In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Children in World War 2: Children evacuated on 1 September 1939


In the first four days of September 1939 nearly 3,000,000 people were evacuated in Britain.

They moved from the towns and cities to safer places in the countryside.

The vast majority of these were schoolchildren, but they were accompanied by 100,000 teachers and sometimes a parent.

In scenes repeated all over the country, children marched as a school to the train station wearing identity labels and carrying their gasmasks and a few personal possessions.

For most it was the start of a long day that would eventually conclude with their selection by a 'host family' in the 'reception area' - their new homes.


The evacuation of British children is going on smoothly and efficiently. The Ministry of Health says that great progress has been made with the first part of the government's arrangements. The railways, the road transport organisations, the local authorities and teachers, the voluntary workers and, not least, the householders in the reception areas, are all playing their part splendidly.

We're on Number 12 platform at Waterloo Station, one of the ten big metropolitan stations that are engaged today on the evacuation of London's schoolchildren. We're on Number 12 platform, the train's in and the children are just arriving...coming along in their school groups...with a banner in front saying what school they are...the tiny tots in front, leading up to the bigger ones, the 12/13 year olds behind...and here comes a high school, more like 14, 15 and 16...they're being evacuated too.

Programmes to download

Programmes to download at any time

Download programmes

A collection of programmes to download as mp3 files at any time. Includes dance and music.



Current podcasts

See all School Radio and other Learning podcasts available from the BBC Podcast Directory.

Contact us

Contact us

Contact us

We are always pleased to receive your feedback, suggestions and pupils' work.

Perform our School Musicals

Perform our School Musicals

School Musicals

Our performance scripts for 9 to 11s, complete with music, songs and special effects to download.

Macbeth for mobile and tablet

Macbeth videos for mobile and tablet

Macbeth animations

Watch Macbeth animated in 8 short video episodes for mobile/tablet. See the Teacher Notes.

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War

Coming in the Autumn term: a new reading of Carrie's War in 10 episodes. Series begins 20/09/2016.

Curriculum for Excellence

100 years since World War 1

WW1 Performance Pack

WW1 Performance Pack

Commemorate 100 years since WW1 by staging our specially-written play 'Archie Dobson's War'.

Private Peaceful - listen now!

Click to listen to Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Private Peaceful

All 13 episodes of Michael Morpurgo's moving WW1 story are available to listen to online.

Teacher's notes

Teacher's Notes

Online Teacher's Notes

Notes to support the programmes including details of all the series content.