Why evacuation was introduced the government?
The British government was worried that a new war might begin when Hitler came to power in 1933. The government was afraid that British cities and towns would become targets for bombing raids by aircraft. Sir John Anderson was placed in charge of the scheme. Anderson decided to the country into three areas: evacuation (people living in urban districts where there will be heavy bomb raids) neutral (areas that would neither send nor take evacuees) and reception (rural areas where evacuees would be sent)
Just before the Second World War started the government decided to begin moving people from Britain cities to the designated reception areas. Some people were hesitant to move and only 47% of the school children and about 1/3 of the mothers went to the designated area. This included 827,000 schoolchildren, 524,000 mothers and children under school age, 13,000 expectant mothers, 103,000 teachers and 7,000 disabled people.
Why was it important for people to be evacuated?
The aim of evacuation was to make sure that young children were safe from the cities that were considered to be in danger of German bombing- London, Coventry, Birmingham, Portsmouth etc.
Who was evacuated? * Schoolchildren and their teachers (827,000) * Mothers with children under (524,000) * Pregnant women (12,000) * Disabled people
What clothes did the children take with them?
The government recommended that in addition to their gas masks and identity cards the evacuees should bring the following item
Boys Girls * 2 vests Vest * 2 pairs of pants Pair of knickers * A pair of trousers Petticoat * 2 pairs of socks 6 handkerchiefs * 6 handkerchiefs 2 pairs of stockings * Pullover or jersey Slip( long vest with shoulder straps) Blouse Cardigan
When they were first evacuated?
At 11.07am on Thursday 31st August 1939 the order was given to evacuate 1.5 Million children, pregnant women and other vulnerable people such as the disabled they were evacuated to safer countryside locations in just two days.
There were no big bombing raids on Britain in the first months of the war (known as The Phoney War) as a result by January 1940 many children had returned home. A survey carried out in Cambridge states that the lack of bombing was the reason why evacuees returned home. Other reasons were that the children were feeling homesick; discontent with the foster parents and that the evacuee’s parents were feeling lonely.
In the countryside-Billetors
"I got a shock. I had little dreamt that English children could be so completely ignorant of the simplest rules of hygiene, and that they would regard the floors and carpets as suitable places upon which to relieve themselves."
The people who took evacuees into their homes complained about the state of their health. Research taken at that time suggests that around half of the evacuated children had head lice. Others suffered from scabies and impetigo. Billetors were sometimes ashamed of the behaviour of the evacuees. It is estimated that about 5 percent of the evacuees lacked proper toilet training.
This is one of the account of one of the billetors. Oliver Lyttelton. He took in 10 children
France was invaded in May 1940; children who had been sent to areas within 10 miles of the cost in West Anglia, Kent and Sussex were evacuated to South Wales. By the end of July half of the population of the East Anglican’s coastal towns and 2/5 of the people living in the Kentish towns had left for safer areas of the country.
When the Luftwaffe began to launch bombs in Britain in July, 1940. Another major evacuation took place. Within a few weeks 213,000 children left Britain large industrial cities.
On the 7th of September, 1940 the German air force had suddenly changed it strategy towards bombing. They began to bomb London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Plymouth and