London was a dangerous place to live during the Second World War as it was the target of air attacks from German bombers. Factories, power stations and military stations were all at risk, but residential areas were also frequently damaged in the devastating air raids.
Even before the outbreak of war, the
Government had made plans to evacuate children and mothers with babies from large cities to the countryside. Dacorum was recognised as a safer location and became a reception area for evacuees. Children were temporarily rehomed in many Dacorum towns and villages for the duration of the war.
For many children, who had never left the city centre, moving to Dacorum offered a very different lifestyle with new experiences but for many it would also have been their first time away from their families and homes.
Expectant mothers were also evacuated from London to maternity homes which had been established at The Hoo in Great Gaddesden, Home Farm in Tring and Grimsdyke in Berkhamsted. A total of 1270 babies were born at The Hoo.
It wasn’t just people that were evacuated from London. Some statues including George III and Field Marshal Lord Wolseley, were removed from their usual homes of St James’s Square and Horse Guards Parade and taken to the safety of Berkhamsted Castle.
Looking for evacuee related activities?
Children evacuated from London were given one suitcase to carry with them to their new temporary homes. Think about what items you would take with you if you had to be evacuated. Draw them in this suitcase picture and add some colour.
Colour in the the evacuee girl and boy and think about how they were feeling on the day they left home. Give your characters a name, tell us about the things you they will miss when they are evacuated and write the words you think describes their feelings.
Most households during the war did not have telephones and email did not exist so the only way evacuated children could stay in contact with their families was by writing letters. Imagine you are an evacuee living away from your family and friends. Write them a letter telling them all about your new life in Dacorum. What are the things you find enjoyable and what do you not like? Make up characters in your new life. Be as creative as you can.