Evacuation - a Memory of Yarm.
On Friday two days before the Second World War broke out on the 3rd of September 1939 I was evacuated to Yarm. I was six years old and along with my sister Doreen and cousin Audrey we, with nearly all of the pupils at our school, (Alexandra Road in Gateshead) walked down to Bensham station and boarded a special train to Yarm. On arrival we all paraded in the town centre square to find out who we were to be looked after by, presumably until the end of the war. Me, my sister, and cousin were picked up and taken to a house not far away. I recall there was a tennis court in the garden but in a state of neglect. There was an apple tree also, to my delight. Next door was a butcher's shop and to my surprise a lad from our street (Leopold Street), Teddy Gladstone, was sitting on a high wall and shouted down "Giz an apple kidda" which I duly obliged. The good people in this house had a budgie which I let out of the cage but it didn't escape entirely. At bedtime I was sleeping next to this very heavy lady with my sister at the other side. I wet the bed and soaked this good lady. This led to us being given a free transfer the next day. We walked a short distance to another house where I remember seeing a young girl of about two years old with a mass of curly hair. On Monday we all went to the school which was adjacent to the River Dee (?). At the school dinner hall I was rapped over my knuckles by a very strict headmistress from the girls' section of our school back in Gateshead for using my knife and fork the wrong way. This was the last I can remember about the evacuation until the following day when my mother came with several others to pick us up and take us home. The bus was full of mothers and youngsters all singing "We are gannin back to bonny ould Gateshead four days after we set off from Bensham station".
I visited Yarm in 2007 but there was nothing apart from the square to remind me of the events all those years ago. A lot of the old houses appear to have been demolished and the school we attended for one day is no more. I, with my wife, called to the local library but there was very little information about the events in 1939. If that young girl from the second house we went to reads this article I hope she can contact me or indeed anyone else. It would be nice to meet people from Yarm who might be able to elaborate more about the events in the early stages of the second world war.
Les May, email: Lsmy59@aol.com
A memory shared by on Oct 14th, 2009. Send Les May a message
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