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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII


Miriam Retkin


When WW2 broke out, in September 1939, my mother seriously considered sending my sister Ruth (11) and me (5) to Canada. She began the whole process, and then, in September 1940, my parents learnt of the sinking of the SS City of Benares. My mother immediately cancelled her plans. This is the story I was told, and I never found out any more about it, until recently. I did not know that the whole CORB program was cancelled.

The family moved to Chesham, the last stop on the Underground, where we lived through the 5 years of the war. My father commuted into London every day by train, to continue his work he managed a small soft toy factory in the East End of London. I never knew the danger he was in. Ruth and I grew up with our parents, as a family.

We married and had children and then grandchildren. I now have two wonderful great-grandchildren. I wonder how different our lives would have been if we had both left our loving parents and gone to Canada or somewhere else. I also wonder how my parents would have felt, left on their own, without their children.

A short while ago, I found a great deal of information about the sinking of the City of Benares, on the Internet. I consider myself one of the "lucky ones" who were not sent abroad, but stayed with their families, through the "thick and thin" of WW2.

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