close this book"For a long time you didn't believe that it was real" : living through World War II in Hamilton
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View the documentSouthwell School
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World War II [cont.]

Aged 20 when it broke out, remembers declaration of war but didn't feel it would affect them personally,

"It seemed so far away"

Recalls a feeling of "tightness" in her family as older brother away in Singapore.

"There was this feeling of everything tightening, of rationing beginning".

"Everything was watched like a hawk"

Southwell forced to take on more women teachers, worked around shortages. Remembers some boys had to leave school for financial reasons.

School experienced food and petrol rationing, air raid trenches dug in grounds,

"You could clear the whole school in under three minutes.... so the little boys sometimes had to be carried fast if they couldn't run"

Discusses boys' activities. Remembers school held ceremonies when news of "old boys" deaths came through,

"To my father these people were almost like family"

Sang lots of war hymns, e.g. "Onward Christian Soldiers". Brother disappeared in Singapore, mother never got over it. Talks about other brother, a padre at Cassino, Italy.