Audrey Hennessey was seven years old when she was evacuated from her home in North London. She lived there with her mother and father and older brother Victor. Their home was a 1930’s semi detached three bedroom council house. It had a large garden which the family used to grow vegetables in.

Evacuation from London

Audrey was evacuated from her home two days before the war was declared. On that day, a bus from the Main Street in town took her and her friends to Paddington Station. Audrey did not know where the train was headed until it stopped at it's destination in Penzance in Cornwall.

For her trip, she carried some essential items. Her gas mask, a suitcase with a change of clothing and an envelope addressed to her parents to notify them of her new address. For identification purposes she wore a label on her jacket with her name and school name written on it.

Evacuee life in Penzance, Cornwall

Audrey and two other evacuee girls were taken in by a local couple who had no children of their own. Their home was a small terraced house with a small yard at the back with an outside room and toilet.

“Aunty Doris, as we came to call her, used to have boarding people becuase they lived by the seaside..they used to come down in the holidays..they had three quite large bedrooms and an attic room.. we evacuees, there was three of us, went into the attic room and shared a bed!”


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caption: Audrey and ‘Aunty Doris’ outside the front of house

Audrey attended the local school for the morning period only with other evacuee children. The local children then attended later for the period of the afternoon.

Outside of school Audrey spent many days at the shingle beach by the harbour and the large nearby park. The larger sandy beaches were closed off to the public. Audrey explains why:


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Audrey’s older brother Victor was also evacuated to Cornwall. Unlike his sister, he did not enjoy his stay. Audrey explains:

“..he went with these other boys..they were rather unruly boys..he was very very unhappy..the people were not kind to him”

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Audrey lived in Penzance for nearly two years. She returned home to be reunited with her mother and brother Victor.

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“..it would have been dreadful for so many children to have been left in London.. something like 600,000 children were evacuated..”


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