JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Great Exodus


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As a great mentor of mine – Joe Schroeder – never tired of saying “A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording” so today I am here to share another episode in the life’s journey of one of the great people whose life I am privileged to have shared a part of – my mother AnneKaete Pocklington.

<— Prior Episode

The Great Exodus

Imagine, if you will, that you live in a military seaport in a time of War

You are, obviously, in a direct line of fire.

So what do you do to keep your children safe?

Another ‘Great Exodus’ begins.


The Great Exodus

When I see pictures nowadays, of little children being evacuated from London during the War, it makes my memories come back and I cannot but help and smile. When I think of the great exodus from Wilhelmshaven, it must have been quite some thing. Fairly at the beginning of the War, in the early Spring of 1940, before I was confirmed and had left school. The authorities must have decided, as the War had not quite finished after all at Christmas, it must be more serious then they had thought. And as Wilhelmshaven was a War Harbour, it was time that all Civilians were evacuated. Navy wives and children first, then ordinary mothers and children, then other females and so on. And so it was time that Mutti had to go with her 3 children. Paula was not allowed just yet, neither was Tetta allowed to, as she has no children. And so we got marching orders, all pack your clothes the Lorry will be here tomorrow morning.

And that was that, Mam cried bitterly, she was heartbroken to leave her oldest child, and Dad, behind. And off we went. To a very, very tiny village in the Jeverland, about 25 km away, dropped in a school away from everywhere. Bit by bit the farmers and small-holders came and collected their ration of people. They had not been asked, we had not been asked, and there we were, thrown together hardly understanding each other’s language, their Dialect was very strong. If they spoke with each other you did not understand a word. Mum must have been heartbroken. But we settled reasonably to our task. We all felt badly that Paula was not entitled to be ‘saved’ just because she was a working girl. As we could not all stay at the same farm I had to go somewhere alone. And that was a bit frightening. But the people were kindness itself and I liked it in a couple of days, once I knew Mum was not too far away and I could reach her in about half an hours walk through fields and lanes.

They killed a Pig the third day I was there, and I was allowed to watch. He put the gun to its head, pressed a trigger, it made no noise, and the squeaking pig fell to the floor. Just a tiny hole showed the gun had shot it. And then they stabbed a hole in its neck and kept pumping it’s foreleg. And the blood came gushing into a bucket. This was, in no time, made into black Puddings. And the whole Pig was Sausages and Pieces of Ham hanging under the Ceiling or in smoking rooms, and Pork salted in large barrels, in no time at all. I have never seen anything as quick. But it had to be quick I suppose, before anybody got to know a pig had been killed!!!

A week later we were all back home and that was that. The women in that time must have had a lot of guts, defying not only the bombs of the enemy but also the law in the land which had decreed. . . . .

Mutti learned that the East-Frisians kept pouring you one cup of tea after another as long as you placed your cup the right way up after you had emptied it. It was a sign you were ready for a ‘fill up’. Only when you turned the cup upside down after draining the last drop did the housewife know you did not want anymore. Until Mutti was told this, they must have thought ‘my, my! Can she drink tea’. But they had the kettle on the go all day anyway, so it did not matter.


If  life is the best teacher, doesn’t it make sense to learn from the lives of others?

So what did I learn from today’s episode?

I could not help thinking as I read this episode of the story of the “Pied Piper Of Hameln” and how by following his tune all the children disappeared.

How empty the streets must have been.

How empty the hearts of the mothers and fathers must have been.

As Pete Seeger’s anthem asks “Where HAVE All The Flowers Gone” ???

So Now it’s YOUR turn, dear Reader. What did YOU learn?

Please ADD and SHARE your insights in the COMMENT BOX Below

Next Episode –>




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Published: October 29, 2014, 16:44 | 2 Comments on JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Great Exodus
Category: Real People Helping Real People, The Story Of A Life

2 responses to “JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Great Exodus”

  1. I so enjoy reading your posts Peter…your life story just inspires me and teaches me something new every day

    Dr. Lisa

  2. Thanks for sharing another piece of your life. It must have been awful having to leaving children and husbands behind. But these things just make you stronger.

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