Joan Zilva

Text Box: An  account of a 14 year old’s WW2 overseas evacuation based on her letters home









The friend mentioned on the previous page.































Text Box: I see the reasoning.  If I had done German I would not have been starting at Senior Matric stage, so would have had no certificate - but I still regret it. 
Text Box: The Empire!
Text Box: Of course, in Britain we had been collecting scrap metal since the beginning of the war.
Text Box: I must say that, rereading the letters in question, I think that they were being unreasonable.  They seem to be very full and regular.  I couldn’t do it now!  There was certainly no impression that I had forgotten them.  I was hurt by the criticism and carried out a war of attrition until they surrendered 6 months later  Meanwhile the reader will have to put up with (or skip) boring detail.
Text Box: I had certainly answered this and they had received the letter, as it is in this collection.
Text Box: I think that this was a book written by War Guests criticizing Canada.  It was a tactless and ungrateful thing to do and the publishers should have known better. I seem to have learnt a bit about Canadians!
Text Box: I remember Miss Hubbs well.  She was very kind to me and we wrote after I got home.
Text Box: I may have been good at chemistry, but I don’t seem able to spell “family”.  See my feeble excuse later..
Text Box: The French Revolution “modern” - even in 1941!
Text Box: Amazing!  I’ve always had a terrible memory, but this passage still sticks in my mind - thanks partly to the fact that I became an Old Vic (and Larry Olivier!) fan after the war and saw a lot of Shakespeare.
Text Box: I’m afraid that I don’t understand this equation now!
Text Box: I hope it was.  I don’t know how I did it.  It seems to have been a full life.
Text Box: Willowdale, now engulfed by the City.
Text Box: Hardly haute cuisine!
Text Box: Surely it’s not Rugby in Canada.  It was American football.
Text Box: Mr McKellar the headmaster.
Text Box: I don’t remember these reply coupons, but presume that our parents were allowed to send them to help with postage costs.
Text Box: My parents were not “clubbable”.
Text Box: Obviously they had decided that my hips were not 50 inches!
Text Box: This must have been October 7th.
Text Box: I never did meet her, although we corresponded quite a bit.  Her daughter visited England some years after the war and so I met her.
Text Box: I’m still very glad and am eternally grateful to the Bartletts.  Dave and Betty (his wife), and Rosemary remained friends - almost family.  D and B’s son, Peter is in England - first at University College London, when I used to see him quite often - and now a professor at Nottingham University.   I don’t know if I would have survived at the Hays for so long - nor                     whether they would.
Text Box: Hitler launched “Operation Typhoon” on Moscow on October 2nd.  The siege of Leningrad was causing severe suffering.
Text Box: My spelling of rucksack shows that I hadn’t learnt German!
Text Box: Hot dogs were virtually unknown in Britain then.  However, we used to buy frankfurters from Bloom’s Jewish restaurant in Soho.
Text Box: The friend mentioned on the previous page
Text Box: On October 10th Stalin summoned Zhukov back from Leningrad to take command of the Moscow defences.  The Germans were advancing on all fronts in the USSR.  By October 10th they were only 50 miles from Moscow.
Text Box: The programme was extensive and, apart from the, at that time inevitable, “Pomp and Circumstance No 1”, “Marche Militaire” and God Save the King, was divided into three sections entitled:- “Religious”, “Festive, But Not Always Gay” (“gay” has changed it’s meaning) and “Patriotic”.  Finally there were some hymns.  As I said in my letter, there were many post-printing changes - in fact, so many that I don’t know why they bothered to print the programme.  For example, the overture to “The Bartered Bride” gave way to the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony!  The “Patriotic” section consisted of Elgar’s “Britons Alert” - (Epilogue to Caractacus). Generally it was jingoistic and is too long to reproduce here.