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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Michael Evans, schoolboy
Location of story: 
Carshalton and Ashton in Makerfield
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
07 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Alma Harrison of Uckfield Community Learning Centre, a volunteer from BBC Southern Counties Radio on behalf of Michael Evans and has been added to the site with her permission. Michael Evans fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

Michael Evans was aged 8 in 1944, he remembers living in Carshalton, Surrey, South London. The war was raging, his neighbours had been bombed out of their homes. Around the time of the Normandy landings, the Germans started firing doodle bugs over Southern England. They were particularly frightening as they made a horrible droning noise as they flew overhead, the people quickly realized that the danger began as the noise stopped, they then dropped from the sky and exploded causing terrible damage. They created fear in the population, and many nights were spent huddled in shelters until the danger passed.

The Evans family were close friends with the next but one neighbours. One night I was with my father, brother, Neighbour and his son. For the first time we were allowed to stand outside our Anderson shelter watching and listening as the doodle bugs flew overhead. As we stood there, the doodle bug stopped. Father was in a panic, we three boys were thrown into the shelter, followed closely by my father and neighbour who miraculously came through the small doorway together.

Because of the immense damage and fear, the evacuation process was renewed and many children were to be evacuated from the London area. My brother and I were to be evacuated to Ashton in Makerfield. Before I went I had to have a medical, this took place in the woodwork room of the local school. We went off by train with our gas masks and our brown labels with our names and address on. It was a long journey with an overnight stay in a large school dormitory in St Helens. We were billeted with a wonderful family who had a son and daughter they had expected one child but quickly welcomed both of us. We wore clogs like the local children, and I remember the knocker-up coming round with a stick which he used to bang on bedroom windows to let the workers know it was time to be up and off to work. We stayed a year and returned home in 1945. We have always kept in touch with the family, they came to both our weddings, and I am still in contact with the son of the family.

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