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Swiss trip, 1946

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TEKMELF
HAWKESBURY
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1 of 6  Sat 17th Sep 2016 9:35am  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:81

70 years ago on Monday 70 schoolchildren from Coventry joined 130 children from Birmingham on a train at Coventry station for what was to be a life changing trip. We were on the first stage of a three month stay in Switzerland as guests of the Swiss Red Cross. The children were chosen because of health reasons. On arrival in Switzerland we were to be homed with Swiss families, my family lived in Payerne and were the owners of a tobacco growing and processing company. A stop over in London, in an underground war time shelter with beds etc followed by breakfast at a local school before joining the boat train to Dover where we then embarked on a cross channel ferry. At Calais we were welcomed by the French Red Cross with what was to be our first taste of European food, a croissant and tea served in a basin. Another train across France, only 16 months after the end of the war, everywhere showing the devastation. The train had wooden seats so after an exciting but not very comfortable trip we arrived in Basle where we were taken to a clinic to be bathed, rather embarrassingly as a 13 year old boy, by nurses, followed by being paraded before workmen carrying spray guns who proceeded to spray inside our clothes, shirts, trousers etc with D.D.T. We were split up to go on different trains to meet our host families. I was met at Murten by M.and Mme Weber, son Jean Jaque and daughter Elsie. Then off to Payerne and my home for the next three months, a five bedroom house with a maid, a little different from the three bed council house in Radford. I could go on about the time spent in Payerne but breakfast calls.
Swiss trip, 1946
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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2 of 6  Thu 22nd Sep 2016 7:21pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1544

TEKMELF, 1946 I too joined a group of people, three, along with myself, from Coventry. We also travelled by ferry from Dover then special train to Marseille, then a further boat trip. I so enjoyed the trip I did it again and again years later. But that was pretty quick after the war for school kids, I can imagine how excited you would have been.
Swiss trip, 1946
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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3 of 6  Fri 23rd Sep 2016 3:29pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1544

TEKMELF. What a wonderful story, a golden memory. I also fail to see why members have little interest, I certainly would like to hear more - packed lunches or train stops, etc. There must be much more to tell (I had to stop quickly last night (exhaustion)) TEKMELF. I hope you're not offended in any way - without trying to demean this story but I find this one of the most successful stories of Coventry authorities I have read. Let me remind people 1946 was a time of turmoil for travellers, millions of troops were idling in camps out east, clamouring to be sent home, wounded soldiers and sick POWs awaiting the Red Cross to help get them home, lack of transport. I personally saw a train load of Canadians and a train load of Yanks having a battle royal on Waterloo Station, MP's of both countries were trying to sort it out, over a lack of boat transportation. So I see this as a huge success, for whoever thought and got this off the ground was a genius.
Swiss trip, 1946
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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4 of 6  Fri 23rd Sep 2016 3:41pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:988

This was all I could find on the Newspaper Archive site. From the Dover Express 8th November 1946
Swiss trip, 1946
TEKMELF
HAWKESBURY
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Thread starter
5 of 6  Fri 23rd Sep 2016 5:32pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:81

This was obviously a different trip. There was a report in the Coventry Telegraph, also a photo of which I have, unfortunately I haven't the knowhow to send it as it is only a cutting. There was also a photo on our return.
Swiss trip, 1946
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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6 of 6  Fri 23rd Sep 2016 5:37pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:988

Would you believe Tekmelf, the online Telegraphs only go up to 1945!
Swiss trip, 1946

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