A Little Girl's War
- Wendy Appleton
15th January 2012
From the London Blitz to Burnley as an evacuee: the wartime experiences of Wendy Appleton.
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Wendy ran home through the streets of Bexleyheath with the air-raid siren wailing, her little gas mask box bumping against her hip. Just as she reached her front gate, a Spitfire spiralled out of the air and crashed into the school field at the end of the road. You never forget a moment like that. Growing up in Bexleyheath in the Second World War, bombs, air-raid sirens and fear were all Wendy had ever known. Here, through the eyes of a small child, we see family life on the Home Front in 1944 in its entirety - from bombed-out houses to burnt potato peelings, from maths lessons and classroom antics to air-raid sirens and crashing planes. After the family slept through an air raid that destroyed the houses directly opposite, Wendy's parents decided it had become far too dangerous. Wendy, her sister Thelma and her brother Brian were evacuated to the Burnley area of Lancashire. Surrounded by a new accent, shining front steps and outdoor lavatories, this little girl felt a long way from home. However, the two women who took Wendy and her sister into their home helped her adjust to a new way of life. She remembers fondly the kindness of these women, as well as her other experiences as an evacuee: a new school, nits, chickens, gravy, and her first trip to the seaside. Wendy Appleton describes beautifully the memories that were imprinted so deeply on her young mind. As she discussed her recollections with her older brother and sister and started to write them down, everything came flooding back - so much so that at times she was in tears. She is delighted to share within these pages the sights, songs and sounds of her wartime childhood.
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