During the 2nd world war children from the cities were sent to the country for greater safety. Thus a group of youngsters from Glasgow spent part of the war away from their homes and families, in Dunning. Many of these evacuees were contacted by the Society and a reunion organised which took place in 1994. This was an astounding success, and several smaller events involving evacuees since then have also generated a great deal of interest. A second major reunion took place on September 3rd 1999, 60 years after the outbreak of war.
On September 3rd 1939 the first wave of hundreds of big city evacuees suddenly arrived in Dunning.
Exactly 60 years later we held a day-long series of events involving evacuees and partners, pupils from Glasgow's Haghill School from which most of our evacuees originally came, Dunning pupils, Society members and the public. The following report is by Chairperson Liz Fletcher:
The great day dawned, fine and sunny, and two years work and planning came to fruition on Friday 3rd September, when the Society marked the 60th anniversary of the evacuation of the children from Haghill Primary School in Glasgow to live with families in Dunning.
The children arrived at Dunning Primary School in a vintage bus courtesy of Jim Docherty, to be met by ex-evacuees, villagers and Society members - and lots of MEDIA!
The somewhat bemused children were led into the school playground where a mock re-enactment of 'billeting' of the children took place. The day continued with a meeting in the old Kirk of St Serf's, when some of the evacuees told the children from both Haghill and Dunning schools what they had felt and remembered on that fateful day 60 years ago.
Haghill School presented the Society with a beautiful embroidered sampler so mark the occasion and an evacuee - Malcolm Picken, presented a selection of coins and notes from the war years to the Society and a war year penny to each of the Haghill children.
After lunch various evacuees took the children on 'a stroll down memory lane' before the children left.
The day concluded with an evening reception in the village hall, followed by a dance led by Ron Spiers and the Tayside Big Dance Band, when evacuees and villagers danced the night away to the music of the 40's.
It was a day of emotion, a day of nostalgia, a day for renewing old friendships and the making of new ones, and, perhaps, even in its own small way an historical day for a society dedicated to keeping alive and cherishing just such memories.
Here Come the Glasgow Keelies
The Society has published a book about the Evacuees. Some stayed a short while, a few stayed for the duration of the war. Some came with their mothers, others came alone or with their siblings. It was a chance remark by one of the evacuees who had returned to settle in Dunning after the war which sparked the idea of the 1994 evacuees reunion. Since then many of the evacuees have recorded the memories of their experience for us. For some it's a wonderful voyage of discovery; for others a heartbreaking journey of despair. These recollections give a remarkable insight into one of the many facets of Britain at war. In the year of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II this book, published by Dunning Parish Historical Society and edited by founder member Lorne Wallace, is our tribute to these evacuees.
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