Billeted in Stroud 1939-40: An Evacuee’s Account
‘Kids supposed to evacuate this afternoon. Later told that it is tomorrow. Said goodbye to John and all my pals. May never see them again.’ In October 1939, sixteen-year-old Eric Armstrong took the coach from his modest home in Handsworth, Birmingham to faraway rural Gloucestershire. Living away from Mum and Dad turned out to be much more pleasant than anticipated. He was fortunate in his placement and made lots of new friends. Stroud turned out to be an idyllic retreat from the bustle of Birmingham, where Eric could enjoy walks, cycle rides and trips to the cinema. And as for company: ‘there are lots of simply lovely girls here – all sorts and sizes …’ With warmth and vivid detail, Eric describes a time that was full of new challenges and tiresome shortages; yet also of kindness and humour, resilience and courage.