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Moving House on the day that war was announced.

by Peoples War Team in the East Midlands

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Peoples War Team in the East Midlands
People in story: 
Trevor Hill
Location of story: 
Derby
Article ID: 
A9025247
Contributed on: 
31 January 2006

This is an extract of an interview by Michal Gorman

"This story was submitted to the site by the BBC's Peoples War Team, in partnership with Derwent Community Team and The Da Vinci School in the East Midlands with Trevor Hills Permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions."

The very day that war broke out in 1939, my parents sold the house that we lived in, and they brought new house in Chaddesdon. When the news was announced by the government, that Britain was at war with Nazi Germany, that is when we loaded up the van with furniture in Normanton, and moved just round the corner from Normanton barracks, which no longer exists. I can remember having stood as a little boy watching all of the troops march out with rifles on the way to go to France. Then we moved to Chaddesdon. In those days I went to Roe School, just down the road. It was in the middle of nowhere, there were no houses at all.

Of course in those days we had to walk to school, in a box, usually with a mars bar in there. We started school at 9.45 in the morning and didn’t finish until 3.45 and that was Monday to Friday!

In 1942 I took the 11+ exam, and went to Derby Grammar school. Because it was so near to the railway line, there was no way that they would allow the pupils to stay there because of the German bombers coming over, so the school that I went to was the amber valet camp. In those days I loved swimming, and went into the river to swim, and caught double pneumonia.

You ate everything in those days or you went to bed hungry. As children, we learnt to keep rabbits, to dig for victory for potatoes, carrots etc for food.

I didn’t go in the royal air force until 1949. I was determined to join the royal air force, and the childhood experience made me even more determined. My cousin has died in the war, in 1941 aged 19 years old. He was a great guy.

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