|Article supplied by Frances Anderson (nee Muir) presented by Margaret Craddock
George James Muir (Snowey) married Mona May Durling in 1932. They lived in Whyteleafe,
My mother’s father came to live with us. We had an ‘Anderson’ shelter built in the back garden which basically contained a mattress, tinned food, water, candles, matches, baby nappies and, of course, the necessary air raid masks. When the sirens sounded we would all rush to the shelter and lay there listening to the bombings. I can remember one bomb hitting a house across the road. The house was demolished and burned for what seemed to be ages. Since my mother was a warden, when she would have to leave the shelter, Grandad would care for us three children. He would sing to us and tell us stories, which I remember to this day.
My Mother’s responsibilities as a warden were varied, but mostly making sure that the elderly people in the neighbourhood were safe and that all curtains were pulled. It was always very important that no lights be seen during a raid. On many occasions when Mum had made her rounds she would join us in the shelter to get some sleep, even when the sirens had sounded “all clear”.
The bombings were getting more frequent and plans to evacuate children to the country became essential. The Police came door-to-door and said that all children had to be moved with or without parents. Mum hired a lorry and driver and we took essential items with us such as mattresses, kitchen items, a baby crib and a bedroom set. Thank goodness that Granddad was there to help.
Burton Latimer seemed to be the only place to go because we had family there. My Grandmother was one of the ten daughters born to Mr & Mrs Miller who were well- known there. I still have pictures of him in his horse and cart and some of his daughters. Edward and Mary Ann Miller had 10 daughters who were born in Burton Latimer, Leicester,
Upon arriving at Burton Latimer, we went from relative to relative to ask if they could put us up temporarily, but no one had “any room at the
We stayed with the Moisey’s for about nine months and Ramona (Rona) and I went to the
There were quite a few families who had been evacuated to Burton Latimer. I can only recall a few Mr & Mrs Phipp and children. ( I went to school with one son, Ray, who many years later died in a car crash with several other young men from
** (Below right) William and Jane O’Neil with three of their children They had five children, Frances, Jimmy, Ted, June and Maureen. They lived in Station Road, Burton Latimer. Jane is another sister of Mona Muir.
It was sad that the evacuee children had to deal with a lot of teasing and mockery. It seemed that we invented “fleas” and “scabies” and we were dirty and spoke funny (if you came from the
Everyone was entitled to a ration book and I can remember standing in line at Mabel Piper’s shop to buy Turkish cigarettes for Mum. When my sister, Valerie, was born we went to the Red Cross shop in
Around 1943 or so there was a camp for US soldiers and lots of them would go by “Elmsdale” on their bicycles. When Mum saw them coming she would shout to the three older girls to stand at the front gate and we would chant “Any Gum Chum”. The soldiers would always give us gum and sweets. When the camp was dispersed, we woke up to a gift box full of gum, lemon drops, pear drops and chocolate. Oh, what a delight!
We used to have Italian Prisoners of War working on the farms, especially on the hedgerows. On our long walk home from school we would be given willow baskets which they had made and when they showed us pictures of their children in