Occupations of the Duthies
Elsie became heavily involved with the Ifield WI. She was secretary for some time and was closely involved in the opening of the WI Market in Horsham. She took several solo parts in productions by the Crawley Operatic Society – Bill occasionally sang in the chorus – and in the 1920s took the prize for the best soprano at the Horsham Music Festival, possibly twice. She and Bill had a good circle of friends in the area. They both played bridge – Bill was an addicted and competitive card player, particularly of bridge and cribbage, and his son recalls returning home with his wife to find their four-year old son at loggerheads with his grandfather over the rules of snap! In 1934 Bill was captain of Ifield Golf Club.
Bill worked for various businesses in the 1920s and 1930s before being recruited by Garfield Weston for Western Biscuits, based in Slough, in 1936 when the family moved to a flat in Farnham Common and then to house in Bourne End, Bucks. Garfield’s election as a Conservative MP at that time gave Bill his first taste of electioneering. In 1938, with war imminent, Bill became a Government Advisor on Food Defence Plans with the Board of Trade, particularly Bread Supplies. His Ministry of Food office soon moved from London to Colwyn Bay in North Wales and by 1941 he had become Director of Emergency Bread Supplies, Ministry of Food. He devised methods of maintaining supplies despite the bombing and took pride in the fact that bread never had to be rationed throughout the war though it was rationed under the socialist government elected in 1945. For this work Bill was awarded the OBE in 1943.