Euston Station, September 1940

“It will only be for a few weeks,” she told them, raising her voice over the wails of the other children. “Be brave for Mummy.”

“And Daddy too,” said Christiana.

Maude looked at her daughter as though for the first time, the blue coat buttoned up as though it was already winter, the way she held her little brother’s hand. So adult.

“Where did Daddy go?” asked Michael.

“You know that, silly,” said his sister.  “Gone to fight Hitler. We’re going to the country because of the bombings. We’ll be safe as houses.”

At this, Maude burst into tears.

Friday Fictioneers

Fear that German bombing would cause civilian deaths prompted the government to evacuate children from British towns and cities during the Second World War. Evacuation took place in several waves. The first came on 1 September 1939 – the day Germany invaded Poland and two days before the British declaration of war. Over the course of three days 1.5 million evacuees were sent to rural locations

16 thoughts on “Euston Station, September 1940

  1. Wonderfully done, Josh.
    I read a book by my favourite author, Mave Binchy with this as a story line…
    I love that “safe as houses”.. and Maude realising her daughter will help keep it together for the others…

  2. I can just almost place myself in that day and time, a picture the scene playing out before my eyes. How heart-wrenching. Families being torn asunder, young men and women going off to die defending their homelands and families. Sadly, we’re seeing the same events playing out in our modern day and age, and it’s just as heartwrenching to hear the screams and cries of those being ripped from their families arms… when will we ever learn?????

  3. Your story captures well the feeling of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and pretending that such acts are only to be expected, because ‘life goes on’. From the stories my parents have told me that was very much how it was.

  4. It shows what an extensive rail system must be in place, to move so many so shortly. Impressive organization at work. The children are always the ones who suffer the sins of the adults.

  5. I can hear the bewilderment in the children’s words, and the pain of the mother trying to pacify them. Awful times. My mother was evacuated from Glasgow as a child, with her four sisters and pregnant mother. She often tells us how much her mother enjoyed staying in a big fancy house with servants, and how disappointed she was that after a few days they suggested she should cook for her family, as the girls weren’t used to the kind of food being provided.

Don't just stand there.