Author of The Christmas Village and Return to Canterbury

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

W is for When Will I Go Home?

When 3.5 million schoolchildren were evacuated from English cities in the first four days of September 1939, they were sent to live with strangers in towns throughout the countryside of England, Scotland and Wales. They went with their schools and teachers, not with their families.

Upon arrival in the towns, the children were lined up and townspeople came by to choose a child or children to bring home to live with them. Almost every account from the children described their feelings of fear that no one would choose them, and they all seemed to think they were the last to be chosen. Of course they couldn't all have been last chosen, but you see this is how it felt!!

No one knew how long the children would be gone, because WWII had just begun and no one knew how long it would last. Well, the war lasted 6 years, ending in September 1945. Many of the evacuated children never returned home during all that time. Parents were asked not to visit the children or bring them home, as it only made everyone sadder when they had to part again. Some kids had a good experience with their host family, others did not. Some were eventually adopted by their hosts.

Regardless, it was a sad time for families all around.


Sharon Marie Himsl said...

Hi, thank you for visiting my blog. I have heard this story before and can only imagine how terribly frightening it must have been for kids in UK. Recently read the Book Thief, which shares a similar story of 2 kids in Germany. I know there must be books out there on the subject, but have not read a one...and with 3.5 million kids affected, there must be plenty. Thanks for jogging my memory!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I know - I always thought my mom's childhood was particularly grim - she was one of the evacuees - but then when I read The Book Thief, I realized that pretty much all the children of Europe and the UK had their childhoods torn apart by that war. Very sad.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I think my aunt and uncles were evacuated - I remember a vague story. My dad was born after the war, so he escaped having to be separated from his parents. If they were, they were evacuated from a city not far from a lot of rural locations. Although that might have been worse, because they could have seen the air raids happening.