Evacuees to Appleby

Posted 30th November 2015 by Phil Reed
Newsletter Vol: 114, November 2015

With thanks to Phil Reed for this story about his Dad, Gerald Reed, and his uncle, Tom Reed.

“These two youngest brothers out of 5 were evacuated from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Tom was aged about 10/11 and Gerald about 7/8. Both boys were paraded through the High Street, along with all the other evacuees and were allocated to the couple who were to look after them. Unfortunately, it was not a successful placement and the boys were soon moved on to stay with another family. (Note: here the information is unclear as Phil isn’t sure whether the family name was Graham or Morris/Maurice). Mrs Graham/Morris/Maurice was a widow, she had a son (who might have been called Morris/Maurice) and a daughter and, to earn money, she put up posters, carrying ladders on her shoulders to do this. With this new family Dad and Tom had fallen on their feet. At the first sight of them wearing their suits she thought the outfits unsuitable and, overnight, knitted pullovers for them both. She was fabulous at feeding them and allowing total freedom. Tom was put in charge of the chickens at the bottom of the garden, Dad having household chores to do - but letting them off more times than she should have. The boys attended school in Appleby (possibly where Pigney’s showroom is now). The headmaster was very good to all the evacuees. Tom sat and passed the 11 plus and moved to Windermere Boarding school. Dad said he had a wonderful time in Appleby, going everywhere with Mrs Graham’s children. When the gipsies came to town the 4 children played in and around the camps, being accepted and looked after and never having any fear or trouble.” The story has a sad ending as Phil tells us that Mrs Graham’s children died within a short time of each other.

(Editor’s note: any additional information will be appreciated.)

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