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Muriel Wells

My mother's sister, Miss Lucas, (Auntie Florrie)[1], was evacuated with her school at the outbreak of war. She was a schoolteacher, and her class was billeted in the cottages of the villagers in Dunchurch. She and another staff member resided with the lady of the "Big House". The village school was shared with the evacuees and so formal lessons took place for only half a day, and it was left to the staff to devise other activities for the remainder of the time.

This must've taken place just as war broke out, and after a period, everyone returned home to Coventry, and were "in situ" for all of the bombing which occurred later!

My sister and I were not formally evacuated because our mother held to the view that we all should remain together. She was not going to be evacuated and leave my father to cope alone --- and she wasn't seeing her family divided up, so we were to "sink or swim" together.

However my sister and I were eventually despatched with Grandma Lucas, to stay with her sister in Bulkington, 5 miles outside Coventry for a little while, when the constant raids of September/October 1940 resulted in a severe lack of sleep! We stayed 3 weeks and enjoyed the change, including the old-fashioned education in the village school --- with its gothic windows, singing of times tables and unspeakable toilets!

Such a short distance from our home and so very different; for one, the night-cart had to go round the village emptying the loos! Also, sleep was still hard to come by as an anti-aircraft battery was sited close to the village and it fired whenever a raid was in progress on Coventry; the noise was indescribable and the whole house shook.

But we felt so safe there, even though "all hell was breaking loose" such a short distance away, and the visual display was awesome! I believe that only 2 jettisoned bombs fell in Bulkington's surrounding fields in the entire war.

We, of course, returned to Coventry, refreshed and just in time for the Blitz of November 14th, after which we found ourselves temporally back with Great Aunt Alice together with all the rest of our family ---- for we were homeless![2] Somehow we squashed into her cottage for a short while, whilst other accommodation was arranged for us, back in the city.

With much of our education disrupted by being crowded into shelters, which were only the reinforced playground ones, and classes being combined because of lack of accommodation, or the male staff being taken into the Forces, it is a wonder that we learnt anything at all. Somehow we did, and our 3 Rs and spelling etc. didn't seem to suffer overmuch!

Aunt Florrie - Dymchurch & Boulogne, 1939
Coventry: November 14th 1940
Aftermath ----- The Sequel

Contributed by Muriel Wells
Email: pollyp(@)
To contact Muriel Wells, copy and paste the address and remove the brackets around the @ - thank you.

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