Eleanor Roosevelt and the Guernsey Evacuee

I am currently writing a book about the wartime friendship between Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the US President, and Paulette, a little evacuee who was evacuated from Guernsey to Knutsford, Cheshire. In May 2017, Paulette and I spoke on British Forces Broadcasting Radio – you can listen to the interview here and find out more:  http://www.forces.net/radio/10-year-old-whose-pen-pal-was-first-lady

Parts of Paulette’s story appear in my latest book, Britain’s Wartime Evacuees:



I worked with BBC North West Television on a documentary which told the story of Paulette, who was evacuated to Cheshire with her Guernsey school in June 1940. The school re-opened in a mansion in Knutsford and continued to run as a ‘Guernsey school’ but struggled financially.


The school received financial and emotional support from the Foster Parent Plan for War Children where each child was sponsored by a kind American or British person. Many of these sponsors were well known actors or writers.

Paulette herself was ‘sponsored’ by an extraordinary transatlantic penpal – Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the American President. Mrs Roosevelt supported Paulette financially throughout the war and also sent letters and parcels to her. Much of the correspondence between them still exists today.



I enjoyed working with the BBC to provide the research for this programme. You can watch short film clips at



You can also see images on the BBC website at:

Gillian Mawson


5 Responses to Eleanor Roosevelt and the Guernsey Evacuee

  1. ritaroberts says:

    I shall be most interested to learn about Guernsey Evacuees as I was an Evacuee myself from Birmingham. I write about this in my autobiography.

    • mbjssgpm says:

      Hi Rita its nice to hear from you and thank you for your comment. I hope you will enjoy my book when it comes out in November, and I will check out your autobiography when I have finished writing my book. I am starting a new blog next week, based on my experiences whilst writing my own book. Gill 🙂

  2. Dear Gillian,
    I much enjoyed your excellent book. It was a part of the evacuation largely overlooked. It is thorough and authentic. I was impressed the way the local community, taken by surprise, still seemed to be so welcoming. I have focussed on the overseas evacation, specifically to North America, as my brother and I were two who spent five years in the United States during the war. My book on the subject is ‘See You After the Duration’ I was brought up short by one statement in your book: ‘Stockport officials received only a few hour’s notice of the arrival of Channel Island evacuees, yet hundreds of local children had recently been evacuated from Stockport to Canada for safety’. I have never heard of any city from which a hundred let alone hundreds were evacuated overseas. Can you tell me where I can get the information on this.
    Michael Henderson

  3. Pingback: Eleanor Roosevelt and La Chaumiere school | Guernsey Goasdoue

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