Audio Recordings: World War Two Memories of Mrs Win Miles

Mrs Win Miles WW2 Memories – with John Rawlins

No exact date is given for this 1988 interview with Milton resident Win Miles by John Rawlins. We can imagine that it takes place in her home in Pear Tree Close. Win Miles lived there to the end of her life. She had one son Charles. Here she talks about wartime memories, prompted by a pre-arranged list of topics.


We start with stories around the evacuees, including that of a family of three boys whom the billeting officer had difficulty in placing. There were twins Edgar and Ivor Hopkins, and a younger boy Ivor, whom Win agrees to take overnight, a commitment which became one of four years! We get a sense of the chaos around the business of evacuation, with these boys coming from Lewisham, but for some reason arriving with a group from West Ham.

We hear of the obvious estrangement of some families, where parents would not or could not visit, and several anecdotes around some of those visits.

London WW2 Evacuees arriving at Chipping Norton
London WW2 Evacuees arriving at Chipping Norton

Women as Volunteers

We hear much about Win’s involvement with the village activities organised around Civil Defence, including attending talks and lectures around emergency planning. We also hear of her activities with the Women’s Institute and the WVS during the wartime efforts. We hear about sewing and knitting classes, creation of camouflage nets, potato picking, teas for the troops as well as billeting for soldiers, jam making and the collection of hedgerow hips.

Win mentions activities around Bruern Abbey for children from “national children’s homes” and recalls with equanimity the presence of Oswald and Diana Mosley at the Shaven Crown in Shipton. “Everyone knew the Mitfords” she says.

More Anecdotes

Towards the end of the interview there are anecdotes around the keeping of pigs and chickens and the various bartering activities around produce, as well as some memories of the men in the Home Guard on- and off-duty. An accidental shooting by one Reg Dore – fortunately with a dummy round – is one such memory.

DB Oct 2023