Eric Warren

Wartime memories of evacuation

Evacuation and bombing at home

When war broke out in 1939 Eric lived with his family in Brockley. Aged seven, he was evacuated with his mother, both of his brothers and his aunt to stay with a family friend in Longfield, Kent. They travelled to Longfield in a lorry – unfortunately when they arrived at their destination they were informed that the Evacuation Officer had filled their intended billet with other evacuees. Eric returned home in the lorry during a thunderstorm and recalls feeling frightened. Shortly afterwards he was evacuated to Oxstead, close to the airfield at Biggin Hill. When heavy air raids began to target the area he was relocated to Brixham in Devon. Unfortunately this coincided with the outbreak of the raids at Brixham Port – Eric returned to London at the end of 1940, just as the Blitz began. He remained in London for a few months until his home was damaged by a bomb which landed close by and blew the door from its hinges.

Re-evacuation

Subsequently Eric was re-evacuated with his friend who lived in New Cross, to stay with an elderly fisherman and his daughter – when she joined the Land Army it was decided by the Evacuation Officer that the fisherman would not be able to care for both boys without the support of his daughter. They were moved to a hostel but did not enjoy sharing their dormitory with girls! They decided to return to stay with the fisherman – one night they crept away from the hostel, taking their ration books and kit bags with them. They told the fisherman that they had been given permission to return to their former billet, although in reality the hostel did not know where Eric and his friend were for a significant period of time. The boys enjoyed fishing with their host and on occasion they would steal the fish which they caught and ‘flog them’. Eventually they were tracked down by the authorities and were sent to stay at another billet. Eric was evacuated until 1944.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 17/04/2012.

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