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Suffer The Little Children

by altaira

Contributed by 
altaira
People in story: 
Jean Lloyd, Margaret Lloyd, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey
Location of story: 
Walton on Naze
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3239101
Contributed on: 
08 November 2004

When the evacuation of London's children began, it was done with their safety in mind. However many of the children were too young to be concerned about safety. They were just terrified at being taken away from their parents, their families and their homes and sent to far away towns to live with strangers. They weren't always fortunate enough to find foster families who took good care of them. However, some of the families who took these children in, provided the little ones with all the love and support they would have given their own children.
My mother, Jean Lloyd, was ten years old when the war broke out. She and her younger sister Margaret were among those children evacuated to the seaside town of Walton on Naze.
When the train bearing the children arrived, the youngsters were lined up single file and marched through the town. The line stopped at every house. If the people living in the house had room for a child, they were "given" the one at the head of the line. Then the "caterpillar" of children moved on to the next house.
Jean and Margaret were well back in the line, and spent much of the day walking from house to house. Finally in late afternoon it was Margaret at the head of the line, with Jean just behind her. The line stopped at a house located across the street from a school, possibly on Stanley Road. The lady who came to the door was a Mrs. Harvey. She agreed that she would take Margaret in, but Jean was adamant that as the older sister she was responsible for Margaret, and they would not be separated. It was all or none. Mrs. Harvey kindly took both of the little girls into her home.
Mr. Harvey was caretaker of the school across the street from his home. He and his wife had a son named Rodney who was in the armed services. They were very religious people and were very kind to the two little girls who thrived under Mrs. Harvey's care. Jean remembers she gained weight from the good meals Mrs. Harvey provided.
The difficult part came each evening when Jean cried herself to sleep because she missed her parents so much. Over the course of the year that Jean and Margaret were with the Harvey's, she would write begging her parents to let them come home. Eventually the strain of separation was too much for the girls and for their parents and their father borrowed a car to drive to Walton on Naze to retrieve the girls and bring them home.
Their second attempt at evacuation would have been a sea voyage to Canada, but one of the girls had a toothache and wasn't to be allowed to make the trip. Jean's parents decided to keep all the children at home instead of splitting the children up. It was a fortuitious decision as the ship they would have been on was torpedoed by the Germans.
Jean and her family stayed together through the remainder of the war.She remembers the Harveys and their kindness to two little girls far from their family and home.

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
Essex Category
London Category
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