- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Roy Griffin
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- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 May 2005
My father (Roy Griffin, age 6) was evacuated from Bedminster to North Devon in 1938 with his two sisters. The two sisters went to a house in Braunton and Roy went to a 'big house at the edge of the cliff' in Ilfracombe. His sisters went home 2 years later but Roy stayed in Ilfracombe. His father was in the Royal Navy and his mother was ill with cancer.
A few months after the long train journey, all the children in the Ilfracombe house by the cliff edge were moved because it was too dangerous as it came close to a bomb. So they were all moved to Illfracombe town centre. The lady who owned the house had a husband (who died in the war) and a teenage son. The son used to play with Roy when he came back from leave (unfortunately, he also died in the war).
Roy remembers being hungry and finding himself in Ilfracombe High Street, knocking on the door of a parish mission hall. A black US Army cook answered the door and fed Roy for a few days.
The lady of the Ilfracombe town house had a brother with a farm nearby (possible in the areas of Chambercombe or Trayne Hills). Roy loved getting up early at 5am and going to meet Patsy the dog (a border collie) and work on the farm. The farm had many land girls tending the fields.
So at the age of 12 in 1945/6, the war was over and Roy was sent back ‘home’ to Bedminster. He was put on a train and told his address, White House Lane, Bedminster. He had only vague memories of Bedminster. He asked train staff for directions to Bedminster as it halted in Temple Meads. He got home to find his mother ill and not much food in the house. After a while, Roy missed North Devon and ran back to Ilfracombe.
Roy’s father returned from the Navy and he was horrified to find his son was back in Devon. He got on a train to bring him back to Bedminster. The lady in Ilfracome had already lost one son and she was not going to lose Roy. So she went to court to ask if Roy could stay with her. Roy’s father won the case and Roy was brought back to Bedminster. Roy celebrated VJ day in Bedminster - I have a picture but it is too large to send.
To this day, Ilfracombe has a special place in the hearts of my family because of the kind people that looked after my dad when as a child.
If you recognize any of the information above, especially about the court case, I would be eternally grateful if you could contact me.
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