BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

19 April 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


War Years at Grandmother's Home

by Severn Valley Railway

Contributed by 
Severn Valley Railway
People in story: 
John Wood-Smith
Location of story: 
Stroud, Gloucestershire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 April 2005

I was five and my family lived in London when the war started. We were self-evacuated to my grandmother's home in Stroud, Gloucestershire. I lived there for six and a half years, from five years old until 11 years old - my formative years really.
Stroud was a nice, pleasant part of the country - so much so, I'd have had no idea there was a war going on if it hadn't been for rationing. I remember we couldn't get things like bananas. We heard about what was going on in the news but I didn't listen to it much.
For me, it was a lovely time. In actual fact I found going back home to London after the war a bit of an anti-climax. It was only then that I saw how people had been suffering. My only experience was when a German plane flew over my grandmother's garden and I dived into the undergrowth. I was surrounded by open space and family. Bristol was the closest place to me to get bombed.
My father was a doctor so he went out with the medics to hospitals in the Middle East. He was in Egypt for four years then in Beirut for two years so I didn't remember him much, apart from the airgraphs he sent. We always used to be very excited when one of those arrived. We used to have to write back in large letters on A4 sheets which were photographed down to a quarter of the size.
When my father finally came home, he was a bit of a stranger to us, having been away for so long. He suddenly arrived one day without any warning. Then we all decamped from the country. It was a bit unsettling for an 11-year-old. A lot of my friends from before the war had just disappeared, I think many of them had stayed away from London. Many people didn't like post-war England and moved overseas. I could understand why, London was a depressing place to be.
We did used to go back to my grandmother's a lot. I was lucky. Unlike many, I have happy memories of the war years.

(This story was taken down by a volunteer from Wyre Forest Volunteer's Burea.)

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Childhood and Evacuation Category
Family Life Category
Gloucestershire Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy