By Ana Belén Del Pozo

There were many good points about the experience of being evacuated. Many of the children enjoyed being evacuated. Often they cannot remember being upset or crying, and they adapted to the country way of life very quickly.


  • Free time activities

Many evacuees played in the rivers with other children. The river was a source of delight to play, paddling and sailing paper boats. In summer it was fun to play on the stony edges, collecting shiny stones and bits of glass.


Some evacuees, like Anne Conway, were sent to a detached bungalow near a river. The time they spent there was an idyllic time. They remember hardly being indoors. They caught minnows in a jam jar with a string tied around it, and they swung dangerously on willow branches overhanging the river. The evacuees played with the village children in a hay- loft and made a slide from wood.


They also ate delicious food. Some of them remember eating freshly baked bread and raw swede. They ate lot of fruit. Joyce Kerr remembers having rabbit pie and also pigeon pie, and quails on one occasion. She remembers how most of the children put on weight.

London_Evacuees_in_Carmarthenshire,_Wales,_1940_D1041.jpgfood.jpg

Sometimes they spent hours on mountainside hiding in the long ferns. They also were really keen on exploring the disused entries of the mines, where some of them played often.

Jim Hughes was 10 years old when he was evacuated with his sister. One of the things they used to take delight in was building dens and camps and they used to go in the waste ground and get branches and wave them and get rubbish from the local rubbish dump.

DEN.jpg

Some of the evacuees had hobbies like:

Jim Brittain obtained his Roller skates, and started roller skating around the village. During the winter he obtained a pair of ice skates, and he joined in the ice skating on the Fend dykes. Jim was also keen on aero modeling, tennis, and photography. He managed to get hold of a camera, a box Brownie, which he had bought for sixpence.

Tony Fawcett was keen on films. He joined the boys club in the village hall and met a man who did much to welcome them to Wrotham and thaugh them about the country life. He was Reg Palmer, a gardener to the Magistrate for Wrotham. He showed silent films of Charlie Chapin, Felix the Cat and other favorites.

charlie-chaplin.jpg Felix_the_Cat.jpg


Alan Grant was very interested in nature. He liked walking in the fields and he used to see the newts and watch the hawks hovering. He was quite happy. He also used to like watching the reconnaissance aircraft.

Dymphna Porter arrived in St. Columb Minor in September 1940. It was a village about two miles from Newquay, Cornwall. The best thing of living in Cornwall was the sea. She loved going to the beach, which was magnificent and where there were lots of coves and caves to explore. She used to watch people surfing on the big Atlantic rollers and envied them as she didn't have a surf board. At the end she made a surf board out of an ironing board and she learnt to surf.


surf.jpg





  • New things and new knowledge
Life on the farm was wonderful for lots of children, who only had lived in the town. Now they lived with cows, pigs, chickens , etc.

Children had fun playing on the farms. Lots of them liked riding on horse and cart too, when the farm workers were gathering in the harvest. Marianne Manson remember that she loved to see the pigs but she hated their smell.

Some of the evacuees, like Jim Hughes, got interested in wildlife. They tried to catch rabbits and rats. They also used to catch frogs and tried to keep them in tins or old troughs. In the countryside the evacuees experienced many new things, some of them saw a fox for the very first time.

rabbit.jpgrat_6.jpg



Howard Baker remember how he learned to make butter by hand in the dairy. Up to then, he had thought milk came from bottles not cows.

butter.jpg


Others, like Dymphna Porter spent many days helping to pick potatoes and to harvest and she learnt how to milk a cow.

cow 1.jpgcow 2.jpg

Moreover, others like Pat Fawcett, learned how to identify many trees and plants in the country; what was edible and what was to be avoided. She used to roam the fields and woods. In the spring, she picked primroses and violets, and later on bluebells in the woods.


BLUEBELLS PRIMROSES VIOLETS
Bluebell.jpgEnglishPrimroses.JPGviolets.jpg

In autumn, there were nuts and conkers to be found and in winter they painted the hazel nut husks and fir cones they had collected and turned them into Christmas decorations.


FIR CONES
pine-cones.jpgDECORATION.jpg



In some areas, the market garden supplied the local needs. Milly Gardner remembers a good summer in which the soft fruits were in abundance. The gardener called volunteers and some of the evacuees applied. She was given baskets, to fill as many as possible, and she could eat her fill of the plump to bursting gooseberries.


descarga.jpgGooseberries-hero-3234afa9-1df8-4105-9654-23b62411f06d-0-472x310.jpg



  • Families and village people
Some evacuees were really lucky because they could stay with a lovely family which treated them like their own children.

For instance, Doreen Knights had and idyllic billet. She was well fed and well cared for, and free to take the dog for walks or visit friends once homework was done. The only condition was that she attended church three times each Sunday, and helped at table when the vicar came for high tea.

Others were lucky at school, like Alan Grant. He remembers at Christmas, his school teacher bought every person in the class a little gift. He got a Frog aeroplane which used to be propelled by a propeller and an elastic band.


gift.jpg



Some hosts were really nice. For instance, Pat Fawcett's hosts and their family gave them a loft where all the evacuated families could meet. It was fun, and they had some chairs, card, tables and games like snakes and Ladders and Ludo to play there.

SNAKES AND LADDERS.jpgLudo-3.jpg


Christmas could be a sad time. Nevertheless, some evacuees like Joan Pearce, remembersa a good time. She remembers that they did not have many presents, but the foster family made it such fun. They used to go to the grandparents' house, which was old with lots of little rooms. Instead of putting the presents around the Christmas tree, they made it into a Treasure Hunt.


treasure_hunt_1753019_2329222.jpg

Others like Margaret Phair, also remember a very nice Christmas in 1940, with a real Christmas tree. It was all done up beautifully and it stood in the hall.

The war started many friendships that lasted for years. Lots of the evacuees have kept in contact with their foster families ever since.

Videos and links


  • Documentary. In World War II; Unheard Memories, Deaf people tell their previously hidden stories about living in wartime Britain in their own language, British Sign Language.
World War II: Unheard Memories - Happy Memories

  • Evacuees of World War Two

Testimonies

  • Anne Conway
  • Joyce Kerr
  • Jim Hughes
  • Jim Brittain
  • Tony Fawcett
  • Alan Grant
  • Dymphna Porter
  • Marianne Manson
  • Jim Hughes
  • Howard Baker
  • Dymphna Porter
  • Pat Fawcett
  • Milly Gardner
  • Doreen Knights
  • Alan Grant
  • Pat Fawcett
  • Joan Pearce
  • Margaret Phair