- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Freddy Fullerton
- Location of story:
- Somerset, East London
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 August 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War Site by Three Counties Action, on behalf of Freddy Fullerton, and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
In the summer of 1940 at the age of 10 years old, I along with many of my friends from my school were being sent off to Somerset for Evacuation away from the East End of London, Commercial Road to be exact.
While we were all waiting at the railway station I palled up with a boy of about my age called Jackie Rappaport, and although I never knew him beforehand, we seemed to hit it off very well. So much so that when we arrived at our destination we were trying to see if we could be put together in the same house, but Jackie had his little sister with him and no one was brave enough to take three evacuees.
Jackie and I went to the same school in Somerset and we were inseparable buddies, until one morning he told me that he and his little sister were fed up and were going back to London.
When I asked him how he was going to get there his answer was “The train brought us here so we’ll just follow the train line all the way and that should get us back to London”, (a child’s logic).
Needless to say they were both picked up and brought back by the railway police the following day, and given a good ticking off for being so stupid.
After about six months my Mother came to Somerset to take me back to London because she missed me so much, and even though great sections of Commercial Road were by now flattened by the bombing, we had to put up with that.
I never saw Jackie again until after the war and then only briefly because I think his parents had moved away from the east End and we lost touch completely.
It was not until nearly 50 years later while I was living in Potters Bar in Hertfordshire that I had the most peculiar encounter.
I had bought a new T.V. from a shop in North London and within a very short time I had a problem with it. I rang the shop and they said they would send an engineer round the next morning.
Next day I answered the door to a man with a tool bag who said he was here to do the check-up on the T.V.
I found myself staring at him thinking “ I think I know you from somewhere!” He put his bag down and proceeded to dismantle the back of the television, I just stood there staring at him. I was sure that he was someone I had met before.
It got to the point where I could not contain myself any longer.
“Your name wouldn’t be Rappaport would it?” I asked. With that he stopped work and gave me a very odd sort of look. For a few seconds there was an uneasy silence. “As it happens it is, how did you know that? I don’t think we’ve met before have we?” I then asked if his name was Jackie. His eyes seemed to gloss over, and get a little tearful. “No Jackie was my older brother, he died a couple of years ago” he said, “How do you know Jackie?”
I then went into the Evacuation story over a cup of coffee and by the time he left I had a lump in my throat as big as an apple, and a tear running down my cheeks.
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