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WW2 evacuees - Kent to Staffs.

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sandra Report 2 May 2019 09:27

An ancestor was evacuated from Thanet, Kent, to Staffordshire, age 11. Suggestions please as to why this long journey would have been sanctioned, as there was more than one Thanet child sent here. Was there one particular school somewhere in Staffordshire with a relationship with Thanet? My original thought, if just one child had been sent, was that the family had relations in Staffs., but apparently the County received more than one evacuee from Kent.
Thank you


ErikaH Report 2 May 2019 09:46

Try googling

Read up on it -

The obvious answer is that there was available accommodation etc in Staffordshire

Thousands of children were evacuated from areas considered 'at risk' to those of supposed safety.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 2 May 2019 10:52

well I was a london evacuue and was sent to Tunbridge wells Kent in sept 1939

when Kent was getting more and more bombings we were sent back to london think this was 1944

was home for a few months then sent up to Birmingham

my mums sister and several of her children went too and my mum and then yougest brother aged about 3 also went to Birmingham for a time

My sister born in oct 1939 went to Colne in Lancashire

think it was get out of the south east where london etc was gettiing the worst of it

we still had air raids though in Birmingham but didnt have the big communial bomb shelters . we sat it out indoors!

i didnt return to London till jan 1946 and was the last kid in the family to get home

I went away as the youngest of three and came home to be the middle of six


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 2 May 2019 11:22

We were also told this by a 91 year old lady who still lives in Thanet.

She believes the cause was the proximity of the coal fields & the number of aerodromes in the area. It's also a coastal region.

She doesn't know 'why' they were sent to Staffordshire. It wasn't that long before she went back home.


nameslessone Report 2 May 2019 12:45

Surely it was more likely that they were close to Sheerness or even Chatham. The Kent coalfields are much closer to Dover. I expect Manston airport was operational at that time.

It may all come down to where inThanet she was living.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 2 May 2019 14:39

Not all operational coalfields were closer to Dover. Chislet was being worked. That’s located between Canterbury & Margate.

The 91 year old also said that US airmen were billeted with them later on during the war. They must have lived relatively close to an airfield. There’s a list of them here

None of which answers the question...why Staffordshire?
If the OPs ancestors had a connection to mining, could that be the reason?


Andysmum Report 2 May 2019 15:43

I lived on the edge of Wolverhampton (in Staffordshire back then) during the war and several nearby families had evacuees. They all came from London - and we couldn't understand a word they said!


Choccy Report 2 May 2019 18:22

Introduction: Evacuation in Staffordshire

On the 3rd September 1939, World War II was declared in Europe. A few days before the war began, the British government began the mass evacuation of children, mothers of pre-school children and pregnant women out of areas likely to be bombed. This was called Operation Pied Piper. In total, around three million children were evacuated from cities and vulnerable areas and sent to live with foster families in the countryside.

Staffordshire was initially defined as a neutral area, meaning it was neither likely to receive evacuees or send children out of the county under the evacuation scheme. However, the county was soon re-defined as a reception area – an area to receive evacuees. This was probably because of the good railway links and the rural nature of large parts of the county.

There were two waves of evacuation to Staffordshire. During Operation Pied Piper and the early stages of the war, 8,605 unaccompanied children were evacuated to the county. They came from cities close to Staffordshire, such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

By the end of 1939, most of these evacuees had returned home because the anticipated bombing of cities had not taken place. This period of the Second World War was called the Phoney War.

The second wave of evacuation came in 1940 and increased after the start of the Blitz. This time children came from all over Britain to Staffordshire: Kent, London, Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Essex, Coventry, Walsall, Birmingham and East Sussex. They were often evacuated with their school and accompanied by teachers. There were also children who were evacuated privately by their families to live with local relatives or friends.

Many of these evacuees experienced a different way of life in Staffordshire. Indeed, for Staffordshire children and their families, having so many new children in the county, and in their homes, was a major event.


The school I attended in Thanet in the 50s/60s was evacuated en masse to Stafford for approximately 2 years.