Brenda Aldridge's early memories of Wartime Britain.

Evacuated to Baldock in Hertfordshire from Eastbourne

By Brenda Aldridge

Photo:About 1939 in Eastbourne just before evacuation. L-R: Joan, Brenda, Mum, Roy.

About 1939 in Eastbourne just before evacuation. L-R: Joan, Brenda, Mum, Roy.

Photo from the Heritage Plus archive.

Photo:School class in Baldock about 1941. Jacqueline is centre of the second row and I am at the right end.

School class in Baldock about 1941. Jacqueline is centre of the second row and I am at the right end.

Photo from the Heritage Plus archive

My name is Brenda Aldridge (nee Winbourne) and I was born in 1936, so when the war started I was three years old.
We lived in Eastbourne in Fitzmaurice Avenue. When the war started my parents took in an evacuee from London named Joan and she was about 14 years old and she stayed with us until we were evacuated. My parents kept in contact with her, she now lives in California, U.S.A. and I still write to her.

I had one brother Roy, who was seven years old and he was evacuated to Baldock, Herts, with the school, and he was billeted with Mr & Mrs Whittle. When the bombing started in Eastbourne, Dad said Mum and myself also had to go to Baldock. He stayed in Eastbourne and worked for the Electricity Board.

We also stayed with Mr & Mrs Whittle. They had a daughter Honor and a son in the forces so the three of us had his bedroom. They were kind to us. They bought yellow chicks at the market so we had eggs and meat. We went fruit picking for the farmer and also cleaning for food for the chickens. I had a quarter lb of sweets for the week and was told I could have bread and butter or bread and jam but could not have both.

I started school in a church room and we had a table and chair and a small mat to sit on. We had an open fire with a guard round. It was a small class and the teachers name was Miss Peacock. I made friends with Jacqueline Houghton (nee Sole) and we are still friends 70 years later. On the way to school we had to cross the main road and often saw large convoys of Army lorries. We had to carry gas masks in a box across our shoulder, I hated gas mask drill as we had to wear them.

In Eastbourne a plane tried to bomb the Destructor Works which had tall chimneys in St Philips Avenue. It missed and the bomb hit the garages between St Philips and Fitzmaurice Avenue and the backs of the houses were damaged including my parents house. Being so young I did not realise the danger of war.

One day my mum said the Germans were on the retreat and we were getting the train back to Eastbourne. My Dad was almost a stranger to me as we did not see him very often. I rushed with my brother to go and see the sea but could not get near because of the barbed wire. My brother would remember more than me but he died in 2007.

This page was added by John Cheves on 30/03/2010.
Comments about this page

Has anyone got a photo of the Eastbourne Destructor Works please? I have been trying to get one for ages.

By Lloyd Brunt
On 14/04/2011

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