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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Jean Marchant (Nee Soutter), Eileen Soutter, Christine Soutter, Minnie Soutter
Location of story: 
Beal, Yorkshire
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5862198
Contributed on: 
22 September 2005

I wasn’t quite five when war broke out, having been born in December 1934. I was the youngest of three girls, Eileen, the eldest by three years and four months, Christine, the middle one, sixteen months younger than Eileen, and I was two years younger than Chris. I think I was about six or seven when we were evacuated. We were taken to a village called Beal in Yorkshire. Chris lived with a very nice couple, their surname was Peel, and I believe he was a milkman. Chris kept in contact with them for many years. Eileen went to a farm near Kellington, a little way up the road, and I went with a couple who had a daughter younger than me.

The couple were however out most days, I believe pea picking or similar on local farms, taking their daughter with them. I saw Chris and Eileen at school everyday, and Eileen was worried about me. I can remember having to wear a pyjama jacket as a blouse under my gymslip, and Eileen found that I had nits in my hair, and used to have to take me into the toilets at playtime to try and clean my head. Eileen and Chris also received parcels from Mum, but I didn’t. We later found out that one had been sent of course, but had been given to the little daughter of the people I was with. Eileen wrote to Mum, and she wanted to come up to take me home, but as Mum worked at Allen West, a large factory in Brighton where I believe they made munitions, it wasn’t easy to get time off. Mum was told that I would be moved, and after six weeks I went to a lovely elderly lady, a Miss Hanks. She cleaned my hair and really looked after me well. She knew and lived near the people that Chris was with, and so I could play with Chris after school and I also saw more of Eileen as well.

This story was entered on the People’s War Website by Stuart Ross on behalf of Jean Marchant. Jean fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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