“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.
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