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15 October 2014
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Evacuated to Rushden

by Glenn Miller Festival 2004

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Glenn Miller Festival 2004
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08 September 2004

I was evacuated in September 1939 at the age of eight. I was living in Walthamstow and was moved to Rushden. I remember going to school as normal in the morning with my usual school bag; my mum must have carried a case for me. Then from school we were marched in twos to the station. In many ways it was just like a school trip. I remember trying to see my mum at the railings as the train left, but couldn’t see her.

I can’t remember anything of the actual journey, but remember arriving and going to a large hall. I was given a carrier bag with a tin of corned beef, a packet of biscuits, and a packet of something else, but I simply can’t remember what it was. I do know that I didn’t see that bag again!

Anyway, we all stood in this hall and waited. Then a load of “old” women — about thirty years old but old to us children, came in and started to take the children away. I feel that I was the last one, but don’t know if that was really the case or not. I was finally taken home by a lady who really was old — this time about 50. I can still remember her with her hair tied back in a bun. It turned out that she was the billeting officer’s mother. He had decided to go on holiday for a couple of weeks at the start of September.

I can remember feeling that I shouldn’t be there, and not long after, I was moved to a family who I was told had children. Well, they turned out to be about 15, but were very friendly and played with me. They had a dog of which I was initially terrified, but soon got to love.

I knew that I wanted to go home, not because of anything wrong with the family I was staying with, but simply because I wanted to be at home. However, I never felt I could write and say so, because I knew that the family were being very kind to me. I remember that one day a friend and I went for a walk and ended up at Kimbolton Airfield. That was the only time in the three years I was there that I remember being told off.

I finally went home in June 1942, just before the V1s stated coming over! I remember we had a Morrison Shelter — a metal cage that was set up indoors and into which we would hide during a raid. My father was on fire watch at the time, and I remember that one night he came back to check on us. We heard an explosion but none of us heard the planes. We couldn’t understand it at the time, but later discovered that it had been a V1 rocket.

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