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A New Life in the Countryside

by CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
People in story: 
Lois Watson (Nee Wood)
Location of story: 
Hull, Lincolnshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 September 2005

This story has been submitted to the People’s War website by a volunteer from Lincoln CSV Action Desk on behalf of Lois Watson and has been added to the site with her permission. Mrs Woods fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I remember this Saturday morning as if it was only yesterday, coming down the stairs with my younger sister. I was pleased because there wasn’t any school that day and there was a loud knock at the front door. We sat down on the stairs as mother answered to see who it was. It was the board man, so called because he went to people’s houses when children played truant. He told my mother that our whole school was being evacuated on the following weekend and that we all needed to have sandwiches, clothes and gas masks with us and be ready. My mother said that she didn’t want us to go but was told that every child at school had to go. He told her that the government wanted to protect the children and that we would be sent to the country but couldn’t say where we would be going.

My mum was by no means well off but she bought us new coats, berets and shoes. We didn’t have a suitcase since we had never been able to afford a holiday. The most we had had was a day at Bridlington.

We arrived at school at 8.15 am on the Sunday morning. There were double decker buses lined up outside the school. Mums and dads were crying and so were the children. Everyone was in a terrible state. Our teachers went with us because they were all unmarried. After m any goodbyes we set off. Some children quite enjoyed it since it was quite an adventure. We arrived at King George Docks and boarded the ferry and set off across the Humber. It was quite breezy on the water and my nice new clover coloured beret went up into the air and the last I saw of it, it was bobbing along on the waves. I cried my eyes out. I knew how upset my mother would be to know I’d lost it.

We arrived at Grimsby and were put on a train to Sleaford. The schools were separated into buses going to different destinations. We ended at Spalding where we were inspected by doctors and nurses. We were looked over for spots on our bodies and nits in our hair. We were tired and wanted to go home to our mums and dads and we wanted something to eat. We got a cup of tea and two biscuits.

Once more on a bus we travelled along country lanes. As city children we hadn’t seen cows, or sheep in fields before. We pulled up outside a grey-stoned church and right opposite was the school. We were led into it and we all had to line up. Lots of people were waiting and they walked along the line and picked out the child or children they wanted to look after.

As the oldest I was charged by my mother to look after my youngest sister and to make sure we stuck together. A lady came down the line and said hello to me and asked me if I would like to live in her house. I told her that I would not but thank you. She asked me my reason and I told her that I couldn’t leave my sister. When she heard this she said she would take us both because she didn’t believe that sisters should be parted. She took us both home, gave us supper and tucked us both up in bed. It wasn’t until the following morning when she gave us a postcard each to send to our parents to tell them were we were that we found out that we were in Market Deeping. Mrs Sidney Hope was very kind to us. She even got her dressmaker to make up identical dresses for us. After a year our parents came to visit us one weekend, not long after they got bombed out at Hull. Just after two years, my Dad returned to Grantham and having found a house to live in, fetched us both back to live with the rest of the family. Some kids had horrible homes but my sister and I were very lucky. We grew to love the countryside and the rest they say is history. We never went back to being city kids.

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