- Contributed by
- Wymondham Learning Centre
- People in story:
- Pauline Fletcher nee Antoinette Duperouzelle, Mr Pye
- Location of story:
- Guernsey, Channel Isles, Weymouth and Burnley, Lancs
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 May 2005
This story was submitted to the BBC People’s War site by Wymondham Learning Centre on behalf of the author who fully understand the site's terms and conditions.
I was born in Guernsey in 1929 and was at a Convent School during the War. When the German invasion of the Channel Isles was imminent all the school children were evacuated if their parents agreed.
I was sent to Weymouth and for several weeks I was based in a school and slept on a mattress on the floor. I was very happy to get away from the convent school as I remember the nuns were very cruel and strict also. My mother was very strict too and always favoured my two older brothers. However, I was very sad at leaving cousin Coral who was the same age as me and a great friend. I’ve never seen her since but still correspond.
After six weeks in Weymouth I was sent to Burnley in Lancs. I went to a school and was chosen by two kind ladies who had a dog. I very much wanted to go with them but my mother turned up as invasion of Guernsey was even nearer and we were billeted together with a lovely couple who were good Christian people and were like grandparents to me.
I went to a nice school with a lovely headmaster, Mr. Pye, who arranged for me to go to a convalescent home as I had had diphtheria. I remember him taking me by the hand as we walked across the playground as the other pupils played. I felt so proud. He took me to his car and again I felt so special because very few people had cars in those days. We then went to his home and his wife gave me delicious fruit cake and milk to drink.
I stayed at his house until the following morning and then he put me on the train to Southport where I spent four weeks in the convalescent home. Although the regime was strict the staff were very kind. I remember being given money to buy sweets each week.
After I recovered I returned to live with my mother. In the meantime we learned my brothers had been evacuated with their school to Glasgow. It took my mother some time to trace them and eventually she found them living with two ladies.
We then had to move to a bigger house because my mother was keen for my brothers to live with us. My brothers were not very keen to leave Glasgow, as they had been very happy there.
When we left Guernsey my father made the decision to remain there to run his antique business. During the occupation of Guernsey he died of T.B., my mother received a letter from the Red Cross telling her of his death from T.B..
The Germans were not cruel to the Guernsey people left on the island but were dreadful to the P.O.W’s who were moved there.
One of my mother’s friends had a baby by a German soldier during the occupation and she called the baby ‘Winston’. We thought that was very funny.
Before the war ended I started work in a factory making rope and twine for parachutes and for use on boats. My brother helped my mother save up to buy a house in Burnley.
I stayed in Lancashire after the war and married. As a result of my wartime experiences I have always felt a displaced person and have always wanted to return to Guernsey but it has not been possible. When I die I am going to be buried on Guernsey next to my beloved brother and then I will be back at my roots.
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