Me, Evacuee

It is September 1st 1939 and World War Two has begun.
Jimmie is only ten years old and yet he is thrown into an unexpected situation which forces him to grow up much faster than he should. There is a call for children living in the cities to evacuate to the countryside and soon Jimmie finds himself all alone on a train to Devon and to an unknown world that is very unlike his own. However, when all seems on the upturn everything gets worse, as his father is sent to the battlefield, leaving his elder sister, his mother and her expected baby to abandon their home in Coventry and move to Cornwall. Jimmie finds it hard to keep track of his family's safety and under these hard circumstances he grabs onto the only links he has with home, while making friends with the unlikeliest of people.
Evacuation isn't as Jimmie expected. Will he make it through? Will his friends and family?
Everything goes into disarray when the bombs begin to fall...


1. The Platform

The Platform

                My name is James Williams, it's unoriginal and plain and I hate it. I ask everybody to call me Jimmie so as to be more unique, it's not much better but it still holds the essence of my name; I'm afraid if it didn't my mother would disown me. My mother’s name is Margaret and my father’s name is William. I know what you’re thinking: William Williams. Unfortunate. I was lucky enough to escape the fate of becoming a junior; I suppose my parents decided that it might be bordering on child cruelty.

                I was ten years old, but was soon to start an adventure, if only I had realised what this really meant. My life would never be the same.


                Her lips pressed against my cheek hastily, but with a hint of a wanting to linger. I could smell her perfume as a waft of it choked me. I pushed her away.

                “Mother! Get off, everyone’s staring,” I muttered, wiping my cheek with my sleeve and looking about timidly, though nobody was watching and most other families were also kissing goodbye. I couldn’t understand why my mother, or any of the others, was making such a huge fuss. She knelt down in front of me and held my head gently between her hands, turning my head to face her. I looked at her reluctantly.

                “Promise me, James, that you will keep yourself safe and out of trouble.” I sighed at her comment. I never got myself into trouble. Others did it for me, or at least I was the subject of others’ ‘fun’. However, Mother didn’t know that, nobody knew that except the bullies and they weren’t about to tell anyone. My heart lifted at the thought of possibly never seeing them again. Especially Joe. ‘The King’. The gang leader. My mortal enemy. For the next ten seconds I humoured myself with daydreams of mines and falling bombs, Joe usually at the receiving end of them. I smiled to myself.

                “James!” I snapped back to what my mother was saying.

                “Yes?” I looked up to find my mother’s hazel eyes staring hard into mine.

                “Promise me,” she half pleaded.

                “I promise I will behave, Mother,” I replied, avoiding the real question, for how was I to know if I was to be safe? There was a war on after all. It wasn’t as if I could get punished if I died.

                “Good. Be polite and kind to your host family and do everything they tell you to, Okay?” It was a rhetorical question so I didn’t answer; instead, I muttered something about jumping off a cliff if someone told me to. Thankfully, mother didn’t hear, she was too busy nervously fiddling with my blonde hair to make me look ‘smart’, though it wasn’t really possible because of the state of my clothes, even if they were my best.

                The last of her advice was to not talk to strangers and I promised to keep to myself, shifting my gas mark further up my shoulder and readjusting my grip on my clothes package. My heart thumping in anticipation. Smoke was billowing from the turret of the red engine.

                The train’s high pitch whistle drowned out all chatter and sobs that could be heard on the platform. This was it, the start of a new adventure. I was going to the countryside, where there was quiet where I could read and write without being disturbed. Where a young boy like me could play around in the sunshine all day with other friends. Where we could build tree houses and play hide and seek. It was going to be terrible fun and I wouldn’t have Mother fussing over me every hour of the day, but I also wanted to stay in Coventry, with a life that I knew.          

                My feet were eager to start moving, but I stopped myself. “Tell Peter to write, okay?” I asked my mother, wishing that he were here to see me off. Peter was my best friend and it would have been wonderful if he could have come with me, but his parents wouldn’t let him leave, I couldn’t understand why. “And please tell Sara to write me,” I asked, wishing, too, that my elder sister were here to say goodbye, but she was at school. Father left for work early so I missed my chance with him to say goodbye.

                Mother smiled at me and nodded. “I promise,” I smiled back and gave her a hug, engulfed by her scent for what would be the last time in a while. She kissed me on the head and stroked my hair. I think that she wanted to say goodbye longer but I needed to get going so I ran from her arms to the train, weaving in and out of other bodies.

                A man by the train door checked my tag before letting me on. I climbed up carefully onto the step and then turned to wave goodbye to my mother. She waved back sadly, crying, though I didn’t understand why. Didn’t she realise that everything was going to be okay? I would have waved longer but the man at the door was getting angry and hurried me on inside.

                I walked down the train, looking for an empty carriage. I found an open window further down the corridor. I leaned out to wave goodbye to my mother and tell her everything was going to be an adventure, but when I turned to the window, she was gone.

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