- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mrs Druce, Fred and Josie Druce .Terry and David Ashby Jim and les Hinsley
- Location of story:
- London, Foy Herefordshire.
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 April 2005
About 1943-1944 Mrs Druce came to London on a WI meeting, she came to see mum, my brother David was about four years old and I was eight years old. Mrs Druce said "pack their bags I will take them back to Foy with me" So off we went to Foy, my fourh evacuation but this was to a good home! Mrs Druce had two children of her own, Josie and Fred but she also had two Birmingham boys Jim and Les Hinsley. I was told their mum and dad had been killed in a bombing raid on Birmingham. Les was about my age and we became good pals.
Life in Foy was very good, we went to school (about a mile and a half away)on the other side of the river Wye, learnt nothing at all! The teachers were Mr and Mrs Bedford who taught everyone in one room. We seemed to do a lot nature walks, gathering nuts and wood for the school fire. I thought all this was great fun but lived to regret it later as my education was virtually zero! We all had jobs to do, Les and I had a paper round, milk round, and set traps for rabbits. (this was a source of food)we had to get the bullocks in with Ben, Mrs Druces dog, David did not have to do any jobs, as he was to young and very spoilt by mrs Druce! All the farm land around us was owned by the Williams. we also used to collect firewood for Mrs Druce as all the cooking and heating was on a kitchen range we collected that much wood that Fred Druce said that years later they were still getting though the wood pile!
Water was got from a pump outside the kitchen and in the summer that used to run dry. When this happened we used to get all the buckets, tin bath's anything that would hold water, we then go down to the Williams farmhouse and cart it all back home.
Mum and dad visited us and mum nearly had fit to see us in boots and patches in our pants. What mum did not realise was that everyone was like that and Mrs Druces idea of patching was, it did not matter what colour the material was as long as it covered the hole!
Anyway it was swimming in the river Wye in summer, singing carols in winter missing school in the spring when the river flooded..........great!
I cannot remember mrs Druce telling us off, although she must have done. One time when Les and myself had been really bad, Mrs Druce never said a word all week. Saturday was the big dayout to Ross(market day). We all got ready to go then she said, where are you two going?"Ross we said, "no" she said , handing us a dinner fork each. weed that path, which to us looked about a mile long! Although being happy I must have been upset because I used to wet the bed quite a lot. Mrs Druce never mentioned it once. When I got back to London I developed a stammer and could not get a word out edgeways.I went to elocution lessons, this did not do much good so mum took me in hand and taught me to talk slowly. It was mum who cured me in the end
I cannot recall returning to London it must have been sometime around 1944-1945 as doodlebugs and V11 Rockets were still hitting London. one thing I brought from Foy was a country accent which led to a lot of micky taking at school. Must say I soon got rid of that accent pretty quickly.
Growing up in London during this time was quite good from a childs point of view. we had our own little gang, our HQ was a bombed out bakery in Cricklewood Broadway. I must say we were a wild bunch.
Len, my mate and myself used to book into school then walk out again. teachers where glad to get rid of us. A lot of other kids and myself used to run home from school(when we actually attended it) this was not to dodge the bombs but to listen to a radio serial called The Black Abbott. still no television set of course.
On the estate where I lived there was shop owned by an Italian family I think their name was Marinos, on VE day Mrs Marino put a great big party on for all the kids on the estate. That night I cut my leg rather badly we called Dr Finlayson out and she stitched my leg up on the kitchen table, it was about 3 am!so ends WWII.
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