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Kath's Wartime in St Agnes

by stagnesinstitute

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Kath Miles
Location of story: 
St Agnes, Cornwall
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
04 May 2005


Story by Kath Miles recorded by David Rees.

Doreen and I left the Chapel at 12 o’clock and the village was packed, we were told war had broken out.
School was as normal, and life went on as normal
Black out material was needed and fitted immediately to all windows and doors, so that no light would show out for enemy planes to see the towns and villages.
Mine working was still in operation, my dad lost his job from ---- . He went to work in the mine, which was a reserved occupation. He worked at Geevor Tin mine at St Just, about 30 miles from St Agnes, he was a mining engineer, I stayed with my granny.
My Aunt was the billeting officer for the area, every home was inspected, tofind out if each house had space to take evacuees, soldiers or their families.
We had two evacuees from West Ham , Reggie and John. One boy had a list of “requirements” but not on “Seven shillings and Sixpence!!”. He was a bit of a toff and didn’t stay long mother came and took him home.
Food was rationed, but Mum managed to provide, we supplemented our rations with eggs from the farm, and vegetables from the garden.
Evacuee families also moved in.
My Aunt and Uncle lived at Trevallas, and were thrown out because the airfield was being built, and their house was demolished to make way for the runway. We then put up British soldiers, one of them was called Pierpoint (Hangman’s Son) who drove the adjutant, we also put up two cooks, who prepared food for the soldiers.
Mr Austin Tremain, the local butcher organised weekly dances in the Masonic Hall in Rosemundy. Mr Clifton Barkle played records and was the Master of Ceremonies, entrance was one shilling (Soft drinks only). Womens Institute had two dances per week.
The Air Station at Trevellas opened in 1941, and was base to a squadron of Spitfires. We were invited to dances there, and got lifts to and from them, and we had dancing lessons.
In 1941 or 1942 I met some soldiers in the Masonic hall and later married Jack one of them.
The Cinema, which was in the main street, had two films per week, this building is now a Meadery. We put on shows there two or three times a year.
One evacuee stayed until the end of the war, and we still keep in touch, and my daughter has visited them.
In 1943 white Americans and then black Americans arrived, the latter were better behaved, jitterbugging soon became the favourite dance. We were given gum, candy and nylons. My Father brought some Americans home for tea. They were generally well behaved, and were made welcome in the pubs and dances.
Whist drives were in vogue.
A bomb dropped in Dr Henry’s field, almost in the centre of the village near the main street. I was in the Cinema with my friends, we were told not to panic.
A whole School was evacuated to Perranporth and had lessons in various buildings.
Community centre in Coronation Walk was used for entertainment, piano and singing, evenings which were well attended
Also on Coronation walk there were allotments behind which were used for growing vegetables, and Grandad had a goat, which we used to milk.
Food rationing was in action and beer was hard to get.
British Road had tennis courts and more allotments, this was in the school gardens.
Twice a week the bus went to Truro. Bill Cheshire was based at RAF Portreath and we went there for shows. One of our friends had a car, which we used to get there to celebrate VE day in May 1945.
My friend who was a Spitfire pilot used to circle the village before he landed to show he had safely arrived back.
Rosemundy House Hotel was then a unmarried mothers home, or “Baby Home” as it was known locally, with 20 or 30 babies there.
The Home guard met at the Miners Institute, and the ARP’s met in the Church Hall

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