"Safety of the mountains" 1939

I was at DWS in 1939 when war broke out - I was nine years of age and was sent to the "safety of the mountains" by my parents who lived in Bridgend, S. Wales. My friend Margery Thomas also joined at the same time and we used to travel by train from Cardiff to Dolgellau via Shrewsbury where we had to change so we would run up to the cinema, see a film, and then rush back to the station. In those days we could keep pets in a hut on the Pen side of the bridge and I would take a white rabbit in a hamper - he was called Dunkirk - my father was there.

I remember DWS fondly as a good school where I had a great education and made many friends, three of which I am still in contact. Bronwen Pugh (later Lady Astor) her nickname was Pug and Sonia Holtby who joined us at school a bit later. Also Paddy Dewey who was evacuated from St. Paul's, London and who worked in TV. We also had Tranmere School evacuated to us from Liverpool, a city being very heavily bombed. As a result of this my cousin Mary Crompton joined us.

I remember well the three headmistresses I was there with. Firstly, Miss Nightingale, - a fantastic Quaker lady, then Miss Orford followed by Miss Lickes, a keen cricketer. I think Margery Thomas was Head Girl when Miss Lickes became headmistres. We had memorable teachers - Miss DM Davies who taught English and would sail through the dormitories like a galleon, and Miss Bullimore (the Bull) who taught music and would put fear and trembling into anyone! A rap across the knuckles would quickly concentrate the mind! I remember well playing the duet "Rosamunde" at the school Eisteddfod. I also used to play the viola in the then Miss Orford orchestra. Sport played a great part and I was lucky enough to play in both the tennis and netball teams.

Although it was wartime with rationing we were always well catered for, and I actually still have a DWS cook book. I was nearly expelled at one time for having a midnight feast - I was up at the senior house Pen and we walked down through the woods in the middle of the night and the ones in school were caught. Very embarrassing and letters home!

I occasionally go up to North Wales and remember how lovely the mountains are there - especially Cader which we climbed every year when we reached a certain age - as it rains a lot up there, if we couldn't play games we would walk! Also we used to cycle to Barmouth and swim at Fairbourne

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