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15 October 2014
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Evacuation, A Naughty Boy and A Parachute Silk Wedding Dress

by CSV Action Desk Leicester

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
CSV Action Desk Leicester
People in story: 
Myra Alice Garlick (nee English), Elizabeth Taylor, John English, Ada English, Percy William English, Donald Reginald Tarrant Garlick, Fanny Garlick (Nee Tarrant), Beryl English, Ruby Sage.
Location of story: 
Northampton and Ipswich, Suffolk.
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4217582
Contributed on: 
20 June 2005

I was 10 years old when I was evacuated from Ipswich in Suffolk to Northampton with my friend from school, Elizabeth Taylor, (not that Elizabeth Taylor!) my brother John, who was 12, and my mother, Ada. We had to leave my father in Ipswich because although he was exempt from the forces because of his age, he had to work in the offices on the railway. War started September 1939 and we were evacuated the following year. I don't really remember the journey, but when we got there we were issued to different houses. I was sent to the Garlick's house with Elizabeth Taylor but my mother and brother were in a house three doors up with a Mrs Dunkley, on St Andrew's Road in Northampton, (which is now a petrol station!) I met this horrible little boy called Donald, who teased Elizabeth Taylor and me, and could only play 'Oh My Darling Clementine' on the piano over and over again.
We used to have frightening air-raid warnings, where we had to get up out of bed quickly and get dressed and go next door to a huge factory, which was ridiculous considering they were bombing places like factories.
But the air-raids in Ipswich were much worse, because when the moon was shining the bombers used to follow and bomb the railway behind our house. One time when they were dropping bombs, we were all so frightened we got under the bed and I don't know how we all got under there, with the dog aswell! The bombs blew out the French windows of our bungalow. My mother had an attache case, with all our important papers and she took it everywhere with us, even under the bed!
In Northampton we went to school in Regent's Street, which was a big church, but it has been pulled down now and replaced with a casino! The school was just for evacuees, as we couldn't be fitted into the normal schools as everything was very upside down and it was not possible. The classes were fairly big as there were lots of evacuees from all parts of the country.
We stayed about seven or eight months until my mother, who missed my father terribly, took us home to Ipswich after my father had written and told us the air-raids were not as bad anymore.
People don't realise how awful the black-out was, you would fall off the pavement and bump into people! They painted the edges of the pavements white in certain parts, to try to make it easier to see.
In 1945 after the war ended, Mrs Garlick wrote to my mother and invited us all to stay over Easter. I remember that well. The transport was a lot better by then. When I saw that naughty little boy Donald again, I actually thought he was quite nice and continued to see him for the next five years. In 1950 we got married after he returned from doing National Service in the Air Force.
Because things were still being rationed after the war I used parachute silk for the under skirt of my wedding dress. My sister-in-law Beryl saw some pretty net curtain in Woolworths, that had just come out after the war, and said, "that'll do fine for your skirt." We used lots of net curtain material and parachute silk for my dress as we didn't need coupons for them. We managed to get some silk for the top. I brought the veil from Sand's of Market Square, which I still have upstairs and my cousin, Ruby, used the dress and veil again the following March. It was a beautiful dress. I cut up the dress to make our first daughter, Linda's christening gown.

'This story was submitted to the People's War site by Sara-Jane Higginbottom of the CSV Action Desk Leicester on behalf of Mrs Myra Garlick and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.'

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