In early September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were transported from towns and cities in danger from enemy bombers to places of safety in the countryside.Of that 827,000 were children of school age; 524,000 mothers and young children (under 5); 13,000 pregnant women; 7,000 disabled persons and over 103,000 teachers and other ‘helpers’. Surprisingly only 47% of the eligible children were actually evacuated to the defined safety zones which was significantly lower than the 80% expected.
There was also enormous regional variation : as few as 15% of the children were evacuated from some urban areas, while over 60% of children were evacuated in Manchester and Liverpool. The refusal of the central government to spend large sums on preparation also reduced the effectiveness of the plan. Some reception areas received more than the expected number of evacuees and others found themselves receiving people from a priority group or social class different from the one they had prepared for.
A statistic of four million casualties was predicted due to bombing and so just before the outset of war the terse order to ‘Evacuate forthwith,’ was issued at 11.07am on Thursday, 31 August 1939. The predictions turned out to be wildly inaccurate. From September 1944, the evacuation process was officially halted and reversed for most areas except for London and the East coast. Returning to London was not officially approved until June 1945.
Slingsby received its share of evacuees during World War 2, children arriving from industrial northern towns like Middlesbrough with the result that the village school became rather crowded.
This is the final war week post. I hope you have found the posts interesting. If you would like to know more about Slingsby’s wartime activity then why not visit the Wartime Slingsby Exhibition being held in the village hall today from 10:30am to 4.30pm. Entry to the Exhibition is £2.50
Wartime Slingsby Exhibition: April 26th
Come and find out about Slingsby’s wartime associations; from the Wars of the Roses, the Civil War, and preparations for war in the village from the Napoleonic wars up until the second world war, when the village was a centre for troop training and munitions storage, and welcomed evacuees.
For more details about the Wartime Slingsby Exhibition taking place on April 26th CLICK HERE