By Myra Allen
My name is Myra Allen, and I was born in South London and er we were bombed out right, the night that the Docks were bombed, you know. It was like at the beginning of it all and er, our house was destroyed, or what wasn’t destroyed by the fire was then destroyed by the water. And er we were evacuated, I was too young to go away on my own, my sister went away on her own, but I went with my mother to a place, little place, village called Brixworth, just outside Northampton. And, er and then my father managed, actually he did come as well because he worked for a company that evacuated to Northampton so he was with us for a while until he was called up, and he went away into the Army.
And er, I lived there until ’46, ’47 you know by the time everybody, it was all cleared up and everything, so I remembered nothing about London at all and er I’d been used to the country as you were saying, you know, cows and farm and hayricks and people coming round with the cart with the milk and you took your jug out and all that sort of thing. And, er, I can remember when I came back to London that I just couldn’t believe what it was like because I had no memory of it at all. You know it just seemed so crowded, so busy. I was used to playing out in the street, well I know, um, in sort of the late 40s in some streets in London you could but the road where I lived you couldn’t because, it was you know, it had traffic. And I can remember when I was evacuated we had, we all used to play with a skipping rope right across the road, you know, where you all kept skipping in, and skipping out, all that sort of thing, and I remember I found it really hard when we came back.
But one of my strongest memories was, when I was evacuated, and my cousin was going out with a chap who was in the RAF, and he came home on leave and he bought me a banana and I had never ever seen a banana. You know, and I can remember, you know you had those colouring books, you know the yellow…… banana. I can remember someone saying do you know what this is and me saying it’s a b-a-n-a-n-a. and you just can’t imagine not having all those things can you. And then there was all the rationing, as well, which when we were evacuated we were better off than when we came back to London because of the farms, and they grew their own stuff and everything. It was quite hard.
And then my next biggest memory was when sweets came off ration. And I can remember wine gums was the first things to come off ration. It was about 1951 or something, or ’52. I remember rushing down to the sweet shop and buying Rowntree’s Fruit Gums you know, and er things like that. Really, so I, my sister, she took the London exam that you were talking about and she passed, but she, the um, Notre Dame Girls School was evacuated to Northampton so they took her because she passed the London exam.
But when the war finished, as soon as it finished, they came back to London, and because we weren’t Catholic they wouldn’t let her stay at the school. So they went back and then she was like, abandoned, you know. She came back a bit earlier than us and lived with a relation and went to a grammar school in London.
But I thought that was a really awful thing to do. Because in fact the area where Notre Dame was, was quite near where all our relations lived, so she could have come back and lived with this aunt, and gone to the school, but they said no, she wasn’t a catholic so she couldn’t stay. That was it really.