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My visual memories

A photo of Sydney

Sydney was born in Byker in 1926. His grandparents came from Eastern Europe. His father was born in Newcastle in 1888. his mother was born in London in 1894. They married in West Hartlepool in 1920 and then set up home in Newcastle. In 1944 at 18 years of age Sydney was called into the army. He served in Europe before returning to work for the Inland Revenue Office.

Sydney was interviewed by Kylea Little on 4 August 2006. The interview took place in the participant's home and lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

BSL introduction.

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Evacuation to Whitehaven

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Went to school, originally the elementary school, as it was called then, was in Bolam Street, the street where I lived. I sat the scholarship, as they called it in those days, and in 1937 started at Heaton Secondary School which over the years has had different names.
Q. Did you enjoy your schooldays?

Yes, the first two years were straight forward but because I started in 1937 there but at the beginning of the third year, we were evacuated because war was imminent. This was 1939 and we were evacuated to Whitehaven in Cumberland and I was there apart from coming home for holidays until the middle of 1942.

Q. Were you staying with relatives?

No, we were allocated to people. We were billeted with? the people who lived there and they really were? and this happened to all schoolchildren at the beginning of the war. Because we actually went on 1st September 1939 and the war was declared on the 3rd of December, two days later.

Whitehaven was very much smaller town, a different type of place altogether and of course, being Jewish, there were no Jewish families there. Or none? I think there may have been the odd one but nobody that I'd ever met. And I'd been brought up as a Jew? strangely living with a Church of England minister for that first few months. He was very knowledgeable of course about the Jewish religion and he encouraged me to sort of remember to do certain things that I should do as far as...I couldn't go to synagogue or anything like that because there were no services. But he? and he said he didn't try to convert me to Christianity! No, he was very good to me.

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