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15 October 2014
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Colin Gowman — A Positive Evacuee Experienceicon for Recommended story

by A7431347

Contributed by 
A7431347
People in story: 
Colin Gowman, The Davey Family
Location of story: 
Ifracombe, Devon
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4561562
Contributed on: 
27 July 2005

During the war I was evacuated for three years from Croydon to a place called Ifracombe in Devon. I always thought my mother was happy to see the back of me, but that was fine because my time away from home was a very happy one!

Living in Croydon all the children from my area were evacuated within a couple of days of the declaration of war. Most of the others actually moved back within a few months, many were homesick and unhappy. I actually lived with two boys who were brothers for a short time but they were gone within a month. Of course it was a hard time for everyone then, but to me it was such a good experience and I enjoyed my time there. I was in a comfortable home with a very nice couple who looked after me very well. We didn’t really go to school, some said that the teachers didn’t want London children clogging up their classes, so instead we were just sent to a meeting hall with very basic supplies, maybe a few books here and there but that was about it. Mostly we were just watched over and kept out of trouble! The elderly couple I was with, Mr. and Mrs. Davey, would do their best to teach me themselves when I got home. Even their daughter tried to teach me to swim (though she never managed it!) and her boyfriend would even chip in with a few lessons as well. They also had a son but he was away serving in the Royal Marines. It was no doubt because they were such a nice family that I was away for three years rather than begging to go home like many others! That and I think my mother couldn’t wait to get rid of me and was enjoying not having me under her feet!

After three years my mother did come and collect me and we actually returned on a Royal Blue coach rather than the train. At one stop a whole group of soldiers got on and I ended up sitting on one of their laps for much of the trip. At home I did have lovely aunts and cousins who welcomed me back, but I’ll never forget my time away or lose my appreciation for the Davey family.

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by James Barton and has been added to the website on behalf of Colin Gowman with his/her permission and they fully understand the site’s terms and conditions.

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
Devon Category
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