Audio Recordings: Eva Bye Memories

Eva Bye Memories

This is the recording of an interview with late Shipton resident Eva Bye by Doreen Barnes on May 2nd, 2015. Eva Bye (nee Watton) was the youngest of four siblings born 3rd April 1920 and raised in Shipton.

Eva was married to Bill who was a builder. Her last home was built by Bill on land bordering Ascott Road and Shipton High Street. This house was recently demolished and replaced.

The interview – more a friendly and lively chat as it progresses – presents a picture of a family life in Shipton. Eva’s father was an engineer on the Council, and her mother was a cook for the Matthews family at Fifield.

As a child she lived in the family cottage near the Lamb in Shipton, reminding us of simpler times with some discussion of washing and laundry arrangements, and plenty of fond memories of being well taken care of. Look out for strong opinions about the recent building of sheds on Shipton allotments!

Games mentioned include hopscotch near Mr Avery’s barn. In memories of school life, some names remembered are Mr Horne, head-teacher at Shipton school, and his sometimes quite fierce Mrs Horne who also taught there. Among names remembered are Gladys Pittaway, Eileen Rainbow and Eddie Townsend, and later Tony Burgess, blacksmith’s son.

School for Eva was enjoyable in the main and it seems she remembers staying longer than expected, but she did not go on to further education. She tried work as a milliner in Oxford but later seemed more interested in helping her father with the intricacies of motor maintenance.

Later with the help of Mary Cashmore Eva worked at the dairy supplying Shipton Court until joining the WAAF at the age of 21, with a determined ambition to be a driver, passing her test when stationed in Blackpool. She was then stationed for a few weeks near St. John’s Wood in London, and then based in wartime Great Yarmouth. Some serious truck-driving remembered, and driving for the “top-brass”, and a surprising coincidence!

After requesting compassionate posting when her brother Bert was killed when on manoeuvres in the UK, Eva was posted nearer home in Kidlington and thought nothing of cycling home to Shipton to visit family. Around this time Eva first decided on Bill as her husband-to-be, and we learn more about life after the war back in the Wychwoods.

Eva does reflect on the changes in the village during her long life. But we are reminded of the variety of homes, shops and businesses in her day, and the many people she knew – with a few choice stories. We are left with the impression of a lively and determined Wychwoods character.

DB 2022