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East coast evacuees to be commemorated at special event

PUBLISHED: 14:00 29 August 2019

Buses await the Dagenham evacuees on The Esplanade in Lowestoft in September 1939. Picture: Courtesy of Chris Brooks

Buses await the Dagenham evacuees on The Esplanade in Lowestoft in September 1939. Picture: Courtesy of Chris Brooks

Archant

In September 1939, thousands of children, together with teachers and young mothers, were evacuated to Suffolk and Norfolk for safety.

The Dagenham evacuees aboard Royal Eagle in September 1939. Picture: Courtesy of Chris BrooksThe Dagenham evacuees aboard Royal Eagle in September 1939. Picture: Courtesy of Chris Brooks

And commemorating the 80th anniverary of the start of the Second World War evacuations, an illustrated talk will take place in Lowestoft next week ahead of a new book that is due to be published next year.

With September 1 marking the 80th anniversary of children being evacuated from Dagenham to Suffolk and Norfolk by ship, there was a further evacuation of children from schools in Gravesend to our area on September 3 - the day war was declared against Germany.

Many thousands of children - including babies and toddlers - were evacuated from London to the region during the Second World War.

And to commemorate this, Chris Brooks - secretary of the Lowestoft Evacuees Association - will be making a presentation surrounding the Lowestoft connections in a public illustrated talk next Monday, September 2.

Entitled East Coast Evacuees - Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of wartime evacuation, all are welcome to attend the talk at 2pm next Monday for a 2.30pm start at the Stella Maris Hall in Gordon Road, Lowestoft.

Mr Brooks said: "Many thousands of children, babies, toddlers, teachers and others were transported from a declared unsafe evacuation zone to a safer haven inland in East Anglia where they could be accommodated by villagers and locals offering a billet.

"Once they had disembarked and rested a while in the coastal towns of Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth before moving on to their allotted place of safety - which had been worked out by local authority officials, such as the office of the Town Clerk of Lowestoft Borough Council - it was a massive undertaking."

There is free entry for the talk, with light refreshments available for a donation to the Lowestoft Evacuees Association.

Mr Brooks added: "Around 30 or so ex-Lowestoft evacuees still attend the annual reunions, but as this is another special occasion, it is hoped that anyone evacuated from London in 1939, by train, coach or boat and living locally will be able to attend to give an eyewitness report to add to those already known."

A new book to mark the 80th anniversary of the Lowestoft Evacuation is being prepared by a local author, arranged by a Lowestoft member.

Mr Brooks added: "It has many local personal storylines of interest and is planned to be launched in Spring 2020."

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