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Memories of wartime Barkby...?

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Joined: 31/12/1969

In May or June 1944, at the age of 6, I was evacuated to Barkby from Bromley in Kent. With a group of other children, complete with our gas masks, goody bags and labels, we were marched to the station and onto a train and finally finished up in a hall, in or near to, Barkby. There potential foster parents came to look us over and to take us to their homes. It was a bit like a jumble sale with the best looking items going early, the solid ones being raked over and some left for the bin.

With a couple of others, who were left for the bin, I was taken in a hearse around the village with the driver and WVS helper knocking on doors and asking whether the owners would take in an evacuee. Eventually, late at night, I was accepted to be looked after by an elderly couple who I can only recall as “Mr and Mrs B”. As far as I can remember their home was a country cottage style house close to a small bridge and with a pond or lake in the garden.

Very shortly, having no doubt disgraced myself (something to do with ducks, duck eggs and scraps with local youngsters come to mind) I was re-housed with a family on a farm who had a couple of children older than me. Again, I can remember little about the farm or the family except that it was quite a walk across the fields to the village school and that several Italian Prisoners of War were housed and worked on the farm. Whilst again I can recall very little detail about the farm or family I do recall I enjoyed myself, made good friends with the Italians and was well looked after.

I returned to Bromley in about August or September of 1944 in time to catch up again with the V1’s and the V2 rockets. I am now 71 and all of my family, who would be able to recall those days, are now dead, but I am keen to learn more about that period of my life and Barkby as I would have known it at the time.

I wonder whether there is still anyone who might be able to give me information about Barkby in the Summer of 1944?

I would obviously like to find the location of where I was housed, the village hall, school, etc. and if any pictures exist of the village at that time. If anyone does have any information and knows where I might track this down and can spare the time, I would be delighted to hear from them.

Mr John R. Manley