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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Staying in Norfolk

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Pearl Clark
Location of story: 
Norfolk
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4386233
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

I was young at the outbreak of war and had my parents and family around me. Fortunately I went to stay at my Granny Norfolk’s cottage in Helhoughton with my twin brother, mother and grandmother and did not have to be evacuated without my parent, as many children did. I remember playing with my cousins in the fields and walks down the country lanes. The coaches with children being evacuated would pass through the village on the way to Fakenham, Norfolk. I felt so sorry for the children on their own not knowing who they would stay with.

My grandparents cottage had no electricity and the toilet was ‘Down the yard’ past other cottages to where the gardens were, not gardens you sat in but vegetables were growing and some flowers. The toilet was wooden with two holes on the top, small and large. The smell was terrible. I remember my father visiting us once (he had to stay at home to work) and he would make sure he had a cigarette to take into the toilet with him. There were cobwebs and creepy crawlies and it was dark. A lorry used to come and empty these toilets. No disinfectant, toilet paper was newspaper on a string. My Granny Norfolk was strict with food, either margarine or jam on ones bread not both. I played up one day and wanted jam on my cake! I was promptly put in to the cupboard under the stairs. I was so frightened it was dark. How my mother managed with both her mother and mother-in-law dealing with us children I don’t know.

My brother had to sleep in the same bed as my Uncle who lived with Granny and Grandad Norfolk — he did not like it. Because I was a girl I was with my mother. I still feel for my brother that he had to sleep with Uncle, he really did not like it but never played up.

When we came home after a few months or so our house seemed strange. It appeared my father and grandfather had not used the upstairs just the kitchen and living room downstairs. It was dusty everywhere.

I started school as war was ending, remember an occasion when we all had to go to the school shelter, but surprisingly I recall it was all very orderly. Our teacher had control of us all, we did not answer back. It just seemed to pass quickly.

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