Audrey von Lindern's Story


Hallo Gerry and all, What a small world, I was born and lived,

until I came to America, at the bottom of Cassland Rd, Hackney

was evacuated sept. 1st. 1939 From Balance Rd. Catholic (convent) school.

There was a little row of shops on the 'hill' at the bottom of Cassland Rd.,

towards Wick Rd. before the blitz, my grandfather had a barber shop there.

The school was evacuated to Northhampton, as there was a convent there to take the girls,

I never saw them again. Gerry you must have lived very close to where the first

Buzz bomb fell, do you remember it? I do. I worked, for a short time, at "Little Toddlers "

shoe factory, in King Edwards Rd., as a telephonist (is that a word?)

Ended up working at the Hackney library in Mare St.

On Sept. 1st. Last year, as an E.R.A. member, I attended the 60th anniversary reunion at

Westminster Abby, it was time the 'children 'came home,so about six thousand

of us made the return journey.

It is said the evacuation affected 3.1/2 million children, it seemed there was that many

on my train that day, trying to get a drink of water from the lone St.Johns

Ambulance man's canteen, remember NO DRINKS? No 'lavs' on the train!

I came to southern Idaho to visit a Yank I had met in London, only meant to stay a week or so,

but married, had three children, widowed 1968, stayed, to raise the kids.

Still 'long for' London (as it was!). Very nice to have someone to

remember with, Thank you.

Audrey von Lindern (nee Fowler).



After I left school (at age 14) my mother decided I should learn

how to type, so I could get a good job.

On one of her Saturday morning trips to Roman Road market,

she bought me a used typewriter. It was a 1895 Blickensderfer,

I think it's the first portable model made, in a wooden case,

no QWERTY keyboard, a tiny inked pad, with a cylinder with

the letters on (I still have it !); hence, I never learned to type.

I loved going to the 'Lane,' do you remember Prince Monolulu?

He was always there, touting, then you'd see him

trying to get on the Underground with that enormous

bunch of flags he always carried.




I was nine when our school was evacuated to Northhampton. My mother

volunteered to accompany a group of children, thinking we would end up in the

same place, but she got lost on the station, and was sent to help with a group

of mothers with babies, and ended up in Tur Langton, Liecestershire, at the

Manor house! So as soon as possible she came for me, and found me a billet

with a local family. She soon found out she wouldn't be staying in the manor,

The "housing' was bl--dy awful, and she went back to Hackney. My sister, nine

years older, always remembers the 'chicken in the oven' left in my mother's

haste to catch up with me, she said it was quite ripe by the time she found

it..... All for now.....Audrey.



I attened the Evacuee's re-union in London Sept.1st '99. there wasn't a dry eye in the

Abby when a recording of 'Goodnight children everywhere'was played. About 6000

evacuees were there, some with a gas mask, one man had his small cardboard

suitcase, he said it had cost sixpence in Woolworths. There is a video,

through E.R.A.. it is all outside shots, nothing from inside the Abby,we all

lined up and followed directions, just as before...



 My cousin Stanley , at age 5, was evacuated to British Columbia

Canada, and came back at age 11, and  after a couple of years in post

war London, the family decided to move to Canada, back to where

Stanley had spent the past 6 years. The main reason I came to Idaho

USA , in 1948, to see if I wanted to move here, was the fact that my

Uncle Fred and family were what I thought , right next door.!!!!And

if I wanted to leave I could just get on a bus, and go to

Canada.         I had been writing to a YANK for 3 years that I

had met once, in London at age 15, and when I told him we were

thinking of moving to Australia. and, he sent me a one way ticket to

fly to Idaho, to see if I liked it here...After we married, and I was

having my first baby, I realized I would be happier almost any where

else in the world, but the bus didn't go by the door, as it had in

London, and Uncle Fred had taken his family back to England anyway.

I never regretted marrying , but I cried every night for many many

years. I was so terribly homesick, and my husband felt his was his duty

to stay on the family farm, as his elder brother had been killed,

shot down over Holland, and his father wanted to retire....So we

were 'sharecroppers' for 20 years, until he was killed, and they sold

the farm. I had been away too long to go back, and my 3 children

wanted to stay here.... Audrey.

The house in Hackney where I was born and lived in until age 18, had

a front door that opened onto the street, with a passage running to

a flight of stairs on one side, a door to the front room on the

other, at the foot of the stairs another shorter passage ran past the

door to the kitchen, into the scullery, with an out side door to

the 'garden' and the loo. The front door had a letterbox/door

knocker, and we had a big key tied to a string, to be pulled out

through the letterbox, to unlock the door. My mother (who was Irish)

claimed that one night during an air raid (after a while  you just

stayed in bed, remember?) she said she felt someone sit on the bed

beside her, so she moved over,  away, close to the wall, when the

blast from a nearby bomb, blew out the window, and it landed where

she had been sleeping, then she said she heard a voice calling

her 'liebchin, (?) and saying she was safe' So we called him

Heinrich.  Every night at 9, in the kitchen, you would hear the key

rattle on the front door, the dog would growl and raise his hackles,

footsteps sounded down the passage, up the stairs and into that same

bedroom. After that, you could go out to the loo. I always wonder

what happened to Heinrich when they pulled those old houses down???? 



I knew my dreams of doing all the things my elder sister had done,

were never coming true... I was almost 10 when war was declared , I

was certain that my life was not going as I had hoped, I wanted to

join a cycling club and go to the Isle of on the teams

that ran in the park... go to school, and become more than a

machinist in an East End clothing factory. The park became an Ack-

Ack battery, later a prisoner-of war barracks. We were not allowed

near the beaches , which is a crime to any English child...and the

monthly sweet ration was used up the first time you went to the

pictures.....My childhood was stolen, ? Audrey

I was back in London whenever possible, only to be

sent away again when things heated up, six times or more, sometimes

alone, some with my mother, then back to Hackney. I never went to the

pictures as an evacuee, no picture palaces in provincial villages.

I don't know that the war made us stronger grown-ups; I do know

that it caused so many to leave England when it was over. I will be

a Londoner till the day I die, I cried every night for 20+years , I

was/am so homesick. I couldn't listen to "I'll take you home again

Kathleen" without sobbing.....I have a lot of guilt feelings about

leaving my family and homeland.....but I didn't know it was forever,

I only came to see 'if I liked it here' I am still trying. there's

no picture palace here either!!!!!Audrey





Revised 2/5/05