Sheffielder looks back at her wartime evacuee days
A Sheffield woman has been looking back to the day when she was evacuated as a little girl at the outbreak of the war.
Bernice Upton of Killamarsh, who recently shared pictures of performing as a young dancer and of her schooldays at St Matthias School (Retro, September 14), has uncovered this remarkable picture of her family being evacuated.
The photograph featured in The Star of September 1, 1939, under the headline ‘Leaving the city for safety’.
The report said that 20 special trains took children from Sheffield to Newark, Bingham, Ruddington, Quorn and Woodhouse, Loughborough and Kimberley.
The report said that children, the youngest accompanied by their mothers, “faced a new experience with courage and calmness.”
It added: “From the smallest to the largest the children walked happily in, loaded with their precious belongings.”
Some of the first children went from Denby Street and Broomhall nursery schools and Burgoyne Road Council School.
The reporter wrote of Bernice’s family: “I saw one mother carrying her seven-months-old baby in one arm, a heavy suitcase in another, shepherding along her three other children – all toddlers and two of them twins. These three toddlers were a pretty sight, all wearing pink pixie hats.
“The mother told me she felt she was doing the best thing in going.”
Bernice said the picture shows her dad Colin, mum Lilian, herself and twin sister Yvonne, younger sister Dacia and baby brother David.
She said: “I just remember going to this big house. This nice lady was there and she looked after us quite well, before we were brought back to Sheffield.”
Bernice’s dad worked in a wood yard and wasn’t fit for war service. She remembers that later in the war, when the children returned home to Pearl Street in Sharrow, her father had to pick up German prisoners of war from a camp on Crimicar Lane to take them to work and she met one or two.
She said: “They made us some toys for Christmas – dogs that you could pull along and a bat with chickens on and they pecked when you moved it.”