Evac­uee mem­o­ries

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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

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