1942-45 ANGELA COLLIN NÉE YOUNG

Miss Eva Manning, much respected, and seemed to have a great deal to cope with, considering her apparent great age, which was probably only about 60ish, she seemed all of 80! I was asked to help with her few brown hens who were probably doing their `bit’ towards the war effort by laying eggs, there were only about 9 or 10 or them. I remember she had some eggs due to hatch off from a broody but there was much disappointment when they didn’t and turned out to be all bad. It never occurred to her that a cockerel was vital to produce chickens – I couldn’t believe her `forgetfulness’. There was a very fine ginger cat called Marmalade who she was very fond of and so was I. Miss M. retired soon after I arrived.

Darling Polly – she was the best and in my opinion the most outstanding Housemistress one could ever ask for – I owe her a great deal toward the development of my character – I often remember her even now.

I was an only child of an Army family – looked after by my Grandmother whilst my parents were abroad during the war. I was also dyslexic, which in those days was backward. In spite of this I was very happy at Godolphin especially being in Fawcett. I lived in Yorkshire and felt it was Godolphin’s war effort to take in this backward child from Yorkshire!! We each had in our cubicles, up in the dormitories, a china washbowl and jug of cold water, which froze in the winter. We collected warm water in enamel jugs from the bathroom to wash in the mornings. The fire escape was a good site for midnight feasts usually held about 10.30 if we could keep awake that long. We used to have to share bath water, it was bad luck to have second bath; it was pretty grubby. I well remember singing at the top of my rather fruity voice, not at all melodious “As Time Goes By” – “. ..and when two lovers woo, they still say `I love you.” etc: in comes Polly, with “That will do Angela.” End of song!

Polly used to take House Prayers beautifully, we needed prayers, away from home. The war at full pelt, it was a serious time. Polly developed my power of prayer enormously, she was very forgiving. I used to get into some hairy scrapes, and she was always very balanced and good at pointing out the folly of my headstrong opinions and actions. In these days, when women become ordained, I often think of Polly.

On Sunday evenings Polly read to us for one glorious hour – Dorothy Sayers was my favourite. She read most beautifully and we all had a pash on Lord Peter Wimsey, thought him simply divine, purely through her reading, leaving out the risqué bits no doubt. Her reading was magic to listen to.

We went down to the (A338) main road to watch and cheer and wave to the soldiers, British and American, in every sort of vehicle going to a mass on Old Sarum Airfield ready for the Big Push on D-Day. It was very moving and an emotional occasion. We probably were not supposed to do this but we did and I shall never forget that sight. Living in Fawcett down the Snicket was a 10 minute walk to school which made you make sure you had all you needed in your sack for the morning and work. You had a long haul back if you forgot anything. Each House in Godolphin had a definite character. You could tell a School House girl from a Methuen girl, and a Hamilton girl from a St. Margaret’s and so on; needless to say Fawcett was very special.

Polly always kept in touch with us right up until her death. She made a point of knowing our husbands and showed interest in whatever we did, enjoyed seeing our children; they enjoyed seeing her in return. Dear dear Polly, how very fortunate we have been to be brought up by her whilst at school. You asked “what was it that we were given which enabled us to survive” – apart from what I have written I say, probably, Horlick Tablets after lunch, when the sweet ration had gone.

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