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16 September 2014
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WW2 - People's War

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Ann Rust
User ID: U237239

This story was told to me by my mother (Isabel Barr nee Lamont) about her memories of when she was evacuated with her two brothers.

"I remember walking with my classmates down Garnet Street in Glasgow from Garnetbank School to Charing Cross Station where we were all lined up in rows with luggage labels on us that had our name and destination on it. I can’t remember where we were given it but by the time we arrived at our destination, which was Errol in Perthshire, we had a brown bag with a string handle that contained a tin or carnation milk, a bar of chocolate and a packet of tea biscuits.

I came from a Glasgow tenement with gaslights, and a coal fire and the house we were staying in had an apple tree and gardens. The first thing I can remember about the inside of the house was a big room off to the left of the hallway and it had a coal effect fire in it. The kitchen was almost as big as our whole tenement flat. This kitchen was a communal one for all the families that were evacuated to it and none of the women got on with each other.

Every morning my two brothers and me were greeted with an Ex-Lax tablet when we came down for breakfast and we were made to eat it before breakfast by the woman who looked after us. However, I sometimes managed to slip it into my pocket and then later throw it down the washhouse stairs.

This house was in the middle of nowhere and the woman who looked after us would always take me to check the blackouts and it was pitch black outside.

This was in 1940, I was nine years old, and my brothers Jimmy and Davie were eleven and thirteen. I had an older brother who was in the army and he eventually became a Japanese prisoner of war, and worked on the “railway of death”. He was a prisoner of war for three and a half years but he did make it back. But that’s another story.

My mum and dad sent us a parcel and I remember it contained a pair of sandals for me. My mum had put 12 pennies into the toes of the sandals for the three of us to spend. This sent all three of us into floods of tears, as we had never been way from home before.

The first time my mum and dad came to visit us my father went and had a good look round the house. In one of the rooms he saw a baby that was covered in scabs, and then when he met the woman who was looking after us he said “that it, there’re coming home”. But they couldn’t just take us home, they had to go and see the headmaster (our schoolteachers were evacuated with us and they lived in the village) but the headmaster was paralytic drunk. Anyway they didn’t have enough money to take us back on the bus.

With me being the youngest my mum came up to Perthshire the following week and I went home with her on the bus and I can remember looking out of the back window and seeing my two brothers running after the bus and getting smaller and smaller until they were just two dots in the distance. They said if mum didn’t come back and get them the next weekend they were going to walk back. They didn’t have to and my mum went up the next week and collected them both. We all spent the remainder of the war together in Glasgow.

My time as an evacuee was not a happy one and I much preferred to be with my family, even if we did have to go down and sleep in the tenement close during the air raids."

Stories contributed by Ann Rust

Evacuation

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