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Edna's Story

by CSV Solent

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Solent
People in story: 
Location of story: 
Tottenham, London and elsewhere
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 July 2005

Edna’s story
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Shelagh on behalf of Edna and has been added to the site with her permission. Edna fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was twelve when the war started. I lived in Tottenham in London. I was first evacuated on 1st September, 1939 to Corton Holiday Camp for civil servants, as I was in a special school for children with disabilities. There were four schools and each school was given a section of the camp and ours was the best. We had the bowling green, ballroom and a beautiful sea view!

In October we were moved Stokenchurch near High Wickham to be safer. We were still with our schools in what was a new army camp, converted for our use. A lovely beech forest surrounded it. I was there until Christmas time and then I returned home for my older sister’s wedding. I stayed at home until June, 1940.
London had some scares but nothing that seemed too serious. In June, 1940, I was sent to Rutland. There were four schools sharing space in a manor house. We had four teachers, their assistants, a matron and a cook as well as a commandant looking after us. I stayed there for a year and missed the Blitz of London.

At school we were taught to sew, read, write and do arithmetic. Us older girls were taught housewifery and we had to wash the children’s socks, pair them and hang them out. We went to Church on Sunday. At Christmas we were sent presents from our families and the Invalid Children’s Association. They sent us older girls dolls to dress for a competition. I didn’t win it!

We had lovely food and fresh milk from the local farm. We were very fortunate as we were well looked after and we were probably better off than many other evacuees.

In June 1941, I returned home as I was fourteen and had left school. I had to find work that allowed me to sit so my friend and I were sent to work for our old headmistress’s friend who ran a coat making business for children. We worked at her house in a small workshop.

I remember how awful the doodlebugs were. One day we were walking home from work when we saw one. A lady who was working in her garden took us in and we sheltered under her stairs. I will always remember the vision of one lady as she couldn’t fit in the cupboard properly and her bottom was left sticking out of it!

When the war ended, my friend and I were at our dressmaking class. When we got home people were singing and dancing and saying
‘We won’t have to close the blackout curtains tonight.’

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