Brian Willcox recalls being sent to the pigsty when he was evacuated in the Second World War

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 21st September 2012 by Liam Physick

Brian Willcox talks briefly about his early life and then moves on to how he was evacuated to Wales, with four of his aunts, in the Second World War. He would wet the bed, and the woman who took him first beat him with a pear tree branch, then made him sleep in the dolls’ cot, and finally made him spend a day in the pigsty, forbidding him to eat or drink (though he did drink out of the rain barrels when she was not looking). In response, one of his aunts wrote Brian’s mother about his treatment, and she brought him home.

Interviewee: Brian Willcox

Interviewee Gender: Male

Interview Transcript

Jodie: You grew up in this area, didn’t you, I believe, round, round from, near Edge Hill station?

Brian: I can’t remember much about it . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Brian: . . . we moved round to a few places. We moved to Everton, and up Halewood, in another ghostly house! (both laugh) It was a big, big old rambling house, and . . .  we were evacuated then, evacuated to Wales, which was a bit horrific for me . . .

Jodie: Aw!

Brian: . . . cos the lady who had us, she was, she was getting on a bit, and her husband, he was getting on, I don’t think they were meant to look after children. But I was evacuated with my four aunties and (coughs), I used to wet the bed at the time (sighs), and the first time I wet the bed there, we were evacuated, she started beating me with a branch off a pear tree . . .

Jodie: Aw!

Brian: . . . and she used to do this every time I wet the bed, in the end she put me in the dolls’ cot, about that big, squashed up . . .

Jodie: Ah!

Brian: . . .to sleep . . .

Jodie: (sounds shocked) Aw!

Brian: . . . and, that didn’t stop the bed wetting, just made it worse, and in the end, she put me in with the pigs, in the pig sty.

Jodie: (shocked) She put you in a pig sty?

Brian: Yeah, with the pigs.

Jodie: Aw! That makes it worse, if a child’s wetting the bed, trauma.

Brian: They were, there were as, there were as big as me, there were as big as me, these pigs . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Brian: . . . and me aunties wrote to me mum, told her what was going on and she brought me home . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Brian: . . . when she heard about it.

Jodie: So, you were just, like, what, like, sleeping next to the pigs? Like (inaudible due to Brian talking over her)

Brian: She only put me in there for the day . . .

Jodie: She put you in there for the day?

Brian: . . . she wouldn’t let me drink, she wouldn’t let me drink, she wouldn’t give me drinks, I was drinking water out of the, you know the rain barrels . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Brian: . . . I had to drink water out of them, when she wasn’t looking.

Jodie: Aw! Did you, when you, did you get evacuated with, where did you get evacuated from?

Brian: (indecipherable)

Jodie: Sorry, did you, did you get the, cos we’ve seen pictures of people . . .

Brian: With the gas . . .

Jodie: . . . lined up here, yeah . . .

Brian: . . . with the little boxes and gas masks?

Jodie: Yeah, yeah . . .

Brian: I was one of them! (laughs)

Jodie: . . . we’ve got photo, I’ll show you. Was it from here, from Edge Hill, where you got evacuated, or . . . ?

Brian: I couldn’t tell you, love.

Jodie: Couldn’t remember?

Brian: No.

Jodie: No.

Brian: Alls I remember was all the lines of kids with . . . boxes . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Brian: . . . with the Donald Duck gas masks! (laughs)

Jodie: Aw!

Brian: Did you ever see any of them?

Jodie: I’ve sort of seen the photos of them, yeah

Brian: Like Donald Duck! (laughs)

Jodie: Yeah, yeah, in the Museum.

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Categorised under: The War

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