Gulls eggs for the soldiers

Peter Williams describes how seagulls' eggs were given to soldiers during the Second World War, and recalls members of his family going out to collect the eggs.

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Collecting gulls' eggs on Anglesey for the...

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Peter Williams' family at Amlwch

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Uncle and boat

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Gulls's eggs collection in WWII: Peter Williams, an artist and historian from Amlwch, describes the family's memories of helping the injured fighters during the Second World War. "Another thing which used to happen around here, which not many people know about is during the War, as you know there will be a lot of casualties and wounded men, soldiers and, well of all - navy and airmen. And one of the main 'things that they used to feed them to boost up their energy was seagull eggs. I mean I've actually tasted a seagull egg and, you know, it tastes a bit fishy, but apart from that, it's just like a big fried egg, you know. My grandfather was hired by the war department to go out onto the islands off shore here where the seagulls would be breeding and they would take, I think they would take one egg out of each nest. They didn't want to decimate the breeding system, you know. And they would have these special boxes made, which would probably be lined with straw, whatever, and all the eggs would be laid in these boxes separately, so that they wouldn't break and of course they'd get literally hundreds, if not thousands, of eggs and I remember my uncle who was only young then (my grandfather would be in charge of the boat) but they would go out and gone on the rocks on the island and they would have a bag each and they would, they would literally fill the bag with seagull eggs. And, you know, be very careful, cos if you break one they'd smell something awful. And they would bring them back on board the boat and then put them in these boxes/crates and, of course, they would be stacked up; they get as many as they could in the boat. And my grandfather, literally, he could just about see the bow of the boat, cos they would be stacked up in front of him, you know. And they would be bought ashore where i would imagine there'd be a wagon of some kind or a truck, you know that would take these away, I don't know where, but probably the hospitals or where these men used to recuperate from and they would, I don't know, how they, they made omelettes or something. I don't know ... the boat that my grandfather had was, they classed it as what they call an auxiliary life boat, because during the war, you know, the official RNLI boats were around, but these small harbours, which didn't have a lifeboat, because he had a motorised boat, if there was any casualties out in the bay there, a ship sinking, or whatever, well he would be asked can you go out to save lives, so he was, they were given, I would imagine they were given a little retainer for the job, but that would be worked under the war department.'

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