Mary Holt, Wootton

I was born in East Cowes just before the war broke out.

I can remember the sirens and going to the shelter and seeing where places had been bombed.

We lived in York Avenue, just above the recreation ground and opposite us there were no houses there then, just woodland and fields.

I remember my father telling us later that on the day of departure the troops could not board the boats off the shores of East Cowes because of bad weather conditions, so had to overnight in a secluded area which was the land opposite us.

My father was a keen gardener and the front garden had lots of flowers in bloom.

Before departing one of the troops came across the road and asked my father if he could have a bunch of red, white and blue flowers to put in the captain’s cabin, which my father proudly gave him, none the wiser to what was happening.

Within the next 24 hours everyone knew what had happened and my father often spoke about it in the following years.