EVACUATION John’s Story Draper’s Mill today. The school was named after the windmill and is next to the school.
When the Second world war started John was a pupil at Drapers Mills School, Margate, Kent. <ul><li>Here is an aerial view of the school today. </li></ul>
Margate is across the English Channel from France. When the second world war started there was concern that the area could be at risk of invasion by the Germans. <ul><li>Map showing position of Margate, Kent which is East from London. </li></ul>
John lived in Upper Dane Road at the top of the picture. <ul><li>Draper’s Mill Primary School in St. Peter’s Footpath, from Google Earth. </li></ul>
There was an air-raid shelter at the school. Children would have regular practices and would also rehearse how to use their gas masks. <ul><li>John’s family had an air raid shelter like this in their back garden. </li></ul>
He was evacuated on Sunday 2 nd June 1940, with other children from Drapers Mills. <ul><li>On the train they saw soldiers who had been evacuated from Dunkirk. They gave the children chocolates, sweets and oranges. </li></ul>
He was evacuated to Home Farm, Elford, Staffordshire. <ul><li>He lived with Mr and Mrs Kirkman and their son John. His friend Derek Chescoe also stayed there for a while. </li></ul>
Here is John (on the right) pictured with one of his evacuee friends, Don Newton. <ul><li>They are still in touch with each other and have exchanged emails recently about their memories! </li></ul>
Draper’s Mills pupils worked in the Elford Village School building in the classroom next to the local children. <ul><li>He stayed here until he moved to Chatham House Grammar School in Stafford. </li></ul>
Home Farm was a short walk from the centre of the village. <ul><li>John remembers taking the shire horses to the blacksmith’s in the village. </li></ul>
He stayed at Home Farm until he moved to Chatham House Grammar School in Stafford, during September 1941. He lived with Auntie Peggy and Uncle Ron. <ul><li>Chatham House Grammar School for boys was also evacuated from Ramsgate, Kent. </li></ul>
At Easter 1944 John visited his parents who were living in Richmond, North Yorkshire. They decided he should stay with them and not return to Stafford. <ul><li>Here is Richmond today . </li></ul>
He was thrilled to live with his parents again after such a long time apart. <ul><li>He attended Richmond Grammar School. His sister Phyllis married a local man and remained in Richmond. </li></ul>
John celebrated VE day (Victory in Europe day) May 1945 with his family in Richmond. <ul><li>There were street parties like this one, all over the country. </li></ul>
John returned to Margate with his parents in October 1946. Their house in Upper Road had not been lived in for all this time but luckily had not been damaged in any way. <ul><li>He started work at the Council Offices in Margate. </li></ul>
John has remained living in Thanet ever since. He was Chair of Governor’s at Salmestone Primary School in Margate for many years. He retired from Thanet District Council as Chief Legal Officer in 1982 and still lives in Broadstairs. <ul><li>Salmestone Primary School where all John’s children attended (between 1962 and 1973). </li></ul>
John and Sheila at their wedding on 27 th December, 1954. <ul><li>Derek Chescoe, who was evacuated with John to Stafford, remained his friend and was their best man at their wedding. </li></ul>
John and Sheila celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary. They have three children and five grandchildren. <ul><li>This trip on the Orient express was a present from their family. </li></ul>
Places in John’s Story Richmond Elford Margate
<ul><li>Extracts from Research by Drapers Mills pupils </li></ul><ul><li>Curious links to John’s Story </li></ul><ul><li>Before the school was opened it was a private house owned by two ladies, the Misses Latham . They decided to turn their house into a private school to make some money. So many parents were paying for their boys to go that they built another school, right next door. Thanet Lodge opened in 1853. The pupils wore black jackets, morning trousers, Eton collars and straw boaters and, among the subjects they were taught was …bee-keeping! In 1901 it became part of Thanet College. Today it contains the school library. </li></ul><ul><li>Jessie Woodward , now seventy five and living in Margate, lived opposite and started at the newly opened Drapers Mills council school in 1929. Milk was delivered in a churn by pony and trap. Then, as now, the school uniform was brown and yellow. The headteacher was Mr John Joseph Jones. In 1938 the Infant School was opened and, in 1941, during World War 2, both schools were evacuated to various parts of Staffordshire. </li></ul><ul><li>John was evacuated to live with a couple called Mr and Mrs Latham (Peggy and Ron). Could the Misses Latham have had a link with Staffordshire? </li></ul><ul><li>John’s mother was also called Jessie Woodward. John is related to the Woodward family who gave Dane Park to the local council. Could there be a family link? </li></ul>Dane Park, Margate.
Resources online: Draper’s Mills Primary School website Elford website Air raid practice – Knoll School Hove : video
Acknowledgements Special thanks to: Mr John Viner (Headteacher at Drapers Mills) for information about the History of the School and pictures from the School website.