We'll Meet Again - Evacuees Reunited At IWM North

By Alan Morrison | 20 April 2004
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Shows a black and white photograph of Second World War child evacuees on a station platform about to board a train to the right of the picture.

Photo: three million British children were evacuated during the Second World War. Courtesy of the Evacuees Reunion Association.

An era down the line from being billeted with tagged luggage on unfamiliar platforms, former evacuees are to be re-united at a different station in their lives.

The Evacuees Reunion Association is holding a free drop-in event at Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, this Friday - April 23 - at 13.00.

The reunion will begin with an opening speech by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Audrey Jones, who was herself an evacuee during the Second World War.

Chairman of the Evacuees Reunion Association (ERA), Dr Martin Parsons will be speaking throughout the afternoon. Other items will include live 1940s music and an audio-visual show.

Shows a colour photograph of the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.

Photo: Imperial War Museum North was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2002. © IWM North.

"People are expected to travel from as far as Scandinavia", said Jenny Beard, museum Press Officer.

Each attendee will receive a tie-on 'luggage' label on which to write their name and evacuation details. "This is a feature of all ERA events and many old friendships are rekindled as a result," added Jenny.

James Roffey, Chief Executive of the ERA told the 24 Hour Museum: "we have 2,000 members all over the country. Michael Aspel and former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey" are among them.

"We encourage people to write stories of their war experiences," he said. "The evacuation story is surrounded in myths. People believe all evacuees came from inner city slums."

Shows a black and white photograph of a queue of Second World War child evacuees.

Photo: with the 1940 invasion scare many children had to be re-evacuated. Courtesy of the Evacuees Reunion Association.

Mr Roffey, a former evacuee himself, continued: "the Government were planning the evacuation as early as 1922 but it was well into 1938 before plans were firmed up."

Another evacuation myth, according to Mr Roffey, is that all evacuees were billeted to the countryside: "many London children were evacuated to Brighton. Then, during the 1940 invasion scare, they were re-evacuated."

The ERA will be visiting Woolwich on May 15 and 16, Portsmouth on June 10, and Leicester Square for West End at War, run by Westminster City Council on June 12 and 13.

For further information on Friday’s evacuees reunion contact Imperial War Museum North on 0161 836 4007 or the Evacuees Reunion Association on 01777 816644.

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