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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Contributed by 
Northumberland County Libraries
People in story: 
Elsie
Location of story: 
Wooler
Article ID: 
A2553798
Contributed on: 
23 April 2004

I was living in Doddington, working at the Church of England School in Wooler, when the evacuees arrived. The children came from Tyneside, Wallsend and Tynemouth during my 3rd year working at the school. At first, the school had to divide up the schools timetable in order to accomadate the evacuees. One school of students came in during the morning and the other school of students came in in the afternoon. However, this did not work and they changed the system so that the two schools joined together and therefore, everybody had the same half day each week.
For some of the evacuees, the experience was not a pleasant one as they could not settle into the country lifestyle and ended up drifting back home. On the other hand, some evacuees were extremely happy with their new lifestyle and many stayed at Wooler following the end of the war. They enjoyed the different jobs they had to do, the plain food and getting plently of exercise. Some mothers and their young children were also evacuated to Wooler and their only complaints were that there were no fish and chip shops and were also feeling homesick.
The mixture of evacuees and Wooler children can be described as a new experience for both sets of children. The two sets of teachers took turns to take scripture first thing in the morning. One of the evacuated teachers commented "eee, didn't know there were such good stories in the Bible".
Whilst the Wallsend children learnt about the Bible, the Wooler children found that the Wallsend evacuees displayed a great talent for music and this was seen as a fair exchange of ideas by all.
In addition, the head teacher of the Whitley Bay school had a cousin in the merchant navy who told the children about Dunkirk where he described a story of fishing boats going off to save the soldiers. He described a young lad who although looking like a weak young man, leaned over the side of the boat and pulled over a huge soldier at least twice his size with apparently little effort. The cousin commented on the young man, saying "God gave him strength".

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
Tyneside and Northumberland Category
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