On the outbreak of the Second World War, during the first week of September 1939 over three million people were evacuated. Operation Pied Piper was the largest ever transportation of people across Britain, and most of those moved to safety in the countryside were schoolchildren. Social historian Gillian Mawson has spent years collecting the stories of former evacuees and this book includes the personal memories of over 100, in their own words. Their accounts reveal what it was like to settle into a new home with strangers, often staying for years. While many enjoyed life in the countryside, some escaping inner-city poverty, others endured ill-treatment and homesickness. A fascinating insight into the realities of wartime life, and a valuable oral history of a unique moment in British history.
Gillian Mawson is a social historian, with a great interest in oral history. She has been collecting personal Second World War stories and images since 2008. Gillian undertakes public engagement on WW2 evacuation, by working closely with museums, schools and history groups. She also runs a community group for Second World War evacuees in northern England. Her first book, Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War, was published by the History Press in November 2012.