- Created: 30 October 2013
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At the very beginning of the War it was thought by the Government that to keep all the Children safe it would be best to evacuate them to the Countryside or to Towns that would not be bombed. Apart from Children and their teachers, mothers with children under five, pregnant women and some disabled people were also evacuated from the major Cities.
The Government recommended that the Children were sent with the following items:
2 pairs of pants
Pair of trousers
2 pairs of socks
Pullover or jersey
Pair of knickers
2 pairs of stockings
Slip (like a very long vest with shoulder straps)
These items were also recommended to be packed within the Children’s Suitcase.
Overcoat or mackintosh
1 pair of Wellington boots
Boots or shoes
Packet of nuts and raisins
Barley sugar (rather than sugar)
Children on their way, with little suitcases, their labels and their Gas Masks
On the morning of evacuation the Children along with their teachers marched proudly down to the Railway Station or boarded Buses to the Station. They had small brown labels attached to them with their name and address and their School, their suitcases and their Gas Masks around their necks
Childrens labels which were attached to their clothing
Children waiting for their train to take them out of danger
They stood at the railway station not knowing where they were going nor if they would be split from brothers and sisters who had gathered with them. They felt scared about being away from their families but also excited about going to a place they had never seen before and only read about in books. There were many tears as Children said goodbye to Mums and Dads many never to see them again if they died in the Air Raids.
Children waving goodbye
The children arrived in the countryside, tired, hungry and uncertain whether they would ever see their families again. They were taken to the village hall, where they would be met by the billeting officer (the person in charge of finding them homes). A 'pick-your-own evacuee' sessions would then take place, where host families (the people they were going to live with) haggled over the most presentable children while the sicklier and grubbier children were left until last.
Many Children had a wonderful time living in their new homes during the War many did not and ran away. Some Children were ill treated and used more like slaves working on a farm but the majority of the Children went to decent family’s who took them in and treated them as one of their own to such a degree that many of them did not want to go home after the War finished.
Many Children were not evacuated and stayed within City’s with their Mums and Dads, consequently many Children in Hull died in the Air Raids.
World War Two ended in September 1945, however evacuation did not officially end until March 1946 when it was felt that Britain was no longer under threat from invasion. Surprisingly, even 6 months after the war had ended, there were still 5,200 evacuees living in rural areas with their host families. Many evacuees' had returned home long before March 1946. In April 1945, the Government began to make travel arrangements to return the evacuees to their homes when the war was over. By 12th July 1945, more than 100 trains had brought 54,317 evacuees home