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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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John Clive Ansell

As an 87 yr old I remember being evacuated at the age of 11 yrs. I lived with my parents at 7 Tivoli Road, Crouch End, Hornsey, London and went to Crouch End Junior School. On 23rd of June 1939 we were bused to Paddington Railway Station, and then alighted the train for Truro, Cornwall, arriving late in the evening, then bused to the village of Zelah. We sat in the village school until our foster parents made there selection.

The couple who picked me were childless. They lived in a rented cottage about 3 miles from the school. I walked every day to get to school in all weather. I had to help with feeding the chickens; getting the water in a jug at the well and general odd jobs. The husband was a farm labourer. I used to go with him to catch rabbits with his two dogs and a ferret. They were self sufficient and they grew all their own vegetables. Her mother had cows in a nearby farm. The wife would make pasties and bread for the week in a coal oven, so I had a cold pastie for school lunch with free milk at school made up of potatos and onions and carrots.

School was painting and digging to plant vegetables. I remember watching the army tanks and soldiers training in conveys over the Downs. And waiting for the postman on a motor cycle and sidecar to bring a letter from my mum who would put a sixpence wrapped up in paper. My foster mother used to see the disappointment on my face when no letter arrived, and she would say "blessed are they that don't expect because they would not be disappointed".

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