Eileen Faires nee Allen was born in 1937 in the Forest Gate area of London. She has memories of Christmas time in this house, finding balloons behind a chair in the front room and going to her next door neighbour’s house to give her tea. She lived with her mother, father and brother Peter in Strone Road (click here to be taken to Peter’s story).
She learnt about evacuation from her elder brother Peter, who had been evacuated in 1939 first to Norfolk and then to Onecote, Staffordshire. She can remember being wrapped up in a travel blanket and going from London to Leek in the car to see her prospective billet family, and after visiting Peter’s family, she went next door to Mrs Clowes who couldn’t wait to see the little girl she was going to have. It was 1940 when she went, and she remembers Mrs Clowes and her daughter Doris standing by a lilac tree with their arms open wide welcoming her into their home. It only took her a few days to settle in and although she was too far away to play with the older children in the village, she loved living on the farm and was thoroughly spoiled. She enjoyed picking bilberries on Sunday mornings.
Eileen and Peter’s father was unwell while they were in Staffordshire, and it was agreed that they would stay there while he was unwell. However, she was never led to believe that she wouldn’t be going home and her parents visited two or three times a year. She was simply told that her mother could not cope with a sick husband and two children. Eileen’s father died in August 1948 and she stayed until later that year, just before her 11th birthday. She remembers her hosts being extremely upset when she finally left and you can hear her talking about this by clicking on the audio link below:
Being back in London was a huge culture shock for Eileen. It was hard for her to adjust to the noise and the dirt, and the ‘cockneys’ she now found herself going to school with made fun of her for her north Staffordshire accent.