Wednesday, 3 June 2009

World War II Evacuation

During World War II around three and a half million British people, mainly children were evacuated from our major cities. Fleeing from the threat of air-raids they were transported by train, bus and even boat, the tiring journeys sometimes lasting days. They would be dropped off at their unknown destination and taken to a village hall or other suitable building, where local inhabitants had gathered to select them for fostering. How long it would be, if ever, before they would be allowed to return home, no one knew. Many children were settled with kind and sympathetic families but for many others that was not the case. It has to be remembered that many of the children, particularly from the larger cities, had not even seen the countryside let alone found themselves living there. Not only did they have to cope with an alien way of life, but they were also expected to cope with the trauma of being taken from their parents, living amongst strangers and being placed in unfamiliar schools. On the one hand, the fact that many of the children came from city slums meant they were often dirty, verminous and lacking in social skills, leading to strained relations between them and the foster family. Whilst often children from respectable families were expected to cope with primitive conditions that existed in the rural areas where they found themselves.
The whole operation, code-named Pied Piper was a logistical nightmare, with all the children being evacuated in the first four days of September 1939. They were each labelled like pieces of luggage and accompanied by an army of guardians - 100,000 teachers.
The 'Evacuate forthwith' order was issued at 11.07 am on Thursday, 31 August 1939. Revelations recalled by evacuees tell the story of painful memories that have been deeply hidden for more than 60 years. The images generally were of busy train stations, shouting officials and sobbing mothers, of parents giving instructions like 'Don't complain.' 'Grin and bear it.' 'Write home as soon as you can.' 'Look after your sister.'
Whilst the exodus went surprisingly well, the real problems came in the reception areas. The government had left the arrangements for the children's arrival and care to local authorities, with little more than an injunction to 'do their best.' Hundreds of children arrived in the wrong area with insufficient rations. And, more worryingly, there were not enough homes in which to put them.
A second wave of evacuation was announced, this was to include young children accompanied by their mothers, expectant mothers, blind, and any cripples who had received instructions they were to be moved.
As the evacuation continued those in receipt of state pensions and allowances were told to take their pension and allowance books to their new address and collect their monies from the local Post Office. By January 1940 almost 60% had returned to their homes.
Two further evacuations took place. By June 1940 the Germans had taken over most of France and around 100,000 children were evacuated (in many cases re-evacuated).
In June 1944 a third evacuation was carried out, when the Germans attacked again by firing VI rockets on Britain, followed later by V2 rockets. 1,000 women, children elderly and disabled people were evacuated from London.
This new way of attacking Britain carried on until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.

Today's Smile

NHS: Nightnurse For Hogs And Sows

Poem - Hunter Trials

Hunter Trials

It's awf'lly bad luck on Diana,
Her ponies have swallowed their bits;
She fished down their throats with a spanner
And frightened them all into fits.

So now she's attempting to borrow.
Do lend her some bits, Mummy do;
I'll lend her my own for to-morrow,
But to-day I'll be wanting them too.

Just look at Prunella on Guzzle,
The wizardest pony on earth;
Why doesn't she slacken his muzzle
And tighten the breech in his girth?

I say, Mummy, there's Mrs. Geyser
And doesn't she look pretty sick?
I bet it's because Mona Lisa
Was hit on the hock with a brick.

Miss Blewitt says Monica threw it,
But Monica says it was Joan,
And Joan's very thick with Miss Blewitt,
So Monica's sulking alone.

And Margaret failed in her paces,
Her withers got tied in a noose,
So her coronets caught in the traces
And now all her fetlocks are loose.

Oh, it's me now. I'm terribly nervous.
I wonder if Smudges will shy.
She's practically certain to swerve as
Her Pelham is over one eye.

Oh wasn't it naughty of Smudges?
Oh, Mummy, I'm sick with disgust
She threw me in front of the Judges,
And my silly old collarbone's bust.

John Betjeman
(A Ring Of Bells)

Charles Keeps Abreast Of The Times

(Click image to enlarge - to a 36DD)

American Law And Disorder

The following quotations are from a book called 'Disorder in the American Courts' by Charles M. Sevilla and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters.

Attorney: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
Witness: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Attorney: And why did that upset you?
Witness: My name is Susan!
Attorney: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
Witness: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Attorney: Are you sexually active?
Witness: No, I just lie there.
Attorney: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
Witness: Yes
Attorney: And in what way does it affect your memory?
Witness: I forget
Attorney: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

Maxine's World

Thought For Today

Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live like it's heaven on earth.
William Purkey