WWI Evacuees to Wiltshire: The Untold Story

on Friday, 10 January 2014. Posted in Military

Hello, my name is Jade and I am currently on Placement at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre from the University of the West of England, as part of my History degree. I am working on a project that is looking at the possibility of children during World War One being evacuated to rural areas, such as Wiltshire. We do not know very much about this as it wasn’t government organised, and there are little records remaining. It seems that there was quite a large influx of Children from London following air raids in 1917, when Zeppelin airships were superseded by the deadly Gotha Biplanes. In the first raid in May 1917 there were 95 casualties and on the 12th of June 1917 100 bombs fell killing 162 civilians, including 16 Children at a school in Poplar which received a direct hit. This seems to have caused an unofficial evacuation of children and families.

We are investigating whether these children went to stay with family or strangers, or whether they travelled alone or with the rest of the family. I am using the old school admission registers and cross referencing them with the school log books. My research will also consider local and national newspapers, minutes of local authorities and other official records. As far as we know, this is unique research. However, if you have any further information or know of anyone who was temporarily evacuated, please do not hesitate to contact the History Centre. We are very excited about this research and already patterns seem to be emerging, and I will update you as the project progresses.

Jade Wellesley
Work Placement Volunteer

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