At the start of the Second World War, many children living in big cities and towns were moved temporarily from their homes to places considered safer, usually out in the countryside. Children had labels attached to them, as though they were parcels. They often felt scared about being away from their families.
The British government was worried that a new war might begin when Hitler came to power in 1933. They were afraid that British cities and towns would be targets for bombing raids by aircraft.
Schoolchildren, their teachers, mothers with children under five, pregnant women, and some disabled people from the cities and big towns were evacuated.By train and road To smaller towns and villages in the countryside. Some children were sent to stay with relatives outside in the countryside, but others were sent to live with complete strangers.
In September 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, around a million British school children were evacuated from their homes in big towns and cities.
There were no big bombing raids on Britain in the first months of the war (know as the phoney war) and, by early 1940, many children had returned home.
When heavy bombing raids started in the autumn of 1940 – the Blitz - and then later, in 1944, when Germany attacked Britain with V1 Flying Bombs and V2 rockets people were evacuated once more.
By the end of the Second World War around 3.5 million people, mainly children had experienced evacuation. No one was forced to go but parents were encouraged by posters and told that their children would be safer from German bombs if they moved to the country.