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Joice Wilson

Joice was not an evacuee and was in London during the Blitz. However her mother became ill and she was invited to come and stay at Brand Hall, bringing her two daughters with her. When she recovered and returned to London some weeks later, Joice and her sister remained in Norton.

Joice kept a scrapbook of Norton related items

Memories written down by Joice Wilson

2 Caefelyn, Norton, Presteigne, Powis,, LD8 2UB

At the start of the war my father Victor Bailey had already been |Zcalled up having been a Territorial in the Royal Fusiliers. My school was mot evacuated and my mother and I and younger sister Julie stayed on in London and were there in the Blitz. My mother became ill and her friend Lady Iddesleigh wrote and said she and the girls must come up and stay at The Brand Hall.

Our journey from London was rather fraught as we were delayed due to an air raid which stopped out tube train in a station until it was all over. I think we travelled from Euston, but not sure. We arrived at Wellington station very late at night and the kind Station Master took us to his home for the night. I do not remember his name but I know my mother kept in touch with him and his wife for many years.

The next morning a car arrived to take us to the Brand Hall. We must have looked very dirty and Nanny put us both in a big bath. My Mother was put to bed for a much needed rest.

After some weeks my Mother had to return to London and her work. It was arranged for us to go and live at the Brand Farm with Walter and Francis Williamson. Although they seemed old to us they were only in their early 20’s and with no children of their own it must have been daunting to take on two little girls.

Francis had a brother who farmed in Norton, Robert Furnival and wife Ruth. Their son fell off the tractor and was killed aged about 4 years old. We went to the Village school where our teacher was Miss Blore. I believe she lived with her mother in a house opposite the school.

I remember Alan Poynter, you will see he wrote in our autograph book and another boy who was his friend Eric Thomas but I am not sure he came from Manchester, also a girl called Betty Monkhouse, a local girl Phyliss Harper.

My cousin Ann Parker also came to stay in the village and was very happy there and returned several times.

We soon had our jobs on the farm as it provided milk for Norton. Before breakfast every morning Julie and I put the cardboard milk caps on all the bottles as they were filled. Cream from the top of the milk churns was put on our porridge, what a treat. After school we walked around the fields to shut up the chicken sheds. For doing this Uncle Walter bought us savings stamps every week.

A lady with white hair came to do the cleaning, Mrs Marie.

A land girl came to live at the farm, her name was Ivy, I think she came from Handley. In the summer the Threshing Machine came from Market Drayton to the Farm from Hollands the Timber Merchants. This was when Ivy met their son Fred who she eventually married. He had two sisters Mona and Hilda who were very kind to us, took us out shopping and to the pictures.

There were two cart horses on the farm, Captain and Boxhall, they seemed enormous to us small girls. Two dogs a sheepdog called Scottie and a Jack Russell called Whiskers.

Uncle Walter had an accident with the tractor and was in Hospital in Shrewsbury and we went to visit him there.

We returned home for a time at the end of 1942 I think, as everyone seemed to have signed our autograph book then but returned as the rockets started falling in London. By then Uncle Walter had died and Francis was living with her mother Mrs Furnival at Yew tree Cottage in Norton and we went to live with them there. Julie still went to Norton school but I went into Market Drayton

My mother came to visit several times but she was frightened by the cows. I am not sure she approved of her nice little girls mucking about in the cowshed.

Dad came to visit a couple of times, once at haymaking and loved it, almost forgot to go back.

Other memories.

I wore red clogs.

I still have a scar on my leg where I caught it on some barbed wire, today I would have been taken to hospital for stitches.

Fleas floating in the bath after we had been plucking chickens at Christmas.

Julie fell in the canal at Drayton when we went with Uncle Walter to collect coal.

We appeared in the school play ‘The Dolls House Party’ at the old village hall. Pleased to see they have anew one now.

After the war Frances went to Jack Stringer a widower and his sons in Malpas and after some time they married. I kept in touch with Frances and Ivy until their deaths and visited them several times and last went to Norton in the 80’s. My sister never went back she died young at 52.

My mother and Lady Iddesleigh had been friends in Westminster, London when they were both young, her son Stafford and I being born within a couple of weeks of each other in June 1932. I do not know how they met although Lady Iddesleigh I know worked to improve the welfare of women in Westminster.

I remember going to tea with her mother the writer Mrs Belloc Lowndes and meeting her Uncle Hillaire Belloc there. I had several of her books, The Lodger and Told in Gallant Deeds now passed to my family. Also have two books given to me by Lady Iddesleigh one written by Mrs Lowndes’s mother Bessie Rayner Parkes ‘The History of our cat Aspasia’ and another written by Catherine Northcote ‘A Docker goes on Strike’. I still have these.

We also spent time at Lady Iddesleigh’s house and played with her children, my sister the same age as her daughter Hilda. Stafford gave me a Teddy Bear for my birthday one year which I still had when my sons were born, but he lost all his straw stuffing in the end! We also knew her sister Susan and my husband and I were invited to her home in Estoril when we were in Portugal on holiday.

I now live in Wales and have 3 sons, 3 grandsons, 2 granddaughters and 3 great grandsons. All live in Kent and Sussex.

Joice Wilson (nee Bailey) 2016

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