Memories of Evacuees in Leamington

Wardens, Fireguard and Civil Defence Groups, 1944-1945. Civil Defence Parade and Inspection, Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa
Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH(N)600/720/30

During the Second World War a civil servant working at the castle came and told us we had to have someone staying with us, he was doing war work. My mother had to provide all his meals. He was with us for a bit and then he left.

My father worked at the railway and he was in the Home Guard.

A family of evacuees

The baptist minister from Spencer Street Chapel came to visit us and asked if we could look after a family who were baptists who had been bombed out of their house in Coventry. They were lovely. There was a man and his wife and two girls. Sheila was in the sixth form at the school I went to and Lorna was training as a nurse, but she came home sometimes. We had a big doublefronted house, and they had a room downstairs as their sitting room and a big room upstairs for a bedroom. Sheila had the attic room on the second floor. They shared the kitchen, which was at the back, and we made a hole in the room so Mrs Miles could go through without going through our rooms. Mr Miles helped a lot in the garden. We cooked separately and shared the kitchen.

We didn’t have a fridge in those days we used a pantry that you could walk into. There was a marble slab under the window, you didn’t need a fridge. I don’t really remember rationing, but I remember when sweet rations ended. We just lived with it. I didn’t really notice because I was so young when the war started. We ate what we were given, I had school meals at lunchtime (it was easier than coming home).

Quite a crowd

There was a group of children at my school but they travelled every day to and from Coventry. My friend Janet came from Coventry (Stivichall) and we had quite a crowd from there, and Barr’s Hill and Stoke Park. After the war we used to visit them a lot. I was probably about 10 or 11 by the time they left. They were with us five years or more as they had to wait to get a house. The girls went to live in Canada.

Rather be bombed than be in the cellar

We went down into the cellar one night, my mother decided she’d rather be bombed than be in the cellar, so we went under the stairs, and that wasn’t very comfortable either, so we just went back to our own rooms. I think the planes came over more at lunchtime actually. You could see Coventry burning, we were very fortunate in Leamington.

More from Leamington Spa
More from Evacuees
More from World War Two