Patricia Slade

Recollections of evacuation.


Patricia Slade was six years old at the outbreak of war and living with her family in Oval. During the war Patricia was evacuated a number of times. Her first experience of evacuation was to Devon where she had been sent with her two siblings, aged 4 years and 6 months, and her mother. After initially billeted in a boarding house, the family were placed in a little cottage with no electricity and an outside toilet. The family did not remain in Devon for long and shortly returned home.

Evacuation once again

During the summer of 1940, a Spitfire came down in Oval and it was decided that Patricia along with her sister were to be evacuated to Kegworth in Derbyshire. Patricia’s mother soon joined the siblings as she had become pregnant. The owners of the billet were ‘devout and intimidating’ and once again the evacuation was short. The family returned to London and not before long the siblings were evacuated to Exeter. Then back to London, to Kegworth, to London and finally Wolverhampton to stay with an aunt after her mother had received a message from her husband, a gunner, to ‘Go North’. The message was written underneath the stamp, a method agreed by the couple to avoid letters being censored.

'From the slums of London'

Considering her experience of evacuation, Patricia recalls how as an evacuee she was often referred to as ‘from the slums of London’. This was despite the fact that she had never seen slums and that way of life in some of the places she was evacuated to was infinitely worse.       

Trapped in the shelter

Whilst in London, the family was bombed twice. Patricia recalls being trapped in the Anderson shelter for three hours before being rescued by the Heavy Rescue Brigade. To this day, Patricia still suffers from the claustrophobia brought on by the event.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 07/06/2012.