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> Evacuation, world war 2
serabash
post 16th Jul 2013, 01:42pm
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well done danny thumbup.gif looking forward to the next chapter.
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Tam C
post 16th Jul 2013, 02:04pm
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Keep the stories coming danny ,before my time but history is precious
Cheers Tam C
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JAGZ1876
post 16th Jul 2013, 02:05pm
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Fascinating, keep the stories coming Danny thumbup.gif
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annie laurie
post 16th Jul 2013, 05:08pm
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Enjoying your Postings, veRY much, keep them coming, makes a nice change, and i do enjoy History, also,



HELLO STRATSON.............NICE TO SEE YOU POSTING, HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT YOU, CHEERS OXOXOX
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DannyH
post 17th Jul 2013, 10:09pm
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Hello All Again, it's Danny Harris back to write CHAPTER 2 about being evacuated to Canada.

When we arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia it was good to get our feet on the ground again after being at sea for so long. However we were quickly whisked on to a train for the long journey to Toronto, Ontario. The journey took so ong that the train would make stops in the middle of nowhere to allow us to get off and stretch our legs. On reaching Toronto we were given accommodation for a day or two at Toronto University. Then we were dispersed to the various towns we would be living in. My destination was Hamilton, Ontario. Our small group was met by the local press and an article appeared, complete with photographs in the next edition of the Hamilton Spectator. I never met up again with any of the other evacuees after that.

I was taken by car by Mr Flatt, manager of the local Children's Aid Society (a wondeful man who looked after my welfare while I was in Canada) to my Aunt Annie's house. It was in a district outside Hamilton. I had been told I was going to a big house with a big garden and a big dog. It turned out that the only true bit was the bog dog!

The house was a cream painted wooden house well set back from the gravel sufaced road. It had a wire fence around it and it had a big front weed covered yard. The house was built on top of concrete block walls. The front door was above these walls, but there were no steps up to the door!
When my Aunt opened the door to welcome me, the dog tried to bite my head off! We entered the house by using a side entrance via a porch which contained an ice box.

The house consisted of a kitchen, one bedroom and a large living/dining room. This was the room I slept in while I was there (on a couch). There was no toilet!

My Aunt lived in the house with her two young children, Jimmy aged 3 years 5 months and Helen aged 17 months. Her husband had enlisted in the Canadian Army the day war broke out. He had not completed building the house. He was now in Britain and I had taken his place!

After Mr Flatt had gone, my Aunt took me around the back of the house. She opened the basement door. It had not been floored, so there was just mud to walk on. She told me the reason it was mud covered was because everytime it rained, the basement flooded

She then took me to a big green shed, big enough to park a small car in. This is where she stored the coal during winters. She bought coal by the ton. The coal was shovelled through a window. The toilet was at the far end of the shed. It was a bucket! In the winter we had to clamber over the coal to get to the bucket. She told me that I was now the man of the house, so it would be my job to bail out the cellar everytime it rained, and it would also be my job to dig a hole in the back yard when the toilet bucket was filled and empty it into the hole.

I knew my parents would not have sent me to Canada if they had known the truth. At first I felt sorry for myself, but when I was a few years older, it was my Aunt that I felt sorry for. I wanted to give her a hug. How had she managed before I came? I have never forgiven her husband for leaving her the way he did.

I will finish this chapter now. Believe me I have many many happy memories of my time in Canada. I met many wonderful people there, who I hope to mention in future chapters.

I am going to try and upload a photo of me with my two young cousins very shortly after I arrived in Canada. I am wearing the clothes I wore when I left Scotland. We were only allowed to take the clothes we were wearing plus one change of clothing.

So here goes, I will try and upload a photo of "The Man of The House"!

Regards to All

Danny Harris

Hello All Again, it's Danny Harris back to write CHAPTER 2 about being evacuated to Canada.

When we arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia it was good to get our feet on the ground again after being at sea for so long. However we were quickly whisked on to a train for the long journey to Toronto, Ontario. The journey took so ong that the train would make stops in the middle of nowhere to allow us to get off and stretch our legs. On reaching Toronto we were given accommodation for a day or two at Toronto University. Then we were dispersed to the various towns we would be living in. My destination was Hamilton, Ontario. Our small group was met by the local press and an article appeared, complete with photographs in the next edition of the Hamilton Spectator. I never met up again with any of the other evacuees after that.

I was taken by car by Mr Flatt, manager of the local Children's Aid Society (a wondeful man who looked after my welfare while I was in Canada) to my Aunt Annie's house. It was in a district outside Hamilton. I had been told I was going to a big house with a big garden and a big dog. It turned out that the only true bit was the bog dog!

The house was a cream painted wooden house well set back from the gravel sufaced road. It had a wire fence around it and it had a big front weed covered yard. The house was built on top of concrete block walls. The front door was above these walls, but there were no steps up to the door!
When my Aunt opened the door to welcome me, the dog tried to bite my head off! We entered the house by using a side entrance via a porch which contained an ice box.

The house consisted of a kitchen, one bedroom and a large living/dining room. This was the room I slept in while I was there (on a couch). There was no toilet!

My Aunt lived in the house with her two young children, Jimmy aged 3 years 5 months and Helen aged 17 months. Her husband had enlisted in the Canadian Army the day war broke out. He had not completed building the house. He was now in Britain and I had taken his place!

After Mr Flatt had gone, my Aunt took me around the back of the house. She opened the basement door. It had not been floored, so there was just mud to walk on. She told me the reason it was mud covered was because everytime it rained, the basement flooded

She then took me to a big green shed, big enough to park a small car in. This is where she stored the coal during winters. She bought coal by the ton. The coal was shovelled through a window. The toilet was at the far end of the shed. It was a bucket! In the winter we had to clamber over the coal to get to the bucket. She told me that I was now the man of the house, so it would be my job to bail out the cellar everytime it rained, and it would also be my job to dig a hole in the back yard when the toilet bucket was filled and empty it into the hole.

I knew my parents would not have sent me to Canada if they had known the truth. At first I felt sorry for myself, but when I was a few years older, it was my Aunt that I felt sorry for. I wanted to give her a hug. How had she managed before I came? I have never forgiven her husband for leaving her the way he did.

I will finish this chapter now. Believe me I have many many happy memories of my time in Canada. I met many wonderful people there, who I hope to mention in future chapters.

I am going to try and upload a photo of me with my two young cousins very shortly after I arrived in Canada. I am wearing the clothes I wore when I left Scotland. We were only allowed to take the clothes we were wearing plus one change of clothing.

So here goes, I will try and upload a photo of "The Man of The House"!

Regards to All

Danny Harris

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Betsy2009
post 17th Jul 2013, 10:23pm
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Oh Danny, you were just a baby yourself and so far from home. I want to give you a great big cuddle.
This is quite emotional stuff. Are you OK with doing it?
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Purplefan
post 17th Jul 2013, 11:42pm
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WOW. After reading that emotional story i don't quite know what to say, except,
what an incredible journey.


--------------------
To be is to do socrates
To do is to be Sartre
Do be do be do Sinatra
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davidhendry
post 18th Jul 2013, 04:02am
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Great stuff, Danny.

Did you, by chance ever come across David Jarvis, who emigrated to Hamilton c1950?

Davie.
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CAT
post 18th Jul 2013, 09:09am
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Danny you were just the age of my grandson and I can not imagine him in that situation. Your story is fascinating. I am sure it's brining back a lot of good and bad memories for you and I feel honoured that you are sharing these with us. wub.gif
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DannyH
post 18th Jul 2013, 11:19pm
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Hello All, It's Danny Harris again!

Before I begin chapter 3 I just want to thank all of you for the kind remarks and encouragement you are giving me. Yes Betsy, please don't worry about me, there are some laughs still to come. Sorry david, but I had come back home long before 1950.

So here we go, CHAPTER 3.

I think I will concentrate in this chapter to try and give you all a mental picture of the area I lived in during my time in Canada.

As I explained previously, the house I had moved into had no toilet. But guess what, I was lucky! This house had a mains water supply. We could get fresh water in the kitchen. The house was about a mile beyond the Eastern city boundary of Hamilton. At that time houses further away than 800 yards from this boundary had no water supply, no street lighting, no pavements, no drainage, no mail service and no refuse collection. The roads were covered in gravel. There were no bus services. You walked everywhere. Very few people had a car in those days.

We had a water supply because we lived across the street from a small airport. The mains water pipeline passed our house. The houses behind our street got their water by drilling a hole in their propery until they struck water. Then they installed a hand pump.

The houses were mainly DIY jobs, built by immigrants from all over Europe. Some of the houses were very crude and basic and some of them were very desirable properties. In the street we lived in our neighbours were about 50 yards apart on either side. Fields and trees separated us.

Beyond the airport was a valley. A creek flowed through this valley for miles. Then beyond the creek it was miles and miles and miles of fruit and vegetable farms. This creek and some of those farms became an important part of my life in Canada - paradise! From a city boy, I became a country boy and loved every minute of it.

When it came time to go to school to enrol, I got a shock. In Glasgow, I went to Oakbank School, just across the road. In Canada, I could see the school from the house, away in the distance in the farthest corner of the airfield. "Some distance I thought". I was in for a shock! I couldn't walk in a straight line to school. When you came out of the front of our house and turned left towards the school, you were met by a wire fence about 100 yards away. This was the airfield boundary. So we had to walk around that boundary , for a distance of approximately 2 miles to get to school.

Everything seemed to be about 2 miles away! There was a sub-post office about 800 yards from the house run by a Scottish family. For some reason or other my Aunt wanted her mail sent to the nearest sub-post office in Hamilton -yes, 2miles away. So that was another chore of mine. Going to the post office once a week to see if we had any mail.

It was war time and the mail took a long time to get from the sender to the recipient across the Atlantic. This was because every piece of mail had to get read by a censor. So invariably we received mail which had holes in it because it had been considered to be too revealing.

For evacuees like me, somebody had come up with an idea. We were given a sheet with about a dozen pre-written cablegrams. Yes some information went by cable right across the Atlantic in those days.

Anyway, when I had arrived safely at my Aunt's, I sent my first pre-prepared cable which read "CHINS UP. I AM HAVING A GOOD TIME HERE". My mother kept it and I still have it.

Another but less frequent way of contacting each other was by radio. On two occasions during the war, my parents went to the BBC in Glasgow and took part in a programme which I think was called "Hello Children". They broadcast a message to me, telling me that everything was fine at home. We were all huddled around the radio in Canada listening. The one thing that surprised me while I was listening to my parents was, I didn't recognise their voices and their accents sounded strange to my ears. I had become a Canadian!


Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Regards to All

Danny Harris



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serabash
post 18th Jul 2013, 11:29pm
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thank you danny I am really enjoying reading your story wink.gif
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davidhendry
post 19th Jul 2013, 03:55am
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What a great story.

Davie.
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DavidT
post 19th Jul 2013, 08:44am
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Hi Danny, I'm thoroughly enjoying your detailed account of evacuation to Canada. Your descriptions of the Hamilton area at that time are fascinating. Historical societies in Ontario may be interested in your story too.
In case you should want to search for old photographs or info, here is a link to Archives of Ontario. You may be familiar with it already.
http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/index.aspx

Thanks for sharing your personal memories with us.

Dave
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Betsy2009
post 19th Jul 2013, 09:26am
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I'm loving it Danny.

I bet there were no fat kids.
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CAT
post 19th Jul 2013, 09:56am
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Lovely story Danny and your description lets me picture it in my mind keep it coming.
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