The Referendum (2) I grew up in a refugee camp


I am a fairly middle England sort of person. I’m white, middle-class, born in Yorkshire but brought up in Melton-Mowbray, rural England, where the pork pies come from. Yet I also grew up in a refugee camp.

That’s over-egging the pudding somewhat. During and after the war Melton was the central place for the resettlement of Polish refugees. One of the camps was at the back of our house. It consisted of a group of nissen huts in a field with pretty much no facilities. It was a hard life. I must have been about four or five at the time and I would go through it sometimes on my way to school. Those were the days when children were allowed to run free and people didn’t think of all their neighbours as paedophiles although there must have been as many around as today.

There is a fair bit about this on the web but mostly about the larger camps to the south of the town.

Those people didn’t come here to be plumbers. They came to fight and die and we were lucky to have them. Yet after the war they weren’t made very welcome. People can be very crabby.

There is still a Polish community in Melton stretching back to those times. The picture is of aircraftsman Marcin Wojtak who died in Afghanistan in 2009.

Melton will be taking 2 refugee families a year from Syria

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