Edward Garnett

Evacuation

Edward Garnett talks about evacuation.

'I never heard the bang'

Edward Garnett recalls the night the family's house was bombed.

Recollections of evacuation, schooling and air raids.

Evacuation

In September 1939 Edward was nine years old and living with his mother and father in Barnes. On the day war was declared Edward was evacuated to Windsor. As little happened during the first few months of the war he did not stay in Windsor for long; by Christmas Edward was back with his family. Despite the short period of evacuation he still recalls the process of billeting:

‘I’ve heard people say it’s like a cattle market, you get to Windsor station you are all herded together, and all the locals walk round and select who they want to take home. The teacher I went with, I knew her well after school,...and she said there’s one lady there picking out all the big girls. So we said 'Well, why?' Well, she ran the local brothel apparently!’   

A disrupted education

Once aerial bombardment began in 1940 Edward’s everyday life quickly became affected. The air raids, for example, caused disruption to his education:

 ‘My schooldays were not very good because [by the] time we got to school and get started the air raid sirens [would] go, and...we always went downstairs to what they called the air raid shelter and we spent many, many hours down there.’

'I never heard the bang'

'We were laying there and the air raid warning went and I had a feeling... I didn’t want to stay there. I eventually got my parents and we all went down into the shop to enter the cupboard. Well, I never heard the bang but the whole blast went right through the house.’

In February 1944 the family’s house was damaged in an air raid. Edward was in the house with his parents at the time:

‘We were in bed. We lived above the shop...[and] our only air raid shelter was a cupboard under the stairs... We were laying there and the air raid warning went and I had a feeling I didn’t want to stay there. I didn’t want to stay there. I eventually got my parents and we all went down into the shop to enter the cupboard. Well, I never heard the bang but the whole blast went right through the house.’

The noise

Subsequently the family went to live with Edward’s aunt in Putney. When the bombing once again intensified during the summer of 1944, Edward left London with his aunt and two cousins to stay with another aunt in Norfolk. But the air raids were never far away: ‘you could hear what you’d take to be rockets falling then, they weren’t all that near but they made such a noise that, you know, it impressed upon you what they were’. Edward remained in Norfolk until the bombing of London eased towards the end of the war.

Downloads

Interview with Edward Garnett
Interview with Edward Garnett (210k)
To read the full transcript of Edward's interview please press the above link.

Evacuation
Evacuation (31k)
Transcript of audio clip with Edward Garnett.

'I never heard the bang'
'I never heard the bang' (31k)
Transcript of audio clip with Edward Garnett.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 29/02/2012.

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