Summer turns into winter, the long cold nights drag slowly by. Mrs. Davis, the billeting officer, keeps promising she’ll find me a new billet next week; but next week never comes. I can’t take living here much longer. I need to get away from this horrible lady before Christmas comes, when Mrs. Sweet stops searching for new billets.
Things have got even worse since old Brynn passed away a few weeks ago. I know Aunty hates having me here, that it was Brynn’s idea to take me in, and not hers. She made sure of that the very first day I arrived. That’s why I’ve decided to run away in the morning. So, before I go to sleep tonight, I’m going to pack my things in my haversack along with my gas mask and hide them under the bed ready for a quick getaway in the morning. Which means the billeting officer won’t have any other choice but to find me a new billet.
I’m still awake when I hear the distant, unmistakable droning sound of German aircraft approaching. I sit up and listen, hoping and praying they’ll pass by without dropping their bombs on Llanelli, just like they’ve done practically every single night on those poor people of Swansea. A few minutes later, when the deafening sound of their engines have faded into the distance; the loud bombing of Swansea (even though we’re twelve miles away) can be heard quite clearly from my bed.
Although it’s still dark when I wake the next morning, it doesn’t stop me from jumping up and getting dressed as quickly as I can. Then, with my gas mask and haversack slung over my shoulder, I tip-toe down the stairs and slink out through the scullery door onto the lane outside. The streets are empty and silent, and I walk very slowly past the ARP Depot so they won’t hear the noise coming from the metal studs in my boots.
Ray’s book Before the Last All Clear makes a perfect gift for anyone interested in reading about the experiences of a child evacuee (as seen through a child’s eyes) in Britain during World War II!