Yvonne Stuckey

Photo:'VE' party in May 1945.

'VE' party in May 1945.

Yvonne Stuckey

Photo:Yvonne and her children in 2011.

Yvonne and her children in 2011.

Yvonne Stuckey

Wartime memories of evacuation to Brighton and doodlebugs in Croydon.

Preparations for war

When war was declared on September 3rd 1939 Yvonne Stuckey was eight years old. She lived in Croydon with her family, but was on holiday in Clacton with her mother, visiting family when the announcement was made. Her mother wanted to return home instantly but her Nan refused. Instead they stayed in Clacton, helping the soldiers to make sandbags.  Yvonne felt that the preparations for war were very exciting, particularly when she saw the barbed wire put up on the beaches. As she was very young she was not afraid of war – she simply accepted it and continued with her daily routine.

Yvonne’s father had served during the First World War and was too old to be called up. When the war broke out he worked at Covent Garden, dealing in the foreign fruit trade.  As imports of fruit stopped, he was unable to continue in this line of business and subsequently found alternative employment working for the Civil Defence.

The horrors of war

Yvonne’s father did not agree with the war – a sentiment that she shared with him. He took her to Crystal Palace, close to where he worked, to show her the devastating results of a raid, and she recalls going with him to Hackney after a raid to ensure that her grandmother was safe. The houses were still alight and her father encouraged her never to forget the sight – the horror of the trenches during the First World War had taught him that ‘wars achieve nothing except misery and death’. Yvonne’s uncle had also been killed during the First World War aged 19, although her mother did not tell her about this until many years later.

Evacuation to Brighton

Initially Yvonne’s mother stayed at home to care for the family, although in the latter stages of the war she taught at a school. In September 1940 Yvonne and her mother were evacuated by train to Brighton. They were billeted with an ‘awful lady’, whose house was dirty and she swore at them for complaining. Eventually they were moved to stay with a lady in Preston Park who was well off and had servants. Yvonne returned home after six months – her mother had decided that the family should no longer be separated. When her school was evacuated to Barnstaple she did not go with them. In later years she returned to Preston Park with her son.

Assisting the war effort

Whilst at home, Yvonne recalls contributing to the war effort with her brother and neighbours, searching for bodies after the raids – fortunately they did not discover any. On one occasion she sheltered in the Underground and enjoyed it as it was like a party. She also vividly remembers the noise of the doodlebugs – this has affected her as she is still frightened when she hears aeroplanes and thunder at night. The family home was also damaged by a doodlebug during a raid.   

Downloads

Letter written by Yvonne Stuckey.
Letter written by Yvonne Stuckey. (59k)
To read more about Yvonne's wartime experience please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 14/03/2012.

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