BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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

Contact Us


by BBC Southern Counties Radio

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Mr. 'Ben' Harper
Location of story: 
Woodingdean, Brighton to Doncaster, Yorkshire.
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
30 November 2005

I was 10 years old in 1940 and my parents had decided that I would be safer if I was evacuated to the country. So a friend of mine, Douglas Brandsbury and I were all gathered at our school, Warren Farm in Woodingdean and given labels with our names on it, with the surname first. Mine said 'Harmer, Martin', which I thought sounded funny. It was late Autumn and the Battle of Britain was over. I can't remember saying goodbye or anything about the journey north. We stayed overnight at a big, empty hospital and I remember we played games and slid around on the floor. Finally we reached Yorkshire and were put onto a bus to Warmsworth and emptied out onto the street, where people came to look at us. One lady picked Douglas and I was left nearly to the end but was finally chosen by an older lady who was very nice. I never saw my new 'foster mum's' husband because he was a miner. I had a tiny bedroom with a candle, a bed and a washstand.We would walk to school at Eddlington, and I remember singing the lovely hymn 'Jerusalem', which was the first time I'd heard it. One day we decided we'd walk to Doncaster and when we got to Balby, we came across a man near the railway arch, sweeping the road. He asked us where we were going and we told him and that we were evacuees. I'll never forget that the man had tears in his eyes when he heard, but whether this was due to our sad plight or the dust from the road, I'll never be quite sure! I sent my mum a recipe for making bread on a postcard from my new home, but was thrilled to find out a month later that I actually would be going home again. I don't remember much about the journey back except that I was excited when I saw the train we'd be travelling on; it was a Silver Swan express locomotive - wonderful! Then I was home after my adventure which felt even more wonderful. You know, I've still got my name label and that postcard I sent - even after all these years!

© 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
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