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mikes memoirs October 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — panthergirl @ 11:37 pm
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If you've been paying attention, you may remember that my father was born in Guernsey. During the second world war Guernsey was occupied by the germans and my father, along with all the other children on the island, were evacuated out and sent to live with foster families in England. (You can read his diary entry about it here).

And when I was visiting him recently and having a sticky beak through his tin of memories, I found some letters he wrote to his parents while he was away from them. There was no postal service to Guernsey during the war so his parents couldn't recieve the letters but the woman he was living with kept them and gave them to his mother later.

In this one his drawings make it pretty clear there is a war going on.



I found this next one a bit sad really because he has a question mark after his name. And I don't know why, but it just looks sad.



This is a picture he sent with one of the letters. A glimpse inside my fathers mind when he was about 8. As you can see there was a lot going on in there. It was a frightening, confusing time for him.


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32 Responses to “mikes memoirs”

  1. LeendaDLL Says:

    I thought "the safternoon" was totally cute. wonder what's going on in the 3rd pic, with the stuff coming out of people's mouths.i've heard about when the children were sent away. this is the first personal account I've seen/read (I'm going to follow your link now). thanks for sharing.

  2. cat Says:

    yeah – it's pretty out there that picture. I was wondering about the big hand coming up towards the little birds.

  3. LeendaDLL Says:

    I couldn't decide whether or not that was a hand. Do you think the 2 characters in the lower left are fighting?

  4. cat Says:

    They don't have happy faces but I thought they were dancing – it's hard to tell though with the two heads watching them, because one of them is smiling but the other has its tongue(?) poking out.

  5. Emjay Says:

    I had a bit of a laugh at the drawing in number 2. His mother would not have approved of the cowboys fighting. That is also interesting because it is so "American" and here it is featured in wartime.

  6. cat Says:

    I thought that as well – was wondering how much exposure he would have had to cowboy movies or shows

  7. Waterbaby Says:

    interesting that you see it as a hand. i see it as a child's tree. or some sort of towers nearby.

  8. cat Says:

    well actually now I look again I think its a fork – because that looks like a knife further to the right, didn't notice that before

  9. LeendaDLL Says:

    that makes sense!

  10. LeendaDLL Says:

    An instructor once told me that the popularity of Westerns (as a movie genre) increases dramatically before/during wartime.

  11. Waterbaby Says:

    ah yes. i noticed both and thought trees or towers but fork and knife make sense.

  12. Connie Says:

    Wow! Your father keeps the most precious memory from his childhood. He's good at drawing too I guess as a child.

  13. Wow, sad but fascinating. I can see a museum (possibly in Guernsey) being really interested in those. Would be a good resource for teaching children about war.

  14. cat Says:

    He has this little tin with all these little scraps of paper and photos in it – it needs sorting out!

  15. cat Says:

    lol – well they'll have to wait until he's in the ground
    it's the same as papas slides – I'm sure someone would be interested in them, just a matter of finding them

  16. Maybe even just the copies then? I have some of my grandfather's letters from WW2. Some of them are written in pencil though so I am planning to re-type them before they fade entirely. Just haven't got around to it yet. Unfortunately they stop at the time he left Australia for Indonesia (where he ws stationed) so just cover the time he was in Sydney and Townsville training etc. Still pretty interesting. I think he must have been pretty damaged by the war though as he seems like a different person in his pre-war letters.

  17. cat Says:

    I know my father would never talk much about it – it's only been in the last few years when he started dictating some of his life that I've heard about his experience.
    I think it would have to change anyone.

  18. My grandfather only started talking to me when I started travelling to Indonesia because of my studies. I suspect he edited a lot out though. He didn't really talk to anyone else including his three sons.

  19. That is a very interesting post. Both of my grandparents lived through the second world war, in Manchester (UK) and I used to ask them to tell me about it. They were not evacuated but used to go to school with a gas mask round their necks and such, and would sit and watch the factories burning listening to the wireless every evening. Crazy times.Ben

  20. cat Says:

    My father spent some time in Manchester – he remembers it as being very cold, I don't think he was much safer in England than he would've been in Guernsey once all the bombing of London started. I think they had some very hard times. My father talks about the gas masks as well.

  21. Farfaraway Says:

    Wow…what an amazing piece of family history, and national history as well. You're right, the difference between the first and second is stark; you can clearly tell by the handwriting that the author is going through something traumatic. Thanks for sharing this with us. I'd love to read your father's entire story someday.

  22. Steve Betz Says:

    Wow — thank you so much for sharing this. What a glimpse into the mind of your dad as a child. The letters are precious and you can tell from the drawings that there was definitely a lot going on.

  23. Waterbaby Says:

    @Faraway – my guess is that the difference in handwriting is due to conditions like lighting or where they were being written, i.e., on a bed (which he mentions in the second) than say at a table or even the hand being used.

  24. cat Says:

    he wasn't very good without lines to write on was he – it would have been traumatic for him, being an only child he was very close to his parents and to go from living this idyllic island lifestyle with them to being sent of to be alone in a war zone must have been frightening

  25. cat Says:

    You never really think of your parents as having been children and I've had such an easy life here it's impossible to imagine what it must have been like for him -so its good to find these little bits and pieces.

  26. Farfaraway Says:

    I can only imagine…what a horrible thing for a child to have to go through.

  27. Red Pen Says:

    Wouldn't it be tough to be a child separated from your parents, or even worse perhaps, a parent separated from your child? I can only imagine.

  28. cat Says:

    very tough – and not knowing where they were, having no contact – wondering have you done the right thing. Because it then went on to become quite awful in London when the bombing began there

  29. made me cry – the poor little man/child

  30. Caprica Says:

    They are fascinating and heartbreaking all at once.

  31. cat Says:

    very hard for me to think of my father as a child

  32. cat Says:

    they are sad – how he says – where are you?

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