Cynthia’s Diary – Story of Evacuation from London, Page 1

As I walked along Lavender Hill on that August night, to me, a child of 14, the atmosphere seemed to be filled with tension.  Workmen were busy painting the edges of the side-walks with bright white paint (ready for the great black-out).  Being a very romantic and imaginative young girl, it all seemed very exciting.  A year before everyone had thought there would be a war, and the first thing the authorities did, was to issue everyone with gas masks.  Thank goodness we never had to wear them, as they were the most horrible suffocating contraptions.  They had also had a trial black-out, and my Mother and myself groped our way to Clapham Common to watch the troops work a search-light back and forth in the sky.  One day I volunteered to be a casualty in a mock air-raid.  The attendants tied labels round our necks, and the next thing I was lying on a stretcher, feeling very foolish.  We were all hoisted into ambulances, that were more like tin boxes without any springs and proceeded on a ride around Clapham Common, after an exceedingly bumpy, rattling ride we arrived back where we started from, rather shaken up I’m afraid.

On September 1st, we were told to report to the school playground, I with my young sister Wendy, who was only 3 years old.  My teacher had assured my Mother that his wife would take good care of Wendy.  The great evacuation from London was on.  Labels with our names and addresses were tied on us, and we proceeded to walk to the station.  Photographers were all over the place, and although I felt very excited, I felt a pang of regret; no one knew where we were going.

We finally got in a train at Clapham Junction, and were taken into the beautiful English Countryside, where-upon we were all herded into buses, and finally arrived at our destination, which in our case turned out to be a small hamlet in Surrey, named Alfold.  In the little village school, each child was given a bag, containing an apple, orange, chocolate etc.  After a few formalities, a local

Written by Cynthia Edwards Dowdall
Evacuees arrived here to be sent to their billets