Joan remembers the Vicary household was always full of evacuated children, and their relatives, because it was used as a respite shelter from the bombings and air raids elsewhere in the country.
She went to the local primary school in Bampton where Mrs Cliff, the headmistress, "was an excellent teacher". This was followed by an education at Tiverton Grammar School and she made the journey there on the Exe Valley steam train.
"What a lovely ride that was!" says Joan.
She fondly recalls other memories of living in Mid Devon at that time.
"We used to walk 'in crocodile' to Tiverton Art Gallery for art lessons, and go swimming at the unheated pool in West Exe," she said. "The gallery was in the main street and was a proper art school with statues and easels. We would rush out to the West Exe pool to swim before catching the train home. The pool had wooden cubicles and the water was cold. Then we would run up the street and catch the train from West Exe."
Other happy times were had picking the first violets and primroses of spring, being in the girl guides and riding on Exmoor. Joan also remembers helping with the garden.
She explained: "No one kept flower beds or lawns back then. Gardens were dug up and used for growing food under the Digging for Victory initiative.
"When labour was short, school parties were taken to the fields to work on the potato harvest. This was finger-freezing, back-aching work, but contributing to the war effort was more important than any discomfort.
"On Sundays we paddled in the River Exe or walked along the train lines picking wild strawberries. I became very aware of the seasons."