Wing Commander Heagerty’s Sugar Lumps

During WW2 certain foods (as well as fuel and clothing) were rationed. One of the main privations – given the British love of tea – was sugar; everyone was restricted to 8oz (half a pound, about 230gms) of the white stuff each week.

When the Imperial War Museum took over the War Rooms in the 1980s, they went through one of the desks in the Map Room and found an envelope with the name ‘John Heagarty’ on it. And inside the envelope – presumably kept in the drawer away from colleagues who might ‘borrow’ sugar for their tea – were these sugar cubes. They’d lain there untouched for nearly 40 years – an example of how the Churchill War Rooms are a wonderful time capsule.

Heagarty – or Wing Commander John Heagerty RAF to give him his full rank – manned the Map Room Air Desk for more than five years co-ordinating information about air operations. A veteran of the first World War, he was shot down over enemy lines in 1917 by the fabled German Ace, Manfred von Richtofen (‘ the ‘Red Baron’).

You can hear more stories of the ‘Churchill War Rooms’ in Don’s virtual tour. Check our events listings for forthcoming tours, or sign up for our newsletter to be informed of new dates.

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