The Children's Tale

An insight into the lives of Hull children during World War II

Hull on Film: Tales From A City Exhibition (2018) by Yorkshire Film ArchiveYorkshire Film Archive

Heather Reynolds (1940) by Folliott WardYorkshire Film Archive

The Children's Tale: Heather Reynolds

Heather Reynolds (née Ward) was eight years old when war was declared in September 1939. She lived in Malton, North Yorkshire, with her father Folliott, mother Dorothy, sister Wendy and brother David. Folliott Ward was a solicitor and was involved in the arrangements for evacuating children from cities, including Hull, to the countryside. 

Heather Reynolds and evacuees (1939) by Mr Folliott WardYorkshire Film Archive

With a large house of their own, the Ward family took in a number of evacuees: Pat Burns, Eileen Morton, Margaret Stockton, Paddy Latham, and Vera Horn.

Heather recalls: "They were an absolute delight. We had such fun, playing leapfrog in the garden, walking with the dogs and skating in winter. My older sister was away at school and my brother was younger than me, so it was lovely to have them in the house. I remember them being really lovely with me and we had such a good time.”

The Way We Were - Hull Evacuees (1939) by Mr Folliot Ward, Yorkshire Film Archive, and ITVOriginal Source: View the original film on the YFA website

The evacuation plan, prepared well before the outbreak of the Second World War, began at the beginning of September 1939.

The government had planned to evacuate about 3,500,000 people, but in fact only 1,500,000 made use of the official scheme. Almost all had been evacuated by the evening of 3rd September, when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made the official announcement of war. Preparations had been made for 100,000 children to be evacuated from Hull, although only 38,000 actually went.

Hull Evacuees newspaper article (1939) by Hull Daily MailYorkshire Film Archive

One confusing aspect of the film is the reference to two schools that have been evacuated to Malton: St Mary’s Convent School, Middlesbrough and Newlands Convent School, from Hull.

It is likely that this reference on the film intertitles is a mistake, as the actual name was Newlands School for Girls. Schools from Hull tended to go as a group, and 40 children from Newlands went to Bridlington first before moving to Malton in August 1941. There they attended Malton Grammar School, on Middlecave Road, where the Ward family home, Rosewood, was also situated.

Enid Temperton (1945) by UnknownYorkshire Film Archive

The Children's Tale: Enid Temperton

Enid was born in January 1926 and went to Craven Street School.  She left school during WW2 and her first job was in a sweet and tobacconist shop on Holderness Road, at the top of Brazil Street. Enid enjoyed working there, and remembered that they used to keep cigarettes under the counter for soldiers on leave. In 1941, aged 15, Enid was living at number 3 Brunswick Avenue, with her mother, Gertie, father, Arthur, and her brother Fred.

Bomb damage in Franklin Street, Hull (1941) by UnknownYorkshire Film Archive

Between March and the end of July 1941, Hull was the target of a series of devastating bombing raids, which would become known as the Hull Blitz. During the course of the war, Hull was the worst hit city in England outside of London.

In the early hours of 18th July, the air-raid siren sounded. Enid and her parents hurried out into the street, where they met her grandparents, Ada and George, her Aunt Dorothy (Dolly) and Dorothy's brother Uncle John – they lived at number 24, just across the road from the public shelter.

Together, the family had a quick discussion about where to go, and came to different conclusions. Enid, Arthur and Gertie dashed back home to shelter in the cupboard under the stairs, whereas Aunt Dolly, Uncle John and Enid’s grandparents went on to the public shelter. Sadly, that night the Franklin Street shelter received a direct hit.

Hull Blitz (1941)Yorkshire Film Archive

Aunt Dolly – Dorothy Watts, aged 36 – was killed and both Grandmother Ada and Uncle John were seriously injured and taken to Hull Royal Infirmary. The family story is that Uncle John was found in the next street, having been blown there by the force of the blast.

Enid and her parents had a very lucky escape. After the all-clear sounded, they emerged from the cupboard into their back yard, to discover an unexploded bomb blocking their escape route. Years later, Enid would describe the scene to her daughter, Jean, explaining that they had to jump over the bomb to get out of the yard.

Brunswick Avenue had been devastated. The Hull Savings Bank and public shelter in the bank gardens were destroyed, along with the cinema and local Co-op. The force of the explosion moved the wardens' post by several feet and Fred, Enid's brother, had his Messenger Corps bike crushed.

Royal Visit to Hull (1941-08) by E. F. SymmonsOriginal Source: View the full film on the YFA website

On 6th August 1941, King George and Queen Elizabeth came to Hull to visit some of the people and places that had suffered so terribly.

Franklin Street was part of the royal itinerary, with the King and Queen meeting the residents on the site where the shelter had once stood. Enid decided that she couldn’t miss the opportunity to see their Majesties in real life; she was attending a funeral earlier in the day, so went along afterwards, wearing her best coat: turquoise, with a fur collar.

Enid Temperton at the Royal visit to Hull (1941-08) by E. F. SymmonsYorkshire Film Archive

Enid's house had been seriously damaged during the 18th July raid was serious, and at the time of the royal visit her family were still camping in their wrecked home. As Enid’s headed out, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Royals, her mother said, “If you see the Queen, can you ask her – where the hell are we going to live?”

Enid had fond memories of the Royal visit, and was pleased that the King and Queen had come to Hull to see the devastation wrought by the Luftwaffe. When she later saw the film footage of the visit, taken by Ernest Symmons of Beverley-based Debenham & Co, she was delighted to spot herself at the front of the crowd – her friends reckoned that she looked just like Princess Elizabeth, who was exactly the same age.

Enid & Charlie's wedding photo (1946-10-05)Yorkshire Film Archive

In 1946, Enid went to a dance at the Hull YPI (Young People’s Institute), where she met Charles (Charlie) Monkhouse, who was celebrating his 26th birthday.

He was being demobbed through Hull from the Durham Light Infantry. They hit it off straight away, and a tearful Enid later waved Charlie off from Paragon Station, as he shouted “I’ll be back for you!

Charlie was as good as his word! As soon as he’d been demobbed, he hurried back to Hull and the couple were married at St Andrew’s Church, Drypool on 5th October 1946, having known each other for just seven months.

Charlie Monkhouse in Bombay (1944)Yorkshire Film Archive

Enid, Charlie and daughter Jean (1956)Yorkshire Film Archive

After they were married, Charlie and Enid moved to Consett, Co. Durham; their daughter, Jean, was born in May 1948.

In 1953, they returned to Hull and lived at 4 Wilton Avenue, Franklin Street, next door to Enid’s parents. It was a very happy marriage and lasted until Enid’s death in 1994. Charlie died aged 89 in 2009.

From the memories and family history compiled by Jean Wastling (née Monkhouse) and Lisa Wastling, Enid’s daughter and granddaughter.

Children's Victory Parade (1945-05)Yorkshire Film Archive

Pauline Robinson, Rita McAvan & Les Green

On 8th May 1945, Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender marked the end of the war in Europe.  Celebrations broke out spontaneously all over the country; Hull was no exception, with victory parades, decorated floats, dancing in the streets, and tea parties across the city.

V.E. Day newspaper article - Ernest Symmons (1945)Yorkshire Film Archive

As the war came to an end, Ernest Symmons, of Debenham & Co, was commissioned by Hull City Council to record the Victory celebrations in the city.

Hull Victory Celebrations (1945-05) by Debenham & CoYorkshire Film Archive

Hull V.E.Day celebrations filmed by Ernest Symmons, 1945.

Pauline Searby - Victory Fairy (1945)Yorkshire Film Archive

Six year old Pauline Searby, was one of hundreds of children who took part in the Victory Parade, processing through the city streets in fancy dress.

Pauline’s was dressed as the Victory Fairy: the V down the front of her costume was red, white and blue and she carried a magic wand.

"As for Queen’s Gardens, I remember there were people dancing in the fountain." recalls Pauline, who lived in Brooklands Road.

Rita McAvan & Les Green (1945-05)Yorkshire Film Archive

For the residents of Lilac Avenue, Lime Tree Avenue and Chestnut Grove, a slap-up Victory Tea was the order of the day. It was held on the green in the middle of the three streets.

Les Green, seen here in his cowboy costume, lived at 42 Chestnut Grove with his mum, dad, and grandma, Ethel Buckton. Grandma Ethel is the lady in black, talking to Les as he enjoys his tea.

Les’s cousin, Rita McAvan, is also pictured here, dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. Her dad, Hubert, can be seen in the V.E. Day Celebrations film, wearing a beret.

Credits: Story

We are indebted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting our work to preserve these films and make them accessible for future generations. The research has been extensive and the exhibition contains only some of the stories we have discovered. To see further films visit

It is not possible to list everyone who has helped with this project – we are hugely grateful for the generosity of responses we have received, from families, historians and volunteers. In particular we would like to thank:

Val Baxter, Jonathan Barker, Malcolm Dunn, Les Green, Daniel Morgan, Heather Reynolds, Pauline Robinson, Lisa and Jean Wastling, Simon Wilson Hull History Centre

Curator: Martin Watts, Hull on Film
Editor: Andy Burns, Yorkshire Film Archive
Writer: Ruth Patman Yorkshire Film Archive
Archivist: Megan McCooley, Yorkshire Film Archive

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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