"Growing up in the fishing village (as it was then) of Brixham in the 1930s and 1940s. I can remember so many different experiences. Most of the beaches were barricaded during the war to make it difficult for would-be invaders. Therefore after school, our mothers would meet us with picnic baskets and off we would trek to the open-air seawater Shoalstone swimming pool at Berry Head. We would spend hours enjoying ourselves at the pool, quite oblivious to the horrors of war, although most of our fathers were away in the services.
Early one evening in the 1940s we were at the pool as usual when we became aware of the throbbing of engines - they sounded very different somehow, not the usual throb of the old Brixham trawlers. The sound came nearer and then into view around Berry Head sailed a small convoy of funny-looking trawlers. As they drew level with us, the engines quite deafening, we children were quite amused to see the decks of these small craft absolutely laden with tables chairs, beds, mattresses, prams, bicycles and all manner of household equipment. In the bow of one boat sat a grey-haired old lady, dressed in black, in a huge armchair, and on her lap she was clutching a big dog. There were men, women and children of all ages, crowded on each and every one of these craft and they were heading for Brixham Fish Quay.
We hastily dressed, our inquisitiveness getting the better of us, and we ran all the way to the quay in time to see them come ashore. Who were these funny people? They were dressed in a weird fashion and spoke a peculiar language. Being mainly country-born children and never having been away from Brixham, we had never before seen "foreign" people. Of course, we soon learned these poor souls were the Ostend fishermen and their families who were fleeing the Germans as their country became occupied. They had squeezed as much and as many on to their small craft as was safe. The children soon became our friends, as we shared desks at school with a Belgian on one side and a Cockney evacuee on the other."