At the start of the war, many children were evacuated to safer areas in the countryside. Little Tommy was only one year old when the war broke out, I was born in 1941 and Coral in ’45, so we were too little to be sent away. Two of our cousins though, Betty and Jimmy, were old enough and were packed off like forlorn parcels.

The children arrived early in the morning at Middlesbrough Railway Station with identification labels and a gas mask. The allowance for each child was 9 shillings a week to cover board and lodging. Parents paid this in most cases but their resources were often stretched by having to provide extra strong shoes and the warm clothing necessary for winter in rural areas. Each host family was given a food package containing milk, chocolate biscuits and bully beef.

Betty was sent to the Scarborough area and had a lovely experience – the family that billeted her wanted to adopt her after the war. Young Jimmy was not so lucky. He was billeted on an isolated farm near Pickering Moor and was badly treated. When Uncle Jimmy visited him, he was far from happy with the situation and decided to remove young Jimmy. After wrapping him in a blanket, he sat him on a homemade sledge and dragged him home across the bleak snow-covered moor.

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