Commemorating the 80th anniversary of schools evacuation

The Notley Road Senior Boys who left Lowestoft Rail Station on June 2, 1940. Picture: Imperial War M

The Notley Road Senior Boys who left Lowestoft Rail Station on June 2, 1940. Picture: Imperial War Museum - Credit: Archant

It was a period in their lives that won’t ever be forgotten.

The Church Road Senior Girls who left Lowestoft Rail Station on June 2, 1940. Picture: Lowestoft Jou

The Church Road Senior Girls who left Lowestoft Rail Station on June 2, 1940. Picture: Lowestoft Journal/Archant archives - Credit: Archant

On Sunday, June 2, 1940, 3,000 schoolchildren of all ages were joined by teachers and welfare staff as the threat of war moved towards the east coast meaning they were uprooted from their homes as they left Lowestoft.

With today (Tuesday, June 2, 2020) marking the 80th anniversary of the evacuation of children from the east coast to places of safety inland under the threat of invasion, memories have been recalled once more.

The sign installed at Lowestoft Rail station. Picture: Chris Brooks

The sign installed at Lowestoft Rail station. Picture: Chris Brooks - Credit: Archant

Eighty years ago, 3,000 schoolchildren lined up at Lowestoft railway station as they were evacuated to live with other families in and around Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Since then, many of those involved have attended reunion events over the years that have been organised through the Lowestoft Evacuees Association.

A scene from the Lowestoft Evacuees Association winter reunion in 2017. Picture: Chris Brooks

A scene from the Lowestoft Evacuees Association winter reunion in 2017. Picture: Chris Brooks - Credit: Archant


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Two major reunions are still held each year in Lowestoft, in June and December, while strong links have been forged between Lowestoft and Glossop.

One of the five packed evacuation special trains leaving Lowestoft Central Station on June 2, 1940 went to Glossop with children being billeted with families in the town and nearby countryside.

The Lowestoft Evacuees at Glossop in 2019. Picture: Chris Brooks

The Lowestoft Evacuees at Glossop in 2019. Picture: Chris Brooks - Credit: Archant

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Another trainload of Southwold and Reydon children, entrained at Halesworth, headed for destinations then unknown to Derbyshire and Worksop.

Lowestoft Evacuees Association secretary Chris Brooks said: “France and the Low countries had fallen under the Nazi advance and only the land around Dunkirk was being defended in a gallant rearguard action by allied forces to allow most of the British Expeditionary Force and Allied forces to evacuate from the harbour and beaches which we have commemorated last week and this.

“Meanwhile hurried plans were made involving parents and guardians to register their children for the government backed emergency.”

The story of Lowestoft Evacuees has been unfolding since their 50th anniversary with their stories compiled and reunions organised by Mr Brooks and then since 2007 in a committee initiated by ex evacuee Clive Capps.

Mr Brooks said: “This year, new chapters will be told to commemorate the 80th anniversary, but sadly not this week.

“The usual June reunion has been postponed until the first Saturday of December 2020 when it is hoped ex-evacuees shall meet again and be presented with another souvenir book with many untold evacuee stories and updates on the work of the Association.”

The project is managed by Lowestoft Evacuees Committee vice chairman Clive Capps collaborating with local author Sandra Delf.

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