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Duration 1:18

Evacuation of Children

These scenes show the evacuation of children from one of the big cities, probably London, to more rural areas at the start of the war. The first scene shows children about to board the train, the second shows children on board the train waiting to leave and the final section shows them boarding a bus to their final destination.

Context

When war broke out in 1939 it was assumed that British cities would be bombed immediately. As a result, thousands of children and their teachers were evacuated to rural areas where they would be safer. When the bombing did not happen, many children returned. They were then evacuated again when the bombing of cities began in earnest from 1940 to 1941.

Interesting or important points about the film

The film clips give us a sense of what a big adventure this must have been, but also how bewildering it must have been for many children. Many poor children who came from inner city areas would not have used trains or seen the country. We know from accounts of the time that many of the poorest children were unfamiliar with toilets and bathrooms. Evacuation brought different classes of people into contact with each other.

2 comments

  1. Margaret Harding says:

    How can I find out how many children were evacuated to Hunnington in Worcestershire.? Some children were recorded as being there in 1939.

    1. Liz Bryant (Admin) says:

      Hi Margaret,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately we can’t answer research requests on Archives Media Player, but you may find our research guide on Evacuees helpful: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/evacuees/.

      If you’d like to get in touch with our records experts by email or live chat, please see the details on our ‘contact us’ page at http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact/

      Best of luck with your research.

      Kind regards,

      Liz.

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