Marie Laver – nee Mayle

My name is Marie Layer (nee Mayle) and my sister Joyce and I left London with other Evacuees.

We arrived in Boscastle on the 26th June 1940. We were met at the village hall. Mrs. Weston, the Rector’s wife, who approached us to ask if we would like to stay with her at the Rectory opposite Forrabury.

I remember asking Rev. Watson, as he pointed out the Church, if were to live there; fortunately he said “no”.

Coming from London, the difference was amazing although leaving our parents was very hard.

We were very fortunate to have had such wonderful Guardians; protective, kind and loving.

They took us into their home and we were very safe and happy with them. They could not have done more for us.
We arrived by train with a group of children from South London. After settling down we attended the “old” village school which was re-opened specially for us to use. My Sister, being 16 months older, attended the main village school. The Headmaster was known to the children as “Boss” but not to his face!

We settled down very well in our home, the school, the village and mixed very well with the evacuees and village children. We felt very welcome, happy and protected.

I remember the Queen’s Head being bombed by a stray German aircraft off loading his bombs before heading home.

I remember playing in (Bottreaux) Boscastle grounds and “The Bell Tree”. It would be favourite with the children as you could disappear in it. In the Village Hall, the evacuees put a show on, the idea was we were in an air raid shelter: we all in our nightwear and dressing gowns; we all did different turns singing etc. I think it all went down very well. The villagers and friends all supported us and we were very pleased.

The bombing intensified in London so my mother and grandmother came down to Boscastle. We left the Rectory to be with them. We were very lucky to be offered a bungalow “Millets Meadow” and eventually our mothers sister and baby came to stay.

The bungalow belonged to Miss Tregoning who would occasionally come for a few days stay.

It was while we were there that my Grandmother and I were looking out to sea and saw a ship sinking. We were too far away to see if there were any life boats – so sad.

I recently visited Boscastle in September of 2010. My daughter-in-law had very kindly organised this trip to celebrate my 80th year.

The wonderful surprise was that we would be staying at “The Rectory” now known as The Old Parsonage B&B. By fluke, which nobody knew about, I was given the key for the room we had slept in as children! What a bonus.

I was very happy to be able to tell the current lady owners of the house what it was like 70 years ago to their great interest.

It was a stunning experience meeting David Ferrett who gave me a list of evacuees to pick out children I knew in Boscastle during those days and pictures of “The Bell Tree” – what memories we had!

Meeting David was a great pleasure.

With my best wishes, Marie Layer 8th November 2010