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Evacuee from Portsmouth

by Barnsley Archives and Local Studies

Contributed by 
Barnsley Archives and Local Studies
People in story: 
Patrick Douglas Victor French
Location of story: 
Dodworth, Barnsley
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3794213
Contributed on: 
16 March 2005

"This story was submitted to the People's War site by the Barnsley Archives and Local Studies Department on behalf of Patrick Douglas Victor French and has been added to the site with his/her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."

I came up to Dodworth as an evacuee from Kingston, Portsmouth with my sister Francesca. I was 2½ years old. I can remember coming up on the train I injured my leg, I’ve still got the scars. I can still remember all the sirens going when we were down in Portsmouth.

The first family I stayed with were the Kenworthy’s. He used to drive the local train and they had a big house on the low side of the police station. Then I went to a family called Allen. They lived down South road and had a large family and I stayed with them and never went back to Portsmouth. My sister went to a family called Fish. My stepsister came home from school on my first day there and went in to her mum saying someone was playing on her bike.

I went to the Church Infants School; Mrs Barnacle was my first teacher.

A woman used to come from the council to see if we were OK, she was horrible. The office was in Victoria Road, Barnsley.

I left school when I was 15years old and went to work in the Wentworth and Silkstone Collieries then I joined the army. I worked for Barnsley Council on Street lighting after the army then went back to the colliery working at Dodworth. I married a Dodworth girl.

In the 1960’s I tried to trace my family and I got to know through a solicitor that my mum’s mum lived in London and one of her sister’s lived in Durban and another in Tiverton, Devon. I wrote to the one in Devon and she didn’t know we had been adopted. I had a telephone call a few years back from a woman working for Carlton TV doing a documentary about evacuees. She had got my name from a niece answering an advert for the programme. She sent a photocopy of a photograph of dad with his new family, he was living below Nottingham and had a daughter called Anita. But there was no trace of my mum.

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Childhood and Evacuation Category
Family Life Category
Bradford and West Yorkshire Category
Hampshire Category
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