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15 October 2014
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History Of The Evacuation Party From London To Halesworth Suffolk.

by gloinf

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Mrs L J Woodley (nee Amondson)
Location of story: 
London, Suffolk - Halesworth, Spexhall, kent .
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
26 October 2005


This story was submitted to the Peoples War site by Jas from Global Information Centre Eastbourne and has been added to the website on behalf of Mrs L J Woodley with her permission and she fully understands the site’s terms and conditions

Introduction: I was a young teenager at the start of the Second World War 1939, and Mum and Dad were not very young, being over 50, so the raids did affect them like other people.
However when the Council sent the suggestion out that Mums and young children up to the age of 15 would be evacuated to a safer place in the country, they were definitely in agreement and we got in touch.
The following accounts are what happened to me and my family. The first billet Mum and I were put in was not really suitable for Dad and my Gran (Mum’s mother) to live there as well, so with some luck we found a bungalow very close by for £1 per week and we rented that, Dad and Gran coming down a week or so later.
We were there till 1945, earlier on Gran had returned to her flat in Folkestone. My Father unfortunately suffered a heart attack and had died earlier in April 1944, so Mum and I returned alone to Manor Park in London.


We were all requested by the evacuation officers to assemble at Hartley School London at 8:30 am on Friday 11th October 1940. After arriving there we sat waiting in the school hall till suddenly the Air Raid warning sounded and all had to go to the school shelters which were very comfortably with fires and comfy chairs. About half an hour afterwards the All Clear was heard and so we all walked back to the hall again. The officers in charge of the party called a register and then we all climbed into London buses in which we were driven to Liverpool Street Station.

The train was not in so after hearing another Air Raid warning we were marshalled to the Underground part of the station (which serves as a shelter). Another hour passed during which time we stood in a line down one side while numerous other evacuees hurried past us into other tunnels leading to the Underground Railway.

All Clear sounded after about an hour and very thankfully we settled ourselves in the Pullman Express, which was in the station five minutes after we arrived on the platform.

Journeying from about three to four hours (having a number of small stops and one long one during which we were able to have a cup of tea), we finally arrived at Halesworth Suffolk. A walk of perhaps two or three minutes brought us to a very nice school where we were medically examined and given a cup of tea.

Coaches sent specially from Norwich drove us in small groups to our places where we were duly delivered to our kind and generous billiters. Mother and I came to a farmhouse where there are a number of animals and four ladies who have management of the farm.

I think everyone is happy and comfortable and has a feeling of surer safety than when we were in London or the outlying suburbs and I am sure that we all thank the Government and the London and Halesworth helpers who saw us down to a quiet, peaceful and happy country place.


Last Friday, whilst walking on the Bungay Road, near Dawson’s Farm, Spexhall, Mrs Elizabeth Davey, of White House Cottages, Spexhall, was involved in an accident with a lorry driven by Arthur Revell of Long Row, Westhall.
She was attended by Dr.H. Cursham, of Halesworth, and later removed by ambulance to the Patrick Stead Hospital, where she was detained.


Sunday morning dawned damp and cloudy but without any rain. After journeying into the town, I stood waiting for the parade in Quay Street to commence. About five minutes before the appointed time it began to rain and did not cease until long after we had settled ourselves in the church.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the assembly who marched smartly through the town. The parade comprised the following: -
The British Legion (men and women) under Major F.J.Rodwell.
The Military Members of the Home Guard.
The British Red Cross Detachment, under Commandant C.W.Flaxman.
Members of the Regular and Auxiliary Fire Services.
A.R.P. and other Civil Defence bodies.
1st Halesworth Scouts under Troup Leader A.E.Ellis,
and the Halesworth Scottish Highland Volunteer Cadets.

The Rector conducted the service, a member of His Majesty’s Army read the first lesson, followed by the Rev. W.H.Sparey, and an address was given by Admiral E.F. Bruen, C.B.
The service began at 3.o’clock but owing to the weather conditions the wreath laying ceremony was postponed.
The Last Post and Reveille were sounded in the church, the National Anthem being played on the organ with which the service ended.

Upon my exit from the church I stood listening a few moments to the strains of the music played by the Halesworth British Legion, which concluded the Civic Service at Halesworth.

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