The Ups and Downs of Life

At the beginning of 1939 we were evacuated from Essex to Pampisford Hall, Pampisford, Cambridgeshire.
It was here that I developed conjunctivitis. I was in isolation on the day that war was declared. For a while
we had to sleep on straw palliaces and run around bare-footed, everything was still in Essex. One day five
of us decided to walk out of the top gate and into the bottom one. On the way We saw what we thought
was an A. A. man approaching on his tricycle, but no, it was a 'stop me and buy one' ice cream man. We
all had a free ice cream from him. Just imagine five bare-footed urchins with a free ice cream. Thank you
mister!! It was from here that Miss Billings retired. A short time later, the boy who cleaned the Staff room
informed me that there was a letter for me from Miss Billing; I never got that letter.
I wonder why Matron.

I daredn't ask questions otherwise both myself and the boy concerned would get a beating. I can proudly
say that I finished my education at Cambridge University. Class rooms were allocated for the
Dr Barnardo boys. Well I did didn't I??

In 1940, when I was 14 and left school I was shipped of to the William Baker Technical school near
Hertford. Before going to the Technical school about five of us were sent to Dr Barnardos in Stepney,
London. Before actually starting at the school we five decided to have a day in town. We didn't know
whether to go to the pictures or wander around Woolworth's. We tossed a coin and it came down pictures.
While we were in there an Air raid started, we were given the choice of going to the shelter or continue
watching the film. We decided we had paid for the pictures so we stayed, when we came out we found
that Woolworths was just a heap of burning rubble. All for the toss of a coin!!

As well as learning carpentry we had to dig trenches as air-raid shelters. I got blisters on my hands and
finished up in Hertford General Hospital with blood poisoning. One day we were watching a 'Dog-Fight!
A spitfire was shot down and the pilot bailed out. While he was hanging in his parachute a German plane
came and shot him down, another Spitfire pilot must have seen this, he followed the German plane
wherever he flew until suddenly there was a large puff of smoke, the German plane was no more.
I suppose the German pilot got the Iron Cross for his bravery.

I decided that carpentry was not for me and asked to go and work on a farm, I was sent to one In
Worcestershire. The farmer was such a bully that I reported him to the police. He got a dressing down
and I was taken to another farm. An elderly couple owned the farm with a forty-year-old son. I had never
felt so at home before, they were like good parents to me. It was here at Rock Cross near Kidderminster
that I had my first puppy love, her name was Iris. I didn't get far with her but we were always
good friends
.

R R.
1940-42

All images and text copyright to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

Page Compiled September 2005