- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mary Bainbridge
- Location of story:
- Chigwell Essex
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 23 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from Swindon College on behalf of Mary Bainbridge and has been added to the site with her permission. Mary fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
I was born in Chingford in Essex in December 1940. I remember being evacuated with my mother to Chigwell before my brother was born (1943). Today it doesn’t seem that far but in those days Chigwell was very much a country area.
The people we were evacuated to were two elderly sisters who had a smallholding. ”Granny Symes” - the eldest sister (we never seemed to use people’s Christian names then) used to give me bread and margarine with sugar on the top!! This was a very new experience to me. The ladies were also church-goers and when the vicar came to tea we had to say grace. This used to annoy me so much as I wanted to start eating.
There was a lot of farmland around, with plenty of animals - I used to scare my mother rigid by following the cows up the road holding on to the last one’s tail!! We had no experience of dealing with cows before. They seemed so docile.
Unfortunately my mother forgot to take my potty with us — being a toddler this was important to me. A message was sent to our neighbour at Chingford and she very kindly sent the potty by post to our temporary home. I was so pleased to receive the parcel, but when I opened it, there was the potty, in pieces. No plastic or bubble wrap in those days.
When we were at home, we had an Anderson and a Morrison shelter. I remember being taken to the Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden in my blue dressing gown. The Morrison shelter in the front room we used to share with our neighbour.
For a long time after I could never go under a railway bridge because the noise reminded me of the bombs coming over. I also remember being frightened by the noise the Factory sirens used to make after the war, with my mother reassuring me what the noise was. We had a very stable experience during the war, as I was never separated from my mother, although we were evacuated 3 times. The first time was to Chigwell and the last to Worthing, but I have no recollection of the second one.
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