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My Family: The Second World War.

Updated on February 21, 2016
Children were taken to safety causing many tears at the time.
Children were taken to safety causing many tears at the time. | Source

A Family At War.

On the outbreak of war the majority of children in the Towns and Cities which were vulnerable to German bombers were evacuated. They were placed with families throughout Britain who lived in more rural areas. Tens of thousands of children were mustered at railway stations and sent sometimes hundreds of miles from their homes. One such child was my elder sister Doris known to all as Dot. She was sent approximately eighty miles north of Manchester where we lived, to a town called Lancaster, which is in the north west of England.

Unhappy And Lonely, A Year Of Tears.

The family with whom she was billeted had a daughter of their own and took Dot as a friend for her, both at home and at school. Dot was there for almost one year. In that time my parents tried to send a small food parcel when they could. They managed to send one approximately once a month. In that time of almost a year they were able to visit only once. We have to remember here, that Britain was under fire with bombers coming over every night in some periods. Workers had to stay at their posts, travel was not as we know it today. Contact was made by post, public telephone boxes were placed in the streets. Unless it was urgent the working population generally used the telephone for emergencies only. People did not have a phone at home in any case.

A Shock For Mum And Dad.

On my parents second visit after almost a year they took Dot to the local park. There she became upset, she was of course wanting to come home. She told how she had not received any food parcels, she knew that parcels arrived by post but nothing was ever said to her about them. Incredibly this family had been keeping the extra food for themselves. Yes, Dot was eating what was being provided in the usual way but there were no extras. Furthermore, Mum and Dad had always put a loving letter of support in the parcel. This of course had never been delivered. In the letters Dot was told to try and look at the moon on certain evenings, at a certain time. Mum and Dad would be looking at the same time and they would send her their love. Although they did look at the moon and send her their love Dot was totally unaware of the moment. Dot of course knew nothing of these letters and her feelings of abandonment were clear. My parents were enraged and returned to the see the family, at first they said that the food had been used for all, however they could not explain the reason for not giving Dot the enclosed letters.

Dad Takes The Initiative.

Dad had managed to borrow a van from his employer for that visit. Fortunately they were able to take Dot home with them. There had been a great altercation in the street between the two families, after which Dad drove him Mum and Dot home. Due to his employer Dad found a wonderful family in North Wales to take Dot for another year. This time the van was made available to Dad and as long as he put petrol in it, he was allowed to go and see her at weekends finances permitting.

Wartime Worries.

Now we come to Dad going missing. He was employed as a driver for a small delivery company and although there was a war on life had to carry on as near to normal as possible. One evening the air raid sirens sounded, Dad did not know where the local shelter was as he was on a delivery. A bomb dropped and hit a property he was passing. His van was blown over and he took a shrapnel wound to the head. The shrapnel skimmed his head and opened a large wound in his scalp. He was taken to the local hospital and kept in for four days. This happened on a Monday evening, when he did not return my Mother was frantic with worry. Without transport she walked for miles trying to find out what had happened to him, over two days and nights. With the help of his employer, she found out which hospital he was in on Wednesday. On Thursday he was allowed home, on Friday he was back at work. A standing family joke in later years was Mum saying 'I lost him on Monday and found him on Wednesday'. Not really a joke but it always raised a laugh.

After The War.


After the war things were tough in Britain. Food was rationed and extras such as sweets and extra clothing were non existent for the working classes. Needless to say however, if you had the money and knew where to go almost anything was available.

Dads boss retired but found him employment as a chauffer to friend of his. The friend was only to pleased to take on someone recommended by a friend. People had to be so careful employing someone in a position of trust. Dad felt this was a reward for his past efforts, though nothing was said, I feel this was probably true. Mum found work as a cleaner to a lovely couple, the lady stayed at home and the gentleman was a doctor of some repute who worked at Manchester University. So life went on for our family, although it was an ordinary life and money was always tight, it was a family with love sewn into it and that in a way made us all millionaires.


The First World War: The War Horse.

My Family: The Yanks are Coming.



War: The Family At Home.

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    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 2 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Flourish. Thank you so much for your welcome comments.

      Graham.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      This had to have deeply impacted Dot and all involved, to have been separated, experienced deception from that family, lived through bombings, and ultimately made it through. Your parents were heroes in ways. I appreciated reading your tales of survivorship.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Frank. Thank you for your visit and welcome comments. I wish we all pulled together these days as they did then.

      Graham.

    • fsavidge profile image

      Frank Savidge 3 years ago from London, England

      Thank you for this warm and informative hub. What a prolific output you have? Thank you also for your comments about my latest hub, published today.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello again Salini. Yes they were indeed dangerous years, As you say everyone was together at the end. We were blessed with good fortune, so many innocent people throughout the world were not.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi mizjo. As you appreciate war is terrible and pointless. Like Dot millions of children were moved to safer places for years, thankfully the majority of them found a modicum of happiness. Though all I fear were lonely for the want of their loved ones. Thank you for your visit.

      Graham.

    • Life Iz Beautiful profile image

      Salini 4 years ago from India

      It is a wonderful snippet from your life. Though it was a bit sad that your elder sister had to face the uncalled feeling of abandonment and your father met with the accident but at the end everyone is together happily.

      Have a wonderful day ahead.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      What a sick couple to have caused twice the pain to a young child forcibly removed from her family by war. We don't really hear very much about such doings, mostly, I suppose, because children were discouraged from telling tales. It's a good thing your parents believed Dot and took her away.

      Great story telling, Graham. Voted up and beautiful and sharing.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Sheila.

      Thanks for your lovely comments. There are millions of people every night who look at the moon and send there love to someone.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago

      I have just read this and cried! The bit about looking at the moon was so upsetting, I often look at the moon when missing someone and think that is the same moon they are looking at!!!! Uncanny having never heard this story before!

      For anyone reading this dot is my mother and graham my uncle I am so very proud of them both!! Xx

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi wilderness. Thank you for your observations. You are right, we must never forget.

      Graham.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      War is Hell. Some outdo themselves helping others while some do not. A touching story, old albion, and a peek into a past that we must never forget.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Nell. It was great of them to ring after all that time. It is a shame they could not make the meeting though. There would have been some tales to tell!

      Graham.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I can't stop reading these! lol! I am glad that Dot was saved from the family, sadly it seems that happened quite a lot back then. My family took in four children as we live in the Countryside. They came down from London and my mum said they were little 'orrors! haha! my gran was exhausted by the time she got them to bed the first night, but over the weeks she came to love them to bits, and the lovely thing was that a few years ago, they got in contact with my aunt, and she was so surprised at their phone call, they were going to meet up but sadly it never happened, but how great was that? 40 years later a phone call! they just wanted to say thanks, nell

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello molometer. Thank you for your interest and comments. Yes they were indeed difficult times.

      Thank you for the votes.

      Graham.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Graham,

      looks like your Dad had a lucky escape. Thankfully.

      My Mother-in-law was evacuated along with her brothers and sisters all over the country.

      It is hard to grasp what they must have went through as kids.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi alancaster149. I agree with your well considered comments 100%. Many children will have suffered deprivation and worse without telling another responsible adult. Although our world is without war at present,other parts of the world are not as fortunate.

      Graham

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello mollymeadows. Yes all was fine in the end. Yes they were very hard times. Thank you for your interest and comments. I do appreciate it.

      Graham.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      The general consensus amongst adults in this part of the world until fairly recently was that no-one would believe a child's testimony, and dismiss it as 'fairy stories'. Most parents - including my own, due to contemporary upbringing - thought children could invent tales to get other adults into trouble at whim, including their best friends or trusted neighbours. However, since belief in children's 'honesty' has backfired catastrophically, effecting the careers of teachers and care personnel, consensus may be on its way back to what it was before. Going back to wartime, the fosterers thought they could exploit that belief. Many children taken out of their own environment were too timid to speak up, or gave up without trying because they believed they would not be taken seriously. You had to be pretty forward - like city children - to pursue your goal. By their forwardness they became targets for local children who ganged up on them. You'd have to 'bang on a bit' to make any headway. It was easier to keep your mouth shut and take what came at you. After all, the war wouldn't last forever. On the other hand some 'city kids' were so happy where they were evacuated to they had to be taken back kicking and screaming!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Wow. I'm so glad your sister finally got to live with decent people, and that your Dad survived his close call! These stories remind me of the opening scenes from that movie, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, where all the children in a family get shipped off to the country because of the air raids in London. The Greatest Generation...such strength is awe-inspiring.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Grace. Thank you for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed this hub. I do appreciate your visit.

      Graham.

    • Grace Whites profile image

      Grace Whites 5 years ago from Manalapan, New Jersey, USA

      Hello graham, thank you for sharing this useful and interesting information. I enjoyed reading your post. Great Hubs.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Gordon. Lest we forget indeed... It must have been terrible to live through, there was a saying at the time; 'They also serve who only stand and wait' this of course applied to the people left behind. They had the fear of the bombings and the mental anguish of loved ones at the front.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Peggy W. Thank you for your valued visit. I am sure your dad would have had a tale to tell. Thank you for your votes , I do appreciate them.

      Graham.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Graham

      Starts off as a horror story but I'm glad to hear it had a happy ending.

      I remember all the stories from my Mum and my Gran of the urgent evacuations to the Anderson shelters when the air raid sirens went off as the Luftwaffe were trying to hit the Royal Naval shipyards on the Clyde. They were 30 or 40 miles away but told of how the ground shuddered as the powerful bombs fell on Glasgow and the noise of the fighters and ack-ack as the Royal Air Force and ground defences engaged the enemy. My Mum was a young child but she had to gather her younger brothers and get them to the shelter.

      Lest we ever forget...

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Graham,

      Thanks for sharing this personal story regarding your family and WWII. That must have been so hard on your sisters and understandable that it would have enraged your parents when they found out that she was not even receiving the letters. Amazing that under such circumstances some people can be so cruel.

      My dad was a paratrooper during WWII and saw action in Europe. He was back from the war when he met and married my mother in 1946.

      Voted up, interesting, useful and will SHARE.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Sally's Trove. Thank you so much for your interest and comments. I do appreciate it.

      Graham.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Although I knew that children were separated from their parents during WWII in England, I never thought or read that the fostering families could be cruel to the children. Thank you for sharing this poignant story of your family.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Marcy. I greatly appreciate your comments on my hub, both in the story and your kind comments on the friendship between our two countries. May it never falter! Others may not agree with me but 'we couldn't have done it without the yanks'. Thank you for your

      votes and sharing.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Jools99. Yes things were very difficult in those days, your dad of course will never forget how it was. My dad was very lucky indeed, he forced himself back to work. His employer was a kindly and helpful man who helped my mother as you have read. He earned loyalty from his employees and it was well deserved. I greatly appreciate your vote and sharing. Thank you.

      Graham.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a compelling story, Old Albion! I did not realized that England's hardships during the war extended to separating children from their parents. It is unconscionable that the family Dot stayed with would so heartlessly intercept the packages sent by your parents - especially the loving letters they contained, for she surely needed that.comfort and support from your parents.

      Thank you for giving us this personal look at what the war was like for our wonderful friends and allies in England and Great Britain.

      Voted up, interesting and awesome, and SHARED.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Old Albion, fantastic hub! My dad and his two brothers were evacuated all over the country. One of my dad's brothers ended up with an awful family whose son used to beat him up most days. My dad still talks about his evacuation as the hardest time in his life. Your dad had a 'lucky' escape - amazing to think he was back at work the next week. Voted this up and shared it!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Seeker7. Thank you for your comments, you have clearly taken the time to absorb the hub, which I do appreciate. Thank you for your votes.

      Albion.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      This is a fascinating hub! I've seen photographs of the poor kids being sent away from their homes by the hundred. Not only having to cope with the war, but also having to cope being away from home. Your poor sister! I will never understand how some folks can be so heartless. Okay, bad enough taking the food parcel, but at least they could have handed over the letters!! I was really relieved when I read that she had found another and better family in Wales.

      Boy! I think your Dad had a lucky escape! Can you imagine now folk coming out of hospital and going back to work the same week? I think they were made of stronger stuff than we are today and they certainly had guts to go through what they did and still managed to love and smile.

      I really loved the wonderful hub. Voted up awesome!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Nick. Thank you for your interest in my hub. Your memories are from being there, mine are from my family over the years. You certainly made me feel that it must have been a terrible situation to be in. I am following your hubs with great interest.

      Best Wishes.

    • nick071438 profile image

      nick071438 5 years ago from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines

      I was engrossed reading a bit of WWII at your end. WWII saw me in San Sebastian, Samar, Philippines at age 6 in 1944. I recall the Japanese army were on the run and being chased by the American and allied forces, but I recall one instance, a very close encounter when Paranas the neighboring town of San Sebastian, was bombed by planes and attacked by canons stationed up the hill in our town and pointed towards Paranas to kill and drive the enemies eastward. Up to now I can still vividly hear the droning of warplanes as they dropped bombs and the ra-tat-tat of machine guns. At every burst of the cannon, our small town quivers and we the resident who trembled in fear were made to bite something possibly to protect our eardrum. I can't help myself recall the sad experience. Thank you for the opportunity.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you alancaster149. Your comment greatly appreciated.

      Best Wishes.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Interesting Hub. I've seen something similar - dramatised on 'the box' - about kids not being given their treats sent via the couple who put them up.

      As to the second bit about the bomb blast my Dad was being seen off back to camp at Richmond when the air raid alarm went off. My grandparents got down to the shelter but the overall roof on Thomas Prosser's 1877 Middlesbrough Station copped it together with a V1/V3 tank locomotive and train on its way to Saltburn.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you for your comment aethelthryth I am glad it was of value to you.

      Best Wishes.

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

      Thank you for this Hub. It gives me a better background to understand what was going on with my mother-in-law's family who left London at that time.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you for your comments, also the vote it is greatly appreciated.

      Best Wishes.

    • landscapeartist profile image

      Roberta McIlroy 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      An awesome account of history. Thank you so much for sharing this. Very captivating and extremely well written. voted up

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Just History. I think that most children had a decent if not happy time in the more rural areas. Unfortunately there were sad times when family members were lost.

      Best Regards.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you TripleAMom for your interest and comments and Thank you for the vote.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you maggs224. Your kind comments are appreciated.Keep up your excellent photography!

      Best Wishes.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you for your interest Doc Wordinger. Yes times have indeed changed.

      Best Wishes.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you UnnamedHarald. I am sure the vast majority of children with love and care.

      Best Wishes.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you for your valued comment and interest.

    • Just History profile image

      Just History 5 years ago from England

      I think a lot of evacuated chidren had a really rough time. My dad was evacuated from London and refused to talk about it. My mum and her family evacuated themselves from Plymouth to the countryside just before their home took a direct hit- she lost her aunt, uncle and cousin- so strange that without this decision I would not have been here

    • TripleAMom profile image

      TripleAMom 5 years ago from Florida

      Stories from the past are always good to hear and should be preserved. These types of things are not usually relayed in history books. Voted up.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I loved reading this account of your family's experience during WW2 you brought it so wonderfully to life for us thank you so much for sharing :D voted up and interesting

    • Doc Wordinger profile image

      Doc Wordinger 5 years ago from Manchester, UK

      A capitivating story and fascinating insight into life in Britain during World War II. It's amazing to think that Australia is more accessible today from Britain than parts of the same country were in the 1940s. Great read.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Another great hub. Yes, some of those families did take advantage of their charges-- despite what Holywood would have us believe. To be fair, some childen lived with loving families for the first time, too. Voted up.

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      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      This an important story to be told about World War II. Thank you for sharing it with us!!!