George Emptage lived with his parents and three sisters in Margate, Kent before he was evacuated with the rest of Drapers Mills School toTamworth. He remembers Margate as a happy place, where he spent his time with friends getting free crisps and ginger ale off the tourists from London and eating ice chips on a hot day from the ice man. Click on the link below to hear George speaking about the day he left Kent to spend his first night in Staffordshire:
Unfortunately for George, he did not end up staying with this family, but was told at school the very next day that he would be living on a farm in Clifton Campville. So, after school that day, he walked with Billy Dickinson (who he had not known in Margate) up a long lane to a huge farmhouse where they met their new ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’. At this farmhouse there was no electricity or warm water for bathing, and ‘aunty’ told them not to play in the village after school but to go straight home. Click on the link below to hear George talk about his daily routine helping on the farm:
After a while Billy was taken ill and fetched home, at which point George had to get up half an hour earlier to complete Billy’s chores as well as his own. He doesn’t remember any billeting officers every visiting to check on him until he was finally sent home.
When George was back in Margate, he found it difficult to settle back into family life, and his mother, who was ill, died shortly after. George decided to go back to the farm where he knew at least he would be paid for his efforts – if only a small amount.