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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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by cambsaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Basil Dade
Location of story: 
Great Finborough
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 July 2005

Basil was brought up in a small village called Great Finborough. He has a vivid memory of watching American soldiers living in and around the woods, which surrounded the village. The Americans readily gave away sweets and chewing gum and ladies in the village did washing for the Americans to make a little extra money. One day, in June 1944, all the Americans were gone but Basil was too young to realise what was going on.

There was a constant procession of refuelling vehicles going through the village on the way to refuel aircraft belonging to the 447BG at Rattlesden, which was a 3 mile cycle ride for Basil, a journey which he made regularly on the crossbar of his brother’s bicycle to watch returning B17s. The Americans gave Christmas parties at the airbase for all the local children over 5 years old.

Basil’s father worked on the bomb trolleys and at night was a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service. The village Fire Pump was on constant stand-by throughout the war but was never used other than on regular practice sessions.

Model aircraft were made out of wood and, with these, the children would stage mock battles on the ground.

Evacuees came up from Wimbledon and stayed a short time and their parents visited at the weekends.

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