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15 October 2014
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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
Location of story: 
Chailey, Sussex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7046200
Contributed on: 
17 November 2005

During the War we had evacuees. This was obligatory. The authorities looked around your home, and told us how many we had to have. The first came from the East End of London. They were all horrified at being stuck out in the country with no street lights, no fish and chip shops, and no cinema. The majority of them went straight back to their homes. Our next lodger was an elderly lady from Hastings called Mrs Cook. She arrived with her parrot, which was so noisy. He was very clever and copied all sorts of things especially Mum's laugh. Mrs Cook's son visited his mother every weekend, and so he was put up too. He loved playing with us, and especially liked to tickle me. I hated it so much that in the end I pretended I wasn't ticklish at all. This took a lot of will power on my part, but in the end he got fed up with it and stopped the tickling. Thank goodness. I'm still not ticklish to this day! The parrot was Mrs Cook's pride and joy. He was covered every night, and often Mum covered him during the day when he got too noisy. One Sunday I was given my prayer book, originally a Christening gift, as it was felt that I was now old enough to have it. I was very proud. However, on returning from church I left the book on the table and my sister Margaret fed the pages to the parrot!

We then had a family come to us from Portsmouth. Dad had sent them as he was in the army with a married soldier called George, and he was worried about his family's safety there. We had Mrs Harvey, son Jimmy, and George's young sister Dorothy move in with us. This was so hard for our poor Mum who tried to look after us, work, and make the rations go round. Everything was rationed. We were issued with ration books and identity cards. We needed to take the identity cards wherever we went. Whenever you went on a bus it was always stopped on the journey for an official to check who we were. It was my job at a very early age to look after the cards and the ration books while Mum carried my sister and managed the shopping. The new evacuees were very difficult to live with. Jimmy was so naughty and was always getting us into trouble. I liked Dorothy who was 9 when I was 5. I really looked up to her and found her really grown up. Mrs Harvey hated country life. She was also always breaking things such as cups and plates. Once everyday items, that were now so difficult to replace as manufacturing had changed from household goods to weapons of war.

This story was entered on The People's War Website by Stuart Ross on behalf of June Noble. June fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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