Bill Sharp's Story
I was evacuated to Caernarvon, North Wales and being a
typical 'scouse' was looked upon as trash. We didn't really get on very
well, the Welsh and us, and it wasn't too long after our arrival that
most of the kids pleaded to be sent back home. Quite a few of the older
ones hitchhiked back to Liverpool.
My sister and I were split up and placed in different billets.
I was billeted with two old spinsters (both clergyman's daughters)
who were fanatics over punctuality and other things.
I remember their reporting me to my teacher on my not getting
home for lunch one time, and I received six strokes of the cane for it.
Anyway they had me re-billeted, this time with a widow over 70 years old
who also had a lodger and I was made to share the same bed as he. He was
all right but stank of pipe smoke! He used to take me out on walks every
Sunday to visit farms and pals of his and all the time he was
enlightening me on the countryside, and pointing out things I'd never
seen in my life. Coming from where I did, I'd never seen an apple tree or
such. We'd pick wild mushrooms, blackberries, watercress etc., and he
always managed to scrounge a few eggs from his pals to take home. He was
a real nice old guy, and he showed me a lot about the outdoors. The old
lady, a Mrs. Morris, had a son who lived in Canada on Danforth Ave,
Toronto, that's all I can remember of his address. He used to send me
the Toronto paper with all the funnies plus some Hershy bars and stick
chewing gum which I'd never seen before in my life.
Anyway, my teacher informed me one day when I was eleven years old
that he'd put my name forward at W.H. Smith & Sons to replace a newspaper
delivery boy who had left school and was too old for the job.
I didn't have a choice! He made me promise to not
let him down, so I was forced to deliver a bunch of papers every morning
I held that round until I left at the age of fifteen and never missed a morning!
I also delivered grocery's for Liptons after school and all day Saturday
with a carrier bike, could you imagine that happening in this day and age?
I visited Caernarvon in '76 on a trip back to England,
but I'll save that for a later story,
To be honest, when that trainload of kids from
Liverpool arrived in the quaint little town of Caernarvon, all hell
broke loose! There was quite a bit of hooliganism, more so from the
teens, as I guess that was a way of life in Liverpool, and it still
persists in this day and age. Just take a look at football (soccer)
supporters from that city and the riots and trouble they cause wherever
they go to see matches played. I believe they were actually banned from
some European matches for their drunkenness and violence and general bad
behavior. Anyway, as you can guess, the town of Caernarvon wasn't too
impressed with the onslaught of this group and consequently every one of
us was given a wide berth. When all the troublemakers were either forced
out or returned to their parent's, I was one of about 13 or 14 left who
didn't have a home to return to. Nevertheless, we were always referred to
as 'one of those evacuees from Liverpool' and I'm afraid it stuck with
me until I left at the age of 15. I have met many Welsh people in later
life, especially in the Welsh Guards and we got on famously together and
many turned out to be good friends indeed! I did visit Caervarvon on a
trip back to England in '76 and the townspeople were very nice to my
wife and I and made us feel at home. We never discussed the evacuee
invasion at all, as. my thoughts were to let sleeping dogs lie, eh! I
would love to go back and visit again sometime. The 'pubs are
awesome, especially on the Isle of Angelsey. We had a superb lunch there
one time and the decor and atmosphere was unbelievable, plus the
'bitter' was nice too!
My parents had split up when I was around 7 or 8 years old. My father was
called into the Royal Navy leaving my sister and I in the care of my
Auntie & Uncle who also had two children.
They assumed possession of our house due to bomb damage to their own.
(this was a council house)
We never did own a house of our own. My guess is they were too overcrowded
and took advantage of the evacuee program to unload my sister and I. You
know they never once came to give us a visit all the time we were away!
Great relations eh? My Dad did manage to come see us, twice I can
remember. He married again and on leaving Wales, I went to live with my
long absent Mother who after a long search, found out where I was just
before I left school at 15.
It's all water under the bridge now, both
are dead and buried anyway, my Dad at the age of 93!