Leaving home…

One of the saddest aspects of life for families during World War 2 must surely have been when little children had to be evacuated to towns and villages far from home. Of course, it was all done with good intention – to protect their lives from the enemy bombing that threatened larger towns and cities.

But such heartbreak must have been endured when mothers had to wave goodbye to a son or daughter, some as young as four or five years old.

At the beginning of the war hundreds of children from London descended on Hastings as it was thought to be safer than being in the city. But then, during 1940, the south coast became the focus of enemy fire. And so thousands of children were sent away from home to the countryside.

But it wasn’t all bad…the families who took in them in were warm and welcoming and often, even when the children finally returned home towards the end of the war, they stayed in touch with their ‘host’ families. Perhaps the ‘happy’ scene shown in the photo below is testament to the success of the evacuation scheme…

Evacuees To a Communal Hostel in Thurlestone, South Devon, England, 1941
Mrs Findlayson (left, with her 2-month-old daughter Sheila), and Mrs Phillips (with her sons, 9-month-old Roland and 6-year-old Roy) smile for the camera in the sunshine outside the ‘Love Nest’ in Thurlestone, Devon. Mrs Findlayson and Mrs Phillips have been evacuated to this communal hostel and are caretakers of this rest home, attached to the hostel, which is used by husbands visiting their wives at the Communal Billets whilst home on leave.

Published by Isabella Muir

Isabella is passionate about exploring family life from the 1930s through to the 1960s and beyond. She has published six Sussex Crime mystery novels set during the 1960s and 1970s, a standalone novel dealing with the child migrant policy of the 1950s and 60s, several novellas set during the Second World War, and two short story collections. All available in paperback from your local bookshops, or online as ebooks. Her novels are also available as audiobooks, and have been translated into Italian.

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