The People of Gibraltar
1944 - Warbleshinney Camp - The Evacuation 

Anita Manetto and Antonio Vallero - Lourdes Pitaluga and Sylvia 
Victoria Riera and Manuel Luiz - Violetta and Mercedes Braithwaite,
Fleur de Lis, Iris and Olga Walker

Quoted directly from the BBC's WW2 People's War Archive
Memories told by Doris Bredin formerly from Greerstown, to Joan Henderson

In 1944 evacuees from Gibraltar, who had just spent several years in England, arrived at Warbleshinney Camp near Greerstown on the outskirts of Londonderry. The camp consisted of rows of nissan huts - corrugated iron structures with concrete floors. The accommodation was very basic as each hut was divided in two with a family housed at either end in a single room. This had a table and chairs with two bunk beds on either side made up with grey blankets. They were heated by small coal burning stoves. 

A central core of buildings had a canteen where meals were served, and also contained bathrooms, a laundry, and chemical W.C.’s. There was also a large refectory where various events took place - concerts, socials and dances. This proved to be a popular place for socialising. Doreen Lowry, (nee Todd) remembers her mother playing and singing songs such as ‘I’ll walk beside you’ and Doris remembers singing a duet with Hilda Rosborough, (nee Cooke) — ‘On yonder hill there lives a maiden---oh no John, no John no!’

Ivor Parkhill of Lisglass had just left Greerstown School and he remembers the excitement of seeing the buses arriving and unloading their passengers and hurrying post haste to the camp to see what was happening. The camp was managed by a Mr Harrison who was resident there and had as his assistant Miss Eileen Trainor. The staff included a cook, engineer, groundsmen and vehicle driver Davy Parkhill.

The children of the camp attended Greerstown Public Elementary School where Doris’ mother, Mrs Jessie Bredin, was Principal. She taught the older children and Miss Kit McMullan taught the younger children and their arrival must have made quite an impact. There didn’t seem to be any problems so they must have integrated well with local children. Doris can only recall that it was fun having new children to play with and talk to even (if) they did speak English with a funny accent. She quickly learnt to say words such as hello and goodbye, please and thank you, and to count and say the alphabet in Spanish.

The children of Greerstown School in 1946 - Could there be one or two Gibraltar evacuees in there somewhere?

She had a special friend Anita Manetto, who taught her a verse of a Spanish hit song ‘Deja quitte pongo me sombrero blanco’*. Anita’s mother was a fine cook and needlewoman and made matching pleated skirts with boleros and blouses for Doris and her sister. When visiting their Nissan hut (sic) they were given lovely Spanish tray bakes as a treat. Anita often came to the Bredin farm to play.

Kathleen Leonard (nee Cooke) remembers a boy called Antonio Vallero who wanted to sit beside her at school and her teacher, Mrs Bredin, persuading her to allow him as ‘He wouldn’t take a bite out of her’! Another Gibraltarian, Lourdes Pitaluga, attended a Grammar School in town and became Doris’ brother Bertie’s girlfriend for a time. He and his wife made contact with her a few years ago when they visited Gibraltar and they still exchange Christmas Cards.

Other names remembered are Sylvia who did Spanish dancing, Victoria Riera whose father was a doctor, Violetta, Mercedes Braithwaite, Manuel Luiz, Fleur de Lis Walker and her sisters Iris and Olga (according to Ivor Parkhill their dad exchanged tea for butter and sugar with his mother). One of the Walker girls married a local a man and lived in the Newbuildings area, just outside Londonderry.

* Deja que te ponga mi sombrero blanco