British Humour in the Face of Adversity

Published by in Humor
21st Jul 2009

This is an apocryphal story, in that I can’t validate it, being too young to remember at the time, a family legend if you like, but I am assured that it is true.

It is an example of the British working man laughing in the face of adversity during wartime.

During World War II, bombers of the German Luftwaffe visited the skies over Kent and London almost every night to carry out their raids, raining their bombs on the towns and villages below.

When an air raid was imminent the local Air Raid Precautionary would alert the population by means of a siren, affectionately known as  ‘Moaning Minnie’.

This was a signal for everyone to seek a safe haven, usually an air raid shelter. These came in the form of a public shelter built on the street where anyone could seek refuge from the bombs, or an Anderson shelter built of corrugated steel buried in your own back yard.

On this particular night when the siren sounded as usual, my aunt and uncle made a dash for the shelter in their back yard. Half way there my aunt stopped and turned to go back to the house.

“Where are you going, Emma?” said my uncle to his wife, anxiously.

“I’m going back for my false teeth,” she replied, “I’ve left them indoors!”

“What for, girl?” said my uncle, sarcastically, “They’re dropping bombs, not bloody sandwiches!”

  • Mrs M

    Hahaha!!! Loved it!

  • Payge

    Good piece George and made me laugh when I needed it the most.

  • mdartist

    How ultimately funny! Only you, George, only you!

  • Jaye McCaffery

    humour in the face of adversity – love it!

  • maranatha

    ‘Not bloody sandwiches!’ What we think of when under stress!!!!!

  • RS Wing

    That was pretty funny George. Short ant sweet, to the point, lol funny. Some of the best literature is the funiest to read. Cool!

  • Alistair Briggs

    hehe love it :)


    ur sense of humour surpasses mine

    i would have let her go

    she was perhaps an old model

    but then had they dropped sandwitches too

    then there would have been no dentures to chew.

  • oldster

    Good tale. Me mum’s the same only it’s the door key when we’ve just shut it.

  • Mr Ghaz

    Nice post! too..I LIKED it..Thanx a lot.

  • Ruby Hawk

    I love it, It’s something that could have been said where I grew up in the north Ga. mountains. My people were and are a pithy bunch.

  • Alina Beck

    This was good for a giggle :-)

  • Preston Carew

    Brilliant. I wouldn’t trust a sandwich fallen from the sky anyway.

  • Jasin

    Lol man I was all on edge then you cracked a joke lol!!!

  • Louie Jerome

    We’re a weird bunch, Gerorge! That Brit grit is still around but I think you have to be over 40 to have it. (Now that should get a few objections from under 40’s.)

    Not sure this should have been posted as humour, it’s more a Socioberty type of article.(I think so anyway)…good old Triond.

  • deep blue

    Well, I guess the false teeth isn’t bomb proof and no dentist would be on the job to fix one if it is destroyed. Hilarious.

  • DA Cournean


  • Ruby Hawk

    anothe I like,

  • Dragonswing

    Hehe! Sounds like something my grandad would have said. I’d give you an example, but it might get censored ;o)

  • Bohemian Bystander

    Ah typical British wit!

    I was expecting, and would have liked, to have read more on the point you made in the second half of your article description – that the stereotypical Brit is rapidly disappearing.

    Perhaps you could write another article discussing your points on this? I think it’s a very intriguing topic.

  • gaby7

    Absolutely Funny! …LOL!

  • T.Rex McGoogle

    I enjoyed reading your funny story. Guess you had to have a sense of humor to get thru so many bombings.

  • T.Rex McGoogle

    I enjoyed reading your funny story. Guess you had to have a sense of humor to get thru so many bombings, too.

  • Hazel Crowther

    Oh yes we British have a great sense of humour, hopefully it will carry on for some time yet!

  • Rajiv Sighamony

    a good sense of humor shown by your uncle. A witty reply by your uncle to your aunt.

  • ashan1614

    Good story, George. You know us girls want to always look our best. :)

  • islandgirl

    haha nice humor!! hey, i love your new profile photo by the way!!! u are sooo handsome during 1958 and of course until today..hehe…have fun always George

  • islandgirl

    by the way if i am the girl, i would do the same..go back and get my false teeth hehehe..what if after the war i would be alive, what a shame if i dont have teeth..i can’t smile without it..

  • krishnarain

    good story…well written…Thanks for sharing…My best wishes to you…