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15 October 2014
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A Chilly Dorset winter

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Margaret Yellop
Location of story: 
Isle of Wight, Dorset
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4393514
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

When we were unable to return to our home in Madeira as the war had started, we arrived in England and had to stay with relatives for a while.

My mother answered an advertisement to be a temporary caretaker at a house in the Isle of Wight, where we spent Christmas 1939.

Then, in January 1940, she was appointed Head Teacher at a village school in Dorset, where we lived in the house allocated to the Head. We had no furniture but the villagers kindly lent us one bed and a mattress to go on the floor, which I shared with my sister, and a few Windsor chairs to sit on in the kitchen. It was an extremely cold winter and some water left in the bath overnight was frozen by the morning. Our only heating was a kitchen range, where we cooked our food. Eventually, my mother could afford to get some furniture of our own on hire purchase.

Having come straight from Madeira, we had brought very few woollies and I wore all that I had with me until I realised that some had got to be washed. Our washing had to be done either by hand or in an old-fashioned copper.

Returning from Dunkirk, five soldiers were billeted with us for a few weeks. They all slept on the floor in what had been our dining room.

This story was submitted to the People’s War website by Sue Craig on behalf of Margaret Yellop and has been added to the site with her permission. Margaret fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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