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from:North Ormesby, MiddlesbroughMemories of a 2nd World War evacuee.
I remember being taken to Middlesbrough railway station in early August 1940 by my loving Mam and Dad who put me on a train with other evacuees to travel to Liverpool and then by boat on the SS Antonia to Canada. I believe I was the youngest evacuee on that boat (aged 5) and spent the first three days suffering from seasickness but was cared for by a very nice lady who was in charge of four of us during the voyage. Arriving in Halifax, we were sent by train to various parts of Canada, my destination being Regina, Saskatchewan where I was taken in by a very kind family who had a daughter about the same age as me and she became my “Canadian sister”. We have kept in touch and met up on numerous occasions during the last 70 years.
Returning to England in 1945 on the SS Britannic was an emotional time for me and my wonderful parents who had missed four and a half years of my young life. I hold happy memories of my time in Canada where I had such a different sort of life to the one I would have had in England (which I’m sure would have been just as much fun). I was introduced to pumpkin pie, corn on the cob, peanut butter and doughnuts. There were heavy snowfalls in winter so there was a lot of “digging out” and snow clearance. Winter meant skating on The Creek and going for sleigh rides. Summer meant long drives past never-ending wheat fields to spend weekends with friends who had a cabin by a lake where we could swim safely. Roller skating was a favourite pastime probably followed by a visit to a soda bar and sitting on high stools to drink colourful milkshakes – this was when I was a bit older. My children and grandchildren enjoy listening to me telling them about my unusual childhood.
It would be nice to hear from anyone else who was on the SS Antonia (I believe she made only one voyage with evacuees). I have some photos of me from the local press in Saskatchewan. As I initially had no family waiting to adopt me when I arrived, my details were shown in the local press along with a photo of me with the British actress Madeleine Carroll who was in Canada visiting the child evacuees.
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