- Contributed by
- Barnsley Archives and Local Studies
- People in story:
- Barbara Tomlinson
- Location of story:
- Barnsley, Yorkshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 14 April 2005
"This story was submitted to the People's War site by the Barnsley Archives and Local Studies Department on behalf of Barbara Tomlinson and has been added to the site with his/her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."
I remember little things. Refugees came to our school and stayed with people about three doors away from where I lived. There was a girl called Angela Cornett and a boy, John Cornett, both from Jersey. I was an infant school so would have been about 6 or 7 years of age. I played with them at playtime. Angela had red hair. We just accepted them, the only time we realised they were different was when the teacher told the class they were going home to Jersey. I cried. My daughter now lives on Alderney.
During the war they turned that island into a prisoner of war camp. Before the war it was village life on Alderney, mainly fishermen. Then they were given one hour to go and pack a small suitcase and get to the rowing boats in the harbour and people took them to England. They had to leave everything in their homes, food, clothes etc. My daughter’s ‘in laws’ were part of this. They went back at the end of the war. The island had to have a declaration of Peace before anyone was allowed to go back. It was signed by the English and Germans, and there is a photograph in the Library in Alderney. When they went back everything had gone. It had either been destroyed or moved around so no one could find their furniture, linens, ornaments etc. The Germans had moved into the homes that had been left.
Food had to be brought in by boat as nothing much could be grown on the island. The Germans got the lion’s share of it the prisoners were near starvation. There are P.O.W. memorials to Polish and Russians as well as English.
My mother was in service during the war to a rich family with a son and a daughter at boarding school. When their trunks came home their clothes were given to my mum in exchange for our clothing coupons because my mum couldn’t afford to buy us clothes.
At Christmas we had their leftovers. We were one of the few families with mince pies.
In the village where we lived conscientious objectors had a bakery and a freezer. Lots of people wouldn’t buy from him because of this but he made ice-lollies and he always gave me one.
My mum went to jumble sales for old clothes for pieces to make peggy rugs. We would sit in the park with our sandwiches as she cut up the material.
Because everyone was without we didn’t feel any different. We all had same sort of food, clothes and playthings.
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