Doreen Foreman neé Randall was evacuated at the age of eleven from Margate to Rugeley. She lived in a terraced house in Margate with her mother, father, grandparents and older brother, who had already begun work.
She was evacuated with the rest of her school mates from Salmestone Primary School. They said goodbye to parents at the school, and then made their way on buses to the train station, where they boarded the train. They alighted at Trent Valley station, where they were then put on buses and taken to a small primary school in Rugeley. She can remember standing in the playground with her classmates as villagers chose the evacuees they wanted to take. Doreen had already decided that she wanted to be evacuated with her friend Betty and her little sister Evelyn, who was only four. Luckily there was a couple, a Mr. and Mrs Bentley who were agreeable to taking all three.
The threesome lived in the Bentley’s large rented schoolhouse for 6 months, sharing a double bed in a separate room between them. However, at this time Betty was unhappy, and so she and Evelyn were moved to another billet. On the other hand, Doreen got on well with the Bentleys, and fit in well with the local villagers and her new school mates. And soon after, Doreen’s father was retired from the police force and came up to Rugeley from Margate with Doreen’s mother to find work. At this time Mrs Bentley had been sent to hospital and so Doreen’s parents moved into the schoolhouse in order to look after both Doreen and Mr. Bentley. They stayed there, living happily with the Bentleys until 1945 when they returned to their original home in Margate. You can listen to her talking about this by clicking on the link below:
Doreen was very happy in Rugeley, and has fond memories of her time there. She said it was a relief when her parents moved in with her, as it made life that much easier. She was, however, desperate to get back to the seaside, and enjoyed starting her life over in Margate upon their return.