Eastbourne evacuees in the 1941 church choir
Following the outbreak of war in 1939, 34 children were sent to live in Stagsden as evacuees from London. By 1940, the number had fallen to 5 as the ‘phoney war’ encouraged parents to feel their children would be safe back in London However in August 1940 a new group of children from Eastbourne in Sussex were evacuated to the area. They arrived by train and were transported by bus to our village.
One resident re-calls that the evacuees and village people used to visit the vicarage each week to collect their two meat pies. One large and one small all for 1 shilling and 9 pence (8p in new money) The pies were supplied by the W.V.S.
Children were given a holiday from school following the announcement of VE Day on 8th May 1945. The school logbook records that "School closed today at 3:30 pm after the Prime Minister’s Declaration. The Rev Hunt kindly brought a wireless set to school so that the children could hear the Declaration and part of the speech that followed. He then conducted a short thanksgiving service".
The photograph taken outside the church shows at the front from the left Denzil Spears, Peter Martin, Bernard Welch, Ronnie Memmess and Wally Coombes. At the back are David Hart on the left and Basil Watkiss.
Information has been provided by Ted Baker (Nick name “Stocker”) who was also an evacuee from Eastbourne.