Don McDouall's Story


My name is Don McDouall. I was one of the countless, who left their

homes forever that Friday, before the war started!

I was 4years old...going on 5. Having been separated from my kin, I

found myself billeted in the Village of East Hanney [then in

Berkshire.] I guess I was one of the less fortunate...I remember

hunger...cold...the continuous beatings.

I remember the day after V.E. day when I ran away once more... this

time to be returned to a `Home`. I remember the terrible 2 years I spent

in a home for the unwanted in Bourne End, Bucks.

I remember the L.C.C. officer who told me that I had no sisters alive, no

mother or father alive...when I was 14.

I remember the `ice-e-ness`I felt after waiting to go home after a long 10 years.


But I also remember a certain old man, who was my childhood

soulmate... I remember the `Cowslips`... The smell of the springtime

rain... The sound of a `Thrush`...The `red-throated Sticklebacks in

the village pond.


I also remember my childhood sweetheart! I`ve been gone now some

fifty years come next February. I live in Ongerup W.A., Australia.

Recently, I found that I still had 2 sisters and a brother, alive and

well in the U.K. So all 4 of us outlived most of our tormentors.

Perhaps I sound bitter? not really...I just hope history does

not keep repeating itself.

Regards, Dooly



My start in life...was not the best, evidently 'Dad' took off to the

Spanish civil war in '37 & was never heard of again.

I remember very little of my life up to 1.9.39.

I was evacuated with my eldest sister Esther...but the powers that

be, of that time...made sure I never ended up at the same place...Oh

no! I'm with another little kid in East Hanney...My sister is with

this kid's sister in much for keeping families together.

So I find myself living with an oldish couple. The man did his best to

protect me from his wife, but I guess he didn`t really want to 'rock

the boat' so I started a life of drudgery... getting hidings every

day for wetting the bed...being told each day I wasn't wanted...That

my mother was no good, & so on.

If I wasn't at school I was working, if not working, then we 2 kids

would search  the dust bins and gardens for something to eat.


So I grew up & soon learned to fend for myself.

I learnt quickly ..Not to get 'Too friendly' with grown men & women.

End result was sexual abuse. My Mum never came to see me...The war

ended .. I spent a few really nice months in the home know as

'Poundcroft' The matron was really kind...Then it was on to the

desolation of 'The Homestead' What a ridiculous name for such an

unfriendly place... There was more abuse, but you didn't get walloped

for bed wetting. I realized by now my Mum didn't want me.

I was billeted back in East Hanney.. My tormentor was now dead.

After running away a few more times.. My 'welfare officer' told me I

was wasting my time looking for my family...They were all dead.

I met a wonderful girl when I was 16 years old...Came out to Australia

at age 17. Hoping to make my fortune, go back & live happily ever

after... but it was not to be.

My youngest sister June, was in an orphanage until she was 7 years

old, then was billeted out... she too copped the lot as it were.

Esther was lucky, she had nice foster parents.

So the three of us wandered through our lives thinking the others

were dead. By sheer luck [another story] we stumbled on each other

back in late `98.

I have written a book on my childhood... published it

myself...perhaps one day it will be read by many.

Regards Dooly



I`ve very fond memories of Pommy Fish`an chips.

I can't recollect much about these establishments while the war was

on...never went anywhere much, or had any money...But! after I left

school in`49 us young louts would  get on the bus to Wantage & first

stand in the queue at the picture show...afterwoods it was ... Go &

stand in another queue that eventually lead you into the vinegar

soaked atmosphere of the `Fish`n`chip shop...Your tanner would get

you a lump of some marine animal [what it really was gawd knows]

& a great steaming mess of chips...all wrapped up in hot greasy

newspaper... there was salt & vinegar everywhere...

But it was heaven to eat it all while hopping from one foot to the

other, trying to get frozen toes to come to life again, while you stood

in another queue ... waiting for the bus home.

Yeh, I know such food wasn`t good for `ee`... but I still `drool`

remembering the smells & tastes.

Incidentally, I found out that the same shop 50 years later still sell

fish`n`chips ... It was famous with the Yanks from `Grove` airstrip

during the war & is now a tourist attraction for Yankee veterans visiting the UK.


Regards Dooly.


G`day. Gerry and the rest of you‚

I have just come in from our garden‚ so thought I would share it with


Tis mid spring in this small part of the world‚ a wonderful day, the

sun is shining‚ a balmy 23C

Both of our apple trees are in full blossom ‚[I`ll be with you in

apple blossom time] Bright green leaves have displaced the dainty

creamy flowers on our two baby pear trees‚ the Peach & Nectarine

trees are flush with their new leaves.


A row of tomato plants look dark green, against the backdrop of

mulch‚ the mulch that makes possible a garden in this arid zone.

Alongside growing vigorously is a row of {yucky] Parsnips that I

grow for a dear friend of ours.

The lush greenery of the carrot patch that served us so well during

the winter, is now showing signs of bolting to seed‚ as so is the

self-sown `Silver Beet`.

Leeks, Onions, shallots & garlic fight each other for room to grow‚

they are all muddled up, as the seed looks so alike‚ so it all gets

sowed together.

The Russian Comfrey has reappeared beneath the fruit trees‚ about the

only place it likes to grow.

My, how our ducks love Comfrey.


We have seven very stupid ducks. Just put a different hat on & they

all go berserk‚ They live in their pen, beneath the `banana` Passion

fruit vine‚ never roaming, because they just will not keep out of the

gold fishpond‚ If they did roam it would be goodbye fishes & the only

frogs for miles around.

Five bantams keep the garden free of insect pests‚ you need to be a

very brave little `earwig` [or a very silly one] to go walkabout in

front of these fellows.

Out the front is the flower garden‚ everything is muddled up. At the

gateway is a mass of white flowered rambling rose that started off

as a hybrid. A dark red... tea rose‚ I guess the rootstock took over,

now it's over 12 ft. from the ground climbing up a cypress tree. We

have a stately Norfolk Island pine that five years ago was a sad

little pot bound Xmas tree‚ It's now 20 ft. tall. There's a mulberry

tree hanging over the front fishpond, its buds about to burst. Under

the eaves is my wife's cherished banana tree. It never has bananas, &

has to live where it lives because of the frosts. But, as she is a hot

house girl [comes from Indonesia] it reminds her of home, as do the

water Iris & the ginger plant growing beneath an immature fan palm‚

My Pommy contribution is the Convulvulas [wet the bed] that goes

complete mad each summer.

The Budleah bush. That reminds me of the English butterflies of the

`40`s‚ & my most cherished plant, my Elderberry tree‚ don't laugh, it

maybe a weed elsewhere, but here its most pampered & very difficult

to grow. A Guava tree produces fruit that we share with the parrots;

there's a lemon that remains loaded all year round. A Loquat tree

that has fruit on it, for the first time. Beneath all these, are

plants covered in multi coloured flowers & leaves.

Geraniums, Fushies, & a variety of WA native plants help to turn our

garden into an English copse‚

[There's even a Walnut` tree‚ not that its growing very well] or an

Indonesian jungle, depending whose eyes are used.

There are three frog species‚ at least four resident `Bob tailed`

lizards. The noisy `Wattle` bird‚ The cheeky `28` parrot & two

different `honey eaters are permanent residents‚ Then there are


Each morning two `Galahs` appear to help eat the ducks breakfast‚

Prior to this, usually before I'm up.

A crow has stolen an egg. A stately Heron comes to check out the fish

& frogs about once a month.

Two `Shriekers` [Currawongs] pay a visit, looking for spiders‚ they

love the fruit of ornamental chilli

When we came here [6 years ago] our aim was a small  `Rain forest`‚ we

achieved that.

We have very little water‚ so its mulch, mulch, mulch.

So there you have it‚ It's Ongerup.... 12 thousand miles away from the

troubles of this other world.

My wife is of the Islamic Faith [Yes the religion is Islam‚ not

Muslim] I am a Christian‚ we get on fine together‚ So can the rest

of us, if they really want to‚

Regards Dooly.




Updated 10/22/2001