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Travelling between Shropshire and Cheshire

by audlemhistory

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

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Audlem, Cheshire
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21 September 2005

I was born in 1936 and my earliest recollection of the Second World War is seeing training planes from the RAF training base at Tern Hill flying over our farm at Kinsey Heath. The basic training plane at that time was the American Harvard and they then moved on to use Hurricanes and Spitfires. I remember clearly seeing the vapour trails as they looped, rolled and swooped over local countryside.
One of the trainers crashed into my Uncle’s (Mr. Hardy) Park field at Coxbank and John Hardy gave me a small piece of Perspex from the smashed windscreen of the plane — quite a treasure for a small boy at the time! My other souvenir of the War was a model airplane made and given to me by an Italian prisoner of war stationed at Adderley camp and who worked on my Uncle’s farm.
During the Battle of Britain and afterwards I slept on a mattress underneath the stairs in our farmhouse for safety! I was joined there by Tom, our evacuee from Guernsey. In 1942 my sister was born and I started at a private school in Adderley. My mother took me on the back of her bicycle to Highfields Farm from which we travelled by pony and trap driven by Mrs. George Maughan with her son Rowland who is a little younger than me. After about a year the school closed and moved to Market Drayton and I joined the kindergarten at the Grammar School. Here we had air raid practice, evacuating to the shelter in the school grounds.
During my early years at Market Drayton Grammar School I lodged in Market Drayton and only came home for the weekends. This was due to petrol rationing and I remember my father counting his coupons very carefully. Later on during the war I travelled to school with Mrs. Don Smith of Audlem who was a teacher at the school. She had a little Austin 7 and picked me up at Swanbach junction. There was obviously a shortage of teachers at this time as her baby son Andrew came along, travelling in a carrycot on the back seat! During the latter days of the war I was taken to school by car and rode home on my bicycle.
I remember one day riding back and seeing the end of the house at Roycrofts Park Farm at Adderley had been damaged by a bomb. I was told that this was the only one out of several dropped that did damage.

At the end of the war American troops were stationed at Adderley with their military vehicles. I sometimes met them hurtling round the Adderley bends and of course they drove on the right-hand side! This was also my first contact with black Americans, on the wrong side of the road — all very frightening at the time! I sometimes rode part of the way back with Colin Yarwood of Butterley Heyes but he was about six years older and I could not keep up with him as he was always in a hurry to get home to work on his Aunt’s farm.

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