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Youth During the War: J E Stuart

by IT Now, Newbury

Contributed by 
IT Now, Newbury
People in story: 
My own memories
Location of story: 
North of England
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
17 June 2004

I was aged 9 at the start of the war, at prep school which had been evacuated from Sunderland to Newton on the Moor, near Alanwick. I left the prep school in 1941 and went to St Peters in York. I well remember the headmaster reading out lists of former pupils who had been killed in action during the war and also witnessing all the big RAF air raids going out and the residue returning and vividly remember The Night Of 5th June 1944 when a vast air armada set out for the continent.

Two raids stick in my mind during my time at prep school during the Battle of Britain, where we were involved in firewatching during the night, responsible for dropping sandbags on incendiary devices amongst other things. We had tin helmets to put on and got nighttime rations of two sandwiches and a cup of cocoa. The drills were terribly well organised, the air warning went and we went to our allocated shelter under the control of the master.

The rations were hard, we didn't get a lot but what we had was good. Spam fritters featured highly, and toad in the hole if you could get decent sausages!

Some of the boys at school had both parents killed and the school took over their education.

My brother was a medical student at the time and my sister extremely ill during the war, she subsequently recovered and now lives in the United States.

When the planning for DDay was in place, one of the boys went back to the gymnasium to collect his forgotten trainers. The gym was being used to store items, and he managed to find the trainers on a pile of mats. He was then set upon by the military police because the mats he had gone to were allocated for the dday landings. He was interrogated for three days wondering if he was involved in passing on information!

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Childhood and Evacuation Category
Wearside and County Durham Category
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