Memories of an evacuee

I don't remember where my socks are nowadays but I do remember being 12 years old and saying "Goodbye" to my mother and two younger sisters on that fateful day in June 1940.

I caught the bus to Dover Priory Station where the school was assembling for our journey into the unknown. We were not told where we were going but no-ne seemed worried. They checked that our labels were tied securely in our buttonholes, that our cases were on the luggage racks and we were settled in our compartments.

The journey was hot and sticky & there were no stops until we arrived at this strange place with an unpronounceable name, Ebbw Vale. I eventually found myself in Cwm where we were ushered into a large room with seats around the outside and three large tables. Later we got to know it very well as the 'stute' (snooker hall) ably run by Mr. Macey with his tin leg. The locals came & examined us and soon I heard the familiar sound, " I'll have this one!"

We attended the Co-ed Grammar School but not at the same time as the girls. We alternated mornings and afternoons but our paths did cross occasionally.If there was an air raid warning while we were at school, we went to houses nearby. I and a few of my friends went to a house in Badminton Grove, the Park Lane of Ebbw Vale, where we learned to play Monopoly. You can imagine how disappointed we were when the "All Clear" sounded!

Another vivid memory was learning to lose at rugby. The first game I ever played was in the 1st. XV. I had little idea of the rules but we learned from experience. Arthur Edwards, - a future Welsh captain was at centre versus Harry Ivory who was also 6' 3". At least we had one member of the team who could tackle!

Arthur Barnacle, a close friend of mine, was looking bored one Sunday evening. Grandma Player said to him, "Arthur, why don't you go to chapel or go and find a nice girl and take her up the mountain for a walk?" We usually did both as chapel was a good meeting place.

I could go on and on. We were so busy we didn't have time to be bored - no TV, no computers. Those were the days! But weren't they always!

© evcgs former pupils 2013