Leigh Woman Tells Her Evacuee Stories
By Michelle Archard
A FORMER Leigh resident has given a fascinating insight into life during the Second World War in a newly-published book.
Pam Hobbs, who now lives in Toronto, Canada, has written her stories and memories of the time in the book Don't Forget to Write.
Mrs Hobbs, a past pupil of Westcliff High School for Girls and Chalkwell Hall schools, was just ten when she and her sister Iris, then 11, were evacuated to Derby during the Second World War.
She returned home two years later in 1942, and recently wrote about her experiences. Her book includes tales of life in Leigh during the war years.
Since the book was published by Ebury, she has had contact from former evacuees, including several from the Southend area.
Mrs Hobbs, 79, a journalist and travel writer, said; "The first half of the book details my evacuation to four different homes in central and northern England, beginning with the day I joined 20,000 other school children at Southend station, wearing a label around my neck and carrying a postcard on which I would write my new address and post it to my family in Leigh.
"We were given sandbags for our belongings. I remember waking in Derbyshire with barnyard smells outside.
"The second half deals with life in Leigh for the next three years: The queues for food, the bombs, the Anderson shelter in the garden, and my six sisters all involved in war work."
In the book, which has also been printed in America, Canada and Australia, she talks about missing home.
She writes: "Sundays were the one time I really wanted to be in Leigh with my six older sisters, in the happy confusion of our crowded front room, with dinner sizzling in the oven, and Dad almost, but not quite, winning the football pools."
Pam won a scholarship to Westcliff High School for Girls, which was evacuated to Chapel-in-le-Frith, near Buxton.
When the school returned to Essex, so did the pupils.
Mrs Hobbs emigrated to Canada in 1950, and is married with three daughters.