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Jean Batram, of Great Barton, who was shot at from a German plane during World War Two, calls for evacuee memories





A great grandmother from Suffolk, who was shot at from a German plane during wartime, wants to hear people’s memories of evacuees who lived there during World War Two.

Last year Jean Batram, 91, who grew up in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, reunited with the Farber family, who were sent to Suffolk to escape the dangers of the blitz.

By sharing a picture of the family now, she hopes to hear from others who may remember twins Zena and Alec, Muriel, Philis and Binnie.

L-R: Zena, Alec, Binnie, Muriel, Philis. Picture: Submitted
L-R: Zena, Alec, Binnie, Muriel, Philis. Picture: Submitted

The five young children were evacuated from Tottenham to Great Barton with their parents and lived in a bungalow in Barton Park.

Last summer they visited Jean, who has kept in touch with her best friend from school, Binnie.

She said: “They were thrilled to be here again for a look at how things have changed.”

Jean Batram, who had the maiden name Boreham, was shot at from a German plane in Great Barton. Picture: Submitted
Jean Batram, who had the maiden name Boreham, was shot at from a German plane in Great Barton. Picture: Submitted

The mum of seven, who grew up in foster care, was six when World War Two started and remembers being excited. “We didn’t know what war was,” she said.

Taking gas masks to school and hearing the distinct chugging sound of German bombers heading towards Honington Aerodrome soon became a regular occurrence.

However there is one particular afternoon that sticks in Jean’s mind.

Despite the air raid siren being sounded, her schoolmaster led children to the old church institute. As they walked along School Road they heard the sound of three German planes overhead.

Jean was walking along School Road in Great Barton (pictured today), when her and her school friends were shot at from a German plane during World War Two. Picture: Google
Jean was walking along School Road in Great Barton (pictured today), when her and her school friends were shot at from a German plane during World War Two. Picture: Google

Two headed in the direction of Honington but one swooped down low – and bullets were fired at the schoolchildren.

Jean and her classmates were told to take cover in a ditch.

She said: “We could see the pilot and the gunner.

“I am more scared of it now than I was when it happened, we didn’t realise it was that bad.”

As well as her friendship with Binnie, Jean enjoyed looking after younger evacuees and introducing them to life in the countryside.

Jean who still lives in Great Barton, said: “All the village kids and evacuees would play out together, it was lovely.

“They picked plums off trees for the first time, they didn't want to go back to London.”

Anyone who wants to contact Jean, who had the maiden name Boreham, about the Farber family should email suzanne.day@iliffepublishing.co.uk