Jo Chesterman

Recollections of evacuation to Oxtead and air raids in Peckham.

Evacuation to Oxtead

When war broke out on 3rd September 1939 Jo lived in Peckham Rye with her mother, father and siblings. She was evacuated with her sister on 1st September to Oxtead. The family were not well off and Jo does not recall taking any spare clothes with her, although they took a tin of corned beef, biscuits and their gas masks. They were billeted at a farmhouse and slept in an old wash house where the boiler was installed. When their mother visited she was concerned about the unhealthy environment. Jo and her sister were moved to an alternative billet, where they stayed with a husband and wife and their children. Jo’s mother felt uncomfortable when she discovered that the husband was ‘very touchy feely to the girls’, and shortly afterwards they returned to Peckham.

Loss

One of Jo’s sisters served in the ATS and frequently sang for the troops. Jo and her mother moved to Halstead, where her sister was based as Jo’s mother enjoyed attending the concerts. Whilst away the family home in Peckham was bombed. Jo’s father and brother had both been killed. They returned home to London, where Jo experienced the heavy bombing which destroyed the docks – ‘It was terrible; it is hard to experience the feeling of cold, witnessing the devastation was terrible, flames everywhere for miles around.’

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Letter written by Jo Chesterman
Letter written by Jo Chesterman (32k)
To read more about Jo's wartime experiences please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 22/05/2012.

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