Yeovil at war

Yeovil at war

The wartime Yeovil recollections of Colin Manvell


"I was one of the many evacuees and it wasn’t so bad.

Prior to the onset of war I was living with my parents and brother and sister in Gibraltar. When hostilities broke out we were evacuated from Gibraltar to London. Things became very difficult in London and my father was called up to war. My mother stayed behind to work in an aircraft factory and my brother, sister and I were evacuated. My sister was evacuated to Edinburgh and my brother and I were evacuated to Yeovil in Somerset.

We went to a stately home called Brimpton Dervesey. We were both urban children and arrived at this large stately manor and we lived and slept in a large dormitory; half of which was sealed off by a curtain, so that we wouldn’t look. But boys being boys every evening the matron used to disappear and we used to go behind the curtain and explore the many treasures that we found. The biggest treasure of all was a very large collection of lead soldiers. Can you imagine with a war going and being boys we had mock fights galore. There were battles of roundheads versus cavaliers and so on - it was really marvelous.

Life went on fairly normally and we had classes during the day. It was then that we really began to learn about the countryside. It was here that I found my first rabbit caught in a snare, which was really sad. Of course this was meat to the farmer and local people and it supplemented their meagre rations. I was there for 3 years - I went when I was 7 years old and came back when I was 10. I suppose it was a big adventure and I don’t remember too many tears. Of course I had my brother with me, who was 18 months younger.

We didn’t see any of the war down there at all despite the Yeovil town Airbase being close by."


Memories of Colin Manvell
Reproduced from the BBC's "WW2 People's War" under the 'fair dealing' terms.