Tipton resident shared war time memories, marking remembrance day

Sonia Benton. Picture: Sundial Care Home

Sonia Benton. Picture: Sundial Care Home - Credit: Archant

A Tipton resident has shared the story of her life, marking Remembrance Day 2019.

Sonia Benton, 91, who lives at Sundial Care Home, in Tipton St John, was one of the many who grew up during World War Two and later became involved in the Women's Voluntary Service, that played such a fundamental role in the wartime effort.

On the September 3, 1939, Mrs Benton was 11 years old and was living in Brighton and had just had her offer for high school.

She said: "I was stood at the top of a farmer's field on this day when I heard shouting and wondered what it was all about."

The shouting the young Sonia could hear was the news spreading that war had started, little did she or anyone else know the true cost of human life that was to follow.

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As with many of the children at the time, she was evacuated to Yorkshire where it was deemed to be safer and further from the reaches of war.

The former Loughborough and Dundee University lecturer said: "We were given a small bag of chocolates for the train journey which of course were eaten within the first half an hour of the journey."

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Although not an experience shared by everyone, Mrs Benton's memories of being evacuated are ones that she looks back fondly on.

She moved in with a family who were involved in the Huddersfield Choral Society, meaning the house was filled with joyous music.

Before the war was over, she moved back south to Brighton to live with her parents.

Mrs Benton's father was in the police service at the time, lecturing on gases in the Air Raid Protection Service.

As a 16-year-old, Mrs Benton volunteered firstly as a messenger and then also as a fire watcher, which is how she spent the last night of the war.

Mrs Benton requested a box of poppies be placed within Sundial Care Home, and said: "I worry that the values learnt from war have been lost within modern society, the deaths of so many men, leaving families with no husband or father, society mustn't forget of what they gave."

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