A WOMAN is set to have an emotional reunion with a former evacuee whose family fled occupied Guernsey for Huddersfield.
Netherton-born Audrey Morton, 76, was only five when the evacuee Dora Duquemin arrived at the door with her three daughters, Beryl, Doreen and Pam.
Audrey’s parents, Dorothy Noble and Lawrence, had only consented to house a mother and child, but agreed they could stay the weekend rather than be immediately split up.
The family in fact spent the war with the Nobles, and on May 9 Audrey will mark the 65th anniversary of Liberation Day with Doreen, now 80, the only surviving daughter from the family they took in.
Audrey remembered the knocks on the door during blackout and how, after her father met friends at Hill Top Conservative Club, pillows and blankets were shared among the people of Netherton. She later discovered her mother was the only one to take in such a big family.
She said: “They had been through an awful trauma, leaving their homes at 24 hours’ notice, land leaving their father and grandma who had refused to go.
“Language was difficult at first, the children knew English but frequently spoke in a French English patois.
“Previously, having been an only child I suddenly had three sisters, it was something I could not have imagined.
“I soon formed a close friendship with Pam, the youngest and we were up to all sorts of mischief.”
There was no provision for the family to clothe the children, they were classed as immigrants whereas English evacuees received more assistance.
They were given the equivalent of £1.80 for clothes and food.
All the girls were treated the same and Audrey was now third in line for hand-me-downs.
The mother and eldest two girls however were excellent knitters and old dresses were bought, unpicked and remade.
Audrey said: “When the sirens went we would go down into the old cellar with a stone table in the middle. Pam and I would sleep under the table, the others round us.
“When the war ended they were unable to go home immediately, but moved into their own cottage at Hilltop and got used to living together as a family on their own.
“I missed them terribly and often visited them
“Mr and Mrs Duquemin are gone, and sadly they lost Beryl and Pam very young to cancer.”
Audrey now lives in Formby, Merseyside, following her husband who joined the Coastguard after years at sea.
“This year my husband and I are visiting Guernsey once more, this time for Liberation Day which is on May 9.
“I know it will be something really special.
“The one thing I value above all else which I have in my photo album of all of us is a letter from Pam’s dad thinking me for being Pam’s friend, and a very moving one to my mother for all the kindness shown to his family.
“We will always remember them and I will enjoy this Liberation Day.”
Guernsey was occupied on June 30, 1940, by the Germans
They invaded Jersey the following day
Some 30,000 of the 104,000 Channel Islanders were evacuated prior to the invasion
The Allied troops bypassed the Channel Islands to launch the D-Day invasion
The Germans surrendered on May 9, 1945