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Somerset here we come

by CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford
People in story: 
Patrica Ballantyne
Location of story: 
Wells, Somerset
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
23 July 2005

I was 8 years old and we lived in Millwall by the docks. In 1939 suddenly all schools were closed and children had to be evacuated. I was to go to Somerset together with my 5 year old sister. I looked after her as much as I could because my mother told us to stay together. First we were taken to Paddington Station by bus. But there was not toilet on the bus and some of the children were sick and some wetted themselves so at our arrival in Mere we gave a wrong impression. We went to the village hall in the dark and next day we were taken to Wells. We stayed with a kind family, the father was a manager at the Co-op. They had grown up children so we did not have many toys to play with. We evacuees went to school in the afternoons; the local children used the classrooms in the morning. But mornings we were taken swimming, dancing and even to museums. Looking back on it we had a good life but we missed our mother terribly. In the evenings we would sit on the lap of the man eating biscuits with sugar icing on top and listening to Children’s hour. I remember Uncle Mac. And we were always listening to the song “Goodnight children everywhere, your mother thinks of you tonight.”
I belong to the Evacuees Association and we meet up regularly and talk about our lives. I did not keep in touch with our foster parents, they were good to us but they were not our parents. They must be dead by now.

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