Joan Zilva

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

























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Chapter 8—1942 And still there

Text Box: These results live with me even now.  I’m glad to say that they were never repeated and that I redeemed myself later.
Text Box: Something to cheer me up!
Text Box: The Red Army launched a counteroffensive in the Crimea on December 28th and the Germans were forced to retreat.  In the Philippines the Japanese occupied Manila on January 2nd and the US army was forced to withdraw to the Bataan Peninsula.
Text Box: Esmé was short for Esmeralda.  This was the name we had given to our first car - a 1932 Austin10, later inherited by me when I was nearly 30, as my first car. (the car was then 20 years old).  She had been laid up because of petrol rationing, but the Lister Institute was moved to West Malling.  Because my father was occupied in war work (nutrition), he was allowed a petrol ration to travel to and from the nearest convenient station.
Text Box: Isidore, my much older cousin, gave me a small radio set for my birthday before the war.  He was always good at presents. My father immediately appropriated it, to my disgust!

On January 14th the Russians recaptured several towns and, on the 18th, landed behind German lines.  In early January the British were advancing in Libya, but it was a short-lived victory and Rommel soon recaptured what we had gained. The Japanese continued to advance on all fronts 
Text Box: Our gastronomic tastes were not very sophisticated then!
Text Box: I don’t remember who Dr Petrie was.  I couldn’t spell “gist”.
Text Box: I seemed to think that medicine and research were mutually exclusive.  I did take up medicine.  I hope that the attitude to women has changed!
Text Box: This couldn’t have come at a better time for me!
Text Box: They did rub it in.  I could have done without that.  I was always losing self-confidence - and still do.
Text Box: I’m not sure what reason they gave.
Text Box: I don’t know why I started spelling Grey with two es.  I got it right the first time.
Text Box: I’m not sure what financial arrangements were allowed.
Text Box: So there!
Text Box: Doreen was the then wife of my cousin Magnus and not likely to do strenuous war work .
Text Box: This was the first shot in a long battle to come home, war or no.
Text Box: First mention of Mrs B’s letter!
Text Box: Thinking Day was Baden-Powell’s birthday.  I suppose we were meant to think great thoughts.  We know more about him now, but then I hero worshipped him.
Text Box: I presume that these coupons made me solvent enough to afford air mail.
Text Box: The war of attrition continues. 
Text Box: It apparently meant that they were “essential”.  From later experience I know that driving in the blackout was no fun!
Text Box: At last I had won - thank goodness.  That should have taught them to moan about my letters!  Dear Reader, relax now .
Text Box: My first airmail letter follows. I don’t know what inspired it, but I must have been feeling rich!