PILLOWELL School welcomed a very special visitor last week.

Alexander Carter returned to the school he attended in 1941 after he was evacuated from Bristol which had suffered heavy bombing.

He was joined in the school hall by the senior children who listened to his memories of coming by train as a seven-year-old, with a label on his coat, to live with the Powell family in the village.

Mr Powell was a cobbler and Alexander distinctly remembers his workshop and shoe making. 

The move was quite a shock because the Powell’s house, School View, had no electricity, running water or indoor toilet, unlike his Bristol home. 

Despite these hardships Alexander had fond memories of his stay in the Forest, where he played in the woodland and enjoyed the open spaces for two years. 

He explained to the children that when he returned to Bristol, he had such a broad Forest accent his father couldn’t understand him. 

Alexander later became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Monmouthshire Engineers, was awarded the OBE and became Aide de camp to the late Queen, said it was wonderful to return to his old school. 

He said, ‘The children were very attentive and interested in my experiences and they asked some good questions about life at the school eighty-two years ago

Chris Forster, Head of Pillowell School, said: “We are very grateful for Alexander coming from Derbyshire to meet the children and giving them the opportunity to ask about the experience of being an evacuee. 

“He described a very different way of life with virtually no cars and remembered being brought to the village by horse and cart." 

Alexander was shown the school register from 1941 that included his sister and details of other evacuees. 

Staff at the school were delighted to give him a copy of the register to take home. 

The Voices from the Forest project recorded Mr Carter’s reflections.

They will be available to all schools learning about evacuees and deposited in the Dean Heritage Centre.