Sidney Jones

Recollections of evacuation to Wiltshire

By Sid Jones

Evacuation to Wiltshire

To escape the heavy aerial bombardment of London, Sid Jones was evacuated to the small village of All Cannings in Wiltshire in 1942.  Arriving to the village along with numerous other school children, five year old Sid was billeted with a young childless couple called George and Vera Gay.  The couple had a small house in the village with a vegetable patch and chickens in the garden. Living in the village allowed Sid to explore the surrounding countryside, pick berries and mushrooms, and grow vegetables and fruit.

'That be the German's Sidney!'

However, the war was never far away. Sid recalls:

‘At a very young age, the true impact of war was hard to grasp, but l do remember the unmistakeable drone of German bombers at night. On many such nights, Vera would sit and sew by the lamplight, and when l asked her what the noise was, she would point upwards with one finger and say in her wonderful Wiltshire accent “That be the German’s Sidney!”’

On a number of occasions Germans planes attacking cities like Bristol and Plymouth crashed in the area surrounding the village on their way back to France. Sid recalls witnessing one of these occasions:

‘l was woken by a louder engine noise than usual, and as the heavy throb got nearer and nearer l jumped out of bed and went to the window just in time to see a large (as l found out later) German bomber pass over the rooftop in flames. It was getting lower and lower and eventually crashed into a field’.  

'Extremely fortunate'

Towards the latter part of the war, Sid had an accident at school and contrived a serious bone infection (Osteomyelitis).  His recovery was slow and he spent long periods in hospital. As a result Sid did not return to London immediately after the end of war but stayed with George and Vera until 1947. Considering his experience of evacuation Sid believes he ‘was extremely fortunate to have had such wonderful people looking after me [...][and] l never felt that l fully repaid the debt that l owed to George and Vera Gay’.

Sid has written extensively about his wartime experiences as an evacuee in Wiltshire. To read his full account please press the below link.


Evacuation to Wiltshire: Wartime memories
Evacuation to Wiltshire: Wartime memories (135k)
Written by Sid Jones

This page was added by Sid Jones on 18/05/2013.
Comments about this page

As part of Sid's extended family, I'd like to thank Sid for taking the time to write down his memories and thus preserve them for future generations of our family. Thank you, publishers, for making stories like this available to all of us!

By Sara Clarkson
On 20/10/2013