George Ernest Bull; Part 3

After George  was shipped overseas, Hannah was able to rent the hinds house at Greenside farm from Jimmy McCulley. This house, on the north side of the farm was again without services but much closer to Trimdon Village. There was a proper path across the fields which was in daily use by quarrymen going to and from work. The farm access road was only about a hundred yards from the West Lane which made it easier to push the pram into the Village.

George landed with the US first army in Algerian 1942 and took part in the Sicily and Italian campaigns. He was involved in a motor cycle accident in Italy 1944/45 which seriously damaged his knee and took him out of action. He was shipped to the Army hospital near Fishburn (later Sedgefield General) for rehabilitation, this suited him fine as he was close to Hannah and young George. The rehabilitation was for about 18 months, I can still see him hobbling about with his canes. Towards the end of the rehabilitation, he spent more time out of the hospital than in.

There was another member of the Bull family that lived in Trimdon for part of the war. George’s youngest sister Joyce was about 8 years old when the war started. The Government anticipated that major cities like London would be subject to bombing and made plans in 1939 to evacuate children from these Centre’s to rural areas. While evacuation was not compulsory, they did evacuate about 200000 children from London. Most of these children were billeted with strangers. Since George had got to know the Robinson family in Trimdon, he persuaded his parents that she would be looked after and safe in Trimdon. At that time he was still in Sedgefield and would be close to her. Her family brought her to live with us in Trimdon, and she stayed with us for almost three years.

It was not the easiest thing for Joyce to adapt to living with the family, the countryside and local dialect was strange. She was treated no differently to any other member of the family. She and I were about the same age (I was younger) and she made a friend with Nora Davison (same age), we were friendly, had similar interests and played well  together. Her mother and sisters made the several visits, staying for a few days each time. I remember them having to sleep on the floor of the living room under the table. Quite a houseful for those days. A vivid memory of these visits were the laughter and singing, we had an old upright piano and they would bang out popular music hall songs.  Joyce stayed with us until the blitz was over and London was safer. I believe that the government paid my mother about thirty shillings a month for taking care of Joyce during the time she stayed with us.

It was also a challenge for George to move from the big city to a rural village. At that time, there was only the old village and the houses west of the crossroads. The population was a few hundred and everyone knew each other. George was very much an outsider without any established friends. He was from a large family and fortunately married into another one. He got on well with the Robinson family, Billy, Jim and Harry were about the same age and in my case, he adopted me as his younger brother and we spent a lot of time together.

More pages from this story;