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My Evacuation during WWII

by alun-malefantstreet

Contributed by 
People in story: 
alun e. williams
Location of story: 
llanharan, south wales
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
11 May 2005

In May 1941, my brother, Vivian (aged 10) and myself (aged 8), being the two youngest members of our family, were chosen to be sent on the evacuation scheme. My mother had at that time two older sons still at school (aged 12 and 14), and as my father had died in 1939, they were required to stay at home to be of some help to my mother. At first, we were very keen to go on this adventure, as we saw it, because at the time, children from our area along with others, were being sent to Canada, a land we'd hardly hear of, and were hoping to be selected for one of these trips. However, before our turn came around, disturbing news of ships carrying evacuees to America and Canada had been torpedoed in the Atlantic by German U-boats. Consequently, our move was to be much closer to home. Just how much closer we were'nt expecting! With our gas-masks and small suitcases, we all met at Gladstone School ready for the unknown trip from Cardiff Railway Station. We were not on the rain for very long, when it came to a stop at a small station, and we were surprised to see a line of local schoolchildren waiting to greet us, with lemonade and cakes as welcome gifts. We were further surprised when the name of our destination was a small village called Llanharan, only about 15 miles from Cardiff! In fact, when the bombing was taking place around the Cardiff area, we could se the searchlights in action over the city. My brother and I were expected to be billeted together, as we had been told, but the billeting officer had great difficulty in keeping to that promise, consequently we were split up. My brother went to a very friendly family (so much so that they wanted him to remain with them permanently!) Unfortunately, I drew that short straw, and was taken to a lady who made it quite plain that I was not welcome in her house. But by law she no option. My stay was quite unpleasant. Although it was the Summer of 1941, I had to go to bed at 6.30pm, to sleep on a canvas camp-bed in a box room! At meal-times I had to wait outside the house till I was called in. This lady had one of the biggest hoards of food in a walk-in pantry that I had ever seen (which, incidentally, was illegal in wartime). There was every kind of tinned fruit and tinned meat you could think of. My stay was shorter than my brothers as my mother brought me back to Cardiff. The Lady in Llanharran had two evacues from London billeted with her who ran away!

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