Many years later Phyllis Blogg, nee Hudson, wrote to Dick Searle, then the curator of Bishopsteignton Museum, about her wartime experience in the village. The letter, and the language within it, is of its time. It is reproduced here in its original form, save for some explanatory brackets.
Dear Mr Searle
Here are a few memories of my time in Bishop. It all began with the evacuation of my children, Peter and Keith. For over a week I hadn’t heard, then a letter from Mr & Mrs Ward, the local butchers, to say they were with them along with several others. It was a great relief and I proposed a visit with my youngest son. We were welcomed and felt at ease immediately.
Then after a few days the massive bombing of London began and Mr Ward (Jack) said we should stay on. Thus began many years in Bishop.
Life went on in the village and all the children attended the local school – head was Miss Robinson – a strict lady but all my sons passed scholarships to Newton Abbot Grammar.
They joined the choir and Peter sang solo many times. I recall the choir being invited by the Yanks, then in the village, to sing carols at their camp. A lorry arrived to pick them up and a good time was had by all.
By now all the men had been called up so Mrs Ward was left with the shop and one errand boy. Imagine, though rationed, the cutting up of sides of beef and sheep and pork. I soon helped and we managed to sort out the rations. I became a first class sausage maker and when Fred (Sharland) had to go I used to deliver the orders round on the shop bike. It was a hilly job.
Various incidents occurred like the arrival of the Yanks. First the Blacks came to prepare the camp. In the evening when they were free they roamed the streets and frightened everyone to death. The main contingent arrived and every one knew one or two. They were introduced to darts and local scrumpy. Mrs Ward (Kit) and I often went across to the Manor Inn.
(Kit’s) Mother ran it and Kit was a good darts player, so I learnt and we took on all comers, even formed a ladies team.
We heard the bombing around and there were hit and run raids in Teignmouth. One raid was on Torquay. At the time we were in the orchard (this has now gone) having a cuppa. The trees and ground shook and we later heard what had happened.
I have enclosed a few snaps (please let me have them back). The day came and I had to get to Totnes from Bishop. At the same time Jack then on leave, had been called back, so Kit was torn. However I said “I’ll get a taxi” so that passed off quite well.
This is all – hope it’s of interest
Phyllis Blogg and her family were made very welcome by the Ward family – read more about them here:
Other stories relating to Bishopsteignton evacuees include:
All efforts have been made to ascertain that the information in this article is correct. Most of it is taken from material in the Bishopsteignton Heritage archive, and some from personal recollection. If you spot any errors or have any further information on any of these evacuees and their families and descendants, or know of any others that came to the village, please do comment below or let us know by email.