- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Luis McKay
- Location of story:
- Gibralter, Rabat, London
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 August 2005
I can't believe many children were evacuated TO London for their safety -- but I was one of them!
I was seven years old in 1940, and we lived in Gibralter. There was a general fear that the island would be invaded, so all but the essential traders were evacuated. My mother, my brother, my sister and I were all sent to Rabat, in Morocco -- my father was a dockyard worker, so couldn't be spared.
Alas, shortly after we arrived, France fell to the Germans. As Rabat was controlled by the French, that meant we were in danger again. So back to Gibralter we went! And from there, it was off to London!
We stayed in empty hotels. I remember particularly staying at the National Hotel in Russell Square. It was my first taste of the Blitz. At 5pm, every day, the siren would go -- and we'd head for the hotel basement. There'd be the odd mattress, the odd pillow. It wasn't comfortable, but we made do. But then the Flying Bombs came -- so the hotel basement wasn't safe enough, and we went off to the Underground. By now we were staying at the Balmoral Hotel on the Cromwell Road -- so the station would have been the Gloucester Road on the Piccadilly Line. The trains stopped running at about 11pm. We'd have breakfast back at the hotel -- just bread, nothing special -- and then lunch. My favourite was Lemon Tart blancmange.
We returned to Gibralter four years later. In all that time I'd only been able to see my father for one four week visit. Looking back, he was a complete stranger to me at the time -- there was something missing.
(You can read more about our meeting in my story, "Meeting Dad".)
THIS STORY WAS SUBMITTED TO THE SITE BY JOHN YOUNG OF BBC SOUTH EAST TODAY, ON BEHALF OF LUIS McKAY. MR McKAY FULLY UNDERSTANDS THE SITE'S TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
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