- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Marion Jowett, Hettie Illingworth, Ernest Illingworth & Mary Eastwood.
- Location of story:
- Nether Poppleton, Nr. York
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 27 May 2005
Me (Marion Jowitt) and Mary Eastwood.
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Marion Jowett, and has been added to the site with the author’s permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
Reading the form given me to take home from school was written, “two barley sugar sticks” for the journey. Please say ‘yes’ Mum I pleaded, little knowing the price I was going to pay for “two barley sugar sticks”. So began the most impressionable journey of my life.
I was staying with my Grandma at Ackworth, reading a long awaited Beano,
the wireless was on. Suddenly Gran said, ”come on lass let’s get you home”. I couldn’t think what I had done wrong, so home to Leeds I went.
The greatest organised evacuation was to begin. Next morning
1st September, with my little case and a prize tin of Gibbs toothpaste, in a little metal box and a gas mask I was taken to Harehills School. There I had a label with ‘Marion Thompson’ written on, put round my neck. This was to become ‘Our Emblem’, it all seemed exciting. I had got my two barley sugar sticks. I spotted some friends, Estelle Vinburgh, Adele Taylor and
Donald Levison, and my best friend Pat. I am going to enjoy this day trip I thought. I was seven years old. I said ‘tara’ to my Mum, she didn’t tell me I was not coming home. We boarded a bus to Crossgate Station where we each were given a carrier. I can only remember a tin of corned beef. The train took us to York. We were then taken by bus to a Chapel at a village called ‘Nether Poppleton’ where we were looked over and picked to go home with someone. I was beginning to panic at this stage, it wasn’t exciting anymore. I had eaten my goodies. The lady who had helped me off the bus had a kind face, so I made my mind up I was going with her. After much coat tugging and pleading she said she would take me. She also took my friend Pat to a friend of hers so that seemed better. So off I went to start a new life at ‘Town Farm’. I was in awe of all the animals and met Uncle Ernest, as I was told to call him, milking the cows. They took me across the yard to show me the toilet which was just a wooden form with a hole in it. I was frightened I would fall through it. We got the water from a pump in the yard. They then showed me my bedroom; I unpacked with tears running down my face, I just wanted to go home. We all met up at school the next day, at Upper Poppleton. I had to walk a mile each day. We were never accepted, they called us Townies. All the evacuees who had come with me were taken back home after four weeks, so I was very lonely but I made friends with a local girl,
Mary Eastwood, who I spent all the three years I was there with. My Mum only visited me twice, I had a bad attack called “St. Vitas Dance”, I was very sad, especially when Vera Lynn sang, “Goodnight children everywhere”.
Auntie Hettie and Uncle Ernest were good people but very strict, I think one of my proudest memories was singing on the school concert, “There will Always be an England”. I can still feel the emotion I felt, whenever I hear it.
I know the evacuation scared me but I kept in touch with Hettie and Ernest until they died. I took my family for many years, they love to see where I spent my young journey but insist “No barley sugar sticks” Mum.
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