Ten Interesting Facts About World War II Evacuation

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1. The Blitz

“The Blitz” is a term used during World War II that refers to the heavy bombings in London and other major cities in Britain. When people heard that a bombing would be made, they started preparing for casualties and evacuation. The word was derived from “blitzkrieg,” which means “lightning war.”

London, the main target, was once bombed within 57 consecutive nights. About 60,000 British were affected, mostly underground evacuees.

2. Soviet Union

In the days of 1941 to 1942, the Soviet Union evacuated approximately 7-25 million people from the western side of their country. This evacuation was intended to accomplish certain goals. One of these was to improve the capability of the Soviet Military. Industrial workers were given top priority because they added manpower. But instead of accomplishing those goals, many died  or became ill due to poor health and the lack of medical attention.

3. Billeting Officer

A Billeting Officer was in charge of finding children evacuees a second home. The family that they would live with was called the “host family.” Children were presented to these host families; then the family chose the child who would live with them. Those who were not selected had to wait for families who would choose them.

4. Sea-Vacs

Children from the United Kingdom were transported to other countries like Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. They were known as Sea-Vacs. There were thousands of Sea-Vacs who left their country for reasons of safety. Some were lucky, some found it hard to live apart from their families, and some lived in fear and homesickness and even abuse from their host families.

5. Identity Cards

In Britain, evacuees had to carry name tags or identification cards as provided by the National Registration Act of 1939. These tags contained their names and addresses to  prove their identities and residences. They had to carry these cards and IDs until 1952, seven years after World War II.

6. Japanese-Americans

Two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the lives of many Japanese-Americans changed very much. The former president of the United States of America signed Executive Order 9066 in 1942. This law provided for the relocation and evacuation of approximately 122,000 Japanese-Americans on the west side of the United States.

7. The Army Nurse Corps

Air evacuation started in North Africa in February, 1943. Those who were evacuated were wounded, disabled, or diseased soldiers of war. On these flights were Flight Nurses who cared for those soldiers. They attended special training before entering the Air Force. They were also trained for field survivability like ocean, jungle, desert, and arctic environments.

8. The Dengue Virus

Dengue, a virus spread by a mosquito bite, infected almost all of the troops in the Solomon Islands just after the ground action ceased in August, 1942. The virus continuously spread through the battlefields of the Pacific, affecting 25% of the base strength (around 5,000). In 1944, a total of 396 affected military personnel were evacuated from the Gilbert Islands hospitals in Hawaii.

9. After the War

After the war, foster parents felt sad that their adopted children had to return to their own families. But on the other hand, they were also glad that the children would now resume the normal lives they had before the War began.

10. Eighth (8th) Evacuation Hospital

The men from the 8th Evacuation Hospital were on the U.S.S. Santa Paula. The next day the ship set sail before dawn to avoid enemy detection that might result in combat. The fleet had 35-40 ships, including a battleship, an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, an assortment of destroyers, freighters, and troop transports.

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