- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Thomas John Hewitt
- Location of story:
- 3 Mile Stone, Truro, Cornwall
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 May 2005
Castle Street was bombed, we were out visiting in Mangotsfield. Parents were Greengrocers in Bedminster Parade (opposite ASDA. I was 10 years old in December, Eddie was 6 and Peter was 8. At Windmill Hill School, Bedminster, and we went to the Station with 3 pillow slips with our clothes in because we did not have suitcases, and this was all we had. A label on the pillow slips and labels round our necks and our gasmasks. In the picutre you are wearing shorts, braces and 2 of you are wearing steel helmets on loan from Crago family who were ARP in London. Rhodendrons in the background and it was after Easter 1941 just after the big bombing raids on Bristol. Train went straight through and the women in Plymouth waived to you with handkerchiefs. The whole train was full of evacuees. Peter left his pillowcase in the school and he waited months and months before it was traced and sent on. Peter, was 9 in June and had to borrow clothes from his 2 brothers. No toys. At Truro station there was a coach to take you to the girls school where you had to wait for your families. they had cake and lemonade, apples and biscuits. You were taken in a private car with a milk churn on the back seat, he was Mr Lawrence, to Gloweth Villa, 3 mile stone, nr Truro. The Mitchell family. They only wanted 2 boys but when she saw 3 of us, she took all 3! Laura Mitchell was 72 at the time, born in 1869. We went to school in the Sunday School, because there were so many evacuees from London and Bristol, and after school we all had little jobs to do. I washed the schoolroom every Monday after school, and got ticked off for cleaning the blackboard as well. Other jobs included weeding, working in the fields like picking daffodils and potatoes, and we took a pasty with you and worked all day long. We had a bucket for the potatoes, and you helped neighbours and we used to pump water from a well into pitchers to give to the cottages and I got paid 2 pence a week which I saved till I got to a shilling and then I got 6d Savings Stamps. You had to collect 10/6 and then a got a Savings Certificate. Because my first name is Thomas and I had filled in the form with my preferred name John I had difficulty claiming the money from the National Savings Certificates in the 1960's. Breakfast was usually fried potatoes, fresh ones, cereal like corn flakes and either mild or clotted cream but not both. Sometimes chutney on bread before we went to school. Tea very weak no sugar. No lunch at school, we took something with us, and you helped Mr Lawrence the milkman in your lunch hour, taking the milk in the cans to the people.
Tuesdays we had fish for tea which we hated, I hated it and the smell. In later years at harvest time mrs Mitchell became ill and we had to be transferred to Church Farm, Baldhu, near Chasewater. In the churchyard Billy Bray, a tin miner, drunkard and became a christian and he built a chapel (Methodist). The School was in the barn in the Vicarage and was called Ruddy Beans,. Mr Barlow from London was the teacher and the Sunday School teacher and was billetted on the farm. Om our free time he took us for nature study walks round the lanes and into the disused tin mines, quite dangerous if you fell down the holes which were concealed by heather. There were big stone walls built round the shafts, 4ft high. The Americans came down with their tents and put a big gun in the middle of the cornfield. Dont remember the gun being fired at all. I had to go the Hospital in Lemon Street as I had Scabies and you to be painted with a brush and our clothes had to be baked in an oven. There were 14/15 evacuees on the same farm, and we all had to be bathed in the same bath water. We had flees, and we to work. I used to feed the calves by putting my fingers in the calf's mouth, to suck on my fingers. You had chilblains on your hands, and I had to do this before going to school. We took it in turns to wipe out the jam jar with our pieces of bread. All eggs went to the market and we only had dried egg. On Saturday mornings I had to clean 15 pairs of shoes ready for chapel on Sundays for 3 times a day. The brasses for the horse shows, had to walk to Chasewater to collect the newspapers, and I had to pump the organ. We returned to Bristol in 1944 on VE day I was working, because I was 14 and working for Chapman & Lowther at BroadQuay, making tarpaulins for Campbells life boats. My younger brothers went to the street party at Whitehouse Street off York Road, Bristol. I left school December 1944 and I started work January 1945 and I stayed there till January 1950 and then went to Cornwall for a month to Gloweth Villa because Mrs Newlyn was in hospital. However, my mother was taken ill so I went back to the family greengrocers shop, Hewitts, 1950 till I retired in 1992. Hewitts is now a Snack Bar opposite the Police Station. John was born Dec 11 1930, at Staple Hill, christened at St James Mangotsfield. Hewitts have been christened there since the 1770's. In 1788 William Hewitt married Mary Powell.
Telephone 0117 9633800. 16 Park Road, Southville, BS3 1PU. (left photocopy of photo)
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