My mother (Diane Wyles), father (Peter Wyles) and myself (Adrian Wyles) who around 2-years-old at the time) where living in the house of my mother’s parents (Arthur and Winifred Gibson [nee Inge]) – in the Forest Hill (Stanton St John) area of beautiful Oxford! My mother was born in Oxford, but my father came from Leicester. Around 1941, the Nazi Germans bombed (and destroyed) the East End of London – including Lewisham where my mother’s family originally lived! They were evacuated on-mass to Oxford where one of their relatives lived.
his is how they ended-up in Oxford! Statistics record that the total number of bombs dropped on Lewisham (between October 7th, 1940 – June 6th,1941) amount to 1,128 High Explosive Bombs and 20 Parachute Mines! The over-all casualties for London during this ‘Blitz‘ (1940-1941) and after. From 1939-1945, the British civilian and Home Guard population lost around 60,000 killed with 71,000 treated for life-threatening injuries and over 88,000 others were less seriously injured. This is how my mother’s working-class (and ‘Socialist’) family ended-up in bourgeois Oxford! It is ironic that if it were not for WWII – the likes of my family could not have got anywhere near a place like Oxford!