The Second World War Guernsey Evacuation to England, Scotland and Wales has almost been forgotten by many in the UK. I am proud to announce that I have written a book for The History Press, to tell the story of these 17,000 overlooked evacuees.
The Guernsey Evacuation story is history about real people who lived in our streets, went to our schools, and who helped Britain by undertaking vital war work when the threat of German invasion was very real. Many remained in the England after the war, and are now a permanent part of our community.
Luckily some of them are still amongst us and I am fortunate enough to be able to record these stories, share them with the public and preserve them for future generations to hear.
Since May 2008, I have been interviewing hundreds of children, teachers and mothers who fled Guernsey to mainland Britain in June 1940, just a few days prior to the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. The Channels Islands are part of British territory, and in June 1940, around 17,000 residents left their homes, and all of their possessions, behind. My research has concentrated on the many thousands that arrived in the industrial towns of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. Hundreds then moved into Derbyshire, whilst others were scattered throughout the UK. Many travelled as far as Scotland. The evacuees spent several weeks in Evacuee Reception Centres, before being provided with local accommodation.
Over 5,000 Guernsey children were evacuated with their Teachers, along with 500 Guernsey mothers who acted as ‘teachers helpers’. Most of the children did not see their parents again for five long years and some never returned home after the war. Some of the evacuated Guernsey Headteachers re-established their schools in England, in order to keep the pupils and teachers together throughout the war. A number of Guernsey families also escaped the island during the actual German occupation.
Guernsey people who had previously emigrated to Vancouver, Canada, raised funds for the Guernsey evacuees in England (click on my ‘Canada’ page) One Guernsey school in Cheshire, England, was supported by the Foster Parent Plan for Children Affected By War – the pupils were each ‘sponsored’ by wealthy American citizens, including Eleanor Roosevelt and a number of Hollywood film stars. I worked with the BBC on a short documentary on this Guernsey school:
see: my ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ page on this website.
My interviews with evacuees, and document searches, have revealed emotional stories from both children and adult evacuees, regarding the actual evacuation, their five years on the British mainland, cut off from friends and family on Guernsey, and of their return to Guernsey in 1945. Sadly, many had difficulty bonding with their own families after such a long separation. I have worked with the BBC on several documentarues, and created a short evacuation film with Diane Rickerby of Bury Archives. I also run a community group for Guernsey evacuees in England, to enable them to share their stories with the community through school workshops, and museums. SEE MY COMMUNITY PROJECT PAGE FOR DETAILS
I provide workshops to schools and colleges, and give talks to groups, for a negotiable fee. Please take a look at my Schools pages, Talks and Events page, and my Shop page, for further information
To order my book
‘Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War’
from from amazon (and read some for free) click on:
You can view the short book trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR0uXCBCFHc&feature=youtu.be
MY SECOND BOOK, WHICH CONTAINS 100 BRITISH EVACUATION STORIES (INCLUDING A HANDFUL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS) WILL BE PUBLISHED ON 30 SEPTEMBER 30TH 2014 BY PEN AND SWORD BOOKS. PLEASE CLICK ON MY ‘BRITISH EVACUEES’ PAGE TO PREVIEW SOME OF THE STORIES AND FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS. http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/britains-evacuees/
You can contact me by filling in the ‘comment’ box at the foot of this webpage.