A Special VE Day Challenge - inspired by George in Year 6, could you interview a family member virtually to discuss their experienced when they were young?
VE Day Interview by George in Year 6.
Joan Sutton, 87, talks to her great nephew, George Smallman about her experience as an evacuee. Born in Alum Rock in Birmingham, Joan was one of six children living in a three bedroom house. For the last 37 years Joan has lived in Christchurch, Dorset. She was evacuated at the age of 8 with a younger sister Norma (5).
“We went by bus and then train to a little village near Cardiff called Nelson. We had labels on us and were taken to the village Church Hall. It was like a cattle market, people came in and looked at you. Some people only wanted to take one of us but finally a couple called Mr and Mrs Tailor said they would have us both.
It was a very remote area, and as a city kid I hated it. Norma kept crying. We went back to Mr and Mrs Tailors house, which was a tiny stone cottage. There was a spiral staircase in the living room that took you to the main bedroom and when you walked through that there was a smaller bedroom that we shared with their daughter who was four.
You were only allowed five inches of water in your bath, and there was a mark on the inside to make sure you didn’t go over. The tin bath was dragged in and put in front of the fire. At school, we stuck to the other evacuees who we recognised from our school in Birmingham. The Welsh children didn’t like us and we didn’t like them.
The school was in the village, and it was a long walk up a steep slope to get back to the cottage. Some days after school Mrs Tailor asked me to go back to the village to the shop. It was winter and by the time I got back it was pitch black with no street lamps. I was terrified. It was cold and dark and I couldn’t see a thing.
I kept secretly posting letters home saying how much Norma and I hated being away from home. I said if we couldn’t go home we’d run away.
One day, we were in the school playground and a boy ran over saying he could see my Dad. I ran out of the playground into the street and I could see him walking down the hill. I ran over and wrapped my arms around him. I remember his belt buckle pressing into my chin. Dad told me to fetch Norma and that he was taking us home. We packed our small suitcase, caught a bus to Cardiff and then a train back to Birmingham.
Rationing carried on until 1954 and I still have my last two ration books.”
Home Learning Activities: Week Beginning 23/3/20
Ongoing Home Learning Around the World Passport
Topic Based Activities: