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Letter of appreciation from Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother), to householders who accommodated evacuees during the Second World War.
my appreciation of the service you have rendered to your
Country in 1939.
In the early days of the War you opened your door to strangers
who were in need of shelter, & offered to share your home with
I know that to this unselfish task you have sacrificed much
of your own comfort, & that it could not have been achieved
without the loyal co-operation of all your household.
By your sympathy you have earned the gratitude of those to
whom you have shown hospitality, & by your readiness to
serve you have helped the State in a work of great value.

Elizabeth R
John Miles kindly sent us a scan of the above letter. This message was sent out by Queen Elizabeth (wife of King George VI, and mother of our queen) to thank those who had taken in evacuees during World War II. In this case the recipient was Evelyn Miles, John's father's aunty.

Children, sometimes accompanied by their mothers, were moved from the South East corner of England to South Wales to escape the heavy bombing and shelling their home area was experiencing.

For several years Caerleon became home for pupils and staff from Dover County School for Girls. Lessons took place in locations all over Caerleon and the girls were marched in crocodile formation from one place to the other.

The Headmistress and deputy were billeted in the Priory Lodge, and all school activities were organised from there.

No bombs fell on Caerleon, but one of the teachers was tragically killed in an accident. Miss Rusbridge, a popular teacher and captain of the school's Girl Guides company, was struck by a lorry in the High Street near the Priory and died from her injuries. It was as a direct result of this accident that the one-way traffic system was introduced.

These must have been hard times for the evacuees and their families and the people from Caerleon who made room in their houses for strangers. The book Children Into Exile, by Peter Hayward, contains the reminiscences of many of the people who lived through these days. (Published by Buckland Publications Ltd, 1997. ISBN 07212 0970 X.) Newport Libraries have a copy. You might also like to read Nothing Here Belongs To You, by Elizabeth Blythe who was evacuated to Caerleon. (Published by Isca Biographies, 2000. ISBN 0-9538162-1-4.) Newport Reference Library has a copy.

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