“Operation Dynamo” the Dunkirk evacuation had just ended on June 3rd 1940 and the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force had been snatched from the beaches of France, exhausted and without any equipment.
Invasion now seemed inevitable. Everyone said the Germans would come within weeks. Portsmouth, where I lived, was being bombed daily and the schools were almost completely closed.
When I told Mr Elderkin this, he shook his head and said that it simply wasn’t possible; nobody wanted to take in two children. Still, he could probably get us a few houses apart.
Time ticked by. The people of Shrewton and Orcheston came and went, shepherding their charges to their new homes – A boy here, a girl there – until only a handful of us were huddled together in an increasingly empty classroom.
Finally Mr Elderkin put Dave and I in his car, took us up to 2 Rose Cottages,Nett Roadand introduced us to Lottie Curtis. By now we were both upset and not a little scared.
“What’s up boys?” she said, kindly. “My mum said we had to stay together, ‘cos my brother’s not very well,” I replied. After a moment’s pause for thought, she turned and called: “Olly!”
“Hello?” The voice of her husband drifted back from the bottom of the garden.
“We’ve got two brothers here, want to stay together. What do you think?”
There was a slight hesitation while he digested this, and I held my breath. Then – “take them on in.”
And that was that!
I married my wife, Eve, in 1952 and we have three boys. We visited Mr and Mrs Curtis every year until first Olly and then Lottie died in the late 1980s.
I will always remember Shrewton as a lovely place with lovely people, who welcomed two lucky little boys into their midst.
We loved them and we loved the country life.
John and Eve Huxford, Coventry, April 2012