Roy Blackwell

Roy writes of his memories of his evacuation to Henham, and then to Elsenham in Essex; he was evacuated to this part of the world early in the war, and now lives in Little Easton.

The recording below is of Mike Longman reading Roy’s memoir; narrative below.

Roy writes:

I was born in Bethnal Green, London, in 1937.

When I was three, war broke out with Germany.  My father was called up to serve in The Royal Engineers, leaving my mother to look after my three sisters, one brother, and myself.  We were living with my gran to start with.

I remember all of us being passed down the shelter for safety after the siren had gone.  My mother wanted to find somewhere safer for us to stay.

We were consequently evacuated to Henham, where we were given a room in an elderly couple’s house.  After a few weeks we were moved into two rooms upstairs in a house next to ‘The Bell’ public house.

Conditions were very poor; we had two camp beds side by side.  My sisters one end, and my brother and me at the other.  It was very cold and nothing much to cook with; I still wonder now how my mother managed.  Most days she would take all five of us out walking so that the lady, Mrs Johnson, whose house we were living in, was not inconvenienced.

After several months, my mother became ill with the strain of it all and prepared us all to return to London, but fortunately the local Council found us a bungalow in Elsenham, at the end of a private road.  It had three bedrooms and a lovely long garden and fields surrounding it.

We spent four happy years there until the end of the war and my father returned home.

We all stayed living locally and never moved back to London.