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Broken lives and Families

by Michael Frank Fynn

Contributed by 
Michael Frank Fynn
People in story: 
Mr Michael Fynn-Mrs Edith Fynn-Geraldine Fynn
Location of story: 
City of Bristol and Ilfracombe
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3226402
Contributed on: 
04 November 2004

Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike
Broken Lives and Families

I was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Bristol, Somerset, two and a half years later my Sister came along and by that time my Mother and us had moved into the district of Bedminster in the City of Bristol itself. Bedminster is situated roughly midway between Bristol Docks, and Temple Meads Station and the huge marshalling yards, we lived in as far as I can remember a long row of terraced houses, about fifteen minutes walk from the huge railway station and a few minutes from the local park.

I dont recollect much about war being declared, and if it was, then to me as a young boy it really meant nothing, as nothing seemed to change until 1940 midway through the year, shelters were being built, blackout blinds were being put up at the windows of houses, iron railings and metel fences were to me, disappearing, more men were appearing on the streets, air raid wardens, things began to be strictly controlled, all rather puzzling to a young boy of five. I was a rough, tough lively character who would wander anywhere and everywhere, and trouble was my middle name, many is the time I was brought back to my Mother by the wardens and told not to go into, or get up to mischief again.

1941 was to me the year of change, for my Family and myself, and for the remainder of my life, I well remember the bombing raids night after night on Bristol when the blitz started, the main targets were of course the docks, and the huge train and marshalling yards at Temple Meads, and unfortunately we lived in between the two, the raids usually started late evening, firstly the sirens would sound and Mother would take us both down to the community shelters at the end of the street until the all clear sounded, usually the following morning would find crowds of childreen, myself included, scrambling over bombed buildings, and shops, looking for trophies, or shrapnel, until we were told to clear off by the wardens, to me, as a young boy it was a sort of adventure, part of life, but as the nightly raids got worse during the mid months of 1941 it became clear to the powers to be in Bristol that all children of six years of age, or thereabouts were to be evacuated from the City for safety reasons.

It is a day which is burned into my memory, my Mother telling me that I had to go on a train journey and away from the bombs, dressed in my black mac, gas mask over my shoulder, name tag in my lapel and my cap on my head, I was taken by my Mother up to Temple Meads Station and eventually put on a train with to me loads of other kiddies, and not knowing where we were going too, tearful goodbyes took place all along the carriages as the train steamed out. To me it seemed we were on that journey for hours and hours, but eventually we pulled into a station, which at the time I did`nt know, but it turned out to be Ilfracombe in Devon, we were then marshalled into buses and taken down to the town itself, to a large hall, it was all very bewildering, adults milling about and different people taking children off with them, eventually I, and another boy were collected by two, to us old people, and told to come along.
We walked, following this couple for about a short while and were eventually taken into their home, this was to be the start of three and a half years of being an evacuee.

during the following three and a half years there were good times and bad, I to be honest was no angel, I hardly attended school, used to play up, and at times I suppose I was sometimes agressive and moody, my friend and I were moved to five different homes over the time we stayed in Ilfracombe, which in those years was no seaside town, all barbed wire and restrictions, many of which we broke, and in all those years I simply lost touch with my Mother and family, I could`nt tell you if she ever wrote to me, I just dont know, so I had to grow very independant and learnt very quickly to look after myself, most of the soldiers in and around the area were Americans, and it sticks in ones mind just how well they treated us kids, parties, tours round the camps, and always plenty of cookies and gum, you always seem to remember the good things in your life.

Eventually one day I was told someone was coming to see me, my Uncle, when this person did arrive I just did`nt know him, he was in army uniform and wearing a red berret, and greatcoat, he told me he was my Uncle Les, and he had come to fetch me home to Bristol, I actually forget how we travelled back to Bristol, but well remember coming back to the City, but not to my Mother, I was taken to my Grandmothers home in Horfield, put into the front room while she and this man, my Uncle talked. Now it may seem strange but as a young boy I had never met any of my Uncles or Aunties, and if I did I just could`nt remember them, so once again I was amongst a group of strange people of whom I had no recollection.
Gradually over the months the ice thawed and I began to realise that these people were indeed family, I was treated well, but no mention was ever made of my Mother or Sister, I found out in later life that my Parents had divorced, my Mother having custody of my Sister, my Father having custody of me, so I ended up being Granny reared, my life changed once again dramatically, I attended the local school now as a nearly ten year old, way behind in my learning ability, I now had a permanent home and some stability in my young life, I saw and was involved in VE Day, and then VJ Day, with all the celebrations that went with these two occasions, eventually my Father came out of the forces, he had been in the R.A.F serving overseas, again, this person was a complete stranger to me when he introduced himself, as, as a young boy before I was evacuated I could`nt remember him, never recollect seeing him at home with my Mother, or anything about him, but the passage of time heals everything and I eventually had a Dad.

After the war I eventually grew up, started work, brought the wages home to Nan, did my two years National Service from eighteen to twenty, mostly in Egypt, got demobbed and returned to Bristol, but during my last few months in Egypt a strange thing happened to me, and its something I have never been able to find an explanation for. One evening sitting on my bed in Camp and thinking that I would soon be returning to UK, I had a thought and an address come into my head, and something told me to write to this address as it was my Mothers home, now remember I had had no contact with my Mother for over eleven years, yet something urged me to write, which I did, and several weeks later I had a reply, yes it was my Mothers address, she would love to see me when I arrived home, I was exstatic, eventually I arrived back in UK and did visit on two occasions, but things were not the same, too many years had gone by and we really did`nt know one another.
Eventually I left Bristol on my 21st birthday and came to reside in the Midlands to be a pen Pal I had been writting to for many months, I settled down, my relationship with this Midlands girl became serious, and eventually we married, had a large family of six children, three boys, three girls, all grown up now and married themselves, my Wife and I are nearing our 50th wedding anniversary, she being 69, myself now a few months off 70, My Sister I searched for several years ago, eventually found she had married and gone to reside in Australia with her Husband and two Sons, we regularly write and phone one another, my Mother passed on as did my Father several years ago so my Sister is now the only family I have from the war years.

I have read some of the letters in your columbs, some sad, some of happy memories, but to me the war destroyed part of my life, and left a big hole where my family should have been, these things are now lost forever and can never be regained, I`ve made the best of what life has offered me, but honestly believe some things which occured have made me hard and unrelenting, sometimes unfeeliing, how I wish I could turn the clock back.

Mike

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