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Evacuated to Atworth Wilts at 9 years old

by threecountiesaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Edward Awkin
Location of story: 
Atworth, Wiltshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 September 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Dorothy MacKenzie for Three Counties Action on behalf of Edward Awkin and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was evacuated from Kensington, London when I was 9 years old to a farm in Atworth Wiltshire. As it was a farm, there was no shortage of food. I went to school, which was in a Sunday-school building on the edge of town. While at school, we saw German bombers high in the sky with 3 Spitfires behind them. The German planes dropped their bomb-loads to get away quicker and these bombs dropped all around the school, but none on it. Lucky escape!

Another occasion was with two of our teachers, Mr Winston and Mrs Walker who were billeted in a farm in Broughton Gifford some distance from Atworth. On this farm there was an oak tree, which was so big that 8 children could hold hands around its trunk. One Sunday the teachers were sitting at a table having afternoon tea and another German plane dropped its bomb-load. These bombs dropped on the other side of the oak tree and the tree took the main blast. The teachers were deafened but unhurt. Another lucky escape!

Being on a farm we used to go round the houses selling milk and buttermilk from churns. This was delivered by a 2-wheeled chariot. There were pint and quart jars on metal hooks, which we would dip into the churns to pour into the customers’ ewers and sell for one or two pennies.

After working on the farm during the day, I would be given a bath by the fire, but at weekends I was taken to a public baths area where there were 4 baths with a hot water system. I had a scrub with a scrubbing brush and carbolic soap — I can never forget the smell of this. I was lucky though as Mum used to send me 2 shillings a month to spend.

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