JFS goes back to Cornwall

By Jessica Elgot, July 1, 2010
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The Mousehole group in 1940 and (right) the anniversary plaque presented by those making the return trip

The Mousehole group in 1940 and (right) the anniversary plaque presented by those making the return trip

Former JFS pupils evacuated to Cornwall during the war retraced their steps from Paddington to Penzance 70 years later.

More than 100 JFS students, aged between five and 13, and five teachers were billeted to families in the fishing village of Mousehole in June 1940. JFS was temporarily housed at Mousehole village school.

Eight of the evacuees and their families attended the reunion, including a visit to the school and the presentation of an anniversary plaque.

One of the participants, Estelle Kaye, 77, said: "It was such a special visit. The interest, the love, the kindness shown throughout our short time there will be moments to cherish forever." Her sister Betty Posner was also among the evacuees.

Mildred Moore, 81, was one of five sisters who were evacuated to the village.

She recalled the local population as "wonderful, absolutely wonderful. How can you thank them for what they did?"

Pamela Fields, 69, the daughter of JFS teacher Ralph Barnes, was born in Mousehole.

She said that returning had been "the most heartwarming and extraordinary experience of my life. I shall treasure the experience forever."

The event was organised by Susan Soyinka, 64, a former educational pyschologist at JFS.

Her recent book From East End to Land's End tells the story of the evacuees.

"It was very poignant for me," she said, "thinking of the Jewish children on a train to safety, and then thinking of my mother's family, who were on the trains in Europe heading for destruction".

    Last updated: 1:55pm, July 1 2010