Thursday, September 29, 2016

21 Amazing Vintage Photographs That Show Evacuees the Measures Being Taken in London in 1939 to Prepare for World War II

As bombing raids attacking Britain's cities increased during World War Two, thousands of children were uprooted from their families and sent to the safety of the countryside. Many found, however, that life away from home was no picnic.

The evacuation of Britain's cities at the start of World War Two was the biggest and most concentrated mass movement of people in Britain's history. In the first four days of September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were transported from towns and cities in danger from enemy bombers to places of safety in the countryside.

Most were schoolchildren, who had been labelled like pieces of luggage, separated from their parents and accompanied instead by a small army of guardians - 100,000 teachers. By any measure it was an astonishing event, a logistical nightmare of co-ordination and control beginning with the terse order to 'Evacuate forthwith,' issued at 11.07am on Thursday, 31 August 1939. Few realised that within a week, a quarter of the population of Britain would have a new address.

William Vandivert photographed for LIFE from the late 1930s through 1948. In 1938 he moved to work in England. In 1939, World War II was declared and bombing started in London, Vandivert appeared and captured the evacuations of civilians. Here are some of his amazing photographs:

Children being evacuated out of London during the outbreak of World War II.

A bus converted into an ambulance in preparation for war.

People painting white circles on trees in the event of a blackout during air raids.

A soldier and his family having lunch in a park as war preparations go on in the background.

A bus converted into an ambulance in preparation for war.

People building air raid shelters of white brick on a residential corner.

Home Guardsman standing watch on London Bridge following outbreak of World War II.

A newspaper screaming headlines of war during the outbreak of World War II.

Sheet music for English songs at the time of the outbreak of World War II that is used to boost morale.

A London train station during the outbreak of World War II.

A man putting masks on a traffic light during the outbreak of World War II.

A poster urging people to donate blood to help wounded soldiers.

People painting white circles on trees and white curbs in the event of a blackout during air raids.

People buying air raid protection devices like gas masks.

Children being evacuated out of London during the outbreak of World War II.

A travel agency trying to cash in on the outbreak of war.

Newspapers screaming headlines of war during the outbreak of World War II.

Territorial Army recruits standing guard on the London Bridge.

Children being evacuated out of London during the outbreak of World War II.

Children standing in a park as preparations for air raids commence in the background.

A train being converted into an ambulance.

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