Thursday, 16 April 2015

Recall 60: Evacuation

Arrangements for evacuation of children were well rehearsed before the outbreak of war on September 3rd 1939. When war seemed inevitable, on September 1st the mass evacuation began, involving 72 London transport stations transporting nearly 250,000 passengers to rail stations etc., and 4,000 trains evacuating 1,300,000 to the country. 

Billeting Officers were waiting at various designated stations with the task of housing the evacuees, which included 1/2 million expectant mothers or mothers with infants. The first eight months of the war were without bitter fighting or air raids and became known as the 'phoney war'. 

This calm before the storm resulted in about seven out of every eight evacuees returning home, only an estimated 65,000 remained and many of these were hardly in 'safe' areas, having been billeted in the Home Counties and Kent. Following the onslaught of May/June 1940, a further evacuation of coastal areas was deemed necessary.  

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