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Ripley offered shelter to evacuees

Children from Peckham Road School in Kingstanding, who were forced to evacuate their home town during World War Two. They arrived at Ripley Station during 1941 and 1942.

Children from Peckham Road School in Kingstanding, who were forced to evacuate their home town during World War Two. They arrived at Ripley Station during 1941 and 1942.

A historian has launched an appeal for information on World War Two evacuee from Birmingham who were housed in the Ripley area.

Former teacher Chris Hillcox, of Sutton Coalfield, is researching the lives of the youngsters forced to flee the town of Kingstanding, during the Luftwaffe bombings of Birmingham.

The 39-year-old stay-at-home-dad-of-two’s findings are set to go on display in the archives of Birmingham Central Lending Library .

He said: “I am really hoping there are people in the Ripley and Swanwick areas that recall the children coming from the Birmingham area.

“I think it will give us more of an idea of the impact of war – not just on the evacuees but the towns and villages that looked after them.”

Chris said people aged in their 70s and and 80s, who have lived in Ripley and Swanwick all their lives may remember taking in evacuees at their homes and schools. It is likely they arrived in 1941 and 1942 from either Peckham Road, Cranbourne Road and King’s Land schools in the West Midlands town, which once housed one of the largest estates in Europe.

Chris continued: “It’s hard to know how many came this way as a number of parents decided the bombing wasn’t too bad where they were – generally bombers targeted the factories.”

The former teacher is asking those who remember the evacuees to email him on Chrishillcox1@hotmail.com, or comment on his website, kingstanding.wordpress.com.

Chris, who has been working on theproject for two years, writes a weekly history column for his local paper the Great Barr Observer.

 

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