BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

11 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Evacuation to Wales

by Devon Library Service

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Devon Library Service
People in story: 
Brian Harrison
Location of story: 
South Wales, Kent
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
09 June 2005

I was nine years old when the war started and during the following year very little happened in Kent. In September 1940 I was evacuated to south Wales where I stayed on a farm for two years. During this time we saw a few German Bombers heading for Pembroke dock where quite a lot of damage was done. In 1942 our school returned to Kent as very little enemy activity was occurring. From then on we had many attacks as we were on the bombing route to London docks and we had many stray bombs and incendiaries and so our education was greatly disrupted.

During this time my father was on heavy rescue in the east end of London in the dock area and he experienced some horrendous scenes. On one occasion he had to help dig out one hundred and thirty five bodies from an air raid shelter. We were on the line of both the V1’s and V2’s and a great deal of fear arose, as the attacks were unexpected. After the raids, as children, we used to go out to see the damage and to collect the shrapnel from the anti-aircraft shells. During school time our work was affected and very often we were unable to get homework done as we were in the shelters. These shelters were very small, cold and damp and extremely unhygienic and we were glad to get out of them. We had a design of shelter that was better than an Anderson but was still pretty poor.

One thing we did was to keep maps of the progress of the war, sticking in coloured pins to show the progress being made by the armies and navies. In this way we learned a great deal about the geography of the world. At school very little was said about the war, indeed my main recollection of recent history was of the Liberal influence on government during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Going back to the evacuation, we had both Italian and German prisoners of war working on the farm. The Italians were very nice and made small models out of wood as gifts to us. We found the Germans very arrogant and not wanting to do any hard work.

While we were evacuated on the farm, we were not short of food; there was plenty of milk, eggs, meat, butter; the only shortage was of sugar, the ration being half a pound per week. On returning home we found it more difficult and rationing continued well after the war. Instead of rations increasing they decreased after the war. There was also a clothes ration, a yearly allowance of coupons hardly covering a school uniform. There was sweet rationing so we didn’t put on a lot of weight and still today I don’t eat a lot of sweets or chocolate. In fact, we got to the stage where we ate anything and everything that was put before us.

During the war our main entertainment apart from school games was visiting the cinema, usually on Saturday evening at the Regal cinema. The films were very often either war films or musicals. These would have been American cowboys and indians films and very colourful musicals.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Childhood and Evacuation Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy