Evacuated in WW2
Many people still recall the time during WW2 when they were evacuated to parts of the country that were deemed to be safe from bombing. Bill Clark is one such person and he was recently in contact with me and we spoke of research work that is being done on this subject, and also of the article I printed in the Forest Town Crier Community Newspaper in June 2006. On learning of the ‘ourmansfieldandarea’ web site Bill was enthusiastic for the article to be republished.
From the Forest Town Crier June 2006
The phone rang, ‘Hello Pauline this is Jack from the British Legion, I have just been to a meeting with other representatives from various parts of the country and met a gentleman who was evacuated with his brother to Forest Town. Would you like to contact him?” From there the following story unfolded
In May 1940 British service families were evacuated from Malta, Bill Clark, his brothers and mother were one such family. Within a few days they had arrived in Liverpool and were on their way to stay with relatives in Sussex. In April 1941 Bill and his brother Alf found themselves being evacuated again, this time to Forest Town.
Worthing to Forest Town
Bill says ‘I vaguely remember the coach at Worthing taking us away, possibly to the train station at Worthing. I probably remember because I dropped and lost forever my 2/6d going away money. I believe we spent the night in a Hall (possibly the school) and waited for ‘the selection’.
I am confused about where we stayed as I thought that initially my brother Alf and I were together but quickly moved and separated. My mother thought it was because the lady had been called up, but having evacuees in the house actually prevented call up.
Alf went to a home where there was already a child and a connection with the ARP (Air Raid Warden). My new home had a connection with an allotment where I used to help out, or loaf around.
I remember the park and the railway embankment, with the long line of coal trains labouring up the incline. I certainly remember romping around the Sherwood Forest and running into marsh land.
I do have a memory of being with my brother and a gang scrumping apples. As the youngest member I was placed by a wall on lookout, however I failed to spot a gentleman who claimed to be a policeman, he gathered all the children and lambasted them verbally. He had failed to spot me, and I remained behind the wall listening to the gang being frightened out of their wits.
We had teachers from Worthing who used to keep in contact with our parents and send reports of our general well-being. I believe we remained in [Forest Town] Mansfield for about a year before returning to Sussex’.
EXTRA INFORMATION I AM NOW ADDING TO THE ABOVE ARTICLE
The Forest Town School Infants Admission Register lists evacuated from Worthing being admitted to the school on the 1st April 1941, among them are both Bill and his brother Alfred who are shown as staying with Mrs Brotherhood at 56 Newlands Road. In September some of the children were moved up to the Mixed Department of the school, these included Bill and Alfred Clark.
The school Log Books contain a number of entries relating to Worthing ie. below are some examples from 1941 & 1943.
19th and 20th March 1941 – The school was closed these two days owing to the evacuation of children from Worthing. Teachers were engaged both days with the reception and billeting of these children. 135 children of ages ranging from 5 to 12 were received and billeted. [Forest Town may have been a ‘receiving centre’ and It is possible some of these children were billeted around the Mansfield area]
28th March 1941 W Golby visited the school in the afternoon to discuss the accommodation of the evacuees and the problems arising from evacuation.
1st April 1941 67 Worthing children who have been evacuated to Forest Town under the Government evacuation scheme were officially admitted to the school today. They were merged with our own children and to provide the additional accommodation necessary the woodwork room was cleared of benches etc and desks put in. At present there are four Worthing Teachers with the children viz; Miss Powell, Miss Bateman, Miss Allman & Mrs Babbage.
8th December 1944 – The Worthing children evacuated 1941 returned home today along with Miss Allman the Worthing teacher attached to this staff