from Edinburgh during

World War II




Jim Patience

Alberta, Canada

Thank you to Jim Patience, now living in Alberta Canada, for writing about his evacuation to Hawick in the Scottish Borders, about 50 miles to the south of Edinburgh.

Jim wrote:

Evacuation to


"In 1939, at the start of World War II, we were living in a single-end at 4a Canon Street, Canonmills, when I was evacuated to Hawick in the Scottish Borders with my mother and brother..

I recently came across the evacuation document.  Here it is:

Evacuation Document  -  Edinburgh to Hawick, 1939

I was just about 2 years old at the time, so I don't remember too much about it."

Jim Patience, Alberta, Canada:  August 24, 2008



Peter Butler

Hennenman, South Africa

Thank you to Susan Draper for writing about his evacuation to Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, about 25 miles to the south of Edinburgh.

Susan wrote:

Evacuation to


"My mother, my two brothers and I were evacuated to Peebles t the start of World War II.  The locals were not particularly friendly, referring to us as 'refugees'.

We were all very unhappy and only stayed for a few days, as my mother said she would rather put up with the German air raids and, if it were to be, die in her 'ain hoose'."

Peter Butler:  Hennenman, South Africa:  February 7, 2011



Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ian Thomson who wrote:

Evacuation to Australia

"Hundreds if children were evacuated to Australia in the summer of 1940 when the invasion of Britain by the Germans seemed imminent."

Return to Stenhouse

"Many Edinburgh children were separated from their families, spending the war years safely in Australia.  Amongst them were two sisters, Maureen and Mabel Renny, aged 8 and 7, who returned to Edinburgh after the war and lived in the Earl Haig Houses at Stenhouse."

Emigration to Canada

"The girls later emigrated to Canada.  During one of out trips to Calgary, in the 1980s, we met Maureen, but then lost touch with the sisters, and often wonder how they are now.

Other Emigration

"In 1940, many children were sent to the country to escape the bombing.  Though barely six, I remember spending time on a farm near Duns in the Scottish Borders.

It seems, in hindsight, to have been  a terrible risk to send ships loaded with children.  In fact, one was sunk by a u- boat in the Atlantic with heavy loss of life.  Churchill cancelled the scheme in 1941."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  May 17, 2011



Rosemary Wilson


Thank you to Rosemary Wilson who wrote

Evacuation to the Highlands

Our Journey

"In 1939 my brother, Bill, and I were evacuated from Edinburgh. I remember the long train ride all the way up to Fort William. At differentt halts along the way, people gave us water and food. I remember green hats, perhaps they were WVS."

The Highland Hotel

"When we arrived, it was dark, and the streets were lined with people staring at us in silence, as we marched up to The Highland Hotel.  We all carried a gasmask and a paper bag containing a can of corned beef and a can of condensed milk."

Our Accommodation

"My mother had come along as a helper, so she and I were given a room with 2 single beds. When I woke in the morning, I was on the floor, between the beds, covered with a quilt, having fallen out of bed in the night."


"We marched to an open area where we were all lined up and sorted out in age, for billeting and placement at schools.  Mum, Bill and I were billeted in a house for a few days, then Mum and I were sent with a group of about 20 or 25, to Roy Bridge."


"Bill stayed in Fort William to attend High School, as he was 12.  Our group all stayed in Roy Bridge Hotel.. Mum and I had a room of our own.  We went to the small village school, I think there were only 3 classroms, I remember it was very crowded."

Return to Edinburgh

"The Hotel was also too crowded, and conditions worsened.  Following some complaints from parents, all or most of the children had returned home by Christmas.

 I had left earlier to stay with my Aunt in Glasgow, while Mum stayed to help look after the remaining evacuees until arrangements could be  made."

Rosemary Wilson, Canada:  May 10, 2015


Evacuation to Peebles


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