From Historical Hastings

Early in the war, Hastings was considered to be a 'safe' town (known at the time as a 'reception town'), leading to evacuees from London being billetted in the town, however by June 1940, it was apparent that this was not the case - the Education Officer strongly recommending that schoolchildren of the borough be evacuated. One of the options considered was that of overseas evacuation with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the USA being destinations. From reporting of the time, some 1000 parents put their children forward for this scheme. This scheme, however, was virtually un-workable - it would have taken the better part of a year to embark all of the children.

Following the first air-raid on the town on the 26th of July 1940, plans were rapidly changed and culminated in a number of special trains and coaches being laid on to transport schoolchildren to safe destinations between the above date and the 11th of September 1940. This had the effect of almost halving the population of the town overnight.

March 1941 brought the news that most of the schools were closed in the borough, with pupils being predominantly sent to Hertfordshire. One reported exception was Hollington Park School which went to St. Ives.

Although evacuation was not mandatory, it was emphasised that evacuating children would help the war effort[1].

References & Notes

  1. Hastings in Peace and War 1930-1945 pg. 42 (Mary Haskell Porter 2002) ISBN: 9781870096065 ESCC Library