- Contributed by
- Greenwich Heritage Centre
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 13 August 2004
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Chris Foord of the Greenwich heritage Centre on behalf of Maureen Black and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
I was born in Blackheath and went to school at St Ursula's convent, Greenwich.
When war was declared we were evacuated to Hastings (I believe the school got on the wrong train!) The first billet I was in, the women took in five of us. She also took in commercial travellers whose rooms, on the first floor, were shown to the billeting
officer. Yet, she squeezed the five of us into one large attic room and as I was the smallest, my bed was in a cupboard on two upside turned draws with a mattress on top. Every
morning we were told to wait until the commercial travellers had had their breakfast. We smelt the delicious smell of bacon and eggs, but when we came down stairs we were given half a piece of bread and butter and a cup of tea. Luckily, as it was the beginning of the war we were able to buy chocolate. I was brought up never to tell tales and did not realize at 13 the difference between telling tales and telling what was happening. One of us mentioned it at school and we were moved very quickly.
I then went to live with a lovely family. The father was a dental mechanic and they
were very kind. I have found a letter that I wrote to my mother asking for another dress and right at the end of the letter I mentioned that we could hear the guns in France and that we were to be re-evacuated to a place called Breacon, although we didn't know where it was. We had a lovely journey on a special train but never knewwhere we were as all the signs were down.
The people of Breacon had already had evacuees from the Slums of Liverpool, but they
had gone home by the time we arrived. As a result, the people of Breacon didn't want any more of us. We were all put in a parish hall and people came in and chose us. As I looked rather like a Ronald Sewell (St Trinians) School girl I was one of the ten left at the end, that
nobody wanted. This was one of the worst feelings in my life. Eventually I went to
a local greengrocer and his family, who really cared more for their dog than they
cared for me.
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