When Phyllis Blogg’s children were evacuated to Bishopsteignton from London, she came to visit them and ended up staying on. They were billeted with Kit and Jack Ward, who ran the butcher’s shop in Fore Street, opposite the Manor Inn.
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.
References and credits
We have received a letter from Stephen Blogg, the grandson of Phyllis Blogg illuminating some of the details of the family story.
‘I saw with interest that you have featured a letter from my late paternal Grandmother, Phyllis Blogg (1910-1999) on your Bishopsteignton Heritage web site. My father was Peter Blogg, who also features in your article; he died last year. Peter was an accountant and lived in Kent with my Mother, June (nee Burns) and their two sons-myself, Stephen and my brother, Peter Blogg junior.
Keith Blogg, my Uncle, also mentioned in your article is still alive and lives in Kent with his wife. Keith was a journalist and used to edit the London local news on ITV. Keith had 5 children-3 with his first wife and 2 with his second wife.
My Uncle Terry, also mentioned in your article is also still alive. He moved to the USA with Kit and Jack Ward after WW2 and settled in Arizona, where he married US Mexican woman Irene Arellano. I also have 3 cousins living in Arizona. My Uncle Ian also now lives in the USA, in Seattle, with his wife, Joanne.
As regards my grandmother’s relationship to the Hope family; Percy Alfred Hamilton Hope was not related to my Grandmother. The wife of Percy, Kathleen Winifred Hope (nee Blogg) was the sister of my Grandmother’s husband, Harold Eric Blogg.
I hope you find the above of interest. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information. I know all of my uncles have very fond memories of their time spent in Bishopsteignton. I was taken there as a child by my parents and then re-visited with my Uncle Ian and his wife around 15 years ago, when they were holidaying in the UK.’