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WW2 - People's War

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford
People in story: 
Marjorie Elcock
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Contributed on: 
28 September 2005

War impacted on all areas of life, I remember how it changed childhood for those of us at Salisbury Grammar School. Portsmouth Grammar School were evacuated to our grammar school, which meant that in order to get two populations of students into one school we were educated in the mornings, and Portsmouth students were educated in the afternoons. Education obviously suffered as a result of the war, provisions such as food were rationed, but in school I remember a similar problem with textbooks. It was usually the case that either we had no textbooks, or we would share one textbook between six, or even ten children.

Many syllabuses and exams were cut short because of the disruption to people’s education. The result was that most exams were made easier to compensate.

Even though we were living in an area which wasn’t bombed as frequently as say, London or Southampton, we still had to carry our gas masks everywhere. I remember we had regular gas mask drills in school. I recall they didn’t smell very pleasant, they smelt of powder and rubber, and were very uncomfortable to wear indeed. We were taught to put soap onto the inside of the transparent visors before putting them on, because otherwise they would steam up and make it quite impossible to see where you were going!

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