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12 July 2014
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WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk
People in story: 
Glenda Anderton, Miss Smith, Miss Stark, Hopkins family
Location of story: 
Lowestoft, Cranwell, Sleaford, Hillsley, Morgan Porth, Silleth
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4561058
Contributed on: 
27 July 2005

This contribution to WW2 People's War was provided at an Event held at Hethersett Library attended by the BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk. The story has been written and submitted to the website by Mary Pryke with the permission and on behalf of Glenda Anderton.

I was 2 when war broke out. My father was in a reserved occupation as master dairyman but he decided to join the RAF as he was already a volunteer reserve. My grandfather came out of retirement to run the family dairy business again in Lowestoft.

My father went first to Cranwell for training, so mother and I went to lodge near him in Sleaford. We had to have our dog, a cocker spaniel called Dinah, put to sleep as evacuees could not take pets. Next father was posted to Morgan Porth, Cornwall (near Newquay). His second posting was to Silleth on the Solway Firth. It was near the coast and I wanted to go to the beach down a steep slope. Mother slipped and banged her head on the way down, not once but twice!

After that I think his next move was to something more dangerous so mother and I went to live near relatives who had been evacuated to Hillsley, Gloucestershire. We lived in a two up, two down cottage with a family called Hopkins. Mrs Hopkins cooked on a primus stove and in a brick oven. There was no running water in the village.

In 1942 we went back to Silleth for a time and I started school there. When I had chicken pox it was treated by my being smothered in a poultice of bicarbonate of soda. I remember my bracelet was stolen at school, I should not have been wearing it! I was there for a term.

We then travelled back to Hillsley on a memorable train journey in January 1943. It was so cold we wore almost every item of clothing we possessed. I sat on the laps of soldiers as it was a troop train. The train kept stopping and waiting and we found ourselves stuck at Gloucester, late at night. Fortunately a kind man took pity on us and took us to his home for the night. We continued on our journey to Hillsley the next day.

This time we lived on a farm where we had running water but only oil lamps for light. My sister was born in March 1943. She used my coach built dolls pram which,to my surprise, always seemed to move with us. Sirens went off twice whilst we were there and frightened us to death - we sat in a row on chairs in the hall. I restarted school. There were two classes, one for children aged 4 - 8 and the other for 8 - 16. The two teachers Miss Stark and Miss Smith were also evacuees. When we went back to Lowestoft in 1944 I found I was a year ahead in my schooling.

My dad was demobbed in 1945. He had started off as a navigator, then worked as a wireless operator. The last two years he trained Americans who sent me wonderful parcels. They contained peanuts, chocolate, books and dolls, which came from their families in America. After the war the Americans wanted my father to work for them as a civilian but grandad said "NO - back to our business".

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