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Evacuation From Romsey To Swanage

by The Fernhurst Centre

Contributed by 
The Fernhurst Centre
People in story: 
Patricia Hingston
Location of story: 
Romsey and Swanage
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
16 June 2004


This is Patricia Hingston’s story: it was dictated to Kathy Collard-Berry at the Fernhurst Centre at its D-Day Celebrations on 5 June 2004. The story has been added by Pauline Colcutt (on behalf of the Fernhurst Centre) with permission from the author who understands the terms and conditions of adding her story to the website.

I was seven when the war started and we lived at Romsey near Southampton. I can remember there were German planes going over every night and bombing taking place. We used to sleep on eiderdowns under the kitchen table and one night when I was told to get up in my confusion I thought it was morning and my Mother found me in the bathroom cleaning my teeth. “Come quickly don’t worry about your teeth”

When I was seven I was sent away from the bombing to Swanage by my mother, she thought Swanage was safer. We used to see the exercises in the bay at Swanage when they put oil on the water in the bay and set it alight. The whole sea would be burning. The sea would just erupt into flames and smoke. I believe it was an anti German measure.

One day we were playing rounders on the school playing fields, which were high up above Swanage. We saw two planes come in with yellow noses, they were German planes and we could see great explosions in the town, and then they turned, saw us on the playing field, flew up towards us and the Games Mistress told us to take shelter. The older students went into the shed where they kept cloaks and I went into the shed with the lawnmowers because I was one of the smallest. While we were hiding in the sheds, me with the lawnmowers, they machine gunned us and I could hear the bullets spraying down behind us. None of us were hurt. This was a terrifying experience and after that we had to walk a long distance back, trying to hide in case the planes returned.

I also remember picking blackberries in a big wood, hearing the roar of aircraft, rushing out of the wood and seeing the sky black with planes going out towards France. I do not remember why this was.

My father was in the Royal Engineers in Ordnance Survey and did all the maps for D-Day and was one of Eisenhower’s staff.

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Childhood and Evacuation Category
Hampshire Category
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