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  • question for chris h

    hey chris

    i was watching antiques roadshow uk tonight and passing mention was made by the host of having been, i think he called it, evacuee. i knew he was referring to children having been evacuated out of london during wwii to the country, and it renewed some questions i've had about that time/practice before, but noone to ask. ( i could do a google search, but would rather hear it from someone i "know")

    i especially wonder
    -was it mandatory or optional that the parents sent the kids?
    -if not mandatory, how commonly was that option exercised?
    -was it a governmental function or a private one?
    -was is voluntary on the part of the country people who took them in?
    -were the shelter providers paid, and if so, by whom?

    i was trying to imagine something like that happening in 2001 usa; it's a stretch. i guess finding out if it was done on strictly a voluntary basis will enlighten me a good bit.

    for that matter, can you imagine it happening/working in 2001 uk?

    thanks for any light you might shed.

  • #2
    well I am not Chris, but I can answer some of that for you. My Dad was a kid during the second world war in teh east end of London and he was not evacuated (by choice)

    Evacuation was choice for the parents to make about their children. Not sure about specific numbers but I think there were thousands if not tens of thousands. It was a govt function and I think the foster families (for want of a better word) would probably not have been paid, but would have received extra rationing coupons no doubt for each child that they took in. (During the war most domestic items were rationed).

    Hope that answers some of your questions. As far as would it happen in 2001 UK?.. I am sure it would if the need arose. The blitzing of London, Coventry and several other major UK cities during the war was significant and sending the children to the country was a prudent idea imho



    • #3
      thanks vp - it dawned on me that somebody other than chris might know this stuff, not an exclusive question - and i thank you for answering me

      about all i knew about it was the shreds picked up from the chronicles of narnia and a heart-wrenching made for tv movie a few years back about an artistically gifted evacuee and crusty old don't-need-nobody-nohow initially-unwilling-in-role foster parent.

      did your dad have to go down in the tubes during the bombing?

      i agree with what you said about prudence, esp. if the parents were free to chose.

      to me, taking someone into your home, especially a little person, is a huge comittment and evidence of an altruism not native to me. could i, should i, would i - i hope so.


      • #4

        Well VP has saved me a bit of keyboard bashing in outlining the salient points of child evacuation during the war. The effects of aerial bombing were much overrated in the UK earlier in the war and a lot of the evacuation took place in 1939 after the war started. I think most of the evacuation was from London as I’ve rarely heard mention of other large cities sending children away. Many were sent abroad to Canada and South Africa and their experiences varied a great deal.
        I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago on the experiences of a young boy sent to Cape Town SA who was living with a wealthy industrialist for the duration with virtually no privations whatsoever and luxury he was unfamiliar with. This contrasted with kids who were boarded in homes and used as cheap labour on farms etc.

        I believe a large number of evacuees returned to their homes after a short period due either to homesickness or problems with hosts. Large numbers of these kids were from poor families who’s first experience of life outside the city was evacuation and I’ve no doubt there were some amusing experiences as these kids arrived in country villages unused to ‘city folk’!!!

        I can’t see evacuation being used for any reason in this country or the US. I’m sure your country could absorb a great deal more in the way of terrorist attacks than that in New York. Manchester a city near me had the centre destroyed a few years ago by the IRA and most of our other large cities have suffered bomb explosions of some form or other and people just get on with it. If you want to make a stand against terrorism write to your senator, congressman whatever to tell your President to crack down on Noraid an organisation that has been financing the IRA for years.

        I was surprised to hear Antiques Roadshow has reached your shores it’s been going on for years here. A friend of mine took some pocket watches to the show a few years ago and came away a VERY happy man. As an aside I’ve just been reading the paper and a truck driver has just won approx $25,000,000 on our lottery and is wondering if he should give up his job !! I’ll have to blow the dust of my standard begging letter.


        • #5
          thanks chris

          it was hard for me to imagine a world where you would willingly send your baby away ?to strangers? and further hard for me to imagine absorbing extras into my home.

          i also can't imagine that it would ever happen again; a lot of my wondering was re 2001 people who might have unsavory motives for taking them on. but then, having a source of cheap child labor isn't the most altruistic motive, i guess. i can hear my forbears: hard work never killed anybody.

          i imagine there's a lot of anecdotes re evacuation - any good books you're aware of?

          antiques roadshow uk version just started here this year. we have our own version that has been around several years. i enjoy them both immensely. on the american version, i guess with the appraiser about 75% of the time, which only further assures me that my stuff is absolutely worthless.

          standard begging letter? i don't follow


          • #6
            The roadshows are excellent, a new antiques programme format over here is two teams of two are given £200 each to buy articles at an antiques fair which are then entered at auction. The winners being those who make the most profit. Those who make a profit keep it, no huge profits made but good viewing.

            Ref begging letters. Big winners on the lottery over here and are stupid enough to go public are usually deluged with begging letters.


            • #7

              Regarding the evacuation of children in wartime here it is from the horse's mouth.

              KS2 History learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers.

              and this gem........

              Last edited by chris h; 11-23-2001, 03:13 PM.


              • #8
                thanks chris

                i am away from home (could you tell?) but look forward to checking these out when i'm back


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