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Evacuation From Bow, London

by henry (peter) goodson

Contributed by 
henry (peter) goodson
People in story: 
ROSE GOODSON (1906-2001)
Location of story: 
COLCHESTER, ESSEX, CHORLEY WOOD, BRISTOL
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2827118
Contributed on: 
11 July 2004

The year is 1939 — Evacuation from 1 Danes Place, Bow, London.

It was on a milk farm in Colchester, Essex with an Irish family, and it was great. It was like really for me coming from London, it was like going into a small hotel where the food was marvellous. There was a cook, a maid, a valet and someone who waited on the tables and it was marvellous. Everything that we ate was home grown by two gardeners in enormous grounds and grew all the treats you could mention and our children had plenty of milk. There was a lovely lake and my boys, John who was 5 and the other Peter who was 2, really enjoyed it.

Anyway, we were there for getting on for about 5 weeks and then there wasn’t any bombing for a year so we all decided to return to London as we thought maybe there wouldn’t be any bombing there. So we went back to London in Bow where we lived and everything was normal for about 9 months and then War did break out. We were there for a while and it got so bad that we couldn’t stay there. Part of our house was bombed and we lost part of our home and so we had to be evacuated again.

The bombing was very bad then and it was getting very serious so we decided, after somebody suggested, that we go to Chorley Wood in Buckinghamshire on our own back to try to be put up to stay there. We arrived in Chorley Wood station and while we were waiting outside wondering which way to go, a lady drove up to drop off her husband at the station to go to London and she said to us, ‘Do you want a lift?’ I said, not really, we had just come down on our own to see if we can be put up somewhere. She said that she might get something for us, so we all got in the car and drove us to a little village in Chorley Wood and we waited in this car for nearly an hour. We were given food and drink while we were waiting and she was talking on the phone to someone who had an empty cottage which was lovely. She got it for us in the end and it was really great and we all got settled in this empty cottage. Everything came in — furniture, you name it, chairs, tables. Boxes of food, bottled fruit, everything you could name was there for us and it was great. We were very lucky and very grateful and when the raids used to start, we would stand at the door and look over towards London which looked all alight and you could hear the guns going over us but they didn’t bomb Chorley Wood.

We were there for about a good 6 months, so my husband decided that we should go to Bristol where he was working in the aircraft factory, so we went. It was very bad there really, because they used to try and bomb the factory where three or four thousand people worked to stop production but were unsuccessful. It was quite bad and we did have to go in the air raid shelter. My husband did a fortnight days and a fortnight nights and I didn’t like that very much because I used to hat the night raids when they used to start. We would get the boys up from bed, get dressed and go to the air raid shelter. That was very nerve racking. We rented a house that was quite good with a big sized garden so we grew most of our vegetables and we had hens that laid eggs so we did well there. I got a job when my two boys went to school as ‘under cook’ and did quite well there sharing left over foods, milk, custard tarts and all that the children like and I was there until the War more or less finished.

When the War ended which was after about seven years, which was a lot, and we wanted to go back where we came from. Everywhere was bombed and we couldn’t get anywhere to stay so in the end, I had two sisters, Eleanor and Julie, and one sister Julie put what furniture I had in store and I went to live with my other sister Eleanor in Bedford where we stopped for one year because we had lost everything.

In the end, we did get a place, a flat in Southend where my husband was working and that is where we settled down.

(This is typed from an audio tape by Rose Goodson, told in 1998. She was aged 92 yrs)

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