Joyce Coutu was evacuated from Guernsey during the 2nd World War, first to Glasgow with Joan Hewlett, and later they both joined Joyce's parents, Daisy & Joe, and younger brother, Gordon, in Baildon. Joyce kept a diary and after the war went through it with one of her Baildon friends. The notes that were made are reproduced here.
I will be adding details of how the text was written and how it came into the possession of its current owner once I have that information clear.
It is in two sections. The 1st section covered their time in Glasgow and the 2nd their time in Baildon.
You can download files of the 2 parts using the links below or you can read it all, including an introduction under Writings below.
The introduction was written by the Baildon friend.
- 1 Writings
- 2 Red Cross Message
- 3 Yorkshire Friends
- 4 File Downloads
- 5 Engagement & Wedding
- 6 References
The text below is a transcript of the handwritten pages with an introduction by the Baildon friend. Both parts have a heading of An Evacuee in Baildon but I have added Part 1 and Part 2. I assume this is because the whole thing was being worked on with her Baildon friend and the intention may have been to put it all together. I am sure there are several spelling mistakes, especially in some of the surnames. Please let me know if you spot any.
Some of us will remember and may still be in touch with the Channel Island's evacuees who came to Baildon in 1940 and stayed until 1945. They had a number of different surnames to ours, such as:- Le Riche, Le Tissier, Vaudin, Tastevin, Bichard, Ouerappel, Boudain, Solway, Lamiot, Bran, Broome, Ashplant, Stacey, Coutu, Keutzer, Torode. Today I'd like to tell you about an evacuee in Baildon called Joyce Coutu, one of these evacuees who came here as an 11 year old girl and kept her wartime diary from the day she left her home in Guernsey until her return.
She starts writing on 18th June 1940 a date that stands out in my own mind now as the day before, June 17th 1940, my own father was on board the Lancastria which was bombed and sunk a few miles away at San Nazaire.
An Evacuee in Baildon (Part 1)
June 18th 1940. Here I am at eleven years old sitting by the window recovering from German measles, a huge crowd has gathered across the road in the middle of the bridge and some man is standing on a box to read from a long white paper, the butcher from the shop below has gone to see what it’s all about, now he’s on his way back and folk are scattering. The butcher arrives back to tell us that we have to be evacuated, and all children have to report to their schools for 10pm, a ship will arrive to take off as many as they can.
Oh the panic and fright going through me, I am only used to going to the other end of the island once a year, and visited Town (3 miles away) on one day a year for Kings Birthday.
Folks are buying up suitcases if they can afford them. Dad has arrived home early from work, he has to cycle from Town and is turning out his tools so I can have the long slender case, it doesn’t hold a great deal.
Mum is wondering whether to send me with being just a week after the measles, then suddenly I’m getting a wash and Mum’s explaining facts of life, putting two of everything on me except the coat, which by now I can just get on, oh the turmoil in my mind “what’s going on” I know there’s a war, we can hear the firing a long distance away in another country, nobody says anything.
What’s going to happen, where am I going, I really don’t know what it’s all about, it’s happening too quick. Time for a sandwich and then off to school. My suitcase is laid across my brother’s pram, Mum & Dad very quiet, no one speaks and once at school hundreds of people crying and hugging each other - glad Mum doesn’t do that, everyone talking, talking, you hear snippets of buses and boats, then we’re all labelled up in groups and buses arrive to take us to the harbour.
Mothers and babies must meet next day and men afterwards if lucky.
We arrived at the Town Harbour at 4am, no boat had arrived. It was blowing hard and we were very cold, there were lots of lorries arriving with shipments of tomatoes but they weren’t allowed aboard - drivers were giving the baskets of tomatoes to children to take, I didn’t want one, I had enough with my case and my extra coat to carry.
We sat on our cases as it was such a long wait. At 10:30am we saw the ship arriving. It was the “Antwerp” just returned from ferrying the wounded from Dunkirk. When the last child was aboard we set off.
It was the first time I had been on a boat and I felt sick. Several times I thought I was going to be sick until I was - all over the lifebelts. The smell around was awful and blood from the wounded soldiers still all around.
As I walked up the steps from below I banged my shin and that started to bleed. There was no one to ask, everyone too busy to ask about it so my socks were in a mess, teachers trying to keep us together in groups. I am a quiet girl so I won’t venture far.
We’ve passed the Isle of Wight and then a long beautiful beach with beach huts which I’ve never seen before, a teacher said it was Weymouth, saw a white horse on hillside and a man sitting on a horse carved out of marble.
The harbour was nice, it was just like a big river with a lot of trees on one side, we weren’t allowed to get off the ship so had another long standing wait. Everywhere we have to wait and we’re hungry, with sleep catching up on us, some slept on the boat, some ott scared to.
At last, we’re moving, soldiers are waving, there’s hundreds of them and thousands of children, all with a suitcase or pillowslip and gas mask. The man in charge is leading us along by the railway station in between lines of soldiers, as I go along a soldier says “Hello Joyce.” but so many I can’t see who it is.
We are taken to a cinema and given a cup of water, then after, a medical test. That over with, another cinema and something to eat and drink, then we went to a man’s house to sleep and on arrival he couldn’t take us, as a lot more were coming. So we had to be taken to a station and board a train.
It was 1 o’clock before we settled down, I fell asleep as soon as I was inside. I heard talk of going to Scotland, I always thought I’d like to go there, kilts and bagpipes.
June 19th. We had to wash on the train and then Mr Finn, the school caretaker, made us have a sing song. People waved to us from their gardens, saw a herd of cows which were black and white, looked like girls in gymslips from a distance. I slept quite a long time on the train. When we arrived at Crewe we were given a cup of tea by the Salvation Army, when all the cups were given back we were off again to Carlisle. There were folk with cups of water, some drank out of jugs; many children bought ice cream but I didn’t want to waste my money. Next stop was Motherwell where one of the teachers went home, on we all went to Glasgow.
We alighted into buses and went to various halls and churches. I went to Pollokshields West Church, Ruth Mariette to Maxwell Church, Kathleen Teed and 4 others with Miss Glen to East Church, we had camp beds to sleep on and the 6 boys that were with us were partitioned off by a curtain at the end of the hall.
Joan Hewlett, Betty Minier and I decided to stay together as much as we could and then Betty got billeted out.
I didn’t like to have to wash with everyone else in a long corridor where everyone passed through or eating time but food which was mostly mince and boiled potatoes were nice, the people are friendly and so much going on all the time we haven’t thought much about our parents at all.
Five girls and I were sent to a Mrs Connell’s house for the afternoon, she had a sister Anne and a niece Betty. We were told to call Mrs Connell Aunt Margaret, Betty’s father father we called Uncle Giant, his real name was William, being elderly no one was billeted there.
On day I went with Mrs Forrest, Betty Minier, Pearl Falla, Jean Le Page, Vera Renoud, Betty Barrasin and Mrs West for a picnic at a soldiers camp and we watched them doing exercises and the had tea in a tent. Some of the girls were jumping on the soldiers backs, then we walked through some lanes and under a big tunnel and cam to a bus stop where we left Mrs West and rode back to the hall.
The following day I went with Mrs Hardy and some girls to see the University museum, there were all sorts of things to see, statues and all kinds of animals, pictures and one floor was models of shops. On one of the floors was a skeleton of a child of 6 and it was as small as a baby of 6 months. There were castles made of wood and all different kinds of bicycles. The following day - Queen’s Park Museum - stuffed birds and starfish herrings and all kinds of insects, another room contained things from India: there were bits of wood which we were told they used for knives and forks, even bells they wore on their feet.
After the 1st week at the hall Joan had German Measles and then practically all the hall caught it - only 16 left, they all went to a hospital on the Clyde Bank.
While I was in the Hall a Mrs Young came to collect Una Elliot, as Una was out she asked me if I’d like to live with her. I could have a bicycle, live in a big house and go out in a big car. But I said to wait until Una came back and see if she wanted to go, which she did, later on hearing - she like not and had to be moved. The same day Joan came out of hospital and Mrs Miller called for the girl with the golden hair; but Joan wouldn’t go without me so Mrs Miller accepted both of us and so we went to 140 Nithsdale Road, Pollokshields, West Church, Glasgow, Sl.
The Miller family consisted of Mr Miller, a huge man who had an office in the city. Alison who seemed old to us, I think she was in her late 20s, we hardly saw her, she played golf at St Andrew’s course. Doris about 19 and lots of fun, reading sexy books and hiding them when Mrs Miller came near, or putting them under my pillow. The youngest was Charlotte, we didn’t like her much, she was younger than us and always hanging around and telling tales.
We spent some evenings making up rhymes:- I’m a little evacuee I’m as wild as wild can be Nobody cares a little about me Cos I’m a little evacuee
Most days were spent just playing around. On getting up I’d go to the shop below us for the rolls and sometimes I’d see the pipes marching down the street to barracks.
Scotland was nothing like pictures I’d seen in books. The man who was going to take us to see Loch Lomond never turned up and except for one Saturday, going to Glasgow to Mr Miller’s office (where he gave us a compact each) and once to a concert at Queens Park the Millers never took us out. Joan and I spent most days at St George's Church, Queens Park, Langside Lane where I found that Aunt Gert, Uncle Ernie and my cousins were there and a lot of people we knew and I used to play the piano for them. Mrs Dodd, her son Harold from Mr Hewlett’s band was there. Ronald Dodd used to curl my hair with the vacuum cleaner but Joan used to think my hair would be gone and always ran off when he came near to her.
We got used to bathing at night, so different from the tin bath at home.
When I started getting letters from my mother I was sorry for Joan as her parents had stayed behind in Guernsey. Then when Mum wrote she said Joan had to come with me and be brought up with our family until the end of the war as she didn’t want Mr Reardon from Wales claiming her.
We went and said goodbye to Aunty Gert, and Ronald Dodd had a job delivering bread.
On arrival back home I went and played tennis with Una Elliott (who now lived next door with Mrs Bayle) Ida Le Noury we went to Maxwell Park and I partnered Ida, as she hit the ball, I stretched and went sprawling getting gravel stuck into my hand and knee which Mr Miller had to scrape out with a needle.
On a Friday morning at 7am we left Pollokshields for Glasgow town at 8am and got to Town Hall exactly at 9am. Mr Miller and Alison came with us to the station. There were a small group of boys and girls with us. It was not very nice on the train and the man who took us had a face like a bulldog. The lady was nice and kept handing out sweets and rolls. Joan and I sat by the grownups so we had more to eat than the others. There were quite a few soldiers on the train and an RAF pilot let us try on his cap.
When we arrived at Keighley we changed trains for Bradford and then a bus to Baildon, we arrived at 5pm a very tired group - and thirsty.
An Evacuee in Baildon (Part 2)
July 2nd 1940. Well here I am riding on a train again in such a short space of time, I can hardly believe so much has happened, I keep wondering if I'm dreaming. One day life was so normal and quiet on my Island of Guernsey and the next everyone is hurrying to & fro and I'm sent to bed for a rest at 4o/c and I'm 11 years old. I don't know what the dickens is going on except it's war and I haven't to go away with the rest of my school chums.
I've already been to Glasgow for a few weeks and as my parents have been found I have to go to them in Yorkshire.
The Glasgow foster parents told us that Yorkshire is horrible and miles of nothing and the people aren't nice and talk funny.
Looking out the train window it certainly is a long way from one house to the next. Joan Hewlett is with me, we were billeted together and my mum had told Mrs Hewlett she'd look out for Joan as Mrs Hewlett was staying on the island.
Joan and I are very quiet, we're travelling in a compartment of boys who are noisy, a man and a lady came to fetch us from Glasgow and we are sitting by them, so we are getting tit-bits to eat. I'm getting too sleepy to write.
We got to Bradford station and got into a coach and off we went to Baildon, thank goodness, there's more houses but it is an awful long way.
We have arrived at last at Town Hall, Rushcroft Terrace, there are crowds of women, mothers, aunties, I suppose looking for their children. The only boy I knew that traveled with us was Alfred Bichard.
Papers are signed when our name is called and off we go home.
Mum & Dad and my little brother Gordon, who is four, are living up the Grove, they are billeted with a Mr McCone, who is a fireman. At the house is Mrs Lamiot and her 3 children, Joyce, Herbert & Marie. There isn't room for Joan and I to sleep there so we have to go to No 26 at Mr & Mrs William Shooter. They have 2 daughters, Bertha and Betty. Bertha works at a mill called Mason's at Shipley. They are all very nice.
Betty is very giddy and loves going to dances. Bertha is staid but she's full of fun too.
It’s not nice down at McCone's during the day, there's not enough chairs to sit down and we have to stand up to the table as Mrs Lamiot doesn't tell her children it's our turn. It's nice when it is sunny as we can sit on the lawn.
Dad works at Butterfield's at Windhill, making bins, it seemed a funny thing to make for the war effort and then I heard on the news how many bins are used.
Being new to Baildon we don't have to go to school until the Sept & Mum wants us to know our way around the village first.
Goodnews today, Mum & Dad are coming to live up at the Shooters, Joan and I will sleep in room with Betty and Bertha.
Mum will look after the house while they all go to work, she'll look after the pidgeons as well.
Mr Shooter races pidgeons, he takes them down to Baildon Station.
We were introduced to Mrs Lea, she had daughters Alice and Helen and a son Jack, they all had ginger hair. I’ve never seen anyone with hair like that before. Jack has helped us meet others and is our friend, calling for us every afternoon after school, he goes to Sandals school.
Mr William Shooter's father comes to the house now and again, he's old and sits there by the window and fire. I don't like him much, he's old & grumpy, always talking about bands, I don't suppose he is bad.
Across the wall lives Mr & Mrs Walker - the milk people, last night I went across for some 'change' and she said I was a very polite girl and she couldn't refuse as I had asked so nicely.
We went to Baildon Picture House to see "Jamaica Inn". It seemed we walked ages down a very long passage before getting into the cinema, it was a dark place. Mum said her and Gordon had been taken there the night they arrived and had to sleep on the floor.
There aren't many shops in Baildon. From the square called Towngate there's Northgate on left leading up to the moors. The first house is Councillor Moore’s, then a house which I think is Halliday's, then the Picture House, and then a butcher’s shop run by Mrs Chew and her husband. He's gone to war and so she's running it. I think she's related to Mrs Shooter. She's going to make Joan and I a frock. We are always dressed the same as Mum doesn't want to spoil me more than Joan, but I'm the one who gets shouted at. Next to Chews is an alleyway, then a sweet shop run by Oddy's, then Dale's Dairy. Alan Dale goes to the Church School up Hallcliffe. Next to that is a shop and a cottage, Miss Cawthorne the music teacher is here, then there's Peel's Mill & a little path called Providence Avenue which leads around to the Grove where we live. I always thought an avenue was big with trees either side. There's a little hut made of wood which sells sweets and cigarettes. I often go there for Dad to get him 5 Woodbines. Baildon toilets come next, what a large building for a toilet, then some cottages called High Fold and you're on the moor.
On the other side of the road is a bank, Hainsworth Bakery at bottom of East Parade, a ladies dress shop and then the Malt Shovel Inn. There's a drinking trough and then Fox's grocery shop, we go there. It has an old fashioned bell which clangs everytime you open the door, it's dark & dingy inside, but once inside you're in a bygone age, it seems, of old world quaintness, everything you require is there, sacks of beans around the floor, everything cramped into a tiny space with friendly folk to serve you.
There's Mr & Mrs Fox and sons Arthur & Ernest. Ernest is 3 years older than us and teases us. The Fox's have got friendly with Mum & Dad, I think Mum is going to help her around the house as she's getting old. We spent an evening there with me playing the piano. They go round with their orders by pony and trap.
Around the corner from there is a chip shop, then an opening which leads to a big field where the fair is held at Baildon tide.
Next is the Ex Serviceman's Club and then 3 houses, Tim Cole lives in one and Jimmy Roberts in another and, I think, the Knutts.
Then comes Jenny Lane, there are evacuees living up there called Corbin - Hazel goes to the Church School.
There are houses all the way up to the Moor, Moorgate.
Back in Towngate we start at Councillor Moore's house and go up The Grove, there's the air raid shelter and a playground. Mr Moore's always moaning at the noise, but what's a playground for? All the houses in the Grove belong to the council, going on the left are the Lee family, Myers, Sheila and brother. Shooters, McCones and Bentleys next door, across are Walkers and then I don't know anyone else. Across the top runs Brantcliffe Drive were we visit the Robinson family, Tom Robinson and wife, Ada and Florrie and son Will who can make noises of instruments with his mouth. Ada makes fur gloves for Brown & Muffs in Bradford. She makes them so quickly. We go up to their house very often. Coming down the other side is a little path leading to Springfield Road, then houses again. Opposite the playground are the air wardens and the sirens. Making the corner is the library run by Bertha Lonsdale and then Bottomley’s paper shop. Around the corner is Westgate which as you turn into are two seats and a telephone box and a nice little space to sit and chat to chums. Starting up Westgate is Halliday's shop. Mrs Eaton has a lovely tenor voice, I have never heard a woman sing so deeply, and I could listen to her sing "Friend of Mine" over and over again. Then comes Barraclough's, the mineral firm, their dandelion & burdock is delicious. Next is a grocery shop, it's lovely and clean looking, the lady inside is called Betty & I think the shop is called Driver’s. Then comes the post office and bakery run by Mrs James. The bakery sometimes gets called Feathers. Next to that is Myers Shoe Shop and then an old building and an opening to Binswell Fold. George and Arthur Robinson live up there. Arthur will soon be off to work and George goes to Sandals School. There's a very old building which someone told me used to be the Town Hall and then a shop selling antiques. Mum bought a couple of silver dishes there this week. The road then goes on to West Lane.
On the other side of the road are 2 shops, sweets galore in one and a chip shop in the other. Next is a lovely little cottage whose owner is Bunty Halliday, she has a Scottie dog. Mum is friendly with her, it's such a low ceiling cottage, looks as if it used to be a barn or something. Then comes Bank Crest. The first house is Arthur & Ada Halliday, I think they both work at Mason's Mill. There's a tiny path leading along the top of the Bank and Betty Milner lives along there, her Dad is a councillor and helped a lot of evacuees to get furniture.
He managed to get a double bed for Mrs Dodd in Moorlea Drive. Ivy and Doris went to fetch it, they wheeled it down the Bank, but instead of going down to path leading to the school they took the dirt track that went straight down the Bank and came out at the back of an alley by a house next door to the Bay Horse pub, they had to let the bed go as it was so steep, I don't think they'll ever forget that old iron bed.
There's a row of houses called Wrose View, I wouldn't mind living there, it's a lovely view, must be of Wrose.
Going back to Westgate there are old houses and cottages, a ramshackle place which is a chip shop, then little cottages down as far as the greengrocer. An evacuee, Mrs Bran, works there and sometimes her mother, Mrs Broom, helps. I knew Mrs Broom back in Guernsey as she lived next door to my Aunt Edie. Then comes the 'Bull Head Inn', there are Italian prisoners-of-war in the chapel behind, also soldiers. On the corner is Robinson the chemist, it really is in Browgate leading off from Towngate again on the right hand side. There aren't many shops on this side of the road, it’s all old buildings and steps. There's an old dark shop which sells vents, it's so dark it looks as if it is hewn out of a rock, and their home is down some steps into a basement. We go to this shop quite often as Mum makes frocks for Joan and I.
Eunice Midgley lives along here. At the corner is Delph Hill, it reminds me of goblins. I thought it might lead to Wrose View, but it doesn't, only to Hillside Terrace, and on then to the Bay Horse. There are plenty of old fashioned cottages here with twisting cobbles and alleys. There's a chimney sweep, then a cottage whose back is on to the Bank (where the bed came down) then the Bay Horse, and Boocock’s grocery shop on Lane End.
Now up Browgate and back to Towngate.
There is nothing on this side of road, except a large house set in grounds, until you get to the corner, where there's a lane which goes over a bridge to Butler Lane. Quite a lot of children seem to live among the cottages between this Bridge and the school. Manor Fold and Kelcliffe are the buildings I can see - I think. Back to Browgate there's a big chapel, Ivy Dodd got married there, then there's nothing until the shops at the top. A tobacconist, bank, butcher, and then the Mechanics Institute where we go to send our red cross letters home. Now we are back in Towngate.
Next is Lupton’s grocery shop and then Denby's shoe cobbler. Mr & Mrs Denby are very nice, and again Mrs Denby and Mum made friends. Then comes the haberdashery run by Mrs Jagger. She told me I ought to buy some Valderma to get rid of my spots, she's nice though and Joan and I go there for lots of odds and ends.
There's now a gap to reach the Fold and Kellcliffe. There's Mrs Emin's Stationery shop, this shop is at the bottom of Hallcliffe, and there's houses all way up and in one lives Tom & Maude Shooter. Tom is a cobbler and brother to William. Maude was a singer and has a mop of red hair. Tom also plays the piano and we love going to their house.
William also has a sister, Jessie, who is ginger, and lives on the green and a dark haired sister called Olive in East Parade, or Westgate.
Up the road is a church and then the school.
Mum told me she has been reading this and as we know our way around we have to go to school next week, heck, we seem to have been away from school for years, it'll be awful going back.
Along the other side of Towngate to make the square are little cottages, Mrs Noble has her hardware shop. I've never seen anyone go in, maybe it's not a shop anymore, it certainly doesn't look like a hardware store, it has all old ornaments in the window, there's an alley (cobbled) and then the Angel Hotel.
Funny how they call Pubs - Hotels.
First day at school, Joan and I had to stand in front of the class to wait for Mr Trenholme the headmaster.
The only one we knew was Alfred Bichard, it seemed there were a lot more boys than girls.
Jeremy Stevens (who was sent to borstal in later years) Willy Rollinson, who we had visited with the Shooters and lived at Moorside. His dad kept pidgeons and loved pidgeon pie. John Robinson and his sister Hilda, lived on the green. Jeffrey McMahon, lived somewhere at the top of Grove also Eric Stainton. Jeff, Eric, Joan & I often used to play leap-frog in the Grove. Eric Knutt & Timie Coles, they were demons, always up to mischief in class like climbing up to the window & out on the flat roof of the school.
I saw Hetty Walsh, Hazel Corbin, Mollie Ashplant (who was billeted with the vicar)
Kathleen Fryer and Molly Midgley are soon to leave school.
Doreen Forster lives in Angel St or Providence Ave, she’s great fun, but we never seem to see her after school hours.
Jack Murgatroyd, Edward Milnes, Wilf Proctor - his sister Winnie says he’s a pest. Winnie is quiet and nice. They seem to disappear between shops, they must live at Manor Fold. I must have a walk through those little places one day when I have confidence. Beryl Atkinson and Alice Alderton are nice but Joyce Bell is stuck up. On the whole the class is fun and I think we’ll like it. The boys like us.
There’s another blonde girl Doreen Edwick, she’s going to be our friend, she has a sister Ivy, she’s sitting in the back so she will be leaving soon. Dorothy Brown is our friend too, we have quite a laugh. She seems a bit old fashioned and reminds me of some of the girls back on the island who wore pinnies to school, we think she’s great, always plenty of laughing.
Living in the Grove there’s a girl called Doreen Dalzeil and her brother Cedric, they have been sent to Mrs Walker, their Aunt, for the duration, they are from Liverpool. Doreen is in our class, I don’t think she can write, and Cedric is about 9 and always sucks a dummy.
Gordon, my brother, is at school now. I don’t have many lessons to do as I am far ahead of the others who are still doing £sd, when I left Guernsey I was learning Algebra. I spend most of my time going to mark the registers of the various classes, Mrs Body, Miss Emins, Miss Coates, Mr Trenholme and then marking children's books.
Mr Trenholme has to go out quite a lot and there’s always fun.
This school is a piece of cake.
We have struck up friendship with Jack Murgatroyd and Edward Milnes and we get teased an awful lot by Miles and Jack Alderson. One morning when we went up the stairway to class the initials JC “heart” JM was written on the wall. Mr Trenholme took it all in fun but I felt awful.
Edward, Joan, Jack and I go everywhere together, we take Gordon with us as Mum is going out charing now to Mrs Fox besides looking after the 9 of us at home.
I haven’t written to this diary for quite a while.
Betty Shooter didn’t like her job much as she is only picking up pins most of the day.
We sometimes went to Dorothy Brown’s house in East Parade, her mum always made us welcome. Dorothy’s two brothers are in the navy and sometimes one comes in with his girlfriend. Mrs Brown seems very old compared to my Mum, it really is nice in their home. Mind you, we have plenty of fun at the Shooters.
William Shooter teases Mum, the other night I was playing the piano, Joan was writing at the table by the french windows, Betty was reading on the other side of the table, Mrs Shooter was sat in her usual place on the fire box on kerb corner. Mum sat between Dad and Mr Shooter who wound up Gordon’s toy car and put it on her head, boy was her hair in a mess. Later on he went outside to see if any lights showing for the blackout and he called his wife and Mum to come outside, we all went and the next minute Mum shrieked as she received a bang on the leg by a hedgehog.
One evening Mr Shooter brought up two soldiers he met down at the Angel, one played the piano, one was called Dick Boyd from Lancashire. We had a smashing evening, it reminded me so much of our parties in Guernsey.
Sundays were nice , after lunch Mr & Mrs Shooter, Mum & Dad, Joan, Gordon and I went for a walk. Mr Shooter takes us all along tiny paths and through farms and houses. I have a favourite walk and that’s going down to Spring Woods and then up through a field to Hawksworth. One Sunday the walk took us along West Lane and then cut down on the left behind some houses and went right along the bottom of some gardens and came out by the Shipley Glen Tramway. I never remembered the way to go again.
It seems a cheek to me to go through people’s gardens, but he says it's a right of way.
On the summer days we go to Tong Park Dam, up Hallcliffe and go along Ladderbanks and go through the farm gate which is always full of muck. A lot of folk go swimming in the Dam, we don’t as Mrs Shooter says it's too dangerous, her son Tom drowned there years ago.
One Sunday afternoon we had gone there and were on the way back into Towngate when two Guernsey women, Rose Hockey and Beatrice Greening were rushing down to the dam as Beatrice’s daughter Violet had disappeared under the water and was never found.
Joan and I go to Mrs Hall in Westgate to learn music, she’s old and not very with it. I have knitted her a suit in black, I also made Mum a blue one and Joan & I had pink, Joan did her a cardigan but I had to do skirts as I knit quicker.
Mrs Hall’s packing up and going to live with her son in Anglesey. Thank goodness, no more music lessons.
Some mornings Jack Murgatroyd comes to the house early as we have to take the pidgeons down to Baildon Station before going to school, the basket is awkward to carry but we enjoy it. Mr Shooter one year won the racing fanciers race & gave the canteen of cutlery to Mum as it had been her doing all the work, feeding, cleaning out, timing the homecomings etc.
Jack and I get on really well together. Mum says it’s better to have boy friends than girlfriends, there’s not so many arguments and jealousy.
During the summer holiday, Edie and Jack said they knew the way to Ilkley and the Cow & Calf, so packing our lunch and with Gordon off we went over the moor. It was a bleak day and very quiet, we never saw a soul, what a long walk just to see rocks but the view was lovely. On the return journey it absolutely teamed down with rain and we had to get under coats and suddenly, out of the rain, appeared a cyclist who asked us what the hell we were doing as we’d made him jump and nearly fall off his bike. Except for this man we hadn’t seen a soul the whole way there or back.
Every Saturday, as a family, we all went into Bradford to look around the shops and have tea in Kirkgate market, its so quaint, tiny little places to eat in, attics up the sides of buildings, stairs leading to eating areas. We loved the markets, there’s so much to see, there’s always one stall that sells old music, and I usually end up with 3 new pieces to take home. Old music 1d and modern 6d. The stall holder has quite lengthy chats with us now. After tea we go to the Channel Islands Society who used to meet every week at Eastbrook Hall in the afternoons but we prefer the one at Valley Road in the evening which is dancing mostly. One week there was a service at Eastbrook Hall and I had to play as Edgar Blampied wouldn’t do it. The people at Eastbrook seem to come from Wakefield, Horsforth, Rotherham & Burnley. I was glad when the service was over.
On the first Saturday in every month, Joan and I catch the Leeds bus from Shipley and go to see Parson’s family at Horsforth for the day. It’s a long ride, sometimes when we get to Shipley we miss the bus so go on to Bradford and catch the Pudsey one which drops us at the edge of Horsforth and we have another long walk through lanes. Our friend Kathleen Parsons is joining the Land Army.
We are doing a pantomime at school.
I am always writing stories for the girls to read and one day they asked me to write a pantomime - I did my best. When Mrs Emins found out she said we could so a pantomime at school. They hired the costumes from the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
I was narrator & fairy godmother Joan Hewlett - Cinderella Doreen Forster - Prince Charming Ivy Allez - Buttons Dorothy Brown & Doreen Dalzeil - ugly sisters Jack Murgatroyd & John Proctor - Brokers men Other girls are in chorus line Rehearsals are wonderful times.
We’ve had snow, this is the first time we’ve seen it, it looks nice but I don’t like walking on it. Mr Shooter says to run around barefoot in it to cure my chilblains, I do it once a week, it doesn’t seem to work, they drive me crackers, itch, itch, and more itches. I keep falling down, gives everyone a laugh anyway. One evening after rehearsal Jack and Eddie came up home and the snow had drifted at pavement, Jack offered to carry me over, so he dropped me right in it.
We had the pantomime and it was a huge success. Joan and I are used to stage work as from 7 years old we’d been singing mascots for the Sarnian Harmonica Band in Guernsey. The pantomime had a local band, unfortunately they didn’t know one of my songs - ‘Sarnia Cherie’. After the show the conductor came up and asked if I’d write out the music for him so he must have enjoyed it. They told me most of the audience were in tears, there must have been quite a few Guernsey people there, that’s all I can think. It does have beautiful words. Everyone was pleased the way the pantomime went, teachers were all smiling.
It’s the end of term. Christmas again, this is the time I wish I was back home, they don’t have lovely parties like we do in Guernsey. We are spending Christmas with some Guernsey people in Bradford. George Curran and Mary, they are a great couple, they have 6 children and hardly any money but there’s lots of love and happiness, you can feel it when in their company. ‘Uncle’ George comes to tuck us in and goes off to his nightshift, in the morning he pulls us out of bed so he can crawl in the warm bed. On Boxing day we went to the house next door to their party, a Mrs Dowington. Joan and I went to Tennyson Picture House. A better Christmas than the last one. The following morning we caught the workers trolley bus into Bradford and then the bus to Shipley.
Joan and I go to the pictures two or three times a week straight from work and then come home around 8 o’clock. Usually on Saturday afternoons we all go to the Princes Theatre in Bradford. It’s the Playhouse, some good performances, then have a snack and go to Shipley to either the Pavilion De Luxe, called the Bug Hole by locals, or the Glenroyal. By the De Luxe is a book shop where you can get paperbacks for 3d and when you take them back they give you 2d back. We always go there before going into the cinema.
Today as usual we went to Mrs Robinson’s, the dairy, to get our tea ration and Mum decided Joan and I could have some shoes, so we went into Lupton’s shoe shop just off the market place in Shipley. Mr Lupton was an organist and in chatting to Mum told her he hadn’t done a great deal in helping for the war so he’d like to give us the shoes cheaper and give Joan and I piano lessons every Saturday morning. Flipping heck.
We have to walk right up to Saltaire, a posh house. Joan hates music and spends most of her time with her book hidden inside the music cover. He don’t half shout at her if he catches her.
I saw an accordion I liked in Brighouse St so Mum & Dad said I could have it, I had had a mother of pearl one in Guernsey. While in the shop there was a Mr Gott who ran a concert party from Saltaire amd he asked us if we’d like to join, so we’re off to that now, more our line, we like entertaining. Mr Gott says he puts on lots of shows in schools & chapels, it’s a children’s concert party - we don’t mind.
A boy at Sandals School has had a book sent him from his teacher, Miss Gambb, all about Baildon. I wish they had it at ours. The houses in Baildon are very old. We don’t go out of Baildon very much except Saturdays. Mum & Dad see that we go to another town, usually leave home about 10am and go to Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield then come back in time for either the theatre or the pictures. Sunday it’s always a walk. Baildon is very small but has so many little paths here & there.
I don’t like the moors much, too big, but it reminds us of the common back home. We’ll soon be leaving school.
Joan has left school and is working in the Mason’s Mill, Shipley. I have to go to a new school at Bingley for 3 months as our school is changing to a primary school. We have to go to Bingley Modern, we travel by bus. One morning going through Shipley I thought I was in a dream, dreaming it all & I’d wake up. I don’t like such a large school neither does Dorothy Brown. Every so often a bell rings and you have to change classrooms. Why don’t the teachers just walk to each class, it would be quicker. Our teacher’s name is Mr Beard, the Head is Rolinson. I hate dinner times, eating with so many and serving at the end of table.
Now I’ve learnt the way the bus goes I’ll have to think of something. Monday I went to school as usual and at playtime walked out the gate and home. I kept hiding in gateways towards Saltaire when I thought someone was looking at me. Dorothy Brown is doing it too but she goes home over the moor and gets home quicker. I don’t know my way that way.
Mum says I might as well stay home, only 4 weeks to leaving. Mum had a letter from the authorities about me not going to school and she told them I was needed at home, so we got away with it.
I’m going to work in the mill too.
We catch the bus at 6am, get out at Canal Bank and walk alongside of canal and get to Mason’s Mill.
I have an elderly lady called Grace teaching me to weave in a small room, it will be better when I’m in the mill with Joan. Did I think better, gosh what a clatter, looms going clack, clack all day. There’s a lady called Eunice, she’s from Windhill, I think she’s having an affair with Arthur Halliday as I often see them out together.
Joan and I know lots of people, we seem to be popular, I expect it’s because they take us for twins, and I’m dark & she’s blonde.
Working is better than school, but you can’t do much with 2/6 a week. Joan seems to do wonders and even manages to buy tea cakes for her lunch break. I think Mrs Shooter must be giving her some extra money.
Bertha is going into WAAFS.
At the weekend Joan and I went with Bertha and stayed at her relations in Carlton just outside Skipton. We went into Skipton for the afternoon and Bertha bought us some stockings and a handbag each. Richard Green, the actor, was stationed at Skipton and we happened to see him. Skipton is a nice place, quite busy alongside Baildon which is really rather sleepy, but it’s home from home, glad we were taken there, I’d have hated staying in a town.
Got home today and found all our belongings moved out, Mum has found us another place to live, it’s in that row of houses with the lovely view, 6 Wrose View. It’s only one room, it has a sink, table and chairs and a bed. Mum & Dad at the top, Gordon in between, Joan and I at bottom, usually we find somebody’s toe in our mouths, but it’s fun. Dad always says things to make us laugh.
No more music lessons, no piano.
Mum has nothing to cook on except a gas ring and so it’s usually simple meals, but my goodness we sure have lots of laughs and there’s always friends or Guernsey folk popping in.
We love living here on our own, it seems as if we’ve always been here.
Every Sunday Dad carries our roast dinner down Westgate and up Northgate to Mrs Fox (grocer) and she bakes it for us in her oven and Dad collects it again at 12 o’clock. I don’t know how he manages not to spill it and also keep it warm. Sometimes Mrs Fox gives us some homemade brandy snaps.
The clackety clackety of the looms are really giving me various sounds in my head, I can hear dance bands and I get headaches. I shall have to do something, they don’t let you leave except to join the Forces.
There’s a Guernsey lad living in Halifax who we knew back home, he’s joined the Army and is stationed at Holyhead in Ireland. Mum doesn’t like him much. When he comes on leave he comes to mill and they usually give me the day off, we either go to his Mum or his Aunt in Pontefract.
I've started to break the warp ends, I must get out of this place. Ada Halliday is starting to get fed up joining them up. Mr Dawson, the manager, said I’d better find another job - oh dear, how do I go home and tell Mum I’ve had the sack.
I went to the chip shop opposite Butterfields and waited for Dad to go there for his dinner, he told me not to be silly and go home, it would be okay - and it was, Mum never said a word. I think she knew how I felt about the job.
It was hard getting another job, Queenie Allen who lived in the same house went with me for a job in Shipley backstreet, turned out to be a coloured doctor and Queenie said that’s not the job for you. Then I was asked to go and see Mrs James at the Baildon Post Office and got the job at 10/- a week. I loved this job but Joan was rather jealous as I finished early and had a half day, but we never fell out, I think we get on better than real sisters do.
I miss our Sunday walks with the Shooters, we seem to spend every weekend at Bradford Moor with the Currans.
Every day is so busy I don’t seem to have time to write as often on this as I did.
Joan and I belong to another concert party called ‘The Sparklets’ run by Geoffrey Angless, the other lads and lasses are more snobbish and it’s not so happy - still I suppose we’ll eventually fit in.
Mum has talked the landlady around to us having a bedroom, so now Mum & Dad have an old bed in the attic and Gordon on a camp bed in corner. Joan and I have a single bed in a box room., head and tails in a single bed, we laugh a lot and old Fanny is always banging on the wall. Funny old jig, she always walks around with a bunch of keys around her waist, she used to be a prison warder. She’s always complaining about summat so Mum gets her to join us when we have a party and then she can’t complain.
Mum has bought us a piano now we have the space, she’s determined we’ll carry on our music. I play “I’ll take you home again Kathleen” as it makes Fanny cry.
We go now to Mrs Cawthorne up Northgate, she gives us nice tunes by Chopin and Mozart instead of flipping Sonatas, only thing is I have to take music exams, Joan doesn’t, I don’t mind, music is easy to me. I have to take Royal Academy Exams.
Geoffrey Angless comes to the house and we have a musical evening, he is certainly a comedian. We put on a show at the Jack and Jill club in Bradford and I was on stage singing a straight song and he was fiddling around behind on a blackboard on stage and had the audience in fits of laughter, I didn’t dare turn around else I’d have started laughing too, but I was glad when that song came to an end with huge applause.
Joan and I have had some good times with the concert parties and travelled about quite a bit to various churches & chapels around West Yorkshire area, but never in Baildon, I think the Strathallens kids did that.
One evening walking along Saltaire Road with my accordion a couple of soldiers offered to carry it, boy was I glad as I’d been on my feet all day and was dead tired, they left us at the Sun Hotel and we went on for the bus to Baildon.
Life at Wrose is altogether different.
Mum still has various cleaning jobs and makes frocks for us all, and the neighbours, she showed Queenie Allen how to cut out and sew frocks for Ruth her daughter, but Fanny is at it again. Fanny told Mum we can’t use the toilet after pm, it applies to everyone in the house. She really is a dragon, I’m sure she lives in a bygone age. Mum is learning to stand up for herself though and answers her back. Fanny also shuts the gas off at 5:30pm and we very often just have bread and jam.
Mum still manages parties though, she organises a party far out and we get a room full of folk, Fanny is included so she won’t notice the noise and there are so many we can hardly sit around the tables. We use 2 tables and of a night the lads sleep in Queenie’s sitting room, on the floor, and the lasses in our room.
Mum certainly organises good games and we have loads of fun. Mum received a red cross letter from her sister to say their father isn’t well, now Mum’s worried he’ll die before we get back to Guernsey.
We’ve settled in fine at Baildon and have lots of friends but it would be nice to go home. Joan never mentions her parents, but Mum makes her send red cross letters to them. It must be strange away from your parents for years. I’d miss my Dad more I think as he and I are real pals, my brother is more for Mum.
We don’t see many of the ones we were at school with, its funny how everyone disappears when you leave school and find jobs.
I don’t know where Jack works, or Dorothy.
Joan and I do quite a bit of embroidery, Mum buys a remnant and draws flowers for us to sew and we do knitting, we go to the pictures an awful lot too, mostly in the Summer time as the Winters are so dark with the blackout and the smog, you can’t see your way, you follow kerbs as much as possible, a man walks in front of the bus with a torch to show the driver the way but then the fog gets worse and it is quicker walking.
In an old book on History of Baildon I read William De Baildon and names such as De Tong, those names sound similar to French ones and as William the Conqueror came up to York I wonder if actually those names are connected with this. Makes the Islands closer to Yorkshire somehow.
Red Cross Message
This is a scan of a Red Cross Message from Joyce Coutu in Baildon - via Red Cross Message Bureau No. 369. The Mechanics Institute.
- Jack Murgatroyd (Muck)(Marg)
- Edward Milnes (Ned)
- Lance Alderson
- Miles Alderson
- Jack Alderson
- Albert Radcliffe
- Clifford Cobs
- Billy Roberts
- Jimmy Roberts
- Jimmy Booth
- Geoffrey Haithwaite
- Jess Haliday
- Peter Matterson (Alf's mate)
- Jack Lee
- Eric Laylor
- Geoffrey McMahon ( Harry
- Harry Wildman
- Maurice Mackway
- Allen Dale
- Snowden Hibbs & Lewis (Jersey)
- George Robinson & Arthur
- Led & Lewis Keutzer (Guernsey)
- Doreen Foster
- Doreen Edwick
- Joyce Ibbetson
- Renee Holgate
- Connie Pickersgill
- Margaret Lister
- Renee Sugden
- Daisy Boocock
- Alice Wollen
- Betty Milner
- Barbara Mackway
- Beryl Atkinson
- Alice Anderton
- Joan Radcliffe
- Joan Laylor
- Kathleen Simpson
- Doreen Radcliffe
- Margaret Emmott
- Winnie Bell
- Louisa Bentley
- Hetty Walsh
- Betty Thornton
- Rona Tastevin (Guernsey)
- Joyce Bell
- Dorothy Brown
- Mary Booth
Friends at Shops
- Mrs Fox. (Grocers)
- Mrs Denby. (Cobblers)
- Miss Leadley (Drapery)
- Mrs James (P.O.)
- Mrs Stead (Co-op)
- Mrs Murgatroyd (Co-op)
- Mrs Nobles (Antiques)
- Mrs Nobles (Butchers)
- Mr Green (Spices)
- Mrs Varley. David & Eric. Morland Ave
- Willy Dawson. Blind man. Gets O.A.Pension
- Laura Clay. 1 Carlton Drive. Renee's friend
- Mrs Dodd & Doris, Ivy, Kathleen & Dot. Guernsey.
- Mrs Brown. East Parade
- Olive Thompson. Westgate over Coppers
- Mrs Lancaster & Edna, Mildred, Hilda & Glady. Next door
Friends list download
You can download and read the handwritten version as a PDF scan here
You can download and read the handwritten version as a PDF scan here
1st part downloads
This 1st part starts on June 18th 1940 in Guernsey when they learn they are to be evacuated. It then covers the journey to Glasgow and her stay there before moving to Baildon.
You can download and read the handwritten version as a PDF scan here
You can download and read a typed up version of this as a PDF here
2nd part downloads
This 2nd part starts on July 2nd 1940 with a train and bus journey from Glasgow to Baildon.
You can download and read the handwritten version as a PDF scan here
You can download and read a typed up version of this as a PDF here
Engagement & Wedding
On 02 March 1949 The Shipley Times and Express reported from Guernsey on the engagement of Joyce Coutu to Louis Keutzer. They first met in Baildon.
On 18 March 1953 The Shipley Times and Express reported from Guernsey on the marriage of Joyce Coutu and Louis Keutzer at St. Samson Church, Guernsey on February 28.