University of Oxford
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Evacuation Chronicles: Christina Elliott's Journey through WWII

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:08 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Christina Elliott (nee Carter) was born in 1931 and was aged eight when the war started. She was evacuated with her cousin Joyce to a vicarage in Kendal with all her belongings in a pillowcase. She stayed with the vicar in a very large house with good food. After a year, she had to return home because her sister turned fourteen and had to start work. Unfortunately, the air raids on South Shields by then were very intense, so she returned back to the Lake District.

This time she went to Thornthwaite Grange near Braithwaite with a wealthy family called Wilson, a local mine owner with his own chauffeur. Wolfram (Tungsten) and Shellite were mined, both essential to the war effort. Mr Wilson kindly left her £10 in his will. The local schoolteacher was less impressed by Christina and "kept her in because she couldn't find her sewing". She returned the second time because her hometown of South Shields was being heavily bombed at this time including several streets close to her mother's house and her mother was quite concerned for her safety.

Most items were rationed during the war but being in the countryside had its benefits: "there was a farm next door and we used to go with the can and get the milk and they kept chickens." "They had an apple orchard", as shown in one of the photos. "We used to spend a lot of time on the hedges picking rose hips and they made the rose hips syrup with it." Though plentiful, the food wasn't always to her liking and breakfast consisted of: "Kippers and milk to drink!” Though food might be plentiful her education may have suffered because of the war: "I don't think I had an awful lot of education, really?" Christina remembered rationing carried on long after the war: "Well, when we were married, 1953, we were still were still on ration books."

Because of the strategic importance of South Shields, it was expected to be heavily bombed, and plans were drawn up to evacuate an estimated 12,000 children in two days. Many children never left the town, some left and returned almost immediately and a few like Christina stayed for the full duration of the war. Hers was generally a positive evacuation experience, unlike her husband's!


Item list and details

1. Vicarage in Kendal where Christina stayed evacuation No 1 2. Christina in the Garden 1 3. Christina in the Garden 2 4. Thornthwaite Grange Keswick Evacuation No 2 5. Christina 6. Christina in the Orchard 7. Christina with her mam 8. Christina in 1945 9. Christina Identity Card 10. from Vicar Clayton from evacauation No 1 11. Christina Mr Wilson and Joyce her cousin evacuation No 2 Thornthwaite

Person the story/items relate to

Christina Elliott

Person who shared the story/items

Christina Elliott

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ocean Road Community Centre, Tyne and Wear on 18 November 2023. The event was organised by South Shields Local History Group.

Record ID

93563 | SSH002