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Evacuated From South London To Kent

By Daphne Roma Thompson (nee Crawford)

I was eleven and my sister Jean Crawford was nine. We were living in Plumstead.
We are told there is going to be a war; many children from Ancona Road School, Plumstead, where we lived, are going to be cared for somewhere safe. We were fitted with a gas mask and told to carry it at all times.

In the summer of 1939 we set off by steam train from Plumstead Station. We'd never been on a steam train before, or even far from our homes; we were excited; it seemed like an adventure; we didn't even know where we were going. We arrived at Paddock Wood station; it seemed miles from home.

Ushered by teachers to the village church we assembled, collected emergency rations and waited to be allocated to our homes. Ours was eventually Rose Cottage on Overy Farm with our foster parents and their daughters, Irene and Margaret. We soon became accepted as part of their family. Little did we know that we would be there for five years.

Rose cottage was surrounded by countryside, hop fields, orchards and farm animals; wonderful, since this was something we only read about. There were no buses or trams and chickens laid eggs!

I loved the country life; our foster parents, Constance and George Farley, were so kind and we felt at home. I shall never forget my experience of the war. I am still in touch with Irene Farley. We still reminisce; life was both happy and sad.

This story was submitted by Helena Noifeld on behalf of Daphne Roma Thompson (nee Crawford)

'WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar'

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