WWII – Evacuees

British Evacuees Assoc; click here

National Archives: Evacuees

“Finding records from the Second World War is complicated because no central government files were kept (no official records were created during the First World War as evacuations were arranged individually by families).

“Evacuation plans had been prepared well before the outbreak of the Second World War, and an evacuation policy was soon established by the government. Small scale evacuations of women and children took place at the height of the Munich Crisis in September 1938, but the major evacuation began in September 1939.

[read more]

“The government had planned to evacuate about 3,500,000 people but in fact only 1,500,000 made use of the official scheme. Almost all had been evacuated to the reception areas by the evening of 3 September, a few hours after the official declaration of war.

  • “It may help you with your research if you can find out: the name of the evacuee’s school, where they were evacuated from and to and when they were evacuated.
  • “Search the 1939 Register for England and Wales at Findmypast.co.uk (charges apply) for evacuees and their helpers – search for ‘evacuee’ in the Occupation field. The mass evacuation of children and other vulnerable people took place in early September 1939, before National Registration on 29 September that year. As a result, many evacuees appear in the register.”
  • (Notts Archives; the log books for the Hickling Village School are time-barred for 100 years; if you have a personal connection to an individual evacuee, you can approach the Archives Office for permission to access these records.)


It is likely that evacuees came to Hickling both formally and informally; informal evacuations involved family and friends offering a place to live away from danger but also happened because husbands and fathers were away fighting and their families were being supported by extended family whilst they were absent.

Schoolchildren from Yarmouth, evacuated to Barnstone, Nottinghamshire – click here.

Formal evacuations were managed by central government and children were sent away in groups with their classmates, by train. It seems that schools from Yarmouth came to our area with references found (for example) in Upper Broughton and Barnstone as well as in Hickling. The Yarmouth Mercury reports that 3,000 children were evacuated from the Yarmouth area to the Midlands including many to North Notts villages and towns such as Retford and Cresswell.

  • Children evacuated from Great Yarmouth to Upper Broughton during WW2 (an excellent article detailing the evacuation years – including Kenneth MacMillan’s short stay in the village) – click here.
  • Yarmouth Mercury: “This was early summer 1940. On the Tuesday an official letter was received by all parents urging them to let their schoolchildren be evacuated. They had to make the decision overnight as to whether or not their youngsters would leave their homes for Nottinghamshire because their replies had to be returned the next morning. Four days later, on Sunday, June 2, the exodus to safety took place, 3700 local pupils boarding four of the 97 special trains carrying a total of 47,000 children from 18 east coast towns to Midlands destinations.” (click here)

From the Wadkin Archives:

  • Can you help to fill in the unknown names, below?
  • Do you have any more school photographs from the War years?
W0318 School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0318 School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0318a School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0318a School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
  • Barbara ?
  • Colleen ?
    • ?
  • Jean Cotton
  • Ethne Brett
  • Sheila Cotton
  • June Bee
  • ?
  • Robert ?
  • Bob Smith
W0319 School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0319 School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0319a School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0319a School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
  • Maureen ?

Scrapbook of Hickling:

  • (p.74) Two teachers came with the evacuees from Yarmouth during the early 1940’s. Miss. Howe stayed at Mr. & Mrs. Whittaker’s, Beech House. Miss. Singleton at Hartshorn’s, Chestnut Farm then to Miss. Daisy Wakelin. Miss. Croster from Nottingham also stayed at Beech House. Miss. Oven stayed with Mrs. Albert Rose, Chapel Lane during the war.

The Cox family – evacuees

The Cox family who lived at Ivy Cottage took in evacuees from early in the war. We have a photograph of Barbara Cox (Herd) with Dorothy Miller which has been kindly contributed by Barbara’s daughter. It is believed that there was more than one evacuee staying in the household and it is hoped that more photographs and information will emerge. In the meantime, a new name can be added to the school photograph from 1940:

Barbara Cox (Herd) and Dorothy Miller (evacuee)
W0318 School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)
W0318 School photo 1940 (inc. evacuees)

Barbara Cox is on the back row – 4th from the left; and Dorothy Miller is also on the back row – 2nd from the left.

There is a possible birth record for Dorothy E Miller (mother’s maiden name, Turner) Q1 1932 in Yarmouth, Norfolk; if correct, this would mean that Dorothy was one of the Great Yarmouth evacuees. However, there are also a number of possible Nottinghamshire records and further clarification is needed.

Hilda and Doreen Kirke from Meadow Lane in Nottingham

CG: church from the south west
St. Luke’s, Hickling

“My Mum and her sister, Hilda and Doreen Kirke were evacuated from Meadow Lane in Nottingham to Hickling, they stayed with a spinster who lived in a cottage near to the church. Mum told me of drinking milk fresh from the cow and fresh vegetables direct from the farm. In spite of this, they were very homesick and decided to walk back to Nottingham; luckily, they were found and returned to Hickling but as they were so homesick they were eventually returned to Meadow Lane.

“Back home with their family, they witnessed the bombing of the dairy on Meadow Lane, fortunately, they and their family were safe. In the early 1980s we purchased a plot of land in Kinoulton and built our house there, from the rear of our house we have views of Hickling and the church, which reminds me of my Mum and her sister’s short stay there.”

(Mike Hill, Kinoulton)

(Nottingham Post, 2018: Meadow Lane and neighbouring streets suffered direct hits during Nottingham’s worst air raid of the war by German bombers on the night of May 8-9, 1941. A total of 159 people died that terrible night, including 48 workers at the Co-op Bakery in Meadow Lane.)

An evacuation story: Field Farm, Hickling Pastures

apples - JF stock image

Picking up a page from our website about William Salt who died during WWI, Avril Thesing contacted us to share her memories of the Salt family, her evacuation to Field Farm and a friendship which has continued for over 75 years.

Avril has written her memories down so that they can be read by her grandchildren and we are incredibly grateful to her for offering to share her writings with us, too. The old farmhouse, the orchards, visits to Melton Market, milking, cheese-making, knitting circles, Bill in the shafts of the family trap, leghorn chickens roosting in the apple trees, problems with 3-legged stools; Avril’s writing is wonderfully descriptive, gently kind and full of understanding. These pages give us an extraordinary view into wartime England and an almost lost part of our village history – enjoy!

Can the 1939 Register help?

This is a highly speculative section at the moment; but the information may prove useful in identifying individual evacuees – please contact us if you can help to piece it together.

  • The National Archives suggest searching the 1939 Register putting ‘evacuee’ in the ‘occupation’ field because the Register was taken after the first wave of evacuations; however, this doesn’t produce any results in the Hickling returns.
  • Nevertheless, there are 47 results with ‘school’ in the ‘occupation’ field. Listings include records of ‘at school’, ‘under school age’ as well as teachers and staff.
  • ‘from Hickling’ has been assumed where a child appears in a household with the same surname – further confirmations needed, though.
  • ‘evacuee’ is raised as a possibility where a child appears in a household with a different surname and/or without any obvious parent; these children could be either related to the household or be official/unofficial evacuees. There are lots of reasons why children may not be living with their parents and each case needs further research.
  • ‘closed’ records are only noted where they might contribute to understanding the status of the children. (listings don’t include individuals who were still alive when the 1939 Register was made public)
  • NOTE: newspaper reports date evacuations from Yarmouth to June 1940; in which case the 1939 Register is too early to include these children.
  • There does seem to be an unusually high number of children living in Hickling without their parents in 1939 (19 out of 41 children); brief searches for birth information suggest that most of these may have been moved out of Nottingham to live in the countryside rather than the city – probably with family or friends. (more research needed)
    • (The Village School log book is still under a time-bar for this period; but it may include helpful notes and explanations when it does become available)

Entries including the word ‘school’ in the 1939 Register for Hickling (by surname):

  • Dennis Akins b. 1931 – Chestnut House, Main St (evacuee? Living in the Wright household). Possible birth record; Basford district (mother’s maiden name, Wakefield).
  • Richard D Ball b. 1937 – Folly Hall Farm, Hickling Pastures (unclear; he is living in the Harrison household – Richard’s record comes below; Vera Ball b.1911 – unpd domestic duties)
  • Doreen Stockdale Cook (Yates) b.1928 – Elm House, Main St. (evacuee? Shelton household). Possible birth record, St Pancras, London (mother’s maiden name Aiken).
  • Marjorie Joan Cook (Curtis) b. 1939 – Elm House, Main Street (evacuee? Shelton household). No birth record found.
  • John F Coton b.1928 – March’s Farm, Main St. (evacuee? Living in the Parr household – possible sibling in a closed record above John’s.). Possible birth record, Basford district (mother’s maiden name, Cross) – see class photographs, above and Lawson, below.
  • William L Cunningham b. 1926 – Thumbra House, Hickling Pastures (evacuee? Living in the Woolley household) – closed record below William’s – possible sibling or other? 2 possible birth records; (1) 1928, Guisborough, Yorks (mother’s maiden name, Cunningham) (2) 1927, Worksop, Notts (mother’s maiden name , Watson).
  • Hettie Mary Maisie Cutts b.1903 – Ivy Cottage, Main St (school teacher living in the Burton household). Possible 1911 Census record, in her parents’ household in Sheffield. Possible death record (unmarried) in Rushcliffe district in 1981.
  • Joyce Davison b.1931 – Chestnut House, Main St. (evacuee? Living in the Wright household). No birth record found.
  • Grace Davison (Dennis) b.1926 – Chestnut House, Main St. (evacuee? Living in the Wright household). Possible birth record, Belper, Derbys (mother’s maiden name Machin).
  • Brian Doughty b.1935 – Faulks Lane, Hickling (from Hickling)
  • Francis G East b.1924 – The Pastures, Hickling (from Hickling?)
  • Frances L Elliott (Davill) b.1927 – Glebe Farm, The Pastures (from Hickling)
  • Rita Noel Elliott b.1933 – Glebe Farm, the Pastures (from Hickling)
  • Dorothy Faulks (Cheetham) b.1924 – Faulks Lane, Hickling (from Hickling)
  • Kenneth F Faulks b.1931 – March’s Farm, Main St. (from Hickling)
  • Rosemary W Foster (Smith) b.1933 – Rectory, Main St. (from Hickling? – vicar, Revd. Lancelot Foster)
  • Norman C Gardiner b.1930 – The Rectory, Main St (evacuee? possibly family member/unofficial evacuation? – in the household of the vicar, Revd. Lancelot Foster). There is a closed record above Norman’s, likely surname Gardiner and above that is Nora Charlotte Gardiner (Doe) b.1902, unpd domestic duties). Possible birth record, Goole, Yorks (mother’s maiden name Walton).
  • Dorothy Mary Goldrick (Ludlow) b.1932 – Clawson Lane, Hickling (evacuee? Living in Copley household). Possible birth record, Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name, Cooper).
  • Ronald L Lawson b.1933 – March’s Farm, Main St. (evacuee? Living in the Parr household). Likely birth record, Q4 1932 Basford District (mother’s maiden name, Coton) – see class photographs and John Coton, above.
  • Florence Munks b.1892 – Main St. (correspondence school secretary), from Hickling.
  • Joan M Newton (Pokes, Keane) b. 1931 – Main St. (evacuee? In the Wiles household – Home Farm?). Possible birth record, 1931, Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name Garness).
  • Willie Nixon b.1871 – b.1871 Clawson Lane, Hickling (caretaker in school)
  • Roy K Pearson b.1928 – The Pastures, Hickling (from Hickling)
  • Annie Proudman b.1871 – The School House
  • Edith Proudman (Spencer) b.1898 – The School House (certificated Head Teacher – teacher at the Village School pre-war)
  • Arnold W Robinson b.1931 – Oak House, Main St. (from Hickling)
  • Mary Robinson (Smart) b.1922 – Oak House (from Hickling) – one closed record in the Robinson household between Mary and Arnold.
  • John Wilfred Ross b.1928 – The Yews, Main St. (evacuee? Woolley household). Possible birth record 1928 Grantham District (mother’s maiden name, Jackson).
  • Edward R Rowland b. 1928 – The Hollies, The Green (evacuee? Living with George & Jessie Squires). Possible birth record 1928, Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name, Whittaker).
  • Thora Sandford (Poole) b.1916 – Hickling (assistant school mistress living in the Bird household). Likely baptism record, Nether Broughton; 30th April 1916 (born 12th March 1916), father Horace John, mother Bathsheba – birth recorded in Bingham District making Kinoulton likely place of birth. Likely record; 1921 census at The Anchor Inn, Nether Broughton in her grandparents’ household (surname Goodson) – mother alive (but crossed through in green), father dead – birthplace listed as Kinoulton.
  • Arthur WT Sandford b.1916 – Hickling (assistant school master living in the Bird household). Possible birth record Q2 1916, West Ham, Essex (mother’s maiden name Keehner). Married Thora Poole in Melton Mowbray Q1 1940.
  • John Ernest Slater Shelton b.1933 – Elm House, Main St. (from Hickling)
  • (Shelton – closed record – born between 1933 & 1938
  • Peter Shelton b.1938 – Elm House, Main St. (from Hickling)
  • Charles Donald Simpson b.1939 – Rose Cottage, Main St. (from Hickling)
  • John Sisson b.1932 – Yew Tree House, Main St. (evacuee? In a household with Walter and Sarah Jane Flint). Possible birth record, Q2 Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name, Ellis).
  • Edna Smith (Beardsall) b.1924 – The Green (from Hickling).
  • Freda Smith (Rosling) b.1931 – Hickling (evacuee? Living in the Bird household – see also, Sandford). No birth record found.
  • Ralph Henry Smith b.1926 – The Green (from Hickling)
  • Sylvia Smith (Palmer) b.1930 – The Green (from Hickling)
  • Wallace E Smith b.1929 – Wheel House, Main St. (evacuee? Living in the Copley household). No birth record found.
  • Betty Anne Squires b.1929 – Chapel Lane, Hickling (from Hickling)
  • Joan Mary Squires (Bailey) b.1936 – Hickling (from Hickling)
  • Jean Taylor b.1929 – The Rectory (evacuee? In the household of the Revd Lancelot Foster – he is absent and there are several family names listed). Likely birth record Q3 Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name, Haigh).
  • Shirley B Taylor (Daly) b. 1931 – Rectory, Main St. (evacuee? In the household of the Revd Lancelot Foster – he is absent and there are several family names listed). Likely birth record Q3 Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name, Haigh).
  • Edna Tranter (Lee) b.1932 – Clawson Lane, Hickling (evacuee? Living in Copley household). Possible birth record Q3 Nottingham District (mother’s maiden name, Edwards).
  • Edwin Woolley b.1935 – Barland Fields, The Pastures (from Hickling)
  • Mary Wright b.1930 – The Green (from Hickling)
  • Wallace Wright b.1926 – Chestnut House, Main St. (from Hickling; possible evacuees in household)