- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Susan Snell, Elsie Snell, Miss Pugh
- Location of story:
- Birdlip, Gloucestershire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 May 2005
This story was submitted to the Peoples War Website, by a volunteer story gatherer on behalf of Susan Snell, and has been added to the site with her permission. Susan fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
Susan’s Bloody Nose.
I was only four when war broke out. My mother Elsie, and I were evacuated from Canterbury to Gloucestershire. My mother and I must have moved to be closer to my father, George, who worked as a lecturer for the RAF, although I only remember seeing him about three times a year during the war.
When I was five we moved to our third billet, which was in Birdlip in Gloucestershire. We stayed with a very old lady called Miss Pugh. She seemed ancient to me. The cottage Miss Pugh lived in had no running water and no indoor toilet. All our water had to be collected from the village pump. In the winter the pump had to be defrosted by the first person who needed to use it. This must have been hard on my mother, who had come from a purpose built house, with all mod-cons in Canterbury. But I didn’t care.
The best thing about Birdlip was that there was always someone to play with. A gang of us used to walk around the village collecting children and dogs from all the cottages. We would stay out all day. There was no traffic and our mothers were pleased to get us out of the house. When I was about five, there was a big freeze that lasted for about six weeks. One day my mother had popped out and left Miss Pugh to look after me. It was late afternoon and all the other children were still tobogganing in the snow. Miss Pugh forbade me from going out again. That wasn’t going to stop me though, I sneaked out. I was wearing a terrible old boiler suit and a pixie hat. I was taking my turn tobogganing down the gravel heap when I hit the level ground. I came off and split my nose open. Of course all the other children sensing trouble, left me on my own.
I made my way back to the cottage, dripping blood as I went. My mother who had returned by then, was furious. There was blood everywhere. There was no doctor in the village and we couldn’t reach anywhere else, so I just had to bleed. I remember thinking the injury served me right. I still have the scar to this day..
“Do you think it will ruin her chances of marriage?”
Miss Pugh asked my mother.
Fortunately it didn’t.
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