Glasgow was heavily bombed during the Second World War, particularly Clydebank, as that’s where the shipyards and many of the factories were.  Just after war was declared in 1939, thousands of children were evacuated from Glasgow to protect them from the threat of German bombers.  My mother was among them.  She was just six years old when she and her sister, Elizabeth, were sent to Kilhilt Farm near Stranraer in Scotland.  “Operation Pied Piper” relocated three million children over a few days.  This is my mum’s memory of that time (paraphrased) –

Elizabeth and I were very small children when we had to leave our parents – it is a time that will stay in my mind until I die.  We started off with our cases and gas masks, saying cheerio to our mum and dad who, like all the parents, were crying.  Dad and Aunt Cissie (Norma’s mum and my mum’s best friend) took us on a tram car into Glasgow Central Station. There were hundreds of children and parents there.  When we went to get on the train, it was the wrong one. We ran to find the right train, said goodbye to Dad and Aunt Cissie, having no idea why we were being put on a train, and shunted away from everyone.

Being very scared, Elizabeth, Norma and I were taken to a church hall in Stranraer where children were being taken away by strangers to dear knows where. Norma was then taken away.  NO-ONE CAME FOR US.  Finally a very nice lady took us to her house for tea and sandwiches then we were taken back to this empty hall until a man came to collect us and he took us away in a big car.  It was dark.  We were scared and very tired.  After a long run into the country, we stopped at this big house where we spent the next three years.

Mr and Mrs McCaig had three children – John, Sheila and Sam (who was a wee horror).  We went to the school in the village called “The Lochans”. I hated it!  Elizabeth and I were called “The Glasgow Keilies”.  The boys in my class were disgusting and every night I cried.  Poor Elizabeth was only 7 years old when we arrived and she had to be very brave and comfort me.

During our time there, Mum, Dad and Aunt Cissie came on a visit but we were not allowed to stay with them so we only had a few hours a day with them and we could not go home.  That was heart breaking for parents and children.

 

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