Monday, 19 August 2013


I have spent most of this year gathering evacuation stories from all over Britain for a new book on the varied experiences of Second World War evacuees. It will contain personal stories from 100 evacuees - not only from children but also from evacuated mothers and teachers - who spent the war in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Each story is accompanied by a wartime photograph, many of which have been rescued from evacuees’ attics or provided by local archives. 

I have also interviewed children and adults who found refuge on  the British mainland during the war - from places such as the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, France and Belgium. 

Prior to starting work on this new book, I spent four years (2008 to 2012)  interviewing Guernsey evacuees for my first book, 'Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War' (published in 2012 by History Press). However, during that time I was also contacted by people from all over Britain with their own amazing evacuation stories and photographs. I am now using these to produce my new book, which will be published in September 2014 by Pen and Sword books.

Sadly, many of the Guernsey evacuees I interviewed for my first book have passed away, so I feel that it is vital that Second World War evacuees’ stories are collected now before they are lost for ever. 

My new book will also include stories from people who took evacuees into their homes or who offered assistance to evacuees when they arrived in their towns.  One man from Lancashire, John Fletcher, felt so sorry for the hundreds of children who arrived in his town without their parents, that he tirelessly raised funds throughout the war so that they could have a Christmas present each year.

Some of the stories that I have collected are positive, with evacuees being extremely happy, gaining new experiences, making new friends, and forming a long lasting bond with the families they were billeted with. Some children and adults never returned to their own families after the war, others were physically or mentally abused, and some died during their time away from home. There is so much more to the evacuation story than just children arriving at railway stations with labels tied their coats. Hopefully this book, with the help of the family photographs, will paint a picture of how the British people opened up their homes to evacuated children and adults during the dark days of the war.

The book can be pre ordered from Amazon here: 

I will update this blog when I have more news about the publication of the book and its availability. However, you can contact me at this email address:
Gillian Mawson

You can read the opening pages of my first book, 'Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War here, free:


  1. This is a great project you're doing! Thank you!

  2. My parents were evacuated from Gibraltar. Mum went to York where her mum was working in a munitions factory and Dad went to London and stayed in the National Hotel in Russell Square. He spent evenings in the Russel square underground station whilstthe bombs fell. We visited a few weeks ago and he remebered being the roads and layout almost perfectly. They both live in York now.

    1. Hello Bobby thank you very much for contacting me and I would love to have your mum and dad's stories in my new book. Pls can you send your email address to: so that I can contact you? Gill