I am delighted to be revealing the cover of Gillian Mawson’s new book, which is out on the 30th November published by Frontline Books. Isn’t it wonderful?
Gillian’s book contains the testimony of children, mothers and teachers who were evacuated during the Second World War in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are also stories from those who sought safety on the UK mainland from Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney and Gibraltar. Chapters focus on the difficult decisions made by parents to send their children away, the journeys by train and ship, adjustment to life in a new area and the kindness shown to evacuees by British communities.
The darker side of evacuation is also revealed – some households refused to care for evacuees, others were cruel to the children and some died. Evacuees were killed within days of arriving in supposedly ‘safe’ areas. They drowned, perished in air raids or were killed by military vehicles driving too quickly around narrow streets. An MP in the House of Commons voiced his fears that, if these incidents were revealed to the public, mothers might demand that their children be sent back home!
The book also reveals emotional letters written between evacuees, their parents and their wartime ‘foster parents’ which are still treasured today. Evacuees describe going home in 1945 after five years of separation from their parents. Some did not want to leave the ‘foster parents’ they had come to love – to them, this was ‘evacuation’ all over again and very traumatic. Many stayed in touch with their beloved foster parents for the rest of their lives.
‘Britain’s Wartime Evacuees: The People, Places and Stories of the Evacuations Told Through the Accounts of Those Who Were There‘ is published on 30 November 2016 and can be pre ordered here: http://amzn.to/2cp8Wug
About Gillian Mawson
Gillian Mawson is a freelance historian with a huge interest in oral history. She has been interviewing evacuees since 2008 and this is her third book. She runs a community group for Guernsey evacuees who decided to remain in Manchester when the war ended. She lives in Derbyshire and her wartime blog can be found at: https://evacueesofworldwartwo.wordpress.com/