Picture of George Osborn

I was prompted to write my experiences as an evacuee because of the continual bullying of several people. I hope some of the things I mention do not offend, as I have been unable to trace many of the persons named, and of course some of them have died. Please accept that most of my experiences were -seen through the eyes of a small boy, where all the adults come in extra large sizes, and the words and labels you can't always understand. I have used real names where I can, but disguised them where it might embarrass.

Almost sixty years have passed since, with label pinned to my coat, gas mask over shoulder and carrying a small suitcase, I stood clutching my sister's hand in the High Street of Wootton Bridge, a village in the Isle of Wight. I was part of that large army of evacuees sent away from their homes to live with virtual strangers. This upheaval was to affect me, and thousands like me, for ever.

In the following chapters, I have tried to tell you in my own way about my childhood in Wootton Bridge as an evacuee from Portsmouth during the war years. My memories are sometimes sad but mostly happy - nonetheless they are true reminiscences, coloured only by my own thoughts and fantasies. I hope you will believe them as much as I do.

George Osborn
May 1999

Evacuees in the 'paddock' at Portsmouth station, September 1939Evacuees in the 'paddock' at Portsmouth station, September 1939
Langstone School evacuees, September 1939Langstone School evacuees, September 1939