From the Village Voice, Wombourne-on-Sea

During the Second World War thousands of children were evacuated from inner city and semi industrial areas that were likely to be bombed. They were moved out to more rural locations where, it I was hoped, they would be more safe.

The greatest number of children to find themselves on the move came from the big cities London, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham and a small percentage of them found themselves heading to South Staffordshire.

Most of those allocated to Wombourne and the immediate area came from London, arriving by train and finding themselves somewhat bewildered by their new surroundings. Many had never seen a cow nor a field of corn before and some were overwhelmed by the distinctive “country smells” that they encountered for the first time.

One of those evacuated from North London was Fred Machin whose memories are recorded in the book ” Travelling Light”. He was just 12 when he was sent to Wombourne and he vividly recounts how, when he boarded the train (along with his two sisters) he was told that he was going to the seaside. His disappointment was immense when he found out how far from the sea he was to be (he had never been to the coast) and always referred to the village as ” Womboume-onSea”. Indeed many more of the evacuees followed suit and, for a while at least, even some of the locals starting using the name!

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