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15 October 2014
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A Battersea Evacuee's Story

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Clarice Richards
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Contributed on: 
14 July 2005

“This story was submitted to the People’s War warsite by Joann Astara Littlehampton Learning School and has been added to the website on behalf of Clarice Richards with her permission and they fully understand the sites terms and conditions”

Before the war I lived with my sister and brother and my mother in Battersea. As mother was a widow she had to work. She worked then in sweet shop in Battersea where we lived. My brother and I attended a charity Boarding school and soon after war was declared and feverish activities of gas masks, sirens and fires started my mum said,
“Back to school”.
The Boarding school was safe for a short time but based near London so for safety we were soon evacuated.

This became a wonderful adventure for me. Thirteen of us went to a large country estate owned by the Robartes family. They were bankers and I believe were associated with Coutts, the Royal Bankers.
The house and its grounds were about 7 miles outside Buckingham, surrounded by beautiful countryside.
We arrived at the gate travelled up the long winding drive and were shown into the back of the house.
The Butler and Miss Liberty, the Housekeeper, greeted us and we were given a maid.
All thirteen of us and the teacher were allocated the nursery wing of this enormous house.
We were to continue with our studies and different teachers were ferried in to teach us various subjects.
I remember we took our exams in a long panelled landing with a magnificent stained glass window at one end.
I lived in these beautiful surrounding for two years and gained my matriculation.
We were very well fed and looked after and they were happy years for me. At Christmastime, as a special treat, we were invited to have a meal in grand style with Mr. and Mrs. Robartes in their lovely dining room.
I often worried about Mum who still lived in Battersea and worked in Lavender Hill. These areas were bombing targets because of the power station and Clapham Junction. Although
we were away from the war activities our teachers kept us informed and made us aware of what was happening.

Soon after I left school I was back in London working as a clerk for The Prudential.

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