A letter was sent home from school asking parents if they would
prefer their children to go to Linton Camp, rather than be evacuated
to private billets and my parents agreed to this, so in July 1940,
off I went aged 13.
We were picked up by a fleet of coaches and taken what seemed
miles and miles out into the countryside. On arrival we were taken
to an assembly hall, where we were divided into boys and girls by
age group. There were 6 dormitories, with girls in dorms 5 and 6
and boys in dorms 1 and 2. That didn't quite work out, though,
so Dorm 4 was divided in half, with the older boys in one half and
the older girls in the other. Of course, you have to remember,
in those days we started work at 14, so the older ones were
just 12 or 13.
For those of us used to living at home and going to school daily,
this boarding school life was like nothing we'd ever known before.
It was a good life, with lessons, of course, but also lots of recreation,
both in school and, for example, visiting the cinema at Grassington.
In Summer we went swimming, but there were no school swimming
baths, so it was down to the river near the iron bridge at Linton Falls
where the girls got changed behind the wall of an old sheepfold
and the boys on the river bank.
As an older boy I was a prefect and over the time there we gradually
took over some responsibilities from the teachers such as ringing
the handbell in the morning to wake up the dormitories, and
supervising the other children to make sure they carried out their
morning and evening ablutions in the washrooms.
We also attended the telephone in the evenings in case there was
a red alert. This meant that there was the possibility of an air raid,
when we would alert the teachers, who would then shepherd all
the children into the air raid shelters. To begin with, the shelters
were dug out of the ground and lined with corrugated iron and were
very dark and claustrophobic, although later on proper ones were
built. You might wonder why there would be air raids so far out in
the country. I can only think that with our lines of dormitories and
out buildings, we might have looked like an army camp to someone
Our parents were allowed to visit us once a month and I remember
one month my Dad bringing me a bike. He had to remove the front
wheel to get it on the bus.
Unusually, I stayed on well past my 14th birthday, then when I went
home I was fortunate to gain an apprenticeship with Sharp and Law
in Bradford which I started in 1942 and continued until they
closed in 1991.
I have produced a short film on YouTube using some video from just
after the school closed using the words of Alan Aveyard as the story line.