Norman Jones was born in 1938 and grew up in Ilford, Essex. He lived with his parents in Gaysham Avenue in a two-storey flat above a shop with access to a garden at the back. His father was in the Air Force.
He started school at Highlands School at 3 years old and was evacuated when the Doodlebugs started. Up to this point the children at Highlands had spent a lot of their schooling hiding in the school’s cellar during air raids, and most other schools in this area had already been evacuated.
So, Norman was taken, along with 30 other ‘stragglers’ to the train station in London. They travelled up to Stoke-on-Trent, but had no idea where they were going. Upon their arrival they were herded into a hall and he thinks he was one of the last to be chosen. He can remember a lady called Mrs Rowley having an argument with those organising the billets, and then taking him. Mrs Rowley, or Aunty Carol, lived in a crescent-shaped street with a railway line behind and clay pit in front. Norman describes her family in the audio clip below. Click on the player to listen:
He played with Kenneth in the street and didn’t have to walk too far to school, but can’t remember its name. His schooling was shared with the local children. He wrote letters home to keep in touch with his mom, but didn’t know where his father was at this time. He was happy to get home and is desperate to find out what the village was called that he stayed in.