Contributed by Clare Abbatt

My uncle's blanket was sent with him from India 'home' to England in 1936. He and my mother went to boarding school and spent the holidays with their grandmothers. They next saw their parents in 1949. My mother's blanket was decorated with the Indian swastika; once the Second World War against Germany started she was teased at school about this.

Blankets have long been associated with disruption in people's lives and their displacement: refugees in particular. My mother's blanket was in a very worn state - torn and frayed, but her school name tape was still there. Thousands of children of the British Empire were separated from their parents to be educated in England. The repercussions of that experience have echoed through their lives. Those blankets, kept by my mother for so long, represented a link with home (India). Their family servants had given them as presents, wanting the children to keep warm in England. The blankets' labels show a ram's head and the words: Long Life Wool Wear made in the Punjab.

I burned my mother's blanket - the heavy smell of wool hung in the winter garden. Regretted that action ever since. Family history has a long life and cannot be expunged.

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