Larch and Kingfishers Classes

Interviewing Evacuees

We were lucky enough to have some very special visitors. Our visitors were evacuated from their homes during World War II. They were able to answer all our questions and tell us some amazing facts and interesting stories.

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They told us that neither of their homes had been bombed in the war, but had suffered fire damage. One evacuee remembered sleeping in their cellar with her family, until the Army explained this was a bad idea so they moved to sleeping on a platform in an Underground Tube station.

Luckily, all our visitors were very happy staying with their ‘host’ families when they were evacuated. They didn’t hear of any bad stories from their friends either, nobody was mistreated. One of our visitors remembers being evacuated with her mother, and another visitor was evacuated 4 times, to Cornwall, Derby, Norfolk and Devon. One of our visitors was born in Egypt during the war and remembers having to relocate to Palestine. All of our visitors remember feeling happy and had a sense of being on a big adventure.

They told us that at school, they learnt how to read, write and do arithmetic, just like children today. They ate meat, vegetables and had a very balanced diet. It wasn’t very varied, and was the same meals over and over again. They remember the very long ques at the shops with their ration books. If a rumour had gone around that something rare had become available (like Oranges!) then the whole community would rush to join the very long ques!  They told us that you had to register with a butcher or a grocer to use your ration books. You could only get your groceries/meat etc from that shop. They remember that when they were out with their mothers, if they saw a que they rushed to join it. They had no idea what they were queuing for, but it was obviously for something everyone wanted!

The visitors remember toilet paper being scarce. So people had to improvise with newspaper cut up into squares that hung on a string.

They also told us that it wasn’t just children that were evacuated. Factories were also moved as the bombers could see the factory buildings from the sky. So factories were evacuated to secret places, sometimes underground, or in special shelters on hill sides.

We were very grateful to our visitors for sharing their stories, they were fascinating to listen to!

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