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KS3/4 History: Evacuees, The (1975)

An introduction to the policy of evacuating children during WWII

Main image of KS3/4 History: Evacuees, The (1975)
AuthorPoppy Simpson, BFI
TopicWWII, Evacuation
Key Wordsevacuees, host families, gas masks, air raids

A film following two young Jewish brothers and their experience of evacuation during WWII.

The Evacuees follows the story of Danny and Nevill Miller who find themselves billeted with a foster family who are totally insensitive to their needs, in particular their Jewish beliefs.

More generally, the four extracts on offer cover a range of different issues and can be used individually or in conjunction as part of a wider unit on evacuation during WWII. The extracts could be used to introduce the topic (Leaving home in particular) however you might equally like to use them once students have some knowledge of evacuation.

There are other films on the site that are useful counterparts - in particular, Carrie's War (1974) and the public information films Tomorrow is Theirs (1940) and Westward Ho! (1940).

This starter idea uses the extract Leaving home to introduce some of the key issues to do with evacuation - how it was organised and the different groups it affected.



Begin the lesson by watching Leaving home asking students to make a mental note of four things that they learn during the course of the extract.

Hear a selection of the class' ideas before drawing out any other snippets of information that the extract revealed. For example:

  • WWII has started and this triggers an evacuation
  • Children are evacuated, not adults
  • Danny and Neville attend a Jewish school
  • Some children are not being evacuated
  • They all have to have gas masks and get given some rations
  • The school is used as the means of organising evacuation
  • They are going to Blackpool
  • Children will be placed with families to look after them

Round this off by asking students to answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you think children were evacuated during WWII?
  2. Which different groups of people did evacuation effect?
  3. In what different ways do they think evacuation might have affected people within these groups?

This can lead into a broader introduction to the policy of evacuation - the motivation behind it and some more detail about who, where and why.


Some more ideas

  • Why not use the extract as the basis for a short writing exercise - imagining the feelings of one of the children being evacuated in this sequence.
Video Clips
1. Leaving home (4:22)
2. Sausages for tea (2:03)
3. Rollerskate runaways (2:29)
4. 'Business as usual' (3:02)

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Tomorrow is Theirs (1940)Tomorrow is Theirs (1940)

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Thumbnail image of Westward Ho! (1940)Westward Ho! (1940)

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Thumbnail image of Carrie's War (1974)Carrie's War (1974)

Read more about this programme

Thumbnail image of Evacuees, The (1975)Evacuees, The (1975)

Read more about this programme

See also