World War II: British Practice Evacuation (August 28, 1939)

Figure 1.-- The British conducted a practice evcuation just before Hitler and Stalin launched the World War II. The press caption here read, "London's School Children Reherse for war: This cable photo, flashed to New York [explaining the poor quality], shows a little school girl being consolded by an older school mate, Aug. 28, as these London school children and those in 30 provincial cities rehersed for war. In hundreds of schools, thousands of boys and girls, five to 14 years old were told what they will have to do if the bombers come. Headmasters and teachers did their best to convey the idea that evacuation would be 'like a holiday'. No mention was made about the 'horrors of war.' The final setence suggests the American mindset at the time, as if Britain was somehow responsible and if you talk that way to the children. Notice that they do not have their gas masks which may be a clue that it is a practice.

A good deal of preparation ocuured at British schools before the war. The children practived air raid drills and were exprts at putting on their gas masks at a moment's notice. We have noted references to a practice evacuation just before the Germans invaded Poland. After the NAZI-Soviet Pact was signed, it was clear that a German invasion of Poland was immenent. The plans for evacuating the children in London and the major citie were prepared in detail and were in place even before the Munich Crisis (Septemnber 1938). The evacuation order was almost activated at that time. Just what the practice amounted to, we are not entirely sure. We notice press reports dated August 28. Whether this was a nation-wide practice we do not yet know. The caption here suggests it was a nation-wide practice with drills occuring in 30 cities. We think it was primarily the children reporting to their schools for evacuation. We know the practices went beyond the school yards. We see some of the children boarding busses, we think to train tations. Whether some of the children were actually sent out on the trains we do not yet know. And how many childten were involved with these practices, we do not yet know. Hopefully some of our British readers will know more.


Navigate the CIH World War II Section:
[Return to Main British evacuation page]
[Return to Main British evacuations series page]
[Return to Main British evacuations page]
[Return to Main British World War II home-front page]
[Return to Main Anglo-American Alliance page]
[Return to Main United States World War II page]
[Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[POWs] [Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main war essay page]
[Return to CIH Home page]

Created: 9:08 AM 10/8/2015
Last updated: 9:08 AM 10/8/2015