Mistral. Journal of the Mersea Island Society. January 1990. Page 14.

Fifty years on - Mersea Island in Wartime, by Pat Norris née Patten.

Recollections of an Evacuee.



I was an evacuee from West Ham to Mersea Island in September 1939. When we arrived, we were left at the school while arrangements for our billetting were made, and we were given a bar of ...
Cat1 Books-->Mistral Cat2 War-->World War 2

Mistral. Journal of the Mersea Island Society. January 1990. Page 14.
Fifty years on - Mersea Island in Wartime, by Pat Norris née Patten.
Recollections of an Evacuee.

I was an evacuee from West Ham to Mersea Island in September 1939. When we arrived, we were left at the school while arrangements for our billetting were made, and we were given a bar of chocolate!

The Billeting Officer was a local councillor, Mr James. Another girl, Megan Edwards, and I stayed with him. Our temporary home was called Maple Leaf because the James family came from Canada. It was on the corner of Suffolk Avenue, facing Empress Avenue. It was four bedroomed - and I was impressed! Mrs James was a semi-invalid, and her two married daughters, Rose and Flo, looked after her and the house. They were both newly-married, and their husbands lived there also. Rose's husband, Harvey, came from London. Flo was married to Bob whose father kept a fishmonger's in Colchester. He used to bring home salmon for Sunday breakfast - served with white sauce, it was delicious. Until then I had thought that salmon could only come out of a tin!

The James family were very kind, though very religious. Bob was Superintendent of the Sunday School, and Rose, Flo and Harvey were teachers. Flo ran the Girls' Life Brigade. I found going to Church three times on Sunday very frustrating. I couldn't knit or ride a bike - only go for walks or do my homework. Sometimes we would go to a prayer meeting at a friend's house. I shared a double bed with Megan and every night we would kneel at the bedside with Rose, and say our prayers.

After Christmas I moved to a Mr. and Mrs. Green and son Paul, aged three, in a bungalow called Alloway in Fairhaven Avenue. Mr. Green worked full-time as a gardener at a big house along East Road, owned by a business-man from London. When the family were due to come to Mersea, Mrs. Green went up to prepare the house. This was another world for me; bell-pushes in the kitchen, and wardrobes full of lovely clothes!

We shared the school with the local children, going in the morning one week, and the afternoon the next. Some of us who were eleven and due to sit the Scholarship, had extra lessons squeezed in a small room behind the stage at the British Legion. We weren't happy about this as the other children were doing games and country dancing in the hall.

[ Ron Green tells us that Rose's husband was known as Hardy Weaver although his proper name was Howard. Flo was married to Bob Hearsum. They were both having houses built at the time- in Maple Leaf garden facing Suffolk Avenue, my dad was working on them and I spent a lot of time there.
The Mr and Mrs Green were my Uncle Pearl and Aunt Ada. Cousin Paul now lives in the Philippines. The big house in East Road was Norden, owned by Mr Chamberlain.


Date: January 1990      

Photo: Mersea Museum
Image ID MIS_1990_028
Category 2 War-->World War 2

This image is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection.