Nantlle Valley History

Nebo & Nasareth


My Time in Nebo during The War ~ Memories of an Evacuee

I was two and a half years old when war was declared. The first six months of the war was, as you know, called the "The Phoney War", because nothing happened in England during this time. Mass evacuations of towns and cities were ordered by the government. This was the time that my mother travelled with my elder sister, myself and my younger brother who was only a baby at the time, from Everton, in the centre of Liverpool, to Wales. The place she ended up in was called Penygroes, and I was told that we were put off the train with many other evacuees, and taken by bus up to Nebo, where we were to be met by anybody that could give us a home for the duration of the war. Because we were a family of four we had to wait until the last, but being very young I only have a slight memory of these events.

What I do remember is waking up one morning in a strange house in the middle of a field. I was told the lady of the house was a Mrs Williams (Aunty Fay to us). Her two sons, who were near to my age, were called Gwyn and Myrddin. All four of us were sent out into the field to play while the adults talked. It was fantastic as my sister Georgina and myself had never had so much space to play in and the air was so fresh. Aunty Fay was married to Will Williams (Uncle Will) and the house was a small hill farm called Cerrig Stympia. After three months the war hadn't started here and a lot of people were moving back home to the cities, so of course my mother took us all back to Liverpool during the quiet period.

We had Christmas in Liverpool (1940), but when the bombs started to fall in the blitz, and Mill Road Hospital was hit by a huge bomb, called a land mine, my mother decided it was time to pack us all up and take us out of Liverpool again. This time, however, she had her best friend with her, Mrs Proffitt, and her two children. Mrs Proffitt, who was known to us as Aunty Tess, didn't know just how far she had to travel, but her and my mother were so close that she didn't want to be left behind. There were now three Guyers and two Proffitt children, together with the two mums making a grand total of seven. The Proffitt children were called Joan, who was four, and Pauline, who was three. I was told that we all arrived at Aunty Fay’s tired and hungry, and she took us in and fed us and somehow found accommodation for Aunty Tess and her two children at Tŷ’n Pant, now I believe called Caeglanrafon, just down the road from Cerrig Stympia. That was the start of a life long friendship for the three women – my Mother, Aunty Fay and Aunty Tess. My mother died in Feb 2001 and was still talking about Nebo until the end.

It was not long after we returned to Nebo that Aunty Fay and Uncle Will, together with Gwyn, Myrddin and their daughter Margaret moved down the hill to No. 9 Rhos Dulyn. About the same time No. 2 Rhos Dulyn became vacant so the Guyers and the Proffitts moved in, and there we stayed until the war ended. During those happy years in Nebo my two younger sisters were born. Rita was born in Bangor and Dorothy was born in Caernarfon. From 1940 - 1946 my elder sister Georgie and myself grew up to have a love of Nebo and all its people. The tranquillity and peace of the place, plus the freedom to go walking over the hills and to swim in the lake (although we were not supposed to do that but you know what children are like). We also paddled in the streams and small rivers. We collected bilberries in the early summer, and blackberries in the Autumn, but the best of all was to play in the clean crisp snow in the winter, although it was rather cold. They are memories you don't forget, no matter old you get. There was always someone to say hello to and they would say hello back, not like when we went back home and the people would say hello to you only if they knew you. l suppose it was because they had not had the freedom that we had had.

Being in Nebo gave us the most wonderful childhood anyone could have had. I must however mention Mr Elias Thomas, the school Headmaster, for the sterling work he did in that village school. He did his very best to make sure that every child was happy and integrated into everything. He had children from London, Manchester and, of course, from Liverpool, plus his own local children to educate. Our teacher was Miss Crawford, who had come from Liverpool. School Assemblies were in English and Welsh, and hymns were sung in Welsh. One time there was a commotion in the school, that was because I had cut the red hair of Pauline Dykes who was also from Liverpool. Her sister was blonde. Their father was killed in the war, so the family stayed on after the war ended, and eventually moved to Caernarfon.

When the war ended and we had to return to our home in Liverpool, it was sad to say goodbye to all the friends we had made in Nebo – Gwyn, Myrddin, Margaret, Dorothy Dykes, Ken Thomas, Mr and Mrs Jones No. 1 and Rhiannon in the post office. We all said our goodbyes, then out of the blue Aunty Fay sent my mother a letter to say that Gorlan Cottage was for rent, so for six weeks every year we went to Nebo for our holidays, up to 1955 when I went into the R.A.F. and the cottage was given up. My very good friend Gwyn and his brother Myrddin also went into the R.A.F. When I got married I took my wife and my family up to Nebo to show them just how nice and peaceful it was, and they have been enthusiastic about it ever since. I kept in touch with Aunty Fay until she died several years ago and she still always made us so welcome even with eight of us going to see her. I also kept in touch with Myrddin on and off until he so tragically died, and I still keep in touch with Gwyn and his family to this day. If anybody sees a strange car, with two grey haired pensioners inside, it could be me and my wife reliving my past. Stop me. I would love to have a chat with old friends, if they are still alive. You never know.

by David Guyers, April 2003

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