1940's accents?

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

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Thanks for that !

    Shades of Henry Higgins and his

    "The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain !"

  2. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    We watched Age of Heroes the other evening, and I thought there was something strange about the way Sean Bean played his part as a Major - he spoke rather posh, when he's usually Yorkshire.
    Good film, though sad.
  3. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    Interesting to note how the Queen's accent has softened over the years.

    Did anyone else's Mum have a very "posh" telephone voice?
  4. Our bill

    Our bill Well-Known Member

    This is a great topic, people also travel a lot more today and accents can be lost due to moving homes and jobs. When this topic is mentioned in the family we do so have a laugh, as being 1 of 10 kids born and bred in Yorkshire and yet our accents are so far apart.
    Lisa ( the youngest )has lived in Jersey for 30 yrs and to me talks lovely as does my 2 eldest sister and a brother who live in Newbury
    Our Trisha and Julie also talks lovely as does our Bev then there is me I talk pure broad Yorkshire as does my husband we have never travelled our son who has travelled talks lovely. When we are all together I defiantly sound the odd one out, if tha gets me meaning it's a damn shame the accents av dun a bunk n wer'e losin em ta history. Elsie
  5. South

    South Member

    My Mum used to try it, bless her, but the South London accent always came out in the end!

    I was born in Surrey, both my parents were born in South London as was the majority of my family (other than my Grandad who was born in Northern Ireland and despite living in England for 50 odd years, still had a strong accent).

    My husband was born in Bedford, he thinks he doesn't have an accent, but I think it sounds like a cross between North London and 'farmer'.

    At the moment we live near Newbury. Our 5 year old daughter has my accent. Our 3 year old has picked up my husbands accent, crossed with occasionally a little of the Jamaican accent from our next door neighbours little girl!

    There are certainly plenty of Officers on this camp who sound very 'posh' and like the old news readers. We call it the Sandhurst accent, and think perhaps some of them spoke with a Cockney accent before they Commissioned ;)
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    This how they spoke in contemporary interviews..

    DLI soldiers interviewed just after the battle for Primasole bridge http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80001329

    Even the Geordies sound clipped and a lot posher than Geordie shore. .

    Roy Chadwick Avro Designer of the Lancaster bomber . http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80021636

    Here is how they spoke in 1915

    Sgt Edward Dwyer VC



    The Cpl Jones voice.....
    Owen likes this.
  7. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Presumably if the cast of Downton Abbey spoke with 'real' 1920s upper class accents we'd think that they were ridiculous. There was a fascinating TV documentary a few years ago about the recordings of Great War British POWs made by a German linguist. The accents of the ORs were much stronger and more locally specific than today, as might be expected from an age before radio and tv. I wonder how much that had begun to change a generation later in the Second World War? People definitely do copy, whether unconsciously or not,voices from the media. I remember noticing the phenomenon of the 'Brummie Cockney' in the 1980s. The boys at school now tend to speak with a generic 'Man-ches-tah' accent rather than the mixture of recognisable Manchester, Bury and Bolton voices I recall from a quarter of a century ago.
  8. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    Sadly, CSM Selby Wardle was killed very shortly after this recording. He was 25 years old :(



    Warrant Officer Class II



    Service No:


    Date of Death:





    Durham Light Infantry

    8th Bn.


    M M

    Grave Reference

    III. C. 31.



    Additional Information:
    Son of Robert and Isobel Wardle, of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham; husband of Edith Mary Wardle, of Chester-le-Street.
    Owen likes this.
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    A bit similar to the story of Edward Dwyer VC. Within a year of the recording he was killed in action on the Somme. It is worth listening to his recording in full. It was recorded sometime in 1915, probably in conjunction with a recruitment campaign during which Dwyer was the star of recruiting rallies. The recording ends with an exhortation for "you chaps who sing about when the boys come home need to get out to France and show the Germans that we are better men than them. Otherwise when the boys do get back home, nothing will be too good for them and you slackers will have to hide your faces" Ironic eh? (£0.89 from Last FM )

    Incidentally the other impressive thing about Dywer is the quality of his written English. I have seen somewhere the transcripts of the letters that he wrote from hospital to his platoon commander. These are erudite and well written. Not bad for an 18 year old who had left school at 14 and joined the army aged 16.
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks for links to the recordings & further info chaps.


    Jen'sHusband likes this.
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I find this a most interesting thread.

    On giving the matter further thought I stopped to consider my own background of a very large family of 11 children.

    We encompassed between us every accent under the sun, from what might be considered pure cockney to "University Posh"

    In particular, when I returned home after my spell overseas, i found my younger sister's accent had become almost difficult to understand because of it's change in tone, a matter that still amuses us to this day.

    Jen'sHusband likes this.
  12. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  13. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Possibly sounded different because he wasn't a Geordie ,sorry but the lads (Selby) was from Chester le Street Co Durham.

  14. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  15. Len Trim

    Len Trim Senior Member

    Talking about Received Pronunciation. In 1957 when I was five our family moved to Singapore for three years. We were a very ordinary Scottish working class family but because of a weird equivalent rank set up my Dad's civvy job in the naval base gave him officer status and that meant that I went to a school for officers children. I was given elocution lessons! We have an ancient tape recording of me sending my Gran a Christmas message. Boy do I sound posh! For years after we came home people thought I was English. Accent now fully recovered. Strange how important it seemed back then even in the dying days of the British Empire. In more recent years my pupils knew they were in trouble if my accent became more Scottish and real trouble when the pure Fife accent returned.

  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    CL1 likes this.
  17. DoctorD

    DoctorD WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Just received headsup email from this thread! It goes back a bit with many old pal contributors. Been a long time since I worked the WW2talk website and it looks a bit strange. Noticed I contributed "makes a heaps go all peas around the Oxford" with no follow up translation. Since nobody took the bait, I assumed no explanation is necessary. Will have another look around when I've cooked the tea!
  18. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    What a great thread! DoctorD, I have no idea what you mean by "makes a heap..." so perhaps you could explain it to this colonial?

    Kind of off topic, but have any of you listened to a bit of the reconstruction of what Shakespeare's English sounded like? It's not Received Pronunciation!

  19. DoctorD

    DoctorD WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Seroster!
    In case other Colonials are not too familiar with London vernacular a full explanation might be helpful to decode ""it's enough to make a heaps go all peas around the Oxford". So here goes ... ...
    It's a quotation made by a make believe Cockney "rag and bone" man who pushed a barrow around London to collected such items from shops or householders for disposal. He appeared on a weekly BBC Radio programme about sixty years ago. It translates as "it's enough to make a bloke go all hot around the collar".
    A bloke means a person, and rhymes with "heaps of coke", but shortened to just "heaps"; "peas" is shortened from " peas in a pot" rhyming with "hot"; "Oxford" is shortened from Oxford scolar" rhyming with "collar".
    This one is amongst the most obscure I ever came across in my formative years spent around the street markets (I'm now 92!). Three popular examples often used in recent TV programmes are "syrup", meaning "wig", from syrup of figs; "barnet", meaning "hair", from Barnet Fare; and "porkies", meaning "lies, from "pork pies". There are also frog and toad for road, struggle and strife for wife, apples and pears for stairs to be considered.
    Finally one cannot go for a pony and trap nor a tom tit without making a pen and ink; and to be kicked in the orchestra stalls is rather painful. So I'm just going round the Johnny Horner to the rubadubdub for a pigs ear before retiring to my Uncle Ned to get some Bow Peep.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  20. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    "British actor Daniel Radcliffe was ordered to stop using a Canadian accent in a romantic comedy after producers feared the Harry Potter star would not be “marketable” as a Canuck.

    “It was basically, ‘You’re not marketable without your English accent,’ which is bad news for all the other stuff I’ve done with American accents,” Mr. Radcliffe said in an interview with the Sunday Express."

Share This Page