Former evacuees make return visit to Pinchbeck

‘You are going on a holiday,’ is how Kitty Brown’s mum explained the day’s journey from London to Pinchbeck with her classmates.

The seven-year-old’s evacuation during World War Two was for five years, but of course nobody could have known that then.

Kitty Roach (left) and Rose Holder with their photographs of their time in Pinchbeck.Photo: SG130514-141TW

Kitty Roach (left) and Rose Holder with their photographs of their time in Pinchbeck.Photo: SG130514-141TW

Kitty was back in Pinchbeck last week for a trip down memory lane, one of a number she has made in the intervening years.

Her memories are mostly fond ones, unlike the sister who accompanied her on her recent journey, Rosina.

Kitty Roach, now 81 and living in Canada, made the trip with her daughter, Sandra Roach, and her 75-year-old sister Rosina (Rose) Holder, who lives on the Isle of Wight.

Rose was just a few months old at the time of the evacuation in 1939, and so joined her two sisters and two brothers a couple of years later, when she was about three.

Kitty (left) with her sister Betty, brother Bill and cousin Earnie.

Kitty (left) with her sister Betty, brother Bill and cousin Earnie.

She was sent to the home of a couple living in an old cottage, now demolished, opposite the Baptist Church in Pinchbeck.

Kitty, who remembers, says the cottage was in a terrible condition, with no water or heating.

Rose only remembers crying every night, and the woman she was living with simply shouting up the stairs to make it stop.

One night, the woman threatened to bring in Mr Baxter, the local policeman who lived next door.

Rose says: “He called up the stairs to me. He must have scared the life out of me. After that I went home because I was fretting so much. Nobody came up the stairs to offer comfort. They just called up the stairs to frighten me.”

Kitty’s fate was much happier, living first with a widow, Mrs Cox, and then, when she re-married, with Mr and Mrs Walford at the vicarage lodge. During a lull in bombing the children went back to London but were soon driven back to Pinchbeck, when Kitty went to live with Mrs Cox again, or Mrs Porter as she had become.

The girls say their other sister, Betty, who was four at the time of the evacuation, and the two brothers, Fred and Bill, had a good experience in Pinchbeck.

However, they found it difficult when they were all re-united as a family at the end of the hostilities.

Rose says: “Our two brothers were looked after quite well and were the centre of attention in that family. My two sisters the same, and then at the end of five years we were all suddenly brought home and had to learn to live together and I think over the years it’s had an effect on our relationship.

“I have got memories, even though I was a young child, because it had such an impact.”

Despite that, Rose says: “I am glad I have been back. I have been wanting to come back for 72 years just to see the village.”