Evacuees Brighton Station

WWII evacuee to retrace his steps at Brighton Station

Veteran and evacuee, Barry Gooders, 87, will be retracing his steps at Brighton Station for ‘Barry’s Journey’.

The event will mark 80 years since the outbreak of the Second World War.

Barry and his younger brother, Gerard, came to Brighton aged 7 and 5 in 1939 as part of ‘operation pied piper’, which was responsible for evacuating 3.5 million children from war torn London.

Barry said: “We lived in Thornton Heath, and we arrived at the school with our parents to join all of the children who were going to be evacuated. When we arrived at the station we were in a state of high excitement because of going on a train journey with our friends. At Brighton station, we were ushered on to double decker green buses that of course we had never seen before, and off we went on what seemed like quite a long journey. They called the children from the bus, introduced them to the person in the house and we were just left there.”

Fellow Brighton evacuees and Brighton schoolchildren will join Barry and be greeted at the station by Peter Field, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex.

Katherine Cox, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Govia Thameslink Railway said: “We are looking forward to welcoming Barry, the Brighton school children and Peter to the station to mark this important anniversary and are pleased to support the Take Shelter project’s goal of educating more visitors.”

The Thameslink train transporting Barry will arrive at Brighton Station at 9.49am.

Following his arrival, a Brighton and Hove bus will be waiting to take Barry and the schoolchildren to Downs Junior School, where Barry has volunteered for three years, to listen to a recreation of the announcement of war via a 1940s wireless.

Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Buses’ Martin Harris said: “We’re really pleased to take part in recreating this momentous journey with veteran evacuees, Downs Junior School and GTR. I was amazed to discover the Take Shelter exhibition when I visited earlier this year and I encourage everybody to go and see it. Simply hop on a 26, 46 or 50 bus to get there. Catching the bus to the shelter is a fun and sustainable way to enjoy the overall experience.”

Take Shelter is the only restored school air raid shelter and public interactive museum in the UK.

The project, which is open to the public, opened in 2016 with a view to share wartime memories with its local community and is currently fundraising to make the shelter more accessible.

The event will take place on Tues 3 Sept from 9.30am until 12pm, starting at Brighton Station and ending at Downs Junior School.


Images courtesy of Brighton and Hove Museums and The Keep.

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