrived speaking style drove other Canadians absolutely mad.
    This won't be a popular statement here but many North American men regard the higher class English accent as being effeminate. North American women, on the other hand, are usually prepared to disrobe shortly after being spoken to in the same dialect.
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    This won't be a popular statement here but many North American men regard the higher class English accent as being effeminate.

    For the most part, that is true. It is also true of some of the southern England accents, although most North Americans don't really know one from the other.
  15. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    In 1976-77, I visited the Library of Congress on a school trip. Our guide was the oddest of ducks to find in a place like that, a slender, graying Graham-Chapman-as-a-Major with a Two Types mustache that swooped upwards like an eagle carrying off its prey. I would guess he was about 50 to 60, so dollars to donuts he had been an officer in the Big One. His accent was a glistening toffee apple, especially when he came down softly on the final 's.' He pronounced 'congress' almost as 'congreff,' like a Plunger of the Crimean War. How a guy like that wound up as an American citizen in a government job I have no idea.
  16. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    This won't be a popular statement here but many North American men regard the higher class English accent as being effeminate. North American women, on the other hand, are usually prepared to disrobe shortly after being spoken to in the same dialect.

    That last part is dead right, and it works very well in advertising campaigns here too (Laurence Olivier, Jonathan Pryce, etc). I have often thought you could sell blankets infected with smallpox in the States if you did it in a toff accent.
    rememberthem and canuck like this.
  17. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Did you not though see also the Brummie and Geordie blowing up the ammo store behind pillbox on bridge? Their accents defnately to the fore.."oh right corp" T he Welsh medic at end ..."morphines for the real wounded" Urquharts connery jock accent... Know what you mean but B.T.F is wrong movie to quote for that Now if youd said Battle of Britain..

    I enjoyed the accents of the two Brit enlisted men who were sneaking up on the sentries on the bridge. I can't remember the details too well but they were arguing (b****ing) with each other and I thought it seemed kind of authentic. I think one of them opened fire prematurely, which caused additional yelling at each other. :)

    No clue if they were genuine accents, of course. I only speak " 'Merican!"
  18. DoctorD

    DoctorD WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Wot's all this abart my na'ive tung bein' invented by brarn 'atters?
    A rite 'ole lode o' tom, if you arskt me.
    Coodn't beleve me minces when I redit.
    It's enuff t'make me nash me 'ampsteads!
    When I lived in Lambeff Wauk as a kid, 'n' star'ed school in 1929, all the coster geezers tawked loik vat!
    'n' vay was all au strate as a dye (in vem daise, any rode up).

    But me ole man, bein' a butcher, fooled 'em all wiv is k-cab jeenals when 'e sed "evach a kool the delow namo revo the dayor".

    For the unenlightened, when pronouncing words with initial "h" in back slang, the "h", now being terminal, was always pronounced as "ch". Words with a final "ng" were spoken, with the now initial, "g" and "n" being pronounced as separate letters. It's not complicated when you've heard it from birth, and there's a deal of licence allowed.

    Now enlightened, you may deduce (Or perhaps not! LOL) that he was asking them to "have a look at the old woman over the road".
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Show up in some parts of the South effecting a Joisey or Brooklyn accent, you are liable to find out what true Southern hostility is really like.
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin


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