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Evacuation during World War Two

The evacuation for children and women during world war two began when Germany declared war on Briton in 1939. Adolf Hitler attacked Poland first. Britain and France said they would declare war on Germany if Hitler didn’t abort the invasion on Poland. That’s why the war started. Adolf Hitler had no intention to withdraw, he wanted to re-gain power over the world.

kids war

Most of the children in London were sent to the country all over England to be safe. They were to be looked after by strangers. It was a sad time for the mothers to say good bye to their loved ones, not knowing how they will be treated.
Here is a train full of children of all ages with their names on a tag pined to their collar as if they were parcels. Around their necks they carried a box with food in for the journey. Over their shoulder was their bag of clothes that was all their processions.
“We were the lucky ones because I was a baby, my mother; brother and sister were able to keep together.”

Britain, and other countries, fought the toughest war they had ever known. Millions of people lost their lives and millions of people were injured. There were 61 country’s involved in all.

Children who lived in the city were sent to the countryside to escape from the bombing. There were two million children evacuated from their homes at the start of the war. Operation Pied Piper they called it. But most came home because the bombing didn’t start until six months after the war was declared. They call it the phoney war. When the Blitz began the Children were sent way again. This time it was the real thing.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be on my own for the first time in my life, so young. To be taken away from the family and not know where you will end up must have been terrifying for these youngsters. They had labels on, attached to their collars as if they were parcels. They stood at railways stations not knowing where they were going. They didn’t know if they were going to be split from their sisters and brothers. .
Who will choose me? Where will I live? Will they like me? Will I see my mother again? ’I’m so afraid; this must have been some of the thoughts going on in their heads. What about the parents, mostly mothers and grandmothers waving good bye to their beloved children, not knowing if they will see them again. (heartbreaking)
The children, when they arrived in the countryside, tired and hungry and wondering if they will ever see their families again, were taken to a village hall, where they would be met by a billeting officer. The host families were told to pick out the children they wanted. The Billeting office called it (Pick your own evacuee). The children that looked grubbier and sicklier were left until last.
Many of the children had to grow up quickly because of the family separation. Those that stayed together, the older children had to look after the younger siblings while their mothers went to work. It was a time of anxiety and profound personal loss.
The children had to try to fit in with host families and adjust to new schools and friends.
I wrote about how I was evacuated in my book. We were lucky because we were able to stay together because I was a baby.
We went to a little rural village in Leicestershire, the village was called Bottesford.
My mother and siblings stayed there in a cottage named ‘Rose Cottage’. We stayed there until I was three years old. Then we went back to London. This was when I experienced the bombing for the first time. It was very scary. I can remember the search lights in the sky and the sound of warning siren. We would get up in the night and run to the shelters. I could hear the bombs exploding in the distance. We waited for the all-clear siren to go again so that we could go back home, wondering if our house was still Standing.

Rose Cottage

rose war

This is me with my mother in the country. We stayed in a cottage “Rose cottage” we were evacuated there just before the London Blitz in 1941.

mother

This was my mother and me I was about nine months old.

This is my father before he went overseas. It was taken outside Rose Cottage in 1940. I was looking out of the window with my mother. After that I didn’t see my father until I was five years old..

The Blitz

London was in a bad way during 1941. The German bombers filled the skies over London aiming for the RAF airfields. It was about 4pm on the 7th September 1940 when the Blitz began. The Nazi German bombers dropped their bombs on London and other cities for 57 consecutive nights in an attempt to demoralize the population. This lasted through to May 10th 1941.
One of the most outstanding horrific memories was the 29th of December 1940 when the Luftwaffe bombers dropped their bombs on the city of London and almost demolished the city. The civilians fled to the shelters and underground stations to get away from the bombs that were falling from the skies in there hundreds, The whistling noise when the bombs were falling was terrifying, then the moment of silence just before they hit was something that will haunt many survivors for the rest of their lives.
The Nazi Germans plan was to drop fire bombs first so they could see where to drop the bigger bombs. They were after bombing St Paul’s Cathedral to break the morale of the community. The raid went on for hours starting in the morning up to the next day. The London fire fighters did all they could to save the Cathedral.
The Luftwaffe pilots razed one third of the city, including the Barbican. But luckily St, Paul’s Cathedral survived among the flames; this was a miracle because the flames were only 25 feet away from this magnificent building. The fire fighters had to give up after many hours fighting the blazing buildings, no sooner had they got one building under control, another flared up. One after the other. You would have thought things couldn’t get worse, but it did because a high wind came from nowhere, this made the flames burn even wilder. The fire fighter had to let the city burn because the walls of the buildings were falling and it was so hot that the splash back from the water hose pipes were burning their faces. Then after many hours the all clear siren went, the sound that the civilians were waiting for and thought would never come.
The next day, once again the radar saw yet another fleet of planes coming over from occupied France to finish the job and wipe us out completely.
Maybe there was one thing to be grateful for that day, the weather, a storm hit the skies and it became dangerous for the Luftwaffe pilots to fly. The raid was aborted. Hitler was furious.
By the end of May there were over 43,000 civilians that had been killed and over a million houses were destroyed or damaged in London alone
Later the Germans widened their targets to Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham and Coventry and many more cities and towns, all across Britain taking the death toll to 51,509.
Adolf Hitler’s aim was to destroy Britain and demoralize us to surrender. It didn’t work the Germans never again managed to bomb Britain on such a large scale again.
I was evacuated with my mother, sister and brother during this time.

The Holocaust

While this was going on in London, far worst was happening overseas. Hitler’s troops captured Warsaw, the Capital of Poland, a third of Warsaw population were Jews. The German occupation on Poland turned out to be the worst massacre ever known. 6.5 million Polish citizens perished, and close to 3 million of them were Jews. The Nazis tried to kill them all. The Gestapo with bayonets and guard dogs would burst into homes of the families in Sulkowski. They gave them a short time to get their belongs, then they took them to the railway stations, put them in the trains cattle car’s and took them to medieval-style ghettoes. Many died of malnutrition.
By1942 when it was ordered that all Jews in Europe be killed in extermination camps. German industrialist were required to design and produce ovens and gas chambers that would enable the mass murders to be carried out quickly and cleanly without involving Germany Personal to much.
310,000 people were deported to death camps. They were told they would be settled and allowed to redeem themselves by work. In fact they were going to their death. The mass gassing of Jews began at Auschwitz- Birkan, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka.
Thank God we won the war; it could have been British citizens in those death camps.

rose war

Picture here of St Paul Cathedral in the London blitz.

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rose war

In 1943 my mother came home from the country. She missed her family. Here I am age 3 years old with my mother, Billy and Rosy. My book tells how my mother found our home which we lived in for the many years that followed..

 


My Experiences Back In London, 1943

We came back to London when I was three years old. But Hitler, developed the pilot less V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets they were sent over from occupied Germany. We called them "doodlebugs" or "buzz bombs"
I can remember coming home from my aunt Lou's house one day, when some stranger gathered us up against the wall. I was with my mother, brother and sister. He stood in front of us with his arms out spread as if to protect us from the rocket bomb that was approaching us from the skies above. I can remember to this day, watching that small object in the sky, just missing the roof top of the house in front of us. We all held our breath and watched it pass over. I heard my mother say "That was close" The rocket fell in Hampstead Heath, a mile or so down the road.

kids war

Bomb shelter in a London underground Station

Casualties in London were high. We were one of the lucky ones, not like my little play mate Teddy. He was found under the stairs in his mother’s arms. A bomb had a direct hit on his house, in our road.
Life in London in the early 1940's was a routine of going into shelters. We often went to the shelters in the underground stations. As soon as the warning siren went, we’d run to the nearest shelter and wait, listening to the raids outside, waiting for the all clear siren to sound.
The black outs and the rationing was a way of life that I only knew.
Being a war baby had its consequences. I was deprived of the attention and support that a child my age needed to grow into a person with self esteem and confidence to made me into a well adjusted adult.

I have some of my war time memories in my book.