Pamela Barry

Recollections of evacuation to Oxfordshire and air raids in London.

Evacuation to Oxfordshire

At the outbreak of war Pamela Barry was eight and a half years old and lived with her family in Paddington. Pamela’s extended family on her mother’s side owned a farm in Oxfordshire and when it became clear that war was imminent it was decided that Pamela and her brother were to go and live on the farm. Pamela recalls: ‘ My uncle came up in his car took us down there with my dolls pram strapped to the back of the car and I was there for three years’.

Although her brother remained in Oxfordshire, Pamela returned to London in 1943. Whilst on embarkation leave, Pamela’s father had visited the farm and realised that Pamela was not as well treated as her brother and therefore decided to take her back to London. As her mother had passed away in 1940 and her father was in the Army, Pamela went to live with her Aunt and her family in Sidcup.

Air raids

One day in 1944, Pamela visited her grandmother in Paddington. Whilst out in the garden they saw a V1 rocket above, running out of fuel the rocket was about to come down when a plane appeared and fired at it so it exploded. As quickly as it had appeared, the plane disappeared. Pamela recalls: ‘ Off he went, whoever he was, waggled his wings and that was it. He saved a lot of lives’. Pamela also experienced air raids in Sidcup. The family had a Morrison shelter in the house and every time the family’s terrier, Betty, hurried into the shelter the air raid siren would go a few minutes later.

'You just got on with life'

Although the war was a frightening time, Pamela recalls how most people adapted to the situation: ‘I’m supposed you were frightened a certain amount, but I suppose you just got on with life. But I do remember when they had declared, you know, the war was over in Europe, I always remember that feeling at last I can go to bed at night not worrying about the air raid warning would go off’.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 25/06/2012.