Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Midweek Mention - Oceans Apart: Stories of children evacuated overseas

If you're in or around the Manchester area between now and September, don't miss this fascinating (free) exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North. (Recommended for children age 8 and up).

As many know, over a million British children were evacuated out of danger during the Second World War. Toni's dad and uncle were sent from Tyneside (where the Germans were trying to bomb the shipyards) to a farm in Yorkshire.

Can you imagine having to send your children away during such a scary time - even though it's for their own safety?

What you might not know is that a significant number of these children were sent overseas through the Children's Overseas Reception Board. Sadly, about 70 children were killed when the liner transporting them was sunk by a German sub and the program ended.

"Imagine the overwhelming dilemma parents faced when deciding to send their children thousands of miles from home and see how the children themselves reacted. Hear the personal stories of children like Joan Zilva from Croydon and Donald Mitchell from Colne in Lancashire as they dealt with homesickness and the difficulties of adjusting to a new way of life in a strange home in a far away country."

If you want more on this subject, author and historian Julie Summers gives a talk "When the children came home" on April 17th at 3.15pm in the museum. She has also written a book with the same title.

(No relation to Toni but they were friends at university!)


  1. Oh, that would be interesting, though Manchester's a bit of a trek. I like stuff to do with the war.

    I've just read a book called "Back Home" by Michelle Magorian (who wrote "Goodnight Mr. Tom") about a girl who returns to Britain after being evacuated to the US. It's a kids' book but I really enjoyed it.

  2. There are a lot of books set during that period, and I read several of them growing up. I came away with this very romantic idea that growing up during a war must have been FUN.

  3. I just cannot imagine having to do that.

    Did anyone else read the book Carrie's War when they were young? About a girl and her brother evacuated to Wales. It was brilliant.

  4. I read Carrie's War. It wasn't the first book that I'd read about the evacuation, but it sure wasn't the cozy picture that "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" presented. I fount it very haunting.

    -Lizzy F.

  5. I've got Carrie's War but haven't read it yet. Currently on the new Alex Rider book...

    ... so many kids' books, so little time!

  6. Aren't the Alex Rider books great?
    There are some wonderful Canadian young adult stories about the children that were sent hear, especially Kit Pearson's The Sky is Falling trilogy.


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