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15 October 2014
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Yvonne's Evacuation Memories of World War Two

by gloinf

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Yvonne Denton and friend Sheila
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Contributed on: 
07 November 2005

This story was submitted to the Peoples War site by Jas from Global Information Centre Eastbourne and has been added to the website on behalf of Mrs Denton with her permission and she fully understands the site’s terms and conditions

I was evacuated with my school a few days before the outbreak of war. I had my label tied to the lapel of my best blue coat and carried my father’s small leather suitcase. My Mother and Grandmother stood at the end of the road to wave goodbye as we all walked in twos to the local station. There were no tears but I expect there were when the parents returned home. I didn’t know then I would be away from home, with the exception of the odd holiday, for the duration of the war, and how it would change my life.

We reached our destination in Kent, which was only about an hour and a half journey away. So there we were standing on the village green waiting to be picked out by people, a bit like a cattle market. Another little girl and I was picked up by car and taken to a young couple with a baby. I remember one mealtime him pinching his wife on the leg while they were having a restrained difference of opinion! One day we came home from school to be told Sheila and I were going to be moved a few houses away, quite honestly, I don’t think they really wanted us, we were hoisted onto them.

The second house the woman there lost no time in running down the people we had been with. While we were at this place Sheila developed pains in her side and her mother came down to take her home and Sheila cried as soon as she saw her Mother, I cried also in sympathy, and was told by the woman of the house to shut up!

So now I was on my own I was extremely unhappy. One day I was in the garden skipping, this woman came out and told me I didn’t know how to skip and that I had no go in me. She grabbed the rope out of my hands and skipped like a mad thing on one spot. When I think of it now it makes me laugh, but then, being a young child, I felt very intimidated.

One Sunday my Mother brought down a couple of little dresses for me to be informed by the lady of the house that her daughter had hundreds of dresses.

Green eye of the little yellow god!!!

One night in bed I was trying to cry quietly and the husband, who slept in a separate room, his wife and daughter slept together in the other room, called to me what was the matter and I told him I was just saying my prayers.

He was a lovely man but I couldn’t say the same for his wife and spoilt daughter.

My teacher must have realised something was wrong, I used to dread the weekends and going back there from school at the end of the day.

One morning there was a letter informing the woman that I would be moving to another place and that my father was coming to pick me up.

She ran up the stairs to my room pulled the stuff off the bed and the mattress was yanked off telling me I stank, and to get my things together and sit on the bottom stair until my Father came to collect me.

My last place I moved to was a homely, and in some parts pure Tudor Inn on the edge of the village green. I was well treated and the daughter was natural and friendly and we got on well.

It was always very busy and not far from an airforce base, it used to be filled with spitfire pilots and at night it can be imagined what went on!!! Quite often their wives used to come and stay, and it was always a sad time when we watched the planes flying back from a raid in formation with gaps where some hadn’t come back.

On the lighter side some broke the rules and dived in on the village, it was called, beating us up!! Although they got told off they still did it to the delight of us younger ones.

Later I passed my scholarship and would cycle into Maidstone to my school. One day in class a girl whispered to me that they had landed, I replied “Who?”

“The troops” she said.

It was 6th June “D” day. I didn’t know my future husband who I was to meet when I was 18, had landed in the very early morning on the Normandy beaches with the 1st Hampshires.

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