Following your review of Gillian Mawson’s book Voices from the past, British Wartime Evacuees in your March issue, I wondered if Gillian would be interested in my memories.
My story is a tale of a wonderful period of time staying with my hosts, three unmarried sisters and their 91-year-old mother. My sister, who was eight years older than me (I’ll be 84 this November), had left to serve in the WRNS at Bletchley Park and Colombo. Our London school moved to Oxford but my sister and I were on holiday so followed afterwards. The school returned to London one year later, but we stayed in Oxford and were joined by another girl of my age, also called Shirley, for the rest of the war. Shirley had a more troubled background and was eventually adopted by the ladies. She and I remained friends until her death two years ago. We both had four children and never moved far from each other.
I’m heavily involved in saving my family history on Ancestry. It’s a sad thought that being the youngest of my family, I never had the chance to meet several of my ancestors. I have many family photographs where the people in them unfortunately are unnamed.
Although my memory isn’t as good as it was, I still have many mixed feelings of those years and how I felt as an evacuee. Shirley E Williams Editor replies: Thank you for getting in touch Shirley. I have contacted Gillian Mawson in case she is still looking for Second World War evacuee memories.
Many children were evacuated from British cities during the Second World War