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Daphne Bradley's Story

by Lancshomeguard

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

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Daphne Bradley
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24 July 2005

This story has been submitted to the People’s War website by Anne Wareing of the Lancashire Home Guard on behalf of Daphne Bradley and has been added to the site with her permission….

I was six when the war started one of five children, the eldest being nine and the youngest one. On the day war broke out father put us into a car; we were to be evacuated to Markyate in Hertfordshire.along with mother.

Father was a city gent, comlete with rolled umbrella and bowler hat, he worked in the London Corn Exchange and continued to do so, coming to visit us at weekends.

We were very unhappy where we were staying as we were viewed with suspicion and treated with animosity. They resented having to have children from London to stay and made this quite clear. I remember on bath nights we all had to get into a bath, one after the other, no clean water for us. The bath was placed outside of the house in the open air. Mother decided she’d had enough of this treatment so we made a move. This time we let lucky, there was this large mansion called The Cell, it was a fully staffed place with it’s own church and lodge and the lady of the house took us in. She had three Bentley cars in a garage and above the garage there was what was known as The Bothy and this is where we took up residence and where we stayed for the duration of the war. They treated us very well, on Sundays we would sit in the balcony at church with the family.

There were vegetables in the garden and plenty of eggs from the farm nearby where we used to drink the warm milk straight from the cow; I even had a go at milking. Mum used to boil the fresh milk and a lovely skin of cream rose to the top, we used to almost fight for it. One sad thing though, we had a cat called Fluffy, it would chase the farmer’s chickens and one day we heard a shot, the farmer had shot our pet.

A couple of bombs fell nearby, they were possibly aiming for The Cell and we played in the craters that they made. We weren’t very happy at school though as we were still not treated very well. Sadly they were wasted years, as I learnt very little, I didn’t receive much education until eventually we moved to Leigh on Sea after the war.

We never went back to our home as an Uncle whose house had been bombed moved in and somehow took the house over, this being the reason we moved.

I have never forgotten the kindness of that lady and we kept in touch until she passed away.

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