- Contributed by
- Ipswich Museum
- People in story:
- Barry Vail.
- Location of story:
- Leeds, Wales.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 November 2004
I was nine and at Leed's Grammar School when we were evacuated at the start of the war. The Headmaster took thirty of us to Fairbourne in North Wales. He installed us in a Hall. There were about eight of us in each dormitory. It was difficult being away from home, in a boarding school, but you got used to it.
We had to write to our family every Sunday. Laundry was sent home to be done. Sweets were rationed but our parents posted packages of them (saving up their own rations) once a week. I must have eaten too many.
Barmouth was the biggest town near-by: there was ferry that rowed you over to it. We got Glucodine from the Chemist's there. Being next to the sea and Barmouth Bay we went fishing, leaving our lines out overnight. We caught eels, and trout coming up to the river. The eels we cut open and left to rot, then used the maggots to get more trout. We had a raft, which floated on the sea. It was good fun and I learnt to swim - I had to.
We were there for one year. I saw a plane that was towed being hit during a target practice exercise. Another time a Polish airman was doing a Victory Roll and got to close to the ground. He didn't make it. We found him washed up on the beach. We took a boot with his foot in it to the Post Office.
The Polish airforce requisitioned the school so we had to leave. We went to.......... The routine was the same. We were woken by hand bell, and took turns over chores. For peeling potateos or cleaning up we got a slice of bread and jam. Still in the country we had horse riding. The boys were made about making model aircraft. We once saw an aeroplane crash at Buck Pike, and pinched its perspex for our models. I remember the post office, with its huge cheese cut with wire. We used to buy cigarettes there, pretending they were to give as presents for our parents. In our dormitory we would smoke, and hide the stubs under the floor.
For holidays I went back to leeds. My father was a manager at Singer and a fire-watcher. He would often sleep in the office.
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