Government policy also meant that parents and children had different reactions. Many children who were evacuated had different views, good ones and bad ones. Some children didn’t like evacuation because of the way they were treated. They were hit, scared, fed little food, abused and separated from their family. When Michael Caine was evacuated he shared a bed with a boy called Clarence. Clarence would wet the bed due to his nervousness; their foster mother was not able to tell who it was so she would beat both of them.
So, with him getting hit he would wet the bed more because he was scared, this led to them being locked in a cupboard. Children were also made to work long hours for the hosts. A thirteen year old, middle-class boy said, “After school we were expected to sweep out Mr Benson’s butcher’s shop and scrub down the marble slabs. ” However, not all evacuation experiences were this bad, “We were given flannels and toothbrushes, we’d never cleaned out teeth up to now and hot water came from the tap.
Many children had a very good time during evacuation, they played games like cricket, they had more food “Mrs Benson filled us up with thick slices of bread and margarine,” were taught to ride a bike and even helped in shops such as butchers, some children enjoyed this because their parents never spent time with then and they enjoyed the companionship. One thing that depends on whether or not they have been away from home before and the relationship they had with their parents, if any, these factors depend on whether they would be homesick or not.
Children of various ages were evacuated. Each child had different thoughts of evacuation, some thought it would be an exciting experience and others were frightened of being separated from their family. Places evacuees were sent where non-industrial places such as Cornwall, East Anglia, parts of Scotland and Wales. Some other children were sent to places abroad were relatives lived, places like Australia, Canada and the Caribbean. One thing that made children have a bad time when evacuated is whether they were wanted by the hosts; this would make you feel sad, scared and neglected.
In the early stages of evacuation, children may not have liked evacuation but towards the end of the war children were used to their hosts and learned to love them. Hosts also either wanted or didn’t want evacuees. They would want them to work for them for no money and maybe the host already had a child and wanted a friend for their child, or maybe the host is very patriotic and thinks that it will help the country in war and on the home front. The host may not want evacuees because they are too busy with work or because they just don’t like children.
When choosing the child or children, the host looked for many attributes such as cleanliness, single children, the sex of the child and age. The sex matters because the host may want the child to work with them and help in the garden to build air raid shelters. For the age, a woman may want to look after a younger child but they might need an older child to do chores. They look for cleanliness because it is easier to look after a clean child who is well and fit.
Some hosts had bad experiences with their evacuees, in source E, a host said, “The children went around the house urinating on the walls. Some other hosts enjoyed the stay with the children “My six lads from London are making this dreary, lonely war not only tolerable, but often enjoyable. ” Before the children came, the hosts didn’t know what to expect, they were often disappointed. Towards the end of the child’s stay, the feelings towards them had changed, they learned to love them and get along with them. Some parents didn’t really want their children to be evacuated but they sent them away because they knew it was the best for them.
The main reason for evacuation was safety for the child, but the other one is safety for the parent. When there is an air raid the parent wouldn’t need to worry about getting the child to the shelter, they could just go themselves. Also, the parent is able to help more on the home front, they can work long hours in munitions factories and textile factories, you also wouldn’t need to worry about day-care for the child, they didn’t go to school because many schools would be closed due to evacuation.
Parents felt sad and reluctant to go, they would worry about their child when away and would be curious about what the host is like. Some parents opposed evacuation just like in source I, ‘The Observer’ interviewing a father about evacuation who strangely opposes it, he is going to look after his kids himself because he believes that they can’t look after them properly. Towards the end of the evacuation period, parents had gotten used to not having them around but still missed them and worried about them.
In the movie ‘Hope and Glory’, which was made in 1987, tells the storey of a family during WW2 from the point of view of a young boy. In this movie there is a scene were it shows a mothers indecision of whether or not to send her child away to be evacuated. In conclusion, evacuation played an important role and the reactions of different people varied which meant there was a variety of evacuees.