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Wartime Memories of a Village Child

by North Dorset Volunteer & Community Action

Contributed by 
North Dorset Volunteer & Community Action
People in story: 
Mrs. Shirley Richards(nee Bristow)
Location of story: 
Yetminster, Sherborne, Dorset.
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2967410
Contributed on: 
02 September 2004

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Gwyneth Brooks (Outreach SW) on behalf of Mrs Shirley Richards with her permission. The author fully understands the site's Terms and Conditions.

I was 5 and a half years old and an only child when war was declared. My parents had 2 evacuees from London, so it was a big change for us all.

We had to go to school in the morning as we were Protestants and the evacuees ( Cathelics) used to use the school in the afternoons.

Our village ( Yetminster, Dorset) did a great deal for the War Effort - sales, carnivals etc. to raise money for "Wings for Victory", Warship Week etc.,and the teachers took us to collect hips from the wild roses to make syrup for children in the cities.

Then friends were bombed out near the Westland aircraft factory - so we had 3 more people staying.

When the V bombs started, we had another boy from London to stay.

There were sad times - my cousin- a pilot was killed and my Mum's cousin died in the bombing of Portsmouth.

We spent air raid warning times under the stairs and one night I remember seeing a big glow in the sky which my Mum told me was Bristol (50 miles away) on fire and she had family there - all survived.

I remember how quiet the village was when the soldiers left for the D Day, and the shock everyone felt when a Japanese P.O.W returned home, as he was so thin and almost unrecognisable.

Quite an interesting childhood!!

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
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