In 1939, at the age of nine Geoffrey Lee Williams and his twin brother Alan felt ready for the war but were not ready for its consequences. The government had long planned the mass evacuation of children, under the code-name 'Pied Piper', but the details were kept secret from local authorities and the population at large. The first wave left British cities on 1 September 1939 and by 3 September, a few hours before war was officially declared, it is estimated that millions of women and children had already been allocated to the planned reception areas or had been privately evacuated. Geoffrey and Alan were among them. This book begins with Geoffrey and Alan's first evacuation to Hartley in Kent and then goes on to record their impressions of their three subsequent evacuations and their adventures, or misadventures, during the Battle of Britain, the London Blitz, D-Day and the V1 and V2 raids until the end of the war in 1945. This fascinating book conveys not only their desire, as children, to be involved in and contribute to the war effort but also their growing awareness of the cataclysmic events unfolding around them between 1939 and 1945, which subsequently shaped the future interests and careers of both the author and his brother Alan.
Dr Geoffrey Lee Williams decided to record his memories of wartime in the hope that they would be of value to future generations. He is Director of the Institute of Economic and Political Studies (INSTEP), and was head of International Relations at the University of Surrey. He is the author of ten books and lives in Cambridge.