These Children are Safe

About the film

A look at the logistics and positive results of evacuation at the beginning of the Second World War.

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  • Release year - 1940
  • Director - Alexander Shaw
  • Production company - Strand
  • Cinematographer - Jo Jago
  • Composer - William Alwyn
  • Narration - John Hilton
  • Sound recording - Charles Poulton
  • Assistant - Michael Law
  • Running time (minutes) - 19 mins 05 secs

Original description

A record of the great social experiment of 'evacuation'

'During the first three days of war one million children were moved to places of safety in the country in order to avoid areas which might have made targets for enemy bombers. When schools re-opened they agreed to work on a half-shift basis - giving their own pupils games for half the day while the town children used the schoolrooms. Progressive teachers gave their pupils open-air lessons in simple architecture, in botany and in the way of living of country people.

'In the first few weeks evacuation came in for adverse criticism, but it is certain that the children have benefited. Their health has improved and they have been given opportunities to enlarge their outlook and gain a new understanding. The evacuation scheme has become an opportunity for one of the greatest social experiments that this country has ever known, bringing town and country into direct and intimate contact for the first time.'

(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1940)

Did you know?

  • In the first three days of official evacuation in Britain, 1.5 million people were moved, including school children, mothers with young children, pregnant women, disabled persons, and teachers and other 'helpers'.
  • The narrator, broadcaster John Hilton, was Director of Home Publicity at the Ministry of Information when These Children are Safe was made.

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