WWII evacuees: Brenda's escape to Glasgow


Brenda Bisson was one of almost 5,000 children who fled Guernsey in June 1940, when the Channel island faced occupation by German forces.

As she boarded the boat transporting the children off the island, the enormity of the situation suddenly hit the seven-year-old.

"I thought 'how am I going to see my mum and dad if I'm going away'," she recalls.

"It was four o'clock in the morning and I wasn't quite sure what was happening. I'd never been on a boat."

Image caption,
Brenda Bisson was told she was to be evacuated by one of her neighbours

Her arrival in Glasgow was no less daunting, and she was billeted in a church hall until a family claimed her.

"I just remember there were loads of beds, it was absolutely packed," she said.

"We were all crying for our mums and dads, it was terrible.

"This couple came three times and looked me up and down like they were judging cattle. Then they said they'd take me."

Brenda's first experience with a family, in the Giffnock area of the city, was negative.

However, being placed with a family in Lambhill left happier memories - so much so that she missed her Scottish family terribly when she went home to Guernsey when the war ended.

To this day, she still uses some Scots words, bamboozling fellow islanders with references to "weans", "the polis" and a "piece in a poke".

The 76-year-old regularly returns to her "second home" to meet up with friends she made all those years ago.

Escape to Glasgow will be broadcast on BBC1 Scotland on Sunday 14 November at 2225 GMT, or you can watch it for one week after that on the BBC iPlayer

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