EVACUEES - were your parents or grandparents evacuated during the 1939-45 war?

(48 Posts)
MrsBates Mon 22-Sep-08 17:04:43

What was it like for them and how did it affect their feelings for their parents? My parents were evacuated and I have been reading a lot about it recently. What would you happen these days - would parents let their children go to live with unknown strangers again? What has changed? Just musing really.

southeastastra Fri 26-Sep-08 21:09:21

yes i did a thread not long back

edam Fri 26-Sep-08 21:10:54

My grandmother was an adult evacuee - she was a teacher and went with her class to North Wales (from Birkenhead, I think). Worked out well for her (and me) as that's where she met my Grandad. I imagine it wasn't much fun for the poor kids, though.

edam Fri 26-Sep-08 21:13:15

Oh, have just remembered, close family friend of my mother's once mentioned being evacuated from London to South Wales. Poor woman was abused by the father of the family. Couldn't tell anyone, had to put up with it for the duration. sad

midnightexpress Fri 26-Sep-08 21:17:27

My dad lived in rural Aberdeenshire and wasn't evacuated but had a wee Glaswegian evacuee by the name of Gilbert McWhirter McClune who came to stay and wreaked havoc on their peaceful village life. grin

PussinJimmyChoos Fri 26-Sep-08 21:18:59

My Gran was evacuated from Plymouth down to St Ives in Cornwall with her little brother. She doesn't say too much now but I know that although the people she lived with were kind, it was a grim existence...she mothered her little brother a lot to make it easier for him and when he grew up and went abroad with the army and she was crying, he jokingly gave her a chewing gum wrapper to remember him by...he died about 7 years ago and she still had the chewing gum wrapper...bless her

spicemonster Fri 26-Sep-08 21:20:56

My mum was but didn't last long because when my gran when to visit, my mum looked up and said 'hello auntie' so that was that, straight back to London.

My dad was never evacuated - my nan didn't want to be without her children.

In any case, both parents were from rural Wales so would have gone to stay with family, not strangers. I don't know what would happen now. I can imagine it would be very different.

Califrau Fri 26-Sep-08 21:22:27

Gilbert McWhirter McClune grin The stuff of legends! I can just see him now grin

positivepainter Thu 03-Sep-09 10:02:06

I live in an Aberdeenshire Village and I would love to know more about the evacuees in our area? Our P7 pupils are doing ww2 as their project, do you know any stories about Gilbert McWhirter McClune?

Mamazon Thu 03-Sep-09 10:06:53

my great gran ran an east end pub. so when the war broke out my grandad was evacutated quite early on.
he was sent to Stoke sub hamdon and it was always a very fond memory for him. in fact every year we went to Devon on holiday we we stop at the village's nature rerserve.
and it is now one of my mots favourate places on earth.

He never spoke negativly about his experience but i guess e was an older teen.
he later fought in the war so he must have been 13/14 i guess.

fruitshootsandheaves Thu 03-Sep-09 10:17:41

My mum was evacuated from the East End to relatives in Southampton. I wished I had asked her more about it but she was really young so probably didnt remember much.

My dad lived in North Finchley and his parents wanted to keep the children with them. He remembers the war from the point of view of an 8 year old boy. Very exciting and not really scary.
However 7 houses along the bottom of his garden were destroyed by a bomb and the neghbours in them all killed and he turned up to school one morning to find it wasn't there! just a heap of rubble.
They were very lucky. My Aunt still lives in the same house with the air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden.

onehitwonder Thu 03-Sep-09 10:18:38

My nan who is now 94 was evacuated with my uncle who was a toddler and my mum who was a baby at the time to wales from south east london. They lived in a caravan - I think? I can't imagine what that was like with 2 young children. I think she went as she had a stillbirth between the two children, which she believes was caused by a fall during an air raid sad.
Meanwhile my Grandad who was in a protected occupation (engineering) stayed at home and started a very long running affair with a neighbour who had been bombed out, which my nan found out about years later, having thought that this women was a friend. Their marriage survived but of course my nan was devastated. So evacuation did have very serious repercussions for her.

twirlymum Thu 03-Sep-09 10:41:53

My dad was evacuated from peckham to suffolk, but he was with his mum and two sisters. He says it was great, no school, they lived on a farm, so no food shortages really. He tells my kids stories about it, such as hearing a doodlebug go over. All the time you could hear it droning it was ok as it was still moving, but as soon as it stopped he said your blood ran cold, as it could land anywhere.
They then went to Ireland for a year (where my nan was from). He remembers going to school there, and being stared at and pointed at. It was then that he realised he was the only child wearing shoes.

babster Thu 03-Sep-09 10:56:35

My nan housed a Jewish girl whose school was evacuated from London to the Fens. They got on well - my nan appreciated the company as she had a small baby and my grandad was away working in a munitions factory - and they stayed in touch until my nan died. When my mother came along later, she remembers being compared unfavourably to the saintly Rosalind, who was neat and orderly... everything my mum wasn't!

sweetnitanitro Thu 03-Sep-09 11:16:06

My Granddad was evacuated from North London to Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire and that's how he met my Grannie grin

My MIL was evacuated from London, don't know anymore than that apart from my FIL was saying she stayed somewhere with lots of animals and it was finding out what happened to them that made her to decide to become a vegetarian, something along the lines of being served up rabbit for tea and finding the pet rabbit had vanished.

Libra Thu 03-Sep-09 11:29:03

Hi PositivePainter - which Aberdeenshire village? I am in Newburgh.

sheepgomeep Tue 15-Sep-09 11:59:15

My nan was evacuated and was abused both physically and mentally. She had a very hard time. She rarely talks about it

LilRedWG Mon 28-Sep-09 11:44:34

My Dad was evacuated with his sister. The woman who took them did so only for the money, treated them as servants and didn't feed them well. He hated talking about it and those few details were gleaned over the space of 35 years.

Mum wasn't evacuated - he parents took the view, we'll live together and die together; that being said her Dad was at sea for the war in the RN.

Windandsand Mon 23-Apr-12 13:20:36

My dad was evacuated at 3 from london to hants. He was there til the end of the war. He didn't like to talk about it. His 5 sisters were evacuated separately all over the coast. His dad was killed in the war and he has no memory of him. Really sad.

ivykaty44 Fri 27-Apr-12 17:52:10

my freinds dad was evacuated during the war - he went to a lovely family in the Devon countryside and at the end of the war his parents didn't want himt o return to them - I can't imagine not wanting my own child back after 5 years, but apparently it wasn't uncommon.

Fortunately for this lad his evacuation parents where only to happy to adopt him and they did, he had a good home life and was really wanted by them, so for him it was a happy ending

goingtoexplodesoon Fri 24-Aug-12 00:25:06

My mum was evacuated from Southend to Forest of Dean. She had seven sisters and three brothers, but only five were evacuated. She lived with her brother on the farm. It was a generally friendly, well off, family who left most of the care to a housekeeper who beat and abused them until they both ran away to find their other siblings. They were returned and ran off many times until the family who were meant to be looking after them, unaware of the abuse, turned them out.sad They went to live with their siblings for the remainder of the war. She was twelve at the time and had just got into a grammar school, so lost a lot when she went to a tiny village school where most kids left at fourteen and had classes of about forty five.

She came back aged seventeen, and, understandably, never had a good relationship with her mother. Her father had died a few years after her birth, and she suddenly had a step-father who wasn't kind (though he wasn't abusive) and a new half-sister. Everything had changed and I never met my grandmother because they argued a lot.

We went to visit the second family which looked after her, and stayed for lunch. smile

NeverSayNoToDessert Wed 29-Aug-12 01:18:32

My mother was evacuated from London. She was evacuated 1939, but returned in 1940, to be sent out again. She had a very happy life in a small village and the family which took her in owned their own pig (apparently a big thing then) and she had loads of friends and fun. She had been practically a slum-child up until then. She was one of the ones who went 'what's a cow?' and were afraid of squirrels. My father was a kid on the Kindertransport- he was taken in by the same family. They were 5 (mother) and 7 (father) at the time but stayed together the rest of their life!

My Nan and her sisters were sent to Kent and as there were 5 of them they ended up in the village Manor House. They were treated as children of the rich household and sent to school and church with the children of the Lord and Lady, but were effectively raised by the maids there.

My DAunt went home after a year as she was 14 and was expected by her mother to help at home and get a job. She resented her mother for this as her stepfather was a violent drunk. She ended up looking after her mother right into her 40's and never married or had children, despite dearly wanting them. She tells me she's never felt 100% happy with her life and has many regrets, although she leads a full and active life, she feels unfulfilled. This makes me very sad.

My DNan and other sisters stayed in the Manor for the rest of the war. I know my DNan enjoyed it there, and she and my aunts stayed in touch with the 2 maids who raised them until they died, especially the younger one, H. They- especially my eldest aunt- viewed H as a second mother and by all accounts she was a better mother to them then thier natural mother. I remember going down to visit her many times as a child. She was a lovely lady and told very interesting stories about her life. We all still miss her.

I'd say the experience enhanced my Nan's life. Without it, they never wound have met this very special person and felt true maternal love which was sadly lacking in their own mother.

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