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Last to be picked but what fond memories

PUBLISHED: 11:49 23 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:57 01 August 2010

UPROOTED from their homes and torn from their families, Lowestoft school children underwent a major upheaval 70 years ago.

Many stories have been told from those who were sent to the relative safety of Derbyshire during world war two, but this week Turning Back the Clock features a woman who returned to her home-town only briefly before leaving UK shores.

UPROOTED from their homes and torn from their families, Lowestoft school children underwent a major upheaval 70 years ago.

Many stories have been told from those who were sent to the relative safety of Derbyshire during world war two, but this week Turning Back the Clock features a woman who returned to her home-town only briefly before leaving UK shores.

Una Woychak, nee Walpole, was just six years old when she was evacuated to Glossop in June 1940. Together with her older brothers, Derek and Harold, the Morton Road School pupil had to leave behind her mum and dad on the east coast and head for the unknown inland.

“I remember when we arrived we were given a meal and then we were all lined up to be taken to our new homes. A worker was with us and carried a clipboard with names of everyone,” she said.

“We were not pre-assigned to a home but were chosen as we travelled along the road - that road being Simmondly Lane, in Glossop.

“My brothers were chosen long before I, and I was somewhat nervous at this point. I need not have been as I was finally chosen by a family named Turner.”

The Turners already had two sons, Aquilla and Kenneth, and a daughter, Barbara, who apparently chose Una.

“I have very fond memories of living there and was treated very well. Barbara was like a sister to me, although she was 15 at the time and I was six,” said Una.

“I remember she worked at the print factory where fabrics were printed. She would bring home discarded fabrics and made clothes for my dolls.”

Not every child was as lucky as Una, as her brother Derek could testify. However, he soon moved to find a new home and happily all the three siblings were able to live close together.

“My mum and dad came to visit us as often as possible. They had sailors billeted in our home - all a part of the war effort. As I think back, how devastating for our parents to give up their children to be replaced in our home with sailors serving in the war,” she said.

Una, Derek and Harold all returned home to their parents Charles and Evelyn Walpole, but Una would not stay in Lowestoft for long as she soon married and left for the USA. She has lived in Oklahoma, Denver, Colorado and Georgia, but at the age of 76 now lives in California.

“I was home visiting Lowestoft last year and had a great time. A good friend gave an afternoon tea and invited old friends that I used to play with from our neighbourhood. We shared old memories and we had such a good time,” she said.

After seeing a copy of The Journal, Una found out about the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee and is now hoping to join them next year for a return to Glossop.

Una's brother Harold is living in Diss, but her oldest brother Derek died in 2004.

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