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Thread: My Evacuation (By My Dad)

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Post My Evacuation (By My Dad)

    Here's a story my dad wrote about being evacuated. My dad is 83 years old.
    This story is being published as I type.
    So here's PART 1.

    Evacuation Times.
    From the Rathbone to the finale time of Ron’s (my brother) and mine of moving around the country to a place that became the best years of my childhood. The place?

    Tancwarel Farm in a village called Bronant, fifteen miles outside Aberystwyth. About a dozen of us arrived at Bronant School where there where men and women waiting for us.
    We were handed a bowl of “Cowl” (leek soup). Ron and I nearly got split up but for a woman who changed her mind, said she would take the two of us. I don’t know what time it was we left but it was dark with a clear sky. I had never seen so many stars before. We seemed to have been walking for ages when a shape of a building could be seen against the skyline and I could hear dogs barking in the distance. A short time later, two dogs came running up wagging their tails and jumping up at the woman. At last we arrived Tancwarel Farm. A big wooden front door. Inside, a slate floor and a room lit with a paraffin lamp on a table and sitting on the couch was a man who looked old wearing a greasy trilby hat. A lovely fire burning on the floor stoked with peat and (you could see the stars if you looked up the chimney) a kettle hanging from a chain (“Crane”) over the fire.

    The woman’s name was Elizabeth Morgan; the man on the couch was Moses Morgan (Uncle & Niece). We called them Aunty & Uncle. The dog’s names, Mott and Judy.
    Aunty put a pan of milk on the fire, cut a couple of rounds of bread and two lumps of cheese. She poured the milk into cups. The last time we had eaten anything was (not including the bowl of soup) when we changed trains at Shrewsbury and had a sandwich and a cup of tea.


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    When we finished our supper Aunty told us to say “Goodnight” to Uncle Moses, which we did. He replied “Nos Da” (Goodnight in Welsh).
    The house had three bedrooms and three rooms downstairs, the room where we had our supper, another room with a milk churn (to make butter and cheese) and also a machine to skim the fresh milk. We kept the cream and gave the skimmed milk to the calves. These things all had to be turned by hand. We made our way to the staircase, which was situated in the hallway, and we started to climb the stairs. “No, not up there” Aunty said and pointed to a room in the hallway. We entered and there was a double bed and a chair. On the chair sat a candle on a saucer and also two or three cattle cake under the window. We put on our pyjamas and climbed into bed. Aunty told us to get out of bed. We did. She then told us to kneel down and put our hands together. “Now say the Lords Prayer and ask God to keep your mother and father safe”. She then left the room and returned a few moments later wearing a nightdress. The candle still burning, she blew the candle out and then told me to “move over”. Next thing she is in the middle of me and Ron and it stayed that way until we returned home. (To this day I still say my prayers).

    Next morning we where out of bed very early. Aunty and Uncle where already up. I asked Aunty where the toilet was? She told us to follow her. We went outside, past the barn, past the pig sty and down a bit of a slope to the hen shed. Aunty pointed to the ground. The shed was empty and the hens where running around in the field. I asked Aunty for some paper to wipe our bum. She walked away and came back a couple of seconds later. She handed us a bunch of leaves then left.
    We did our business and returned to the farmhouse. I asked Aunty where the tap and sink was so we could get a wash? She put a tin bowl on the table and took the kettle off the chain hanging over the fire. It was too hot so she picked up a bucket of water and poured some in the bowl till it was cool enough to wash in.
    When we had finished, the table was cleared. A plate each of two eggs, bacon, mushrooms and homemade bread, plus a cup of chocolate made with milk is what we had for our breakfast every morning. Sometimes the eggs where boiled. Our diet was chicken, rabbit, bacon, cheese and homemade bread. All vegetables where home grown. Even though we had three cows and thirty sheep we never had red meat or fish at anytime.
    Aunty told us that Uncle could not speak English. She then said “Off to school now”.

    So to our first day at school, the same road we had taken the previous night, in daylight the road looked different, hedges on both sides, fields full of sheep, cattle and rabbits. After walking about ten minutes we approached a farm which I didn’t see the night before on the way to Tancwarel. Two brothers Moses and John Davies lived there. We carried on for another twenty minutes and finally came to the school. I knew some of the boys by sight from the Rathbone. Two lads that I did know, George and Kenneth Morton, they where around my age, nine or ten. They also had a younger brother Allan who was around Ron’s age five or six. I don’t know how many evacuees there where but the classroom was divided in half. The Welsh children in one half and English in the other.
    How any teaching was ever done I wouldn’t know, Welsh spoken in one half and English in the other. I do remember reading to the class, “Treasure Island” I think it was.
    There was a Wood Pigeon nest in one of the trees in the playground. Ron and I went to school very early one morning. I climbed the tree and took a fledgling from the nest and stuffed it in my shirt until the end of school time and took it to the farm. It was still there three years later when I left Tancwarel in Nineteen forty-four.
    I know Ron wasn’t at school for long after a visit from the school nurse. The nurse was there to give the evacuees a medical check over. She told the headmaster Ron had Scabies. The headmaster handed me a note, written in Welsh and I was told to give it to Aunty. Aunty told me what the note was all about. Ron was not to attend school. Every night Ron and I had a sulphur bath in front of the fire.
    I wasn’t long after Ron attending that school. One day the evacuees where clearing the grass area in the school ground and for some reason, Kenneth Morton and I where knocking seven bells out of each other. I think it was because both of us wanted the wheelbarrow and that may have well been the reason I was transferred to another school. I will never know, maybe it was over me raiding the Wood Pigeon nest?

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    Senior Member chasevans's Avatar
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    Thanks, itsaZappathing, and please relay my thanks to your dad for his sparkling memories. Looking forward to more.
    Best wishes,
    Chas

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    Martin hmtmaj's Avatar
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    Great memories from your dad John.

    Mart
    Started the Old Swan Website:

    http://oldswan.piczo.com/?cr=5

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Default Part 2

    PART 2
    I ended up going to a school five miles away, to a village called Lledrod. I didn’t know a soul there or knew what part of the country the evacuees came from. Having a check over by the nurse in Bronant, here it was the Dentists turn. Even Ron had to attend and he didn’t even attend the school. I don’t know why we had to see the dentist, we where not in pain. We where told to sit on the bench in the hallway then to enter the empty classroom when your name was called. The child would enter and the crying could be heard. After a few moments that child would come out and sit on the bench again then another name would be called and the same thing happened as with the first one going in. This went on until three children had been through the same routine, then the first one was first again but it was not the crying this time, it was the screaming. Every child that went in after having the Cocaine injection screamed with pain, including myself. I think Ron was lucky, maybe he was too young. I wouldn’t know if any of the local Welsh children went through the same torture. The screaming of the children could be heard in the playground. I think we where Guinea Pigs!
    Another time I had to see a medical person was when I was playing in the schoolyard and I felt something between my thighs. I went to the toilet and put my hand up my short pants (no underpants) and touched what felt like a piece of string, dangling from my bottom. I pulled on it and it felt as if I had broken it. I put it in the palm of my hand, it was pure white. I showed it to the lady teacher who was in the playground. She gave me a note to give to Aunty, also the white piece of string.
    Next morning Aunty took me to see the doctor in Tregaron (about ten miles away). He looked at the white thing, said something to Aunty. I don’t know what he said as it was all in Welsh. Later on I found out that it was a Tape Worm. He gave me some pills to take, never had any problems since.

    To get to Lledrod I had to catch the bus at Paddington, half a mile from Bronant at eight thirty (outside the school I was barred from), that’s after walking about twenty minutes.
    At Lledrod the English and Welsh mixed. We learnt Welsh and they English. My bus back to Bronant was due around four pm. One day for some reason I missed it. Of all days why that day, it was raining cats and dogs, thunder and lightening. I was ten years old and had five miles to walk. Very little traffic so no chance of a lift. The only thing that passed me was a police car, and that was going in the opposite direction.
    About half a mile from Bronant there was a farm called “Navy Hall Farm”, the biggest farmland in Bronant. According to the locals it was supposed to be haunted.
    As I approached the farm I ran like a bat out of hell as if the Devil was after me and I never stopped till I reached the village store. Waiting for me was Aunty. She put her arms around me and said, “ where have you been Cariad” (Love in Welsh). I told her that I had missed the bus. She said “You’re not going to that school again” and I didn’t. Ron was glad I didn’t go because he was on his own all day.

    Mam and Dad visited us a couple of times. One time they came and took Ron and I to Aberystwyth, we must of gone by bus, they ran about four times a day. When we arrived we had a meal. From there the four of us went onboard a boat with other people. After cruising for about fifteen minutes, we stopped and everyone was given a fishing rod with bait. We all cast our lines. Everyone onboard must have caught at least a dozen Mackerel. I don’t know what we did with them?
    After the fishing episode dad took us to an arcade. He must have gone through a bit of cash, we never won a sausage. The arcade owner must of felt sorry for us and gave dad a teaspoon with Aberystwyth on the handle. We had that spoon well after the war but I don’t know what became of it.
    When we came out of the arcade it was black, no lights because of the blackout. I haven’t a clue where we stayed that night; it may have been a B&B or a hotel. I can’t think how we got back to Tancwrel.

    Every time our parents paid us a visit Aunty would ask Sian (a girl from a farm about a mile away) to clean the house up. I don’t think she cleaned upstairs. Ron and I never ventured up there it was too dark. One time Dad, Ron and myself were in the hay field. Mam came from somewhere off the farm. “Dickie” she said to Dad (no one could call me that, it had to be Richard) “Do you know how many fleas I caught in the boys bed”? “No, how many” said dad. “Thirteen, and they’re not heat lumps our Richie has, they’re bloody flea bites”.
    One time I woke up in the middle of the night with a bloody noise in my ear. It sounded like I had a bee in it buzzing away like mad trying to get out. Aunty woke up and asked me what was wrong. I told her. She got out of bed and came back with a cup with some water in and poured some into my ear. The buzzing stopped and she said, “It was only a flea”. When a flea did bite me it came up like a heat lump. If Ron was bitten it was just a red spot and not itchy.

    Where Mam and Dad stayed when they visited us is a puzzle. There wasn’t any B&B and any pubs. They must have made their way to Aberystwyth. I can’t remember how long they stayed for; I think it was only a day or two because they had to get back to work. The same could be said for Aunty Olive when she visited us and took me to the pictures in Aberystwyth to see Charlie Chaplin “The Great Dictator”. I can’t think of anything else of her visit and a visit from Auntie’s brother who was a vicar in Cardiff. He only stopped for the day.
    Mam must have got over the flea episode, she wrote to Grandma saying Ron and I both looked well (I still have the card she sent her).
    The farm life was good summer or winter. In the winter months there was very little to do, the three of us playing dominoes. Aunty, Ron and I in front of a roaring peat fire, a cup of hot milk homemade bread and cheese.
    The spring was different. Sheep being branded, lambs being born, hens sitting on eggs and maybe a calf wanting milk, the wild birds making their nest, no school. Life was great. I think Ron was glad I never went to school; he must of felt lonely with just Aunty and Uncle Moses around.
    Summer months, taking the sheep to the sheep dip, also the shearing of sheep, the young lambs being castrated with a knife then cauterised to stop the bleeding and infection. Families came from local farms to help and cut the hay. The hay was cut into a circle with a scythe. The men would surround the hayfield and meet in the centre. All the wildlife in the hay would make their way to the centre to be safe, so they thought, but on the last cut they would shoot out everywhere. Rats and Rabbits. The farm dogs would be waiting for them. When it was all cut the job now was if it had rained and was wet then it was raked to dry out. If it was dry it was tied in sheaves then arranged in threes and then standing them up to let the air circle through. The next day was loading the hay cart then stacking them in the hay shed for the winter. The summer had its bad times. If it didn’t rain for a week the Well would have dried up. Then to get water we had to walk to the quarry, not far, ten minutes walking. It had a water hole about four foot long, two foot wide and a foot in depth. Aunty, Ron and I took three buckets between us. Aunty two and one between Ron and I. When we arrived at the well we had to clear the algae off the surface. Underneath all this where lizards, frogs, toads, water beetles, newts plus other wildlife. The three buckets didn’t last long. I think we made two trips a day.

    One thing we did look forward to was the post lady. Ron and I would be waiting for her, looking out of the kitchen window we would see her coming across the field. She had to go to the village first to pick up the post, and then climb over styles and gates before she came with our comics, The Beano, Film Fun and The Dandy.
    Mam sent them every week. The Mortons knew about this and when they saw the post lady making her way Tancwrel they also knew what she was coming with. They would be right behind her ten minutes later. This was every week. I never saw their parents and I think they never ever visited them. After they had read the comics they went back to their own farm. We had to pass the farmhouse where the Mortons lived every time we went to the village or chapel and not once did we ever put a foot over their threshold or even speak to the occupants and that included Aunty. On Sundays we where never allowed to have the wireless on, couldn’t whistle or sing. It wasn’t allowed, only in chapel. I did like going to the chapel, the singing was great even though I didn’t understand a word of it but the harmonizing was good to hear. Making our way back in the autumn evening over styles, throwing stones up in the air and watching bats dive after them.
    One Sunday evening it was raining, Aunty said it was “too wet” for Ron to go to chapel so we went without him. We didn’t get wet on arriving there but coming out of the chapel it was throwing it down. A woman said something to Aunty. Next thing I am walking with this woman and also a lad about the same age as myself and I finished up in their house. She gave me some supper then the lad and I where sent to bed. The sheets they where lovely, white and soft. I had never realized how our bed was so much different back on the farm.
    Next morning after breakfast I made my way back to Tancwrel.

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    Senior Member chasevans's Avatar
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    Ta for this pretty graphic episode, looking forward to more.
    Chas

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    Senior Member Lizzie1's Avatar
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    Great Zap!

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    Martin hmtmaj's Avatar
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    Its great he's getting his memories down in writing AND sharing them with us lucky people, tell him thanks from us all John,

    Mart
    Started the Old Swan Website:

    http://oldswan.piczo.com/?cr=5

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    Senior Member Marty1's Avatar
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    Great memories of how life was for him long ago, Ta Zap !

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    Senior Member Maureen's Avatar
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    Great story Zap,what a marvellous memory your dad has,I am glad he was happy when he was evacuated,a lot of children were'nt so lucky. Thank your dad for the memories.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maureen View Post
    Great story Zap,what a marvellous memory your dad has,I am glad he was happy when he was evacuated,a lot of children were'nt so lucky. Thank your dad for the memories.
    Yes, not all children were lucky. I've heard stories of some kids being made to feel like a burden and not such good living conditions.

    Nice reading about Wales - a place I love.

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    PART 3
    Moses Davies called one night. He told Aunty that John (his brother) was sick. I don’t know if I was asked to go but I joined them and we made our way to the farm. John was stretched out on the couch. He had the hiccups. Moses said that he’d been doing that all day. (I was beginning to understand the Welsh language better everyday). Aunty said something to John. He didn’t respond, he just lay there. It was very quiet and all that could be heard was the Crickets clicking away in the fireplace and John hiccupping. John passed away in the early hours that morning. Aunty couldn’t do anything as she had to get back to milk the cows, feed the hens and other things. Uncle wouldn’t do anything to help out. Ron and I would clean the cowshed, the pigsty and the hen shed. Aunty had another weekly job and that was making the dough for the bread that would last all week. She would mix the flour, water, salt and yeast, knead it in a big earthenware bowl and cover it with a pillowslip. Then she would leave it in front of the fire overnight. Next morning after it had risen it was placed in the pillowslip and slung over her shoulder then taken to the village bakery and picked up the next day, four loaves over a foot long. I don’t suppose she had that many to make before Ron and I came on the scene.
    In the summer evenings the three of us, and the two dogs Mott and Judy would go visiting some farm. One farm in particular we called at (Tancraig) had four children. One was my age and one was about Ron’s age and the other two where a little older. Ron and I sometimes use to go on our own and play with them. David, he was my age and he always had a bandage on his head and the reason why was he had Ringworm. Like Ron and I, he never went to school.
    Another farm we would walk to wasn’t very far from Moses and John’s farm – Fronfelen. Marie Evans lived there alone. She and Aunty would sit outside having a cup of tea while Ron and I (and the two dogs) carried on walking hoping to catch a rabbit or two.

    One night a stranger called at Tancwrel and said something to Aunty. She lit a hurricane lamp and went outside. Moses, Ron and myself followed them to the hay shed. The stranger threw a rope over a girder then made his way to the pigsty. Next thing we heard was “Porky” screaming like hell. The stranger tied the back legs from the rope hanging down from a girder and hauled him up. Porky was hanging upside down still squealing. From his belt the stranger took a knife out and slit Porky from its breast to its throat. Ron and I cried our eyes out. This was the pig we knew as a piglet and gave us rides on his back. We watched the man cut Porky in half. He carried half to his wagon and then left. Aunty poured kettles of boiling water over the other half then shaved it. When this was done it was rubbed with salt and left hanging there until the next day, then brought in and hung on a bar from the living room ceiling. That was our bacon (and the Bluebottles) for a year.
    Every time we had bacon Aunty had to stand on a chair and cut some off. Each year she would buy a hen turkey that had already been with a cock turkey and she would lay fertile eggs. The trouble was when she was like this the job was finding the eggs. She laid them everywhere, the field, cowshed, barn, pigsty etc. We kept the eggs until the time came when she wanted to sit on them. Aunty would put some false glazed eggs on the floor in the hen shed and she would sit on these until Aunty put the genuine ones under. When they hatched (about a dozen) there was a problem. Some chicks would die, others became sick. Aunty would put capsules (like Cod Liver Oil capsules) down their throat. Did that cure them? I don’t know but for a number of years after the war Aunty sent a turkey to Gloucester Place for Christmas. There where no fridges in those days and it was still fresh when it arrived.

    One time Mam arrived on her own. The reason: She came to take us back home. I told her that I didn’t want to go home. Ron, Aunty and I where crying. In the end she let me stay and said that she would be back for me. I was still crying when Ron left. I don’t know how long I was after Ron, about six months I think but I missed him. The Morton’s had well gone before Ron so I was the last one of the evacuees. Mam came again months later, It was just like the last time, the crying and not wanting to go. Aunty gave me a pen and pencil set plus the New Testament that she gave me when we first arrived at Tancwarel. I’ve no idea what happened to these gifts, like some other things they got lost. Ron and I where much closer to Aunty than to Moses because she looked after us and if she went anywhere we would be right behind her. If one of us got hurt she would give us a hug and say, “come here my love” in Welsh. Our own mother would never have said that, it would be more like “Don’t be a cry baby”. Ron and I spent three years with Aunty and Moses, we saw them all day and most of the evening. Mam and dad about six hours a day bar the weekends, Saturday after midday, Sunday all day. No wonder we where closer to Aunty and Uncle. The reason Mam wanted me home was that I was coming to the age of leaving school, fourteen and ready for work. I cannot remember leaving Tancwarel, I was too upset thinking of never seeing Aunty, Moses and Mott and Judy and everything that I loved on the farm. I was being taken somewhere where I never wanted to go. Tancwarel was my home.

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    Came fourth...now what? Oudeis's Avatar
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    It's difficult to find much on Bronant (Bronnant) online, and what is there is in Welsh. There is the usual genealogy stuff; stuff on one or another 'Evans' etc. Maps, pre war or otherwise are like hens' teeth.

    ---------- Post added at 02:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:00 PM ----------

    P.S.
    The hamlet is named after the river, the river is named as being fast-flowing and it has it's place in the history of the Corgie (no, not the Gas fitters, the dog)

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    Senior Member Marty1's Avatar
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    A lovely story, is there more to come Zap ?

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    Senior Member Lizzie1's Avatar
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    Well I'm hooked! ......... as was poor Porky!

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    Brilliant John.

    Ive sent you a PM
    BE NICE......................OR ELSE

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    Senior Member Maureen's Avatar
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    Enjoyed part 3 Zap even though it was sad.

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Default Part 4 (near the end)

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty1 View Post
    A lovely story, is there more to come Zap ?
    Sure is Marty but not much more. Some of it I find too sad to type up to be honest.

    Thank you all for your comments. I will be sure my dad gets to see them. Thank you all .



    PART 4

    The next time I saw Aunty was when I took the family on holiday there in the nineteen sixties where we stayed at Navy Hall Farm, the farm that was supposed to be haunted, the time I was the age of ten and I walked from Lledrod school, a five mile hike one stormy day twenty odd years ago.
    I took the family to Tancwarel to show them where Ron and I were evacuated. Aunty was in the field, the one years ago where we once reaped the hay; she had a dog with her. I gave her a big hug and was about to kiss her on the cheek but I couldn’t. She had cancer of the face. She told me Moses had died and she wasn’t able to look after the farm. No cattle or sheep and what hens she did have, a bunch of hippies stole them. We never entered the farmhouse. The exterior hadn’t changed. The cowshed was still there. The hayshed, pigsty, hen shed, they where gone. We didn’t stay long as I was too upset (in fact I feel like crying now as I write about it). We left the way we came, across the fields and over the stiles. The same fields and stiles that Aunty, Ron and I would cross going to the village and chapel in the nineteen forties. My regret is that I never told Aunty that I loved her for giving Ron and me a wonderful life while we where under her care.
    Ron went there a number of times in his teens with a mate under canvas. The last time I went to Bronant was nineteen eighty-nine with an evacuees reunion organized by a chap from Huyton. We all had to meet in the University Of Aberystwyth at seven o’clock pm. When the wife and I arrived there were quite a number of people already there. I didn’t know any of them. Tea and biscuits was laid on and we where all told what the agenda was for the week, a parade, going to chapel to hear a Welsh choir plus other things. The wife and I made our way to the hotel after a couple of drinks and got ready for the next day.

    Next morning we caught the bus to Bronant (I had packed up driving). On the way I showed the wife Lledrod School and told her about the day I walked from there to Bronant, five miles a day, past the haunted farm on a very stormy day. We arrived at Bronant and was I in for a shock. What used to be the village store, with a post office was now a supermarket and on the opposite side one time there where no buildings but now there was a petrol station. The Blacksmith and the bakery had vanished. It was all very strange to me. I went into the supermarket and asked the young girl behind the counter did she know David Jones. She did. I told her that my brother and I where evacuated there in nineteen forty-one on a farm called “Tancwarel”. She told me that a woman named Williams lived just a couple of doors away and that she, her sister and brother had evacuees when the had a farm. I thanked her and then made our way to this Miss Williams, it was only about ten yards away. I knocked on the door and called “Missus Williams”. The reply was “come in” in Welsh. We entered. There sitting in a chair an old woman. The same woman, who with her sister and brother looked after the Morton’s. I explained who I was and about Mrs Morgan and the Morton lads. She didn’t know what I was talking about. Then she began to tell me that her brother had died and that she and her sister had to sell the farm , they took a house in the village and that her sister had died a couple of years later.

    After a while a woman’s head poked around the door. “It’s only me, ohh you must have visitors” she said in Welsh. I told her why my wife and I where here and about Miss Morgan and Moses. She said that she was the “Home Help” and then told me that Aunty had passed away a few years ago. She then asked if we would like to see the chapel. “Yes please” I said to which she handed me a key and told me to lock up when we left. It was only across the road. I unlocked the door and found to my surprise that it was exactly as it was when I was last there in Nineteen Forty Three. I cried my heart out.

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    Senior Member Lizzie1's Avatar
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    Zap, you've got me blubbing again!
    This is a truly brilliant account!

    Your Dad says....
    "My regret is that I never told Aunty that I loved her for giving Ron and me a wonderful life while we where under her care".

    Tell him not to worry about that......I'm sure 'Aunty' knew.

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    Lizzie1 says it all, but pass on my regards to your dad, ItsaZappating,
    Cheers,
    Chas
    .

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    Senior Member Marty1's Avatar
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    Thanks Zap, I understand why you feel sad typing it up, a lovely story very well told by your Dad !

    Regards to him and good luck !!

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Default The last bit...

    (Part 4 Continued)
    I started to reminisce; I always sat in the back pew. I thought about the times going to chapel and making our way back to Tancwarel. The war was a terrible thing but to me it didn’t exist, I loved being evacuated. Coming out the chapel I locked the door behind us and then had a look around the cemetery. It was a small cemetery and it didn’t take long to find the grave where the three Morgan’s where buried, Moses, Elizabeth and John (Aunty’s brother). They all had died in their eighties. I was told that when Aunty died that all contents of the farm were auctioned to pay for the funeral plus the headstone.
    We made our way back to the house to return the key; the home help was still there. She asked us what we where doing for the rest of the day. I told her that we would be going back to Aberystwyth. I asked her “What was the transport like for going back”. “Don’t worry, you have plenty of time. Come home with me and have a tea and a sandwich,” she said. We did. It was a ten minutes walk. On the way there she told us her name was “Jano” and that she was the caretaker of the chapel and came to Bronant a few years back. She and her husband John had a farm outside the village and that John suffered with arthritis and he couldn’t do any manual work so they gave up the farm and moved into a council house that had just been built and she told me that Aunty had spoken about Ron and me many a time. At the house she made us sandwiches and a pot of tea and while we where there, in walked David Jones. We talked about old times. He told me that his younger brother had become a doctor and had gone to live in the States and that his sister now works and lives in London, no mention of any other member of the family. I think I was the only evacuee who turned up in Bronant. Most of the crowd at the University must have been evacuated in and around Aberystwyth.

    The time was getting on. I said to my wife that we’d better make a move. David asked us “where are you going”? I told him “Back to our hotel room”. Like Jano he said the same, “Don’t worry, I will take you back”. I told him that it was a thirty mile round journey. It made no difference, he insisted.
    Jano phoned Sian and John Davis (sister and brother) who lived at Tancraig, not far from Tancwarel and told them that I was at their house. Sian was the girl who cleaned Tancwarel whenever visitors came. Jano told them we were going to the Bont, the one and only pub in the village and to get there around nine o’clock because she had to wait till John came home who was visiting some friends. We spent most of the day in Jano’s. When John did turn up, Jano told him who we were. We all then headed to the Bont. Sian and John were already there. David drank orange juice and told us that he never touched any kind of alcohol.
    I never put my hand in my pocket all night.
    We made arrangements for the next day. Jano and John told us that they would be taking us for a meal. I said “ok but we have to see Tancwarel before we went back to Liverpool, then we left with David, our chauffer.

    The next day we caught the same bus but got off the stop after Bronant. It was a Hamlet called “Paddington”, it stopped outside the school, the school I was removed from and ended up in Lledrod. We walked along the lane, the one that very first night in nineteen forty that Ron and I walked with Aunty. We passed the farm where the two brothers Moses and John lived. It was now a holiday home. We turned up the lane running along side the farmhouse until we came to Ffonfelen, home of Marie Evans. She knew me straight away, “Ello Richie Bach” (Bach means little). She told me that the tree was still there, the one I hammered a nail into when I was at Tancwarel with Ronnie Bach. She said that she “missed Liza” (Aunty) and our visits and that nobody ever calls now, only David and he comes by car because it is too far for him to walk now. She made a pot of tea and some cheese sandwiches. We stayed for about an hour talking of this and that, mostly about the hay season when it was a get together with all the neighbours. We told Marie that we had to go and that we where meeting Jano later on. After hugging and kissing her we left. I left with a lump in my throat.
    We made our way to Tancwarel, nobody was at home.

    I took Ivy (The Wife) to show her where we used to let the sheep graze, it meant climbing a bit of a hill and when we reached the top, you could see for miles. We sat on the grass for a while then carried on. We past over the quarry and came out further down the lane that led into the quarry. The water hole was still there. The water hole we had to go to when the well dried up. It was still overgrown with alga. The quarry was a shock, what was once a wonderful playground for Ron and I and sometimes the Morton’s, once a place full of wildlife, once a hunting ground for the two dogs Mott and Judy was now a dumping ground. It was full of old wagons and cars and all kinds of rubbish. I never thought that I would ever see anything like this in Bronant. Liverpool and other cities yes but not Bronant.
    We walked further along the lane until we reached David Jones’s farm. He was home and invited us in and showed us what changes he had made to the farm. The grandfather clock still stood in the corner, I remember seeing it there when I was a child. He told me that the clock was three hundred years old. We didn’t stay long, he knew we had a date with Jano and said that he would see us in the Bont that night. We made our way back the way we came and called at Tancwarel. I knocked on the door and a gentleman opened it. He said his name was Trevor Jones and invited us in. It was a different house than the one Ron and I knew. Hot and cold water, electricity, toilet, bathroom, modern fireplace. It might have looked nice but it wasn’t cosy and warm looking and homely. The only thing that was original was the Pig Iron Gate that led to the hayfield. We told him that we had an appointment with Jano and John and that they where taking us for a meal. So we said our goodbyes and made our way back to Jano’s house.

    As we got to Jano’s they were waiting for us in the car. I had no idea where we were going. I sat in the front with John, the two girls in the back. John pointed things out, like who had lived on such a farm and the one he and Jano once had.
    We finish up outside a restaurant. Y COB CYMREIG – The Welsh Cob in a place called Llanrhystud. I told John that I would pay for the meals. He said “Alright”. At the end of the meal I went to pay the bill. The chap on the till said, “It’s already been paid”. I told John that he shouldn’t have done that; I wasn’t upset I was annoyed. He had to pay for petrol and wear and tear of the car. Back at their house, the same crowd as last night turned up and we made our way to the Bont. I asked them what they were drinking; I gave the order to one of the staff “don’t take any money from anyone only me and I will square the bill up at the end of the night. At the end of the night after having a good time I squared the bill up and then we all went back to Jano’s for supper. I took a couple of photos and told them that we had to leave and get back to our hotel in case the door gets locked. We hugged the ones who should be hugged and kissed the ones that do get kissed.
    David kindly took us to our hotel and wouldn’t take a penny for petrol.
    We had two days left and they where spent in Aberystwyth. We have all kept in touch by phone, Christmas cards and to wish them BLYDDYN NEWYDD DA (A Happy New Year).

    One by one they have dwindled down. Jano’s husband John died, then Marie and Sians brother John. Last Christmas day 2006 I tried to phone Jano but got no answer. The same thing happened when I rang Sian and David. A couple of days later Jano rang. She told me that Sian had taken bad the day before Christmas Eve and that she passed away Christmas day. That leaves just David, the only one out of all the people Ron and I knew from the forties. I only got to know Jano from the evacuees reunion in nineteen eighty nine. I told Jano that we would try and get to Bronant again in the near future.
    That’s my childhood memories, My Holidays and of the great life I had in Bronant.

    THE END

    R. H. S

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    Liverpool Photographer Gerard Fleming's Avatar
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    Fantastic John...thanks for that..

    It reminds me of taking my Mam back right under the Menai bridge for the 1st time
    since she was a little girl evacuated there..
    My Mam brought me to the house and we walked around the waterfront as the house is
    right under the Menai Bridge...

    I was always sorry I never knocked on the door and introduced my Mam as a child
    who was evacuated there.. some years later, before my Mam died. we went back again..
    and I brought my Mam up to the front door and knocked, I explained the situation...
    and the young couple brought us in and made a fuss of my Mam...
    She cried her eyes out walking around that house she had not been in for over 50 years..
    and I'm nearly doing the same here remembering it... I'm all filled up....

    (It was my Mams anniversary yesterday...)

    Thanks for that John lad..

    Gerard.
    Liverpool Days... << my website of Liverpool images

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    Great memories. Thanks for sharing John and Gerard.
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    Martin hmtmaj's Avatar
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    Getting a bit emotional here lads.
    Great tales.

    Mart
    Started the Old Swan Website:

    http://oldswan.piczo.com/?cr=5

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    Senior Member Lizzie1's Avatar
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    What more can I say?....a big to thanks Zap and Zap senior!...........and Gerard.

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    Thanks for the memories, the Welsh people are often caricatured, your dad's done them proud.
    Cheers,
    Chas

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Thank you all for all the nice comments. I showed my dad some of them today on my phone and he found it amazing that it was there in print on the net with many nice comments.

    Gerard, I hear and feel what you feel mate. My dad never really spoke much in detail about his childhood. I can add that he wasn't his mothers favourite son, Ronnie was and she showed it.

    Again thank you all. Very much appreciated.

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    Senior Member Marty1's Avatar
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    A great story Zap, I very much enjoyed reading it, normally I can't be arsed with long posts ! Many regards to your Father, It's good that he has such sweet memories of his childhood.

    Thanks Gerard too for your memory !!

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    Thanks John... and thanks to your Dad mate.

    Thats kind of you allowing me to have my little recollection on your thread..

    Cheers mate..




    Thanks folks as well...

    Gerard.
    Liverpool Days... << my website of Liverpool images

  30. #30
    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    I managed to get hold of two pics off my dad to post.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	4 A.JPG 
Views:	60 
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ID:	22172   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A 5.JPG 
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ID:	22173  

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