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15 October 2014
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Evacuation: To Rhuddlan in Wales

by cousinit

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Lillian Brodessa
Location of story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 March 2004

I was about six years old when I was evcauated. I was very fortunate because my Mum came with me. A few months before we went, our house in Curate Road was bombed. There had been a bombing raid on the railway just down the road from us. We could hear the mayhem that ensued and even though I was only young it made a big impression on me. At this time I was an only child. Dad worked in a reserved occupation, down at the docks. Later, he was to go down the mines. Mum and I were sent to Rhuddlan in North Wales, about three miles from Rhyl. We were billeted in a small cottage in Parliament Street. The owner was a Mrs Grey. Her husband was in the Welsh Guards serving overseas. They had a son, Jimmy, about three years older than me. The cottage was very basic. No bathroom, no proper toilet. In fact, the privvy was very primitive. This was a wooden bench with a hole, underneath which was housed a bucket. This was emptied about three times a week and the contents taken to the nearest cess-pool.
We lived in close proximity to the ancient castle. It was a wonderful place to me. I roamed at will round it's battlements, across the drawbridge, strode across the now defunct moat. My imagination knew no bounds. I did experience some nasty incidents for a time. Jimmy, the son, subjected me to some severe bullying. he threatened me with dire consequences if I blabbed to Mum. I was too scared to say anything. However, my Dad paid us a visit one weekend, caught him in one of his escapades and threatened him with a hammering if it did not stop. He stopped! After that we were alright, never bosom pals, but friendly.
One incident I recall which, young as I was, really brought home to me the grim reality of war. One lovely summer day, mum and I walked to Rhyl. It was quite a walk. Still, we walked at a steady pace and eventually reached the seaside town. I'd never been there before and young and innocent as I was I grew excited at the prospect of running barefoot through the sand and paddling in the sea. The reality was, row upon row of barbed wire which encircled the beach. A member of the home guard told us that the beach was mined. Even in such a lovely place, War triumphed! We returned to Rhuddlan footsore and weary. Mum tucked me into bed telling me it wouldn't last forever. I was lucky to have cousins staying at a farmhouse about a mile away. We went to pay them a visit quite often. Granny Blythen was they lady they were boarded with. She was a real character, a typical farmer's wife. She allowed her poultry to wander all over the kitchen, on the table, on the chairs. I never really fancied eating there somehow.
The school I attended was a tiny place alongside the chapel. We were regarded by suspicion at first by the Welsh children, but eventually we were accepted into the community.
One of the things I really enjoyed was helping the local butchers wife to run up the Welsh flag on special days. She was quite a large woman, was Mrs Owen and had difficulty climbing the battlements. How I ever managed to help her down, me being such a scrawny young girl, I'll never know. I've certainly changed a great deal now.
Mum and I stayed in this idyllic place for over two years, eventually returning to Liverpool in 1943.
I will never forget those days in Rhuddlan. The castle, the woods, the people were all part of my education, so to speak. My fertile imagination, young as I was, was allowed full rein and I'm sure initiated the start of my love of writing, especially poems, stories etc...
When we returned home, Mum gave me a real surprise a few months later. A new baby sister.
Thereby hangs another tale.

Lil Bordessa 2004

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Evacuation

Posted on: 21 April 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Lil

I very much enjoyed reading your story. It is a very interesting contribution to the gtowing archive.

Kind regards,


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Childhood and Evacuation Category
North West Wales Category
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