Professor highlights tales of women and evacuation - The Worcester Observer

Professor highlights tales of women and evacuation

Worcester Editorial 17th Oct, 2019   0

THE often-overlooked experiences of women during the Second World War evacuation have been brought to life in a new book.

Maggie Andrews, professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester, has shed light on the untold stories of women who saw their children leave their side at the height of the conflict.

Stories about evacuation inevitably focus on the millions of children, including the thousands who came to Worcestershire. Professor Andrews revealed she wanted to redress the balance and look at the effect this had on families and women’s domestic lives.

“I want to put mothers and women back into the evacuation story,” she said.

“As mothers, foster mothers, teachers and voluntary workers in women’s organisations, women were at the forefront of the evacuation experience.

“They had to make the heart-breaking decision to have their children evacuated, had to look after other people’s children for years, and teachers’ lives were massively disrupted as many were evacuated with the children and had to look after them and live in lodgings.

“It was very much a women’s story.”

‘Women and Evacuation in the Second World War’ features research carried out in the West Midlands, particularly Worcestershire and Staffordshire and moving personal stories, such as mothers who brought their children back from evacuation only to have them killed or injured when their school was bombed.

At one point during the Blitz in 1940 and 1941, the Mayor of Worcester claimed there was no more room to take any more in the city.

Voluntary organisations like the Worcester Women’s Voluntary Service were tasked with making 900 straw mattresses, a feat which was achieved with relays of working parties at Worcester’s Guildhall.

In Great Malvern, an elderly vicar wrote to the clerk of the council to suggest his 77-year-old wife was not up to the care of evacuees, claiming due to her poor health they had not had visitors to stay for five years.


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