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15 October 2014
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Wartime Memories Mrs Irene Woodgate

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Mrs Irene Woodgate
Location of story: 
Lower Willingdon Eastbourne 1943
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4388024
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

This story was submitted to the Peoples War site by Jas from Global Information Centre Eastbourne and has been added to the website on behalf of Mrs Woodgate with her permission and she fully understands the site’s terms and conditions

Born 1940, I recall going away with my Mother to Colchester; my Father had found accommodation for us so that we could be near him, as he was stationed at Colchester.
I remember going to a display of fire engines, in the park, which was held within the precincts of the Castle. We stayed there for several weeks.

After the birth of my Brother in 1944 children were being sent away from Eastbourne
And it was arranged that my Mother took my Brother and myself and an older cousin to Wales where my Aunt was working, as Eastbourne was undergoing a pounding from German aircraft. We were able to have cups of tea on the train, but were told that we had to submit the cups at the next station.

I went to Sunday school at a local shop rather than the church, as it was wartime. The church was being used for another purpose.

The local scenery included a lot of mountains and my Mother found them to be rather oppressive especially when the weather was bad, as black clouds formed on top of the mountains and it was very gloomy. As a result we returned to Eastbourne after a few weeks.

I recall having a party in the front garden of my second cousin and although we were all celebrating it was at that time very sad, as my cousin's Father had recently been killed in Italy as a result of the war, as was his Father's Father in the First World War

We had a Morrison shelter in the back room and we had to sleep in there when there were air raids, and sometimes even when there were not.

My Aunt worked for Bondolfi's confectionery and patisserie near the war memorial and as the proprietor was German by birth, he had to close the shop, and my Aunt lost her job.

My Father was called up in 1940 just after I was born, these are his memories which he wrote out a short time ago, before he passed away, being aware that he was unwell, and would probably not able to do it himself, which was correct as he passed away in March 2005 aged 89.

He had a medical at Hastings and passed A1. Then sent to Devizes for approximately 3 weeks, and then was transferred to Stoughton Barracks in Guildford.

I remember that my Father was walking down a hill in Guildford wearing army boots and because of the surface slipped and fell over.

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