Home Front - the civilian war effort


The Ministry of Food was responsible for the distribution of food and the regulation of prices. During the 'Battle of the Atlantic', 500,000 tons of imported food was lost.  Only essential supplies could be sent by sea - luxury goods were banned.

Rationing was introduced on 8 January 1940.  Butter, bacon, ham and sugar were restricted first then meat, cooking fats, tea, cheese, jam, sweets and eggs were rationed in stages over the next two years.

The rationing of food ensured everyone got their share of the things that would keep them fit and healthy.  Advice on nutrition and how to make your rations go further was issued in leaflets and demonstrations were given either in shops or mobile kitchens. 

Everyone was issued with a ration book for food and clothing. When you got your book you would register with your local shop and that was the only shop you would be able to use for your shopping.  Each time you bought your week's rations, the shopkeeper would cross off the amount in your ration book. Eggs were one of the things that became very difficult to get and a week's ration for an adult was one egg. Dried eggs became available later on - mixed with water they were used instead of fresh shell eggs.


Looking at the food chart above -

  • What items were for children only?
  • What items are special supplies and who are they for?

Have a go at the 'Weekly Menu Quiz' and the 'Family Rations Quizzes' below. You can also make up your own quiz based on your family to see how much food you would have been rationed during the war.


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