Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Children's War - Imperial War Museum

A continuation of yesterday's post from the Imperial War Museum. After our lunch we headed towards "The Children's War" section.

One of the first things you see is this wonderful sculpture of a young boy playing with his toy aeroplane. I liked the shadow created by the lighting on the wall behind the sculpture.

These mannequins dressed in their Sunday best with gas masks brings home the message how indiscriminate war is. Everyone had to be protected not just the people who went to fight but those that stayed at home.

I would like to think that these two young children had been evacuated to a loving home in the country.
The trauma of separation must have been exceptionally painful for all concerned. I cannot imagine for one minute leaving Our Daughter at a train station to go and live with complete strangers.

There were many posters about the evacuation of children from the cities to the country. My Grandma looked after some evacuees on a short-term basis until they could find homes in which to stay for a longer period. They were evacuees from Liverpool. My Grandma and Grandad rented a small holding on Angelsey in North Wales. It was an idyllic place. My Grandad had converted two train carriages - one as a garage and one as a workroom. These were located in a field with plum trees on one side and gooseberry bushes the other as well as many tall trees. A wonderful place to play as a child.

There was an old hayloft where the feral cats would have their kittens and my Grandma would take me to have a peek at them before their eyes opened. I remember my Grandma telling me that we would have to be very quiet and that I had to be on my best behaviour otherwise the mother cat would get frightened and carry the kittens away to a new home.

My Grandma was a lovely lady. She never got cross or raised her voice to anyone. She would always be dressed in a pinny or overall to protect her clothes as she was constantly cooking and baking.

Anyhow, I digress - I want to tell you a story that my Grandma told me about the evacuees that came to stay.  On the very first day that they arrived she put them all to sleep together in the only spare bed which she had which was a double bed. When it was time for her to go to bed she went to check that the children were alright. She opened the bedroom door and found the bed empty. She thought that the children had run away and was pretty scared as to what to do and how to explain to the authorities what had happened. She woke my Grandad up and they went looking for them - to no avail. When they got back home they double checked the bedroom again and found the children fast asleep under the bed!

The children had been used to sleeping under the bed at night as it was safer should there be a bomb raid.

Another evacuation poster.

Our Daughter outside an Anderson Shelter.

A painting that is very much of its time of a Despatch Rider.

If you didn't get the subtle message that your child was safer in the country - then here is the less than subtle poster!

Another poster telling mothers that children were better off in the country. The children have worried expressions as if to say "Send us to the country -  It's not safe here."

Did you know that over the course of the Second World War 1,000,000 children were evacuated from their homes and that a further 16,000 were sent abroad.

Did you know that 7,736 children died as a direct result of enemy action - so the propoganda was probably right - Send your children to the Country. Keep them away from the horror of the Blitz.

Tomorrow I will show you some photographs of the 1940's house before moving on to where we went after we had finished at the Museum - Covent Garden!

Until next time.


1 comment:

  1. What an interesting post and a moving story your grandmother told.Look forward to the next time. :0)


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