In June 1940, 17,000 people fled Guernsey to England, including 5,000 school children with their teachers and 500 mothers as 'helpers'. The Channel Islands were occupied on 30 June - the only part of British territory that was occupied by Nazi forces during the Second World War. Most evacuees were transported to smoky industrial towns in Northern England - an environment so very different to their rural island. For five years they made new lives in towns where the local accent was often confusing, but for most, the generosity shown to them was astounding. They received assistance from Canada and the USA - one Guernsey school was 'sponsored' by wealthy Americans such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Hollywood stars. From May 1945, the evacuees began to return home, although many decided to remain in England. Wartime bonds were forged between Guernsey and Northern England that were so strong, they still exist today.
I am a writer and historian with an avid interest in the life stories of ordinary people. Since 2008 I have been interviewing Second World War evacuees to record and preserve their stories, photographs and documents.
My new book is entitled 'Evacuees: Childrens Lives on the World War Two Home Front' (Pen and Sword, Sept 2014). It contains 100 evacuation stories, with family photographs, collected from all over Britain and beyond. You can find out more about the book, and see some of the stories and photographs here:
I have also written a chapter entitled 'Guernsey Mothers: Forgotten Evacuees' which will appear in the book 'The Home Front in Britain:Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences 1914-2014' (Palgrave MacMillan, November 2014)
My first book was 'Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War' (History Press, 2012) When I discovered that 17,000 Guernsey evacuees had fled to England in June 1940, just before the Nazis occupied their island for 5 years, I was hooked! The evacuees also received help their English neighbours, and also from American and Canadian citizens - one girl was financially supported throughout the war by Eleanor Roosevelt. As at May 2014 I have interviewed 350 evacuees both here in England, and in Guernsey - many chose not to return to Guernsey after the war.
I have written articles for magazines and newspapers on other historical subjects.
I also run a community group for Guernsey evacuees living in northern England to enable them to share their wartime stories with people of all ages. I deliver Guernsey Evacuation workshops to schools and often take an evacuee with me to bring the generations together. You can view our events at:
My Guernsey website and blog can be found at:
My general History blog can be found at: