This Is How The Story Begins

“Dad, my shoes. I can’t find my shoes.!”

I lifted my head from the pillow and pushed my scruffy red hair away from my blinking eyes. Fear: it seemed to always penetrate my body when Dad pulled me out of the bed. I felt frozen, as if in a soundless, safe place where reacting didn’t matter. I always panicked in the dark.

I couldn’t move. This wasn’t just another German air raid on London. We were used to the darkness, the whistling bombs, the explosions, the fires, and the air raid sirens screaming back at the heavy bombers.

The fires scared me the most. It wasn’t the heat, and it wasn’t smell of burning buildings. It was how the fires flashed like giant light bulbs when they reached for more fuel. I felt the fire fuel would be me. Was I to be just another charred body trapped under a fallen ceiling?

Hitler was decisive and wanted to conquer England. The devastation was horrific. The rampant engines vibrating the airplanes and the piercing sounds of the bombs falling onto the buildings crushed the city of London.

Throughout the history of England other countries intended to dissolve their independence.  The challenges of their own monarchy and revolutions contributed to a maze of events. On September 7, 1940, Hitler’s determination to eradicate England during World War II, evolved into a five-year war. The Blitz became the people’s war. In total 43,000 civilians were killed, 150,000 were injured and half a million were made homeless.

This story is dedicated to the citizens who lived in England during World War II. Their perseverance of constant German bombings, the heartache of having to evacuate their children from London, and the devastation of their way of life was overwhelming. Occasionally there was panic. At times, local authorities failed miserably in their attempts to manage the chaos.

England did not want to lose a generation of children.  They evacuated 3.4 million children from their families and moved them to complete strangers in the countryside.  I interviewed a woman who was evacuated from her family.  This story is based on her experience and other children who were evacuated.