Monday, January 12, 2009

British Child Evacuees to Canada - World War II

John D. Reid has written an interesting and instructive article, "World War II Guest Children" for this month's issue of Family Chronicle. This will be a very useful introduction to those intending to research a World War II British child evacuee.

For most, especially the children privately evacuated, historical records are few. The official evacuation plan, managed by the Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB), sent children to relatives and volunteer foster families in Commonwealth countries - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa - and to the United States. The National Archives of the U.K. does hold some CORB records and John Reid outlines how to find these and other research sources.

John Reid writes regularly on genealogy with a 'British-Canadian perspective' on his blog, Anglo-Celtic Connections.

The examples given in the article are of children sent to Central or Eastern Canada, but some British evacuee children were sent to British Columbia, Canada and there is some good information on one group of these on-line. In September of 1940, 34 child evacuees sailed on the S.S. Nerissa. One, Bernard H. Atkins, who was evacuated to Victoria, British Columbia with his two brothers, has written a memoir of the trip which is published on the S.S. Nerissa website along with a list of the children on that voyage, their last place of residence and their destinations in B.C.

A Vancouver, B.C. film company some years ago produced 'A Rough Crossing' about World War II child evacuation. Several adults, once Canadian guest children, appear in the film. As the film shows though, not all children were welcome in Canada during this period.

'Guest Children', an on-line fictional story exhibition for children about two British children evacuated to British Columbia, Canada, was produced by Idéeclic for the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The website has ideas and additional information for teachers and students.


"World War II Guest Children" by John D. Reid, Family Chronicle, January/February 2009, pp. 31-32

John D. Reid's blog, Anglo-Celtic Connections:

Wartime Evacuation and the Children's Overseas Reception Board, S.S. Nerissa:

A Rough Crossing, directed by Teresa MacInnes, Starry Night Productions Inc., 1995. Information and video clip, National Film Board of Canada:

Review by Jonathan McConnell, A Rough Crossing, The Peak, Simon Fraser University, Volume 91, Issue 6, 2 October, 1995:

Guest Children, Picturing The Past, Canada Science and Technology Museum:

1 comment:

Doreen Braverman said...

Five children from Britain lived with us at different times during the war. I am in contact with three of them. How can I locate the other two?