- Contributed by
- Torbay Libraries
- People in story:
- Peter John Wills
- Location of story:
- Slapton and Torquay, South Devon
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 03 March 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Paul Trainer of Torbay Library Services on behalf of David Wallis and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's Terms and Conditions.
I lived until I was 9 at number 3 Orchard Terrace Slapton and went to school at Slapton County Primary School where Mrs Mortimer was the teacher. There were two class rooms and for 10 months in 1942 we had no paper to write on so we had stories read to us or went for nature rambles until the area was taken over as a battle training area by the American forces.
Each village hall called a meeting and the Sheriff of Devon and Army Officers came to say everyone would have to be evacuated from their homes (even farmers and livestock) and we were not told why. WRVS would arrange transport and packing cases and materials would be supplied. If you couldn’t find alternative accommodation you would be billited somewhere but you wouldn’t know where in advance.
My father was in the RAF in Egypt, guarding petrol storage sites and my grandfather was living in Torquay and he found us rooms in a house in Victoria Park Road. My mother and I went to live here and I was transferred to West Hill County Primary school. I was behind in maths especially and never understood algebra!
When the evacuation was over former residents were allowed to go back and see their homes — a shell had gone through the back of our house. Before we were evacuated we could see the bombers fly overhead towards Plymouth. Some of the older people in the village had never ventured far afield and some died before the date of the evacuation. Slapton Church was surrounded by sand bags. We never went back to Slapton to live and stayed in Torquay.
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