The Oral History of the Guernsey Evacuation of 1940

Posted on 30/05/2011 by


Post by Gillian Mawson:

The Guernsey Evacuation has almost been forgotten by many in the UK.

Since May 2008, I have been interviewing hundreds of children, teachers and mothers who fled Guernsey to mainland Britain in June 1940, just a few days prior to the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. Around 17,000 residents left their homes, and all of their possessions, behind.

My research at the University of Manchester has concentrated on the many thousands that arrived in the industrial towns of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. (Others were scattered throughout the UK). The evacuees spent several weeks in Evacuee Reception Centres, before being provided with local accommodation. Over 5,000 Guernsey children were evacuated with their school teachers and many did not see their parents again for five long years. Some Guernsey Headteachers re-established their schools in England, in order to keep the pupils and teachers together throughout the war.

My interviews with evacuees, and document searches, have revealed emotional stories from both children and adult evacuees, regarding the actual evacuation, their five years in England cut off from friends and family on Guernsey, and of their return to Guernsey in 1945 when many had difficulty bonding with their own families after such a long separation.

For more information about the project, please see the project’s website or contact Gillian, email

Posted in: Project News