Joan's story

Sent away to Penzance

I was born in 1933 and my brother in 1935. We lived in a place called Kilburn, London. My school was called St Augustine' s School, but my brother was still too young for school. In 1939 World War 2 was declared and bombing started in London.

So in 1939 my school was evacuated from a heavily populated area of London to the extreme tip of South West England called Penzance. This was a sleepy little town by the seaside and surrounded by farming countryside. Very different from my home in London.


My mother took my brother and myself to a big station called Paddington in London. She did not tell us that she would not be coming with us on the train only that I must hold my brothers hand all through the journey. The whole of my school were there plus the teachers who took care of us. When the train left the platform and my mother still stood standing there, I felt very frightened.


We carried a gas mask over one shoulder and another containing enough food for the journey over the other. A label pinned on our lapel had our name and school in London. The journey was very long, ten hours in near darkness. On arrival at Penzance Station, we were told to climb onto a lorry and taken to the village hall which was very bright after our dark train journey.


The hall was filled with local people and us children. Ten children were told to stand on the stage whilst the local people chose the children they wanted. My brother and I were the last up onto the stage so at this point only one couple was left. They agreed to take my brother but not me, but I refused to let go of his hand. They reluctantly took us both.


What happened next you can read if you click here....

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