Evacuated to Eathorpe

A wartime childhood, part two

Former Marton School building
Anne Langley

To continue Julie’s memoirs (extracts from Warwickshire County Record Office CR 3913/1): her family moved to Eathorpe to escape the Coventry blitz. ‘It was only when we went to Eathorpe that I made any sort of recovery. It was lovely there so peaceful. When I woke up on our first morning at the farm it seemed like heaven. We [initially went to] stay at the farm for a few days to have a bit of a rest. We slept in a loft on bags of corn, and never went back to the house in Coventry. The farmer’s wife, Mrs Reeve, offered us an outhouse, a building that at one time was probably a slaughter house. ..[We were] sleeping at first on Hessian sacks stuffed with straw. My father, who was a builder, built [a fireplace] and it became quite cosy. People gave us beds and pieces of furniture and we settled comfortably into this new way of living. We were there for about four years and during that time my father was called up for the army.’

Primary Schools in Marton and Hunningham

‘I went to the school in Marton…We lived in fear of the air raid sirens, and if they went off we would run into the air raid shelter situated opposite the school. Some of the children were evacuees from London. There were about twenty of them at the school…They were terrified of cows, which we local children couldn’t understand.’ The following year (aged 8) she went to Hunningham School. ‘This was a much longer walk than to Marton and took about three quarters of an hour across the fields. We were given gas masks again at Hunningham School and also steel helmets, and we always took these with us together with our satchel of books each day. [The] school provided the [20-30] Eathorpe children with rubber Wellington boots so that we [could] walk across the wet fields to school. It also provided all the children with a cooked dinner at mid-day…we had to pay two shillings and one penny each week for a cooked dinner and pudding. The food was lovely. There was roast meat every day except Friday, when we had fish, and we were given the best roly poly pudding, with spotted dick or plum jam, that I have ever tasted.’ When she was 10 years old, Julia was left in charge of her younger brother Eric and baby sister Sandy in the evenings whilst her mother was out.

Secondary School

Later on Julie passed the 11 plus ‘but my parents would not let me go to the Girls’ College in Leamington Spa…They said they could not afford the school uniform, that Leamington was too far for me to travel, and that people of our class did not need that sort of education.’ So she went to a secondary modern school instead.

Part three continues here.

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