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Thread: My Evacuation (By My Dad)

  1. #1
    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?

  2. #2
    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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chasevans's Avatar
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    Ta for this pretty graphic episode, looking forward to more.
    Chas

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