Budleigh Salterton war evacuee's bid to trace past

A 71-year-old Kent woman sent to live in Budleigh Salterton as an evacuee is appealing for information about her time spent in the town.

A 71-year-old Kent woman sent to live in Budleigh Salterton as an evacuee is appealing for information about her time spent in the town.

Eileen Marshall, from Broadstairs in Kent, was just six when she left her London family home, was put on a train and sent to Budleigh during the Second World War.

Now the pensioner is keen to hear from anyone with information or photographs of the year she spent in Budleigh escaping the war.

She said: "I remember the journey with all the other children. It was manic.


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"There were so many of us, everyone was really excited as though we were going on holiday - but we were going away for a year.

"I went on my own with a box and label with a ticket, there were thousands of us.

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"I would like to see any old school photos. It was a big thing, to be evacuated in those days."

Adopted when she was small, Eileen's memories of Budleigh during the war are vague.

She hopes someone has photographs of the evacuees sent to live in Budleigh, or records relating to the time she spent living in the town.

She remembers living in a large house off Saltings Hill with a woman called Mrs Kennard-Davis, and her daughter.

Eileen attended school at the bottom of Saltings Hill.

She said the evacuees congregated there after stepping off the train at Budleigh, and were chosen by their host families.

She remembers there being a farm to the rear of the road.

"The Americans used to come on Fridays and give us sweets," said Eileen. "They arrived in a jeep and we all had to line up to get the sweets - that was our rations.

"My memories of the town are very vague, but I remember it was so pretty. I remember the beach, it was pebbled and it had barbed wire around it.

"We weren't allowed to play on the beach. There were signs up saying 'danger'. I don't know if it was mined."

Eileen said she left Budleigh in April 1945, a month before the war ended.

* Can you help Eileen in her search for information? Contact the Journal on (01392) 888507.

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