A PENSIONER has recalled her childhood as an evacuee in a South Wales mining town – but it wasn’t quite the happy trip down memory lane many expected.
Most evacuees fondly look back at their youth spent in the countryside, away from the war-ravaged cities. But for Carrie Willow, who was forced to move from Brighton and relocate to drab Blaenavon in 1941, this wasn’t the case.
Despite being only three at the time she was evacuated, Carrie was still able to recognise that the South Wales town was a ‘right shithole’.
To exorcise the trauma she suffered during those war years Carrie, now 73, decided it would be therapeutic to write about her experiences.
Last week brave Carrie returned to Blaenavon for the first time since the war to launch a book of her memories – ‘Carrie’s War’.
Recalling her arrival in 1941 in Garn-yr-Erw she said: “To an outsider I suppose it must seem a bleak and unlovely place, ravaged by the satanic machinery of coal-mining, dominated by one enormous black slag heap and a row of gloomy black houses lining the road – and they would be right.
“It’s about ten degrees colder than anywhere else in the world because it’s perched on top of a bloody slag heap.
“I’ve written this book to tell my grandkids just how easy they have it nowadays – I had to live in bloody Blaenavon. That’s hardship.
“The one thing that got me through that hard time was knowing I could return to Brighton. Even if the place had been bombed to ruins it still would have been nicer than Blaenavon. Brighton is a much gayer place than Blaenavon.
“Now get me out of here.”