About me

Annie Thom

This is me

I was born in 1939 in my grandparents’ house, on the island of Oléron in France, three weeks before WW2 was declared. A few weeks later, my parents took me with them to Normandy where they were running the village school.

Both my parents became involved in the French Resistance from the start. As a result, our family life was rather tumultuous. In the last year of the war, my brother Jacques and I were evacuated to an isolated cottage in Burgundy where we experienced an idyllic time.

My father in 1940

My father in 1940

When WWII was over, three brothers later, we learnt to adjust to the stresses of my father coming home, broken, after his spell in a concentration camp. Part of his recuperation involved moving South, in search of a better climate. Throughout the rest of his life (he died in 1995), my father struggled with health problems of all kinds but kept a high professional standard of life as a Government representative, with tremendous support from my mother.

During the German occupation, travel and contact with my grandparents was impossible and my mother bore the brunt of her various traumas without the counsel of her parents whom she was so close to.

My grandparents

My grandparents

As soon as the war was over, we all spent our summers with our grandparents. I even spent an entire year there, going to a school next to a beautiful beach. Most of my fondest memories rest with the island and my grandparents.

I went to Montpellier University and met my future husband, an English assistant in a local school. We were married in 1960, on the island, and I followed him back to England.

Once there, I learnt about student life in London and making ends meet. I realised what a cosseted life I had benefitted from in my teens. I also had total misgivings about my standard of English which was then more classical and stilted than was suitable in every day conversation. Baptism of fire was trying to understand what was so funny on the ‘Goon Show’ that had my husband in stitches.

We soon became parents and carried on taking our children to my grandparents’ house for the Summer. I managed to finish my studies in a College of Education and ended up in full time teaching in Essex. After a painful divorce, I remarried and now enjoy living in the wonderful county of Dorset.