WWII evacuees: Barry's escape to Glasgow


"We saw the flashes and we heard the guns quite loudly during the day and at night," says Guernsian Barry Yeagers, some 70 years after the sound of war shattered the tranquility of his home.

By 1940, British troops had retreated from Dunkirk and the German Army were attacking locations along the French coast.

The time had come for Guernsey's children to leave for their own safety.

Barry's family were split; he and his brother John were put on one boat while his mother, brother and sister were directed to another.

"We were only allowed to take small items such as underpants, vests and socks, and whatever we stood up in," he said.

Image caption,
Barry (left) and his brother John were sent to Glasgow

"When we arrived in Weymouth, we saw a ship that had sunk, it had hit one of the mines in the bay and its stern was sticking out of the water.

"It was quite traumatic."

The evacuees had no idea where they would end up and Barry says there was an atmosphere of panic among the older children who were worried about the family they had left behind.

After an arduous 22-hour train journey, the brothers were dropped off in Glasgow.

Days after their arrival, he remembers a bomb landing very close. He also said the local boys did not want to meet other refugees because they "talked funny".

The brothers spent a few months moving between church halls in Scotland before travelling south of the border to stay with relatives.

But his time in the city made a strong impression on the 12-year-old: "No-one who went to Glasgow will ever forget it."

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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