- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Maurice Giddings
- Location of story:
- Bangor - North Wales
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 March 2004
4th September 1939 remains with me as vivid as ever! As you all know at 11.00 am on the 3rd it was announced on the radio that this country was at war with Germany. Germany was well prepared for conflict whereas we and our allies were not. Hence the talk of evacuating the children from the big cities became a reality. I was just 10 years old at that time. I remember I cried after the announcement at the thought of being separated from my parents for the first time and not knowing where we were being evacuated to.
Consequently we had to report with our cases and gas masks etc to lime street station all prepared and labelled. That morning a whole train load of children and teachers from our school (the Liverpool institute) and others departed not knowing where our destination was to be. Imagine the tears that were shed on leaving our parents and loved ones. They had no idea either for security reasons where we going or for how long.
We arrived early afternoon at Bangor in north Wales and immediately telephoned our parents to let them know of our arrival. My parents were fortunate enough to own a telephone those days. Once in Bangor, my brother Ronald, a friend and I were transported with all the others to a local school for "selection". Those inhabitants of Bangor who volunteered accommodation were on the school platform to receive us. It was a sort of "hit and miss" auction. The residents advised how many children they could take, say three in our case. The teachers called out "a group of three please". We stepped forward and all moved off in taxis to our home for the next nine months.
The three of us slept in one bedroom. My brother and I in a double and frank in the single bed. Here in the bedroom we had our baths (occasionally) in a zinc tin bath, the water having been carried upstairs.
We were very fortunate in that we were chosen to live in a good Christian home, others were not so lucky. Built on the side of a mountain with two storeys at the front and three at the rear, the toilet was outside at the bottom of the yard. There was no running water in the house, the tap being in the back yard. We were expected to attend chapel three times on Sunday, the whole service being in welsh except one hymn sung in English. The evening service lasted anything up to two and a half hours!
We carried on like this for nine months but eventually we returned home when the expected air raids did not materialise. However, the following august the bombing started in earnest and we managed to survive the blitz for the next year or so back home in Liverpool.
The evacuation proved to be a time of upset, tears and instability yet, as mentioned before, I was fortunate to be billeted with good kind people. It provided me with a sound appreciation and solid grounding in the years that followed.
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