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15 October 2014
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Gas masks and saucepans

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Helen Kaye
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Contributed on: 
03 August 2005

I was around 11 years old, my brother 4 years older than me and we were on the train going to we didn’t quite know where. A load of girls, because I was with a girls’ school, loads of tears from the parents and off we went! We both had very, very good homes, very nice indeed and always very quiet and very peaceful until the one night when we had a warning that there could be a raid — totally unexpected. We were evacuated [to Wales] to avoid raids! So we dived for what we thought was the best place, which was the little room under the stairs. That is, myself, my foster parents, he and she, and the lodger, a young lad of about 17. My foster father decided we ought to put gas masks on, he thought there was going to be gas. So we stood there, in our gas masks, stifling, worried, not quite sure which way to turn, at which the young lodger decided that we still weren’t complete, we had better put on saucepans! There were saucepans hanging there in this little cupboard, so there we were looking very elegant, the four of us, gas masks and saucepans! Well, we felt nothing, fortunately, the plane did crash but no bombs were dropped, so we were saved.

This story was submitted to the People's War site by volunteer Sue Craig on behalf of Helen Kaye, and has been added to the site with her permission. Helen fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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