How to look for records of... Evacuees

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

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An evacuation policy was established by the government in the Second World War, but during the First World War evacuations were arranged individually by families so official records were not created.

Finding personal records of evacuees is not easy as no central government files were kept.

Local archives are the best place to start if you want to know about individuals who were evacuated. For example, they might have records from the schools that were evacuated or the schools that the evacuated children attended in their new homes.

Local authorities may have records relating to the arrangements for children being evacuated to their area.

Some central government files relating to the policy of evacuation have been kept and can be found at The National Archives.

1. What do I need to know before I start?

  • name of the evacuee’s school
  • where they were evacuated from and to
  • when they were evacuated

2. What records can I see online?

There are no collections of evacuee records available online.

3. What records can I find at The National Archives?

The National Archives does not hold any personal records of evacuees.

Search Discovery, our catalogue, for files relating to evacuation policy. Restrict your search to relevant government departments such as Cabinet Office (CO), Ministry of Education (ED), Ministry of Health (MH), Ministry of Information (RG) and Home Office (HO).

4. What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Records held elsewhere

Search our catalogue using the keyword ‘evacuees’ and refine your results using the filters. This will show local archives which hold relevant records.

5. What other resources will help me to find information?


Evacuees Reunion Association

Imperial War Museum

Second World War Experience Centre


Search The National Archives’ bookshop to see whether any of the publications below may be available to buy. Alternatively, look in The National Archives’ library catalogue to see what is available to consult at Kew.

R Samways, We think you ought to go – the evacuation of London’s children (London Metropolitan Archives, 1995)

Mike Brown, A child’s war: growing up on the Home Front 1939-1945 (Stroud, 2000)

Stewart Ross, Evacuation (London, c2002)

The Imperial War Museum, The schools in wartime (London, 1995)

6. Did you know?

Evacuation plans had been in preparation well before the outbreak of war.

Small scale evacuations of women and children were carried out at the height of the Munich Crisis in September 1938 but the real evacuation began in September 1939.

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 from the danger areas to the reception areas by the evening of 3 September, a few hours after the official declaration of war.

The National Archives does not hold any personal files relating to evacuees.