The chapter discusses the government-sponsored evacuation of women and children from areas considered the most likely targets of German air raids and their billeting in private homes in reception areas considered less vulnerable to attack. Evacuation continued throughout the war, but the chapter focuses especially upon the first exodus of September 1939 (code-named ‘Pied Piper’). This involved 1.4 million people, including large numbers of the most impoverished families from congested inner city areas, whose resettlement caused a public outcry and often acrimonious social confrontations. Evacuation tells us much about class, confessional, and urban–rural divisions in Britain at the outbreak of war. The chapter discusses evacuation's impact on public debates about poverty, working-class parenting, child guidance, and theories about maternal deprivation as a source of later emotional trauma and delinquency.
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