Today is the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, marking the day towards the end of WWII when the fight between Nazi Germany and Europe came to an end. This day serves as a chance to reflect and honour all those involved/affected by the Second World War as well as remembering the sacrifices they made.
It may come as a surprise, but tea was a very important necessity during World War II, so much so that in 1942, the UK Government decided to buy every available pound of black tea from all over the world (apart from Germany and Japan) - indeed tea was listed as one of the top five purchases of the war equating the weight of purchased tea alone to be more than the purachsed weight of artillery shells and explosives!
The importance of tea was so great that during the bombing of London in 1941 (the Blitz), one of the primary targets of the German attack was Mincing Lane, also known as “The Street of Tea” which had been heavily associated with the trading of opium at a time when Britain used large amounts of opium to purchase tea from China. More than half of the tea brokers' offices and records were destroyed that night and whilst around 30,000 tons of tea had already been stored well away from London, after the Blitz the remaining stocks were quickly moved to over 500 locations throughout the UK.
For those troops on the front line, the action of sharing a cup of tea allowed soldiers to have a moment of calm amidst the ongoing madness as well as offering a chance to chat with their fellow comrades. In addition, drinking tea helped the troops to stay hydrated and alert whilst reducing the consumption of alcohol.
Tea was more than a beverage; it was a symbol of national unity and its role of boosting morale not just in Britain, but around the world was extremely powerful. It provided a warm and comforting escape from the devastation of WWII and was a welcomed reminder of home for those fighting overseas.
On this VE Day we remember all those of WWII for, without their courage and sacrifice, the world would be a very different one today. Therefore, pop the kettle on and join us, as we celebrate with a good cup of tea.