Betty Thomas's Story




Hi, My name is Betty Thomas (nee Woodgate) Thank you Gerry for your warm welcome. Yes. I was an evacuee from Marvels Lane Elementary School; Grove Park S.E. London.

The first so-called "safe" place that I can remember was at Folkestone. I along with my sister Barbara Woodgate was billeted at the (I think it was called) Victoria Hotel. I think there were a few more evacuees there as well, but I can't remember how many. The only name I can remember was a lad called Robert Mainwaring or Bobby Bingo as we called him.

Shortly after, Barbara and I were billeted along with four others to a Dr. Ernest Claxton, his wife Muriel and children Wendy, Nigel and Joy. The other evacuees were Betty and Kenny Gaine, Betty Horne, and a small girl whose name I can't recall. I do have a photo of us six.

My sister Barbara returned to London as she became of age to leave school. I was then reunited with my 2nd sister Pamela Woodgate who had been attending The Roan School for Girls at Greenwich and was evacuated with them to Bexhill-on-Sea. I joined her at her temporary home with a Mrs. Sigston and her four children. I can't remember any of their names, but have a photo.

From there we went to a Welsh village called Ammanford in South Wales. There, Pam and I were billeted with a Mr. and Mrs. Willliams and their two adult daughters; we weren't happy there at all with a few miserable memories. I was then taken to the home of a local stone mason, who also happened to be the billeting officer and have very happy memories of my stay with him (Mr. Tom Davies) his wife and daughter Meriel. They also had a Welsh Corgi called Shaun who gave me a lot of love and comfort. I can't remember the name of the family who took my sister in, but I think she was happy. One particular friend I had there was a Gwen Matthews who I think came from St. John's Wood in London. We made friends with two local lads one was Hugo Bailey and the other Winston Morris.

Kind regards Betty Thomas. (Mrs.)