Tom Hatchett"™s time as an evacuee during the Second World War.
A glimpse into the time of a child evacuee during the Second World War
OnTuesday, 15th September, 2015, being the third Tuesday in the month, meant we were to be entertained by one of our own members, and it was Tom Hatchett’s turn and he reminisced about his time as an evacuee during the Second World War. Tom was eight years old when the war began and he remembers attending North Denes School for air-raid practice. On the 2nd June 1940, just before his ninth birthday, Tom, among many other pupils, attended the School ready to board buses to places of safety. The buses took them to the railway station where they boarded trains for a journey lasting eight and a half hours to Barnby Moor in Nottinghamshire. On arrival they waited at the station until collected by the family who would be looking after them. Tom and his brother found themselves the last to be allocated and they were feeling rather unwanted and worried but it turned out that the driver who had been delivering the pupils to their temporary homes was in fact the person who was to be caring for them at his house. One of the first things the boys needed to do was to get their heads round the “new language”, the regional accent. It was at this time that Tom learned some swear words from the locals, including gypsies. In May 1941 Tom’s parents paid a visit when they introduced a new baby in the family. Before Christmas 1941 Tom’s father had work at Bude and the boys joined the family there. They had a mile and a half walk to school every day. At Easter 1942 Tom learned that he had won a place at Bude Grammar School. The family were coming back home and Tom’s place was transferred to Great Yarmouth Grammar School but by this time the School had been evacuated to Retford, which meant another move and for the next two years Tom lived with, and was made very welcome by, a family with two boys and he remained with them until repatriated to Great Yarmouth at the end of 1944. Looking back at his time as an evacuee Tom stated that he really enjoyed that period and appreciated later that he was lucky to have been housed by such welcoming and caring foster parents. Tom was thanked by President Elect, Diana Loveland, and we all agreed that Tom had painted a picture recognised by many of our members who were in a similar position during the war years.