Mrs Boys

Memories of Evacuation

By Pam Schweitzer

?: Mrs Boys on evacuation on 7/11/87, right Mrs boys what can you remember about the evacuation

Mrs Boys: well I can remember when we first got evacuated, just started off with my sister and I in a big hall in her school and gradually some other mums come in and they had only daughters could they join us? So we ended up with four of us

?:  this was the day that war broke out?

MB: no it was the day before on the Saturday, and off we went with our gas masks over one shoulder and our carrier bags with a tin of corn beef and tin of condensed milk and a bar of chocolate, biscuits and off we went in trams to the station. Off we went to Yeovil then on buses to the school hall at west Coker Somerset. And because there was 4 of us no body wanted us, so we were the last 4 left in the hall and everyone kept coming up to us and asking if we were together and we kept on saying yes and eventually an old country woman came in and she said she would have the 4 of us the only trouble was she only had one single bed. So two-slept top to bottom in the bed and the other two had to make due on the floor until she got more bedding but it really was the best years of our lives.  It was different all together from London with all the open space, the only thing I hated was the toilet it seemed about a mile but probably wasn’t that far but by the time you got there it wasn’t anything except for a hole in the ground with a wooden seat.

?: right at the end of the garden?

MB: yeah I mean at least in London at Peckham, that’s where I come from, although our toilets were in the garden at least they flushed, they just had the cease pit and every week they had to go out there and clean it out, I dunno what happened actually the men of the house used to go and see that. She was marvellous this women we had an absolute marvellous time, I dunno how any of us managed to grow up and learn anything cause we only went to school half a day, one week in the morning and the village children in the afternoon, they never mixed us together the London children had their own lessons and the village children had their own lessons.

?: Did you ever play with the village children?

MB: oh yes we would play with then but in school we had our lessons in the mornings one week and in the afternoons the next and the rest of the time was ours. The most terrific thing there I think was while everyone else was worrying about bombs was cows, well obviously we never knew that milk came from cows, we thought it naturally came in the bottle and when we saw these creatures we were absolutely terrified we really were, one thing I can remember is another girl who used to go to school with me and her brother and us 4 we all went out to the fields and when we saw the cows lumbering we flew we just took to our heels and flew, we got to the gate and this little boy, he is probably about 50 now, he flew head first into all this cows muck and that is how we had to walk home, I mean all of these village people must have thought we were mad.

?: I guess living in London you had never seen anything like that?

MB: we never had such space to wonder round. The other thing that happened to us in London was that the village people always used to go for a walk after Sunday evening church, they used to go for a country walk to a pub you would get crisps or biscuits and lemonade and we used to thing that was absolutely marvellous just something so different. In the summertime when they started the haymaking all the women in the village who had evacuees used to take deck chairs up and have a picnic and they would all help in the haymaking and then have a little sit down and you wouldn’t have thought that there as a war on down there it was different all together.

?: and of course the haymaking used to go on all the way into the evening

MB: oh yes and the days always seemed sunny; it never seemed as thought it rained. Once a month they used to have a bus come up from London used to bring the evacuees parents down to see them and that used to come regularly once a month, I think most of the foster mothers used to laden up the Londoners with cheese and stuff like that, that they thought you couldn’t get up London, I don’t know how they got it they probably got it on the black market but food was in abundance there was no shortage of food. The one thing the lady used to do, she didn’t have a bathroom or even have any water inside that was all outside, and she used to make a fire in the lane and boil the water outside and we used to in the summer have out baths out in the lane and people used to be going for their walks up the countryside on a Saturday afternoon and we used to be sitting there having our baths. Another thing was apple time which all the kids used to be roped in to help in the orchards. I only stayed in that particular place a year because in 1940 the person had to go into hospital and had to have an operation so we came home for a month, however when the bombing started we got evacuated on a emergency basis and we went to a new place near Newport which was terrible, it was the place where they had to take evacuees whether they wanted to or not which wasn’t very nice on either side. So we only stayed there a little while and we got evacuated into wales and I stayed there two years but my sister stayed there right until the end of the war. That was different altogether because it was a mining area and the mine had been damaged years ago wasn’t so much food but sheep used to wonder, one thing I remember is sheep they used to wonder all down the roads and into peoples houses, it wasn’t anything if you saw a sheep in your passage because they always had their doors open there, and the other thing was we all had to do welsh at school so we were always bottom of the class. They were a very religious community there in Wales so you had a lot of chapels when you went there and they were hard up not as well off as the first place we went to. We used to have to go up the mountains and pick up the wood for the stove. I came home in 1943 because I was nearly 16 then but my sister stayed she enjoyed her self.

TAPE BREAK

MB: one thing back in London was on Tuesday and Wednesday it was market day, if one of the farmers was going to market he would say to the kids if any of them wanted to go they could which was quite nice. You used to see quite a lot of animals but they used to be penned up so we thought it was safe cause we didn’t really like them near us. We only ever went to that one thing on the corner of the place were I was evacuated there was a place called a tin tabernacle and it was Jehovah’s witnesses and they used to have lantern slides in there and it was also geography kind of thing, we never really wanted anything we were so happy to be in the countryside I thought it was marvellous. They always had lots to do, when we were in wales we never used to go to the pictures there but we did used to go to a lot of church clubs, I used to go to the girls friendly society, that’s a thing down there and they used to have youth club. Another thing they always had down there was they used to have a salvation army band who always used to play on a Sunday at the end of the streets where they would walk between where as in London you only got it outside pubs or something like that they only had a particular place but down there used to walk all around the town. A lot of us kids that went there must have been terribly ragged because we were so poor and this person I stayed, it was the first time in my life, I had bought dress she bought me a dress and that was absolutely marvellous it was yellow embroidery and I thought I was the cats whiskers. And when we came home for this months stay while we were home we went to the regents park zoo and while we were there, there was an air raid and had to go in the elephants house and it smelt terrible and walking around that zoo had this posh dress which was the most wonderful thing I had, and these baboons used to spit at the zoo and they spat on the dress and it was the most terrible thing to ever happen to me.

               

This page was added by Pam Schweitzer on 27/01/2015.

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