Return to the cities

Photo:Grace Trueman, evacuated with her school, was the only child in her school remaining in the reception area a few months after evacuation. Grace is pictured lying down on the grass in this photograph.

Grace Trueman, evacuated with her school, was the only child in her school remaining in the reception area a few months after evacuation. Grace is pictured lying down on the grass in this photograph.

Grace Trueman

The numerous parents who had sent their children away when it appeared that they were in mortal danger from enemy action decided to bring them home when it was clear that they were not. The majority of the children evacuated in September 1939 had returned home a few months later. The chief source for the return of the evacuated children to the cities was, of course, that no bombs fell but subsidiary causes were in many cases attached to the main cause. Concerns of unsuitable billets or the wish to avoid a change of billet along with homesickness commonly shaped the parents’ decision to bring their children back to their homes in the urban areas. It was not uncommon that parents disagreed with the foster parents of their evacuated children.

‘Looking back I feel that my Mother must have had some disagreement with Mrs Hill because she never offered lodgings with us when she came, unlike my father who always stayed with us when he had leave and was able to visit.’ Audrey Brockman, evacuated to North Devon in 1940.

‘Don’t Do it Mother. Leave the Children Where They Are’

The Government insisted that though the expected bombers had not arrived, the danger was not yet over and that children should not be brought back to the cities. A propaganda counter-offensive was mounted; advertisements urged ‘Don’t Do it Mother. Leave the Children Where They Are’ showing a shadowy Hitler whispering to a doubtful woman surrounded by her children in the country that she should ‘take them back’ to the city. But by January 1940 it was estimated some 900,000 evacuees had returned home, sixty per cent of those who had left on the outbreak of war.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 18/11/2011.
Comments about this page

my brothers and i were evacuated to Tarporley Cheshire at the outset of war sept 39 ,we had two bombs dropped quite close to us a hell of a lot closer than my mothers house,so much for moving the kids to safety ,joe

By joe scouse
On 04/07/2012

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