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15 October 2014
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Horrible evacuation to Devon

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Margaret Kedge (nee Marlow); Len Marlow, Ron Marlow, John Marlow
Location of story: 
Teddington, Middlesex and Devon
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A8276259
Contributed on: 
05 January 2006

This story has been added to the website by Eleanor Fell on behalf of Margaret Kedge, who had given her permission to add her story to the website and understand the terms and conditions.

I was evacuated with my three older brothers, Len, John, Ron from our home in Teddington to a place in Devon in about 1941, when I was about 3 or 4. We all had to go to travel together, but I remember that when we got to the destination that no one would take me home with them. All the people wanted boys so that they would work on the farms. My brother’s were aged 7, 9 and 11 and so people immediately took them, but no one wanted me.

Eventually I was taken by a lady who had 3 or 4 other girls and they were all horrible to me. They would play tricks on me such as pretending that the washing up water was really hot. They would all take it in turns to dap their hands in the water and shout and say it was too hot, and then when I put my hands in and found out that it was only luke warm and not hot at all, they would say “Well if you can keep your hands in that water, you’d better to the washing up!”

I had to sleep in the same bed as the rest of the girls and I was always falling out of the end. One day my brother john visited me and I told him how horrible it was and how much I hated it and he got in touch with my parents.

I tried to run away with my brothers, but we didn’t get very far as we had no food and we didn’t know the way out of the village, so we had to turn back. Luckily my parents came after a couple of weeks and took all of us back to Teddington on the train apart from my brother Ron. I was so thrilled to see them and so excited to be going home, except that we didn’t go back to our home, it had been flattened and we’d been bombed out. We ended up movng around a lot and sleeping with friends and neighbours, we even slept in air raid shelters. Eventually my father, who was in the home guard, found an empty house and he applied for licence to allow us to stay in the empty house. We lived there until I was 11, but even then no one ever came back to claim the house. Eventually we moved into a council house.

Teddington was bombed pretty badly during the war because there was a big factory there doing experiments in a huge wind tunnel — or at least that’s what I was told.

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