The Evacuation of British Children
There would be many differing reactions from people in Britain to the evacuation policy during the Second World War. The first group of people would be the children who were actually being moved away from their homes and everything they know to live in the country, away from there mothers and fathers and family to stay with people they do not know and have not met. I have two letters from http://www.eastwood.ngfl.ac.uk/Pages/evacuate.html to explain how children felt.
These are actual wartime letters from two different children. It shows two points of view. The first letter says about seeing all the farmyard animals and making new friends, it shows the fact that it would be an adventure for the children. They would learn new skills in the country and discover new things. Many of the children would be well looked after and treated just like children of their own, but others would be beaten and abused, forced to do work on their farms and houses.
Often where the children lived would be nicer then in London. For example they had running warm water and baths, they had lots of things that most families did not have in the city. Many of the children did had never been in clean houses like the ones in the country before, also they often had clean beds to sleep in, a lot of them had never even cleaned their teeth before and given tooth brushes for the first time. There were mixed experiences for the children who were evacuated. Some were very happy, helping on the farms and eating better than they had ever done.
This also affects the fosterers in the country whose job it was to look after the children when they moved to the country. For a lot of them it was their chance to do something for the war effort and a lot of them felt honoured for the chance to do something about it. Some of the fosterers took advantage of the children who they were meant to be looking after. They often made them work long hours on the farms and beat them for the least things. Although some of the children were treated badly on the whole they were well looked after by their fosterers. Many of them were eating healthily, washing properly and helping their fosterers who were treating them well. Fosterers were paid for the inconvience of looking after the children, this was for the price of feeding them and treating them. It was a lot different from life in the city and life away from their parents.
This brings me on to my next point of how the parents feel about giving their children away for the length of the war and hardly getting the chance to see them. The children severely missed their mothers and fathers and a lot of them as young as four and five it was a big deal to be moved away from their parents like that. Although it was hard I am sure that most of the parents were happy that their children were away from the cities because it was much safer in the countryside. They would have kept in touch with their children with letters if they could read and would go and visit them if they had time.
Also they could concentrate more on making weapons if their children were not around to distract them from the job at hand. Also the would like the government more for bothering to make an operation to keep their children safe and do something directly for the citizens of Britain. Also the most of the fathers of the children who are out fighting the war would feel better knowing that their children are safe and away from the German bombing raids. They would miss their children but they had been called up to fight and they are doing something for the war effort by fighting on the front line and risking their lives everyday for the government. Then they would feel better in knowing that their children are safe.
This carries on to the fact of the people behind the whole evacuation process, the Government. It was the government’s responsibility to make sure that all of their people were safe and by moving all of the children to the countryside then they get across an image of looking after the innocent and venerable, as it was not only children who were evacuated. It was the disabled, the pregnant and teachers to help the children keep on learning even though they were away from home.
The government had many motives for the moving of children. First of all for propaganda reasons. By this it shows that they are a caring government who look after their people by moving the children away from danger. Second of all they were trying to keep up the morale of parents. If the parents of the children were not making the bombs and weapons and fighting the war then it would be all over. Also when the war is over the people will remember how the government cared and they stand a bigger chance of being re elected. Finally it takes pressure of government services like the emergency services.
They would no have to worry about trying to find children who had gone missing and so on. Also it was known for children to go into bomb sites and try and find things of interest, such as bits of shrapnel from the bombs or planes, this would be a nightmare for the emergency services, with all the children away it would make life a lot easier for them and easier to do the jobs they should be doing.