Service in Stockport to mark ‘Return home’ of Channel Island evacuees in 1945

To mark the 70th Anniversary of the August 1945 ‘Return home’ of thousands of Channel Island Evacuees from Stockport, there will be a Service of Commemoration and ‘Evacuee Get-together’ on 23 August 2015. We extend a welcome to anyone who was evacuated during the Second World War. and readers of this post are warmly invited to attend and to bring family and friends.

The event takes place at St Mary’s Parish Church, Churchgate, Stockport, SK1 1YG – on Sunday 23 August 2015 at 10.30am. There will be coffee and biscuits available after the service, so that attendees can sit down and chat, and share their wartime experiences. Children can learn about evacuation directly from those involved.

Channel Island evacuees (who did not return home) and who are living throughout Greater Manchester are attending. People who knew them during the war will also be attending. Some evacuees will be flying over from Guernsey to attend on the day. Mayors from Stockport, Oldham, East Cheshire and High Peak are attending as their boroughs took in Channel Island evacuees during the war. Guernsey’s Minister for Culture and Leisure, Deputy Mike O’Hara, is also attending the event.  There will also be a small exhibition on Channel Islands Evacuation in the church.

There is a very small pay and display car park next to the church, and a larger one two minutes drive away on Newbridge Lane. It is suggested that those with mobility issues are dropped off at the side of the small car park where they can walk along a flat, accessible path straight into the church.  Please click here to see map showing location of St Mary’s Church and the Newbridge Lane Pay and Display car park.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Saint+Mary%27s+in+the+Market+Place/@53.4112357,-2.1555132,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x487bb37e36dd4a93:0x577f79d910ed4a23

The closest hotel accommodation is the Premier Inn Central Stockport, which is a 5 minute walk from the church.

http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/STOOLD/stockport-central?cmp=GLBC

A community funding prize received from Aviva UK will help us with the costs of this event – our sincere thanks to Aviva UK and to everyone who voted for us!

St Mary’s Church website is here:

http://www.stmarysinthemarketplace.com/default.htm

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY WW2 EVACUEE RESEARCH AND BOOKS, GO TO

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gillian-Mawson/e/B008MWQ0IE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

My Guernsey evacution blog can be found at:

https://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/evacuation/

The image below shows Channel Island evacuees outside St Mary’s after one of their wartime services. A st marys hazel knowles small sixe Stockport

Advertisements

A TIMELINE OF THE GUERNSEY EVACUATION TO ENGLAND

YOU CAN VIEW MY EDUCATIONAL TIMELINE OF THE GUERNSEY EVACUATION, OF JUNE 1940, ON THIS PAGE.

THE TIMELINE WAS LAUNCHED ON 15TH JUNE 2015 TO MARK THE COMING 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GUERNSEY EVACUATION.

17,000 CHILDREN, TEACHERS AND MOTHERS FLED GUERNSEY TO ENGLAND, JUST DAYS BEFORE GUERNSEY WAS OCCUPIED BY GERMANY FOR FIVE YEARS.  8,000 GUERNSEY MEN JOINED THE BRITISH FORCES.

THE TIMELINE WAS CREATED FROM HUNDREDS OF INTERVIEWS I HAVE CONDUCTED WITH EVACUEES AND THEIR FAMILIES. I INCLUDE WARTIME PHOTOGRAPHS AND DOCUMENTS AND A SOUND CLIP.

THE TIMELINE WAS CREATED IN ASSOCIATION WITH HSTRY.ORG,.  YOU CAN VIEW IT HERE:
https://www.hstry.co/timelines/the-guernsey-evacution-to-england-of-june-1940-an-overlooked-wartime-story#.VX7clth3bcE.twitter

 

A EvacsStoStnHIGHRES

2nd June 1940 – EVACUATION FROM LOWESTOFT

Seventy five years ago, on 2nd June 1940, hundreds of children were evacuated from Lowestoft to towns and villages in Derbyshire.

Vi on left Mary Draper on right

Vi Draper (left) and her sister Mary (right) found a new family when they were evacuated to Derbyshire. (Courtesy of Mary Draper)

Mary Draper, then aged five, and her sister Vi, then aged three, were evacuated from Lowestoft to Chesterfield, ‘Vi and I were evacuated with our school and were taken to Barlborough, near Chesterfield. We had no Mum, and our Dad was in the Home Guard. A lovely couple took us into their home. Mr and Mrs Bacon had no children of their own, and they practically became our Mum and Dad until the day they died.

The war really did us a favour because they were marvellous to us, treating us like little princesses. We called them Auntie Bee and Uncle Bob. They had a lovely home and we lived with them until the end of the war. When we had to leave them to return to Lowestoft, it broke our hearts as well as theirs. Our real Dad passed away when we were in our teens. I was with my fiancé by then, so my sister moved back to live with Mr and Mrs Bacon.’

When Mary got married, her children looked upon Mr and Mrs Bacon as their grandparents. Vi still lives in Chesterfield, as does Mary’s son Michael – and Mary’s family visit regularly.

Discover 100 Second World War Evacuation Stories, collected from all over Britain, in my latest book

Evacuees: Children’s Lives on the World War Two Home Front (Pen and Sword Books) http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1783831537?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creativeASIN=1783831537&linkCode=xm2&tag=guerevacoralh-21 … … … … …

 THE GLOSSOP ADVERTISER IS ALWAYS KEEN TO HEAR STORIES OF WARTIME EVACUATION TO GLOSSOP IN DERBYSHIRE:

PRESS CUTT RE LOWEST ARR GLOSSOP 1940

HOW THE FAITH OF GUERNSEY EVACUEES SUSTAINED THEM IN WARTIME ENGLAND

Since 2008 I have interviewed around 300 Guernsey evacuees about their wartime experiences and many confirmed that regular church worship sustained them through the dark days of the war.

In June 1940, over 17,000 people fled Guernsey to England, just days before Germany occupied the Channel Islands. Whole Guernsey schools were evacuated with teachers and mothers who acted as helpers and most of the evacuees were sent to northern England. My interviews with hundreds of evacuees show that their faith provided great comfort during the war.

Mr Reta Batiste wrote: “It was not long before we found a place where we were not ‘strangers in a strange land’ – the local Methodist church.” The Reverend George Whiteley had been Superintendent of the Guernsey Methodist Circuit, and in England he was appointed to assist the evacuees from a church office in Westminster. In one month he visited evacuees in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Oldham and Croydon. In Derbyshire, he advised the boys of Guernsey’s Elizabeth College, “Remember that the Channel Islanders will be judged in this country by their behaviour. You must not let the islands down.” At Tiviot Dale Church in Stockport, the Revd Mark Lund became the evacuees’ chaplain for the whole war. So close was their relationship, that when many of the evacuees returned to Guernsey in 1945, he decided to go with them.

Tiviot Dale Church
Tiviot Dale Church

Special church services were arranged for the evacuees and in one month alone, services were held in Horsforth, St Helens, Stockport, Barnsley and Halifax. In January 1943 hundreds flocked to a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, which was led by the Archbishop of York. The hymns were particularly relevant to the plight of the evacuees’ families in occupied Guernsey. One stated ‘Keep our loved ones, now far distant, Neath thy care.” Thousands attended a service at Westminster Abbey in April 1944. The Dean of Westminster told the crowd “It was a day of tragedy indeed, not only for you, but also for England when the Germans landed and took possession of your towns and villages. Your islands are the oldest possession of the British Crown. By your spirit of indomitable hope, you have made a real contribution to our national morale. May God hasten the day when you shall return to your homes.”

Westminster Abbey entry ticket
Westminster Abbey entry ticket

Evacuated Catholic schools organised their own private services. Paulette Le Mescam was evacuated with her school to Moseley Hall, Knutsford where each pupil was financially supported by an American through the Foster Parent Plan for War Children. Paulette was supported by the wife of the American President, Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt and they exchanged letters. Paulette told Mrs Roosevelt, “Here we have Mass every morning, and Holy Communion whenever we want it.”

When the boys of Guernsey’s Elizabeth College moved into Whitehall, near Buxton, they discovered a neglected chapel, which they quickly renovated. The college principal wrote, ‘This chapel has become a vital centre for the whole communal life. One of the boys made a simple wooden cross for the altar. Each day until the end of the war we had prayers, and a service each Sunday.”

The chapel built by the evacuee boys of Elizabeth College
The chapel built by the evacuee boys of Elizabeth College

To this day, the college proudly displays the wooden cross in the entrance hall in Guernsey.

The Parish Church in Disley still flies the Guernsey flag around 9 May each year (Liberation Day in Guernsey) to pay tribute to the Guernsey children the village cared for during the war.

DISLEY CHURCH FLYING FLAG MAY 2015

Find out more about the Guernsey evacuation and my British evacuation books by clicking the following link:

https://t.co/cKzQKuWNh

Lovely review of my book by Family Tree Magazine

BOOK REVIEW IN  ‘FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE’  DECEMBER 2014

Evacuees: Children’s Lives on the WW2 Home Front by Gillian Mawson

Social historian Gillian Mawson has spent several years recording the stories of former evacuees, firstly in her book Guernsey Evacuees: The ForgottenEvacuees of the Second World War and now here, with the personal accounts of 100 individuals who were evacuated during the early years of WW2 as part of OperationPied Piper, or who fled the Channel Islands or Europe as the Nazi war clouds gathered. The stories are divided into sections, from ‘Arrivals and Departures’ to ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ and the darker side of evacuation ‘homesickness and heartbreak’, ending with a tribute to the adults who took part in the evacuation andcare of millions of children.

Each story is diffused into a succinct account and is all the more potent for that – the stomach-churning farewells, the fear and excitement, the adventures, the kindness and the cruelty, ending with a brief synopsis of further memories or details of what happened to those involved. It’s packed with posters, documents and photographs, some from local groups and archives and others ‘rescued from old suitcases and attics’, along with useful websites and contacts for further research.

The breadth of experiences touched upon is extraordinary, along with what binds them: the evacuees’ incredible resilience and the willingness of folk from all walks of life to ‘do their bit’. Whether they lived in a ramshackle country cottage with three kids to a bed and no running water, or a stately home; if they were teachers accompanying pupils from the Channel Islands, only to be exiled from their own families for years; or volunteers for the WVS and Salvation Army, it all goes to show that evacuation was a remarkable feat of organisation, dedication and sacrifice.

Nowadays, the thought of sending your children off into the arms of strangers for months that turned into years is unimaginable. But for many it was a life-changing, even life-saving, experience. This book gives a unique insight into the evacuation experience from the mouths of those who lived through it, before they are lost to us forever.

Evacuees: Children’s Lives on the WW2 Home Front – by Gillian Mawson

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1783831537?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creativeASIN=1783831537&linkCode=xm2&tag=guerevacoralh-21

book cover i can use for twitter fb etc

“I REMEMBER SAYING GOODBYE TO MY MOTHER”

Below are the memories of Birmingham evacuee, John Hawkins, who was evacuated from Birmingham with his sister Rose, on 1 September 1939. He recalls the scene at his school when he said goodbye to his Mother.

in this pre war photograph, John is pictured front right, with his sister Rose as a baby. His brother Bill and sister Mabel are also in the photograph.
in this pre war photograph, John is pictured front right, with his sister Rose as a baby. His brother Bill and sister Mabel are also in the photograph.

A teacher, marking names off a clip-board, was busily checking all the children as they arrived at the school gate, and I scampered over to join my Mother and Rosie as frantically, she beckoned me to her side. With a gentle smile, a nearby teacher touched Mom’s arm, and said softly to her ‘You can leave them now, Mother, they’ll be alright me with me’.

Almost instinctively, I gazed quickly into Mom’s face, and I saw her lips begin to slightly tremble with emotion, and a huge lump immediately rose in my throat as she suddenly crouched down, and hugging us both closely to her, kissed us tenderly on the cheek. With her head inclined, so that we couldn’t clearly see her face, she murmured to me in a faltering voice, ‘You see you take good care of her now, I will …’ and turning abruptly away, her sentence unfinished, she shambled quickly off, apparently to join the crowd of watching parents, as her voice trailed away to a choking whisper.

The teacher shepherded us both into the waiting lines and handed us both our labels. Dutifully I slipped the bootlace over Rosie’s head, and then my own, before craning my neck above the mass of children, to try to catch a last comforting glimpse of Mom amongst the crowd who now shouted, smiled and waved encouragingly at us all through the railings, but I couldn’t see her anywhere.

Quite suddenly, screeching noisily, the heavy steel railing gates were swung back and the nearest line of children obediently picked up their cases, shouldered their haversacks and gas masks, and led by their considerable escort of teachers, began to file through them in a long double column. Some parents now ran frantically alongside the long trudging procession, anxiously searching for their own children.”

 My new book, published December 2016, contains interviews with over 500 evacuees from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands

 

YOU CAN CONTACT ME PRIVATELY HERE:

THE COVENTRY BLITZ AND EVACUEES

Many of the evacuees that I have interviewed since 2008 have told me about the

air raids that they endured on the British mainland.

Today’s post marks the anniversary of the horrific Coventry Blitz which took place

on 14 and 15 November 1940

The Alexandre family had been evacuated from Guernsey to England in June 1940

just days before German forces occupied their island. I interviewed their daughter

Anne, who described their experiences in Coventry during the Blitz.

‘My family were initially evacuated to Stockport but we soon moved to Coventry
because there was plenty of work there for my Dad, and we were assured it was

safe as houses’.

Just a few months later, my brother and I were walking along the street, on our

way back from the chip shop. Suddenly a German aircraft appeared overhead

and began to machine gun the street! I could see the stones flying out of the wall and

all the bullets – he was flying so low that I could see him grinning. My brother and I

dived into a garden to escape the bullets, and were very upset that we had crushed our

chips in the process!

Later, my family were all at home when another raid began – all these bombs were
coming down thicker and faster, that was the worst night of the Coventry Blitz.
Suddenly there was a very close bomb and the conservatory doors blew in.

My family moved from Coventry, and eventually ended up back in Stockport where
my father, Jim, joined the Essential Works Department, building airfields.’

To find out more facts about the Coventry Blitz, go to:

http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/blitz/stats.php

To find out more about the Guernsey Evacuation to England, go to:

http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/evacuation/

Anne is pictured below with her mother and two friends – this image was taken in

Guernsey just before the evacuation to England

Ruth alexandre and anne just before evac with dulcie sackettt and son michael

My new book, Britain’s Wartime Evacuees, was published on December 12, 2016 (stories from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar)

My history books can be found here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britains-Wartime-Evacuees-Evacuations-Accounts/dp/1848324413/&keywords=Gillian+Mawson+evacuee

YOU CAN CONTACT ME PRIVATELY HERE: