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WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
Leicestershire Library Services - Lutterworth Library
People in story: 
Brian Primmer.
Location of story: 
Wilmimgton, Sussex.
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
11 October 2004

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Dawn Cunningham of Lutterworth Community College on behalf of Brian Primmer and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I cannot remember being bothered by the war very much at all.I was 15 when it broke out. I remember hearing it on the radio. Both my parents were teachers which was a reserved occupation. I went to a public school and we were evacuated with the school to a country Mansion in Culham, Oxfordshire, but it was still called Eastbourne College. We wore starched white collars and boater hats. The evacuation didn't concern me at all. Infact I was quite excited. The only thing I didn’t like was the Curry and Rice they gave us one day, because I had never had it before.

At the end of the spring term I cycled home to Eastbourne from Oxfordshire on my own. I was stopped on the way by the police. If you didn’t have 10 shillings you could be classed as a vagrant. I stopped at a little bed and breakfast on the way in Horsham. I can remember sitting by the Thames with a stick and a piece of string trying to catch some fish.

I had three sisters, 1 older and three younger. They were all evacuated to Hitchin I can’t remember if my Mum went with them. My Dad stayed in Eastbourne, because he was the principal of a college that had not been evacuated.

After I went home it was national evacuation and we went to Hitchin. It was on my 16th birthday and it was Battle of Britain Day in 1940. We just took it all in our stride. I was travelling on the back of a lorry sitting on a couple of armchairs with my mum. The lorry was taking our furniture from Eastbourne to Hitchin. It was a beautiful summer’s day and my mum and I sat watching the condension trails from the fighters.

During the summer we all worked on a herb farm. I ended up in Stevenage and took my school certificate in 1941. Then I passed my Ford scholarship examination. Motor engineering was a reserved occupation and we repaired the army lorries ready for the invasion. 99% of the work we did was for the military. I was called up later and did 2 and a half years in the national service at Ranby camp in Nottingham. I later moved to Aldershot as an instructor and taught motor engineering.

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
Bedfordshire Category
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