Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, numerous children were relocated from their residences throughout the nation, and Bournemouth took many of them.

In an effort to protect the young ones from potential harm by German bombers in Southampton, they were relocated to regions deemed safer, away from high-risk areas.

The late Lord Maybray-King, distinguished former Speaker of the House of Commons and dedicated Southampton MP, reflected on those dark days as he penned his recollections.

“Almost every school child in Southampton was conveyed to some remoter part of Hampshire and Dorset,’’ said Lord Maybray-King.

“For most of them it was their first experience of being away from their parents.

“With them went their teachers, truly in loco parentis. Waiting for them in schools in the reception areas were teachers and voluntary workers.

“The first formidable task, which had to be completed in hours rather then days, was to find a home for each evacuee.

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“Some preparations had been made before, but often the evacuee teachers and their colleagues in the reception areas had to go from house to house asking good folk to receive a child in their homes.

“It was a remarkably successful venture. Co-operation was forthcoming on every hand.

“The children themselves were remarkably brave; the teachers carried out superbly a task which nobody had experienced before.

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“By the end of the first day every child had been found a billet, and the teachers in the evening had to seek out ‘homes’ for themselves.

‘Phoney war’

“Then followed the ‘phoney war’. No bombs were dropped on the evacuated towns. The pull of the child’s real home was naturally powerful, and many parents brought their children back with the thought that there was no longer any need for this mighty exercise.

“In towns like Southampton the authorities had to accept what they could not alter, and they set up part-time schools in the town for the returning children, whilst those still evacuated shared schools in the reception area.

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“Then the bombing came in real earnest, and there was a second wave of evacuation.

“Fortunately few children were killed in the blitzed towns, but those most fortunate were those whose parents had wisely decided from the first to leave their children in comparative safety.’’