- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Richard Wooding. Featuring the staff of Romilly's Estate and fellow Evacuees.
- Location of story:
- Huntington Park, Herefordshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 May 2005
When the war started I was twelve years old, and I was evacuated from Tiber Street School, near Lodge Lane, Liverpool.
I was sent to Herefordshire, where I stayed on Lord Romilly's Estate in Huntington Park!
We were looked after by Lord Romilly's staff, and resided on the grounds in the outhouse. We were given meals with the butlers and maids, and it strange but wonderful experience.
Lord Romilly's cook got us involved in the local Scouts Patrol, and we learnt all sorts of interesting skills. The grounds of the estate were magnificiant, they had tennis courts, plantations, and a river which run through it (the River Arrow, I think). It also had a lake which froze over in the Winter, so we got to go out and skate.
I also got to help out the game keeper on the estate. He would shoot the rabbits, an then Cocker Spanials which fetch them, for me to collect in bags! I also helped out as a 'beater', disturbing the birds, so that the game keeper could shoot them. The caught game would then be used by the cook to make meals for Lord Romilly and his family. I thoroughly enjoyed the six months that I spent there. However, I came down with tonsilitus, and missed my mother terribly.
In the early months of 1940, my parents came down to Herefordshire to visit me, and I returned to Liverpool with them. I remained in the city throughout my teenage years and the war period, but it did not worry me, and there was always plenty to do with my friends. We were all part of the local youth club and Boy Scouts. I remember that we used to out when the air raids were on to find unexploded bits - incinderys mainly!
When I reached fourteen I took a job in George Henry Lee (John Lewis), and by the age of sixteen I enrolled in the 'Liverpool Wireless College'. I gained my certificate here, and left for sea as a 'Radio Officer' in 1944.
The first ship I was on was called the 'Tamora' (New Zealand Shipping Company). It sailed from Liverpool to New York. We carried German and Italian Prisoners on the ship, as there was not enough room for them in Britian, I guess. I carried out two trips like this, each time fetching American troop to bring back to Liverpool.
In 1944, sometime, I signed on to a ship called the 'Omega' and spent thirteen months coasting up and down Italy. We were responsible with aiding the post war effort, and delivered the essential supplies that Italy were short of. We saw reminders of the war whereever we visited. I remember the first night we went ashore. We had to 'step over' a 500 hundred pound unexploded bomb! Our ship was moved, and the bomb was detonated the following day. I will always remember the force of the bomb. It blew half of the wash basins off the wall in our ship!
When reflecting on the war period, I do not think these were particularly interesting things, I just think that this was the 'way of life', a time we accepted.
However, the experience of visiting the countryside and travelling abroad was certainly an interesting experience for me. I returned to Lord Romilly's estate in Huntungton park, roughly twenty years ago. It was nice to revisit. The main family house had been removed, and only the grounds remained. However, the outhouse I had lived in was still standing.
It was strange being able to say to my sons, "That was the house I used to live in during the war", and being able to recollect about such an unusual time...
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