Trevor's Story

My earliest recollection is of a time during the 2nd World War, when we lived in Sykes Street on New George Street Flats. There was an air raid on and I remember the sirens going and being held over someone’s shoulder while they ran along the sidewalk. I’m not sure but I think it must have been my mother and we would have been running for the shelters.  It was dark and I saw searchlights probing the sky for aircraft. I don’t remember being frightened, only curious to know what was going on.  Perhaps this was the start of my curiosity for life; I was about 18 months old at the time.

       Evacuated to Leverton, Lincolnshire.    

 I think that the next memory would be of a time in Leverton, in Lincolnshire, when I was having a bad dream of a man walking along Prospect Street in Hull. He threw down a cigarette right against a sign saying "No Smoking" and then the whole place blew up; and I was awakened out of sleep, the bed-knobs were rattling on the top of the bed and the whole house shook. There seemed to be a lot of commotion on downstairs, someone came upstairs and took me out of bed. It was the first time that I ever remember being frightened.

Apparently, a bomb had dropped in the field at the bottom of the lane.  I didn’t know why, I always thought that it was a stray bomb, but thirty five years later I was told that it was a deliberate attempt to destroy a nearby glass factory that must have been making something for the war effort.

Trevor with Jean and Mam, at Leverton.1940

Another memory from around that time was of getting a new pair of slippers, I was about three or four years old at the time and the slippers, I remember, had little rabbit heads on the toes and I was quite taken with them.  I was walking around the house and my Dad was home on leave, polishing his Army boots and you can pretty well guess what happened; I have a distinct memory of looking down at my foot in the can of polish as it oozed all over my slippers.  I was very upset, because my Dad was annoyed with me; he had bought me the slippers and I loved them; they were very unusual.

At this time, we lived with some people in the country. We had been evacuated from the big city for our safety.  I remember that I was in a high chair, so I wasn’t very old, and I spilled some food on the rug and the person we stayed with, took advantage of my father’s absence and sat me down on the back doorstep to eat.  It was the first time I felt rejected and I must have been a sorry little soul.  I later mentioned it to my parents when I grew up.  My Mother remembered the occasion with regret and my Dad got mad that Mother, to keep the peace, and knowing my father’s temper, never told him until it was too late for Dad to punch him on the nose.

Next on the memory list, I think, was the time when I was at school in Leverton, or rather I was at kindergarten and about four years old.  I remember being with my brothers Jack and Clive, eating our sandwiches in the playground.

Well, we had some sandwiches left over and Jack and Clive gave me 2 cheese sandwiches and told me to take them home but I didn’t want to walk all that way so I stuffed them into my mouth to save myself the walk, about a half mile. (That’s a long walk for a young boy) thus I demonstrated my first initiative; at least the first that I recall.

Then I have a recollection of being in the hospital fifteen miles away in Boston, Lincolnshire.  I had accidentally stuck a hair comb in my eye and mother had had the presence of mind not to remove it but take me at once to the hospital for treatment, with my arms bound to my sides to stop me from pulling the comb out myself.  I don’t remember the treatment but I do remember being in the hospital and having salad, which I didn’t like and being hungry afterwards.

I also believe that I had an out of body experience at that time.  I saw myself at the table eating the salad while I hovered somehow up in the corner of the high vaulted room.  I remember that as I began to wonder how it was that I could see myself, I was immediately returned to my body.  I just accepted the experience as quite normal because I was so young.

The next memory is of riding in the basket seat of Mam’s bicycle coming home from the hospital and I remember going along past the fields in the country and only being able to see at the sides because of Mam’s broad backside.

Also, around this time, I was playing with our box of bottle tops in the Ostrich Inn (where we were billeted at the time) in Leverton with my brother Clive; we used to make patterns on the floor, patterns of airplanes and guns etc.  I guess I was five years old by then.

I don’t recall any more memories of Leverton after that, but I think it must have been a very peaceful existence for us, all in all.  When I visited the place 35 years later it looked about the same as I remember it, the little that I do remember.

NB.   My sister, Jean, (now living in Australia) is over 6 years older than I and has kept correspondence going with the people in Leverton with whom she was billeted). Until quite recently, she did this on a regular basis, but as so much time has passed, so have the people…..even the children of the benefactors are gone…….but Jean remembers, as we all do…..very kind of them to protect us during the war in the big city. .