Elizabeth Bissett

Recollections of life on the Home Front and evacuation.

A 'war wound'

Elizabeth was a young girl during the war and lived with her family in Molesey, Surrey. Before the family had an air raid shelter of their own, they had to seek cover in the neighbour’s Anderson shelter. One night, on her way to the shelter Elizabeth fell over the fence and a piece of metal injured her knee. Elizabeth refers to the injury as her ‘war wound’.  

The dangers of war

Elizabeth recalls experiencing the dangers of war. On one occasion n her way to school accompanied by her two sisters, the siblings suddenly ‘heard this drooing noise and we looked up and we saw this massive big black planes in the air...no siren had gone, just these big planes flying over and then the sirens went’. Told by their parents to seek shelter if caught in a raid, the siblings started running but Elizabeth lost her sisters and she hurried to the nearest house. She began knocking on the door of a house from which she could hear music but the house was empty. Eventually the lady next door came out and took Elizabeth inside. Although Elizabeth could not remember the music as a child, ‘it was years later that I heard that music and it stayed with me forever, ‘Clair de lune’.

Evacuation

Eventually Elizabeth was evacuated with her sisters and other children from the neighbourhood to Shropshire, where she stayed for about a year. Although the children were billeted on a farm, Elizabeth recalls that they were always hungry. One day Elizabeth was sent to collect some bread from the bakers in town, ‘on the way home I was so hungry and I thought she won’t know if I took a little bit of bread...But by the time I got home I had eaten the whole inside of it and left the shell. I got beaten with a wooden coat hanger’.

Returning home, her family situation changed as her parents had split up. As her mother was working, the children were sent to their grandmother in Hampton, Middlesex, where they remained for the duration of the war.  

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 08/06/2012.

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