Exploring the Different Reactions of People Toward Evacuation

Exploring the Different Reactions of People Toward Evacuation

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Exploring the Different Reactions of People Toward Evacuation

On the 31st August 1939 1.5 million school children were evacuated to
the countryside to be taken in by families across the country. The
evacuation took place over the next 3 days and by the end day war was
declared. The idea of evacuation was protect and save innocent lives
and look after the future of Britain against the new technology. The
four groups involved each had very different experiences of
evacuation. Many of the evacuees enjoyed the experience in the country
although many hated it.

Many of the evacuees felt that the country was strange and very
different to life in the city as some of they had never even seen a
cow before. The children had no say in where or even if they were to
be evacuated. The children were often lined up in a line and picked
out like cattle by the new foster parents. Some of the evacuees were
very homesick and some were sent home early. They were often very
scared as many were very young and they were just sent on a train
alone to an unknown destination. Others found the experience were
exciting and thought of it like more of an adventure as it was a new
place. Some of the children felt unwanted and even sometimes badly
treated or beaten, many were made to feel at home and like one of the
family. The children that felt unwanted and had bad experiences felt
resentful towards there parents as they were the ones that sent them
there. It was said that Bernard Kops enjoyed for the first time “hot
water that came from a tap, and upstairs lavatory and something called
the eiderdown”. He was very lucky that he got sent to a nice clean
home as many of them got sent to dirty homes and felt very homesick.

The parents had a really hard time with evacuation, some of them were
sent away with there children. Most were made to stay in the cities to
help with the war effort.

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The decision to send your son or daughter
away was one of the hardest to make as you would have to send your
child away from there home and friends to live with complete strangers
or keep them in the city were there was a high chance that they could
be killed. The parents would be very afraid of what family that there
children would be sent to. During the “phoney war” many children were
sent home from the country then when the evacuation came into place
again many of the parents wanted to keep there child at home. By being
evacuated the parents would have been financially stronger but in some
cases this wouldn’t have been a good thing as it made them feel very
guilty. By being evacuated the parents would feel much better and have
a higher moral knowing that they were safe in the country. Overall
most parents missed their children and were very worried about them.

Many hosts saw evacuation as a way of making money and having free
help around the house, it gave them a feeling that they were helping
with the war effort. Very few wanted the children but found it a good
experience if they didn’t have children of there own. Many of the
children had no manners and were very dirty which shocked the country
folk. There were many reports such as children fouling in gardens,
hair crawling with lice and bedwetting. It was often a case of the
dirty children going to the clean houses and the clean children going
to the dirty ones. Most of the hosts were kind and tried to overcome
the problems but some didn’t even try with the children and showed
them no respect.

The government believed that evacuation was the only option to keep
the children safe and keep the future of the country safe. There were
other advantages like the fact that the parents no needed to look
after the children so they could help more with the war effort and
there was much more time saved as there was much less funerals. The
government helped the people who could afford the travel expenses
because it was very costly, they also paid the host to look after the
children and this was know as an allowance. The government spent a lot
of money on propaganda because they felt that they needed to convince
the parents to send the children away as they didn’t want to feel
responsible if the children died. The government felt good that the
parents would be sending there children away to a safer place.
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