- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Sally Elizabeth Hall
- Location of story:
- North Devon
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 15 June 2005
This story has been submitted to the Peoples War site by Rod Sutton on behalf of Sally Hall, the author, and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the sites terms and conditions.
When I was a girl we went through quite a time during the Exeter Blitz and my father would not allow us to stay in Exeter any more. He packed us all down to North Devon where we stayed on a farm for six months and it changed my life. I was a little girl of nine or ten and the farmer taught me how to kill chickens and rabbits, how to paunch rabbits and shoot. We stayed at this farm and we cycled around the area and found this very derelict thatched cottage, it hadn’t been lived in for two years. My mother was determined to find out who owned this cottage and we did. You couldn’t get into it for brambles and things but Mother said we’re going to live here so we did and we didn’t have electricity, no running water — only from the well and we stayed there for seven years. During that time I went to school in the village, it was a little school so we had to go out of school at lunch times to a house across the road to have our lunch.
After that I went to Chumleigh School by bus. One day coming back from school a plane crashed. It came over the top of the bus, just missed the bus, and crashed in the field right next to the lane.
In the evenings we had a lot of American airmen from the Wrinkley Aerodrome, they were stationed around there, and they used to go out for walks in the evening and my mother would give them cups of coffee. They would come in for sing songs around the piano. We would be in bed and we used to look through a little round hole in the floor of the room where some wood had come out. We could see through the floor in to the kitchen where Mother had the kettle on the old range. We would say to Mother "What colour black or white, are they coloured?", and Mummy held up the black kettle to show what colour they were. That was very interesting.
We stayed there and I did a lot of work on the farm, lambing, feeding calves and milking cows with no electric. When I left school at 14 I had to go to London to work because of the lack of work where we lived. I came across a lot of bombed areas in London and I stayed there for a couple of years before I went back to Exeter.
For VE Day my grandfather put some words to music and I stood up on the stage in the village of Kings Nymnton and played my piano accordion and sang a victory song.
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