Hastings was originally considered a 'safe' town, accepting evacuees from London and surrounding boroughs. All of this changed with the first air raid on the town which happened on the 26th of July 1940. A special series of trains and coaches ran on the 11th of September 1940. This exodus halved the population of the town almost overnight. School children were evacuated on the 21st of July 1940. Although it was not compulsory for children to be evacuated the Education Officer made it clear that by registering their children for evacuation, they would be supporting the Government. A further pressure was brought to bear by closing all state schools post-evacuation date.