Shoreham evacuees sought by researchers in South Yorkshire

Research on wartime in a village in South Yorkshire has revealed a direct link with Shoreham and volunteers are now desperate to find out more.

Heritage Silkstone is a family history group based at the church in Silkstone, near Barnsley, and members are preparing to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War Two in September.

Jane Raistrick, left, and Jane Scott poring over the school log books

Jane Raistrick, left, and Jane Scott poring over the school log books

Jane Raistrick, secretary, said: “We have been researching how the war affected the village. After interviewing people who were at school during the war and inspecting the school logbooks from that time, we have discovered that a number of children from Shoreham were evacuated to Silkstone and Silkstone Common, the next village.

“Several were from Shoreham children’s home. Some children stayed in the Silkstone area after the war ended and some were adopted by local families.

“We are making a plea for information on the children who returned to Shoreham and, if found, whether they would be willing to share memories of their time in Silkstone with us.”

The aim is to put on a large display in the church in September and make a book so the findings can be shared with the schools at Silkstone and Silkstone Common.

Silkstone is an historic village and in 1939, most of the men worked down the coal mines or on nearby farms.

Logbooks and registers from Silkstone Junior School were studied as part of the research and seven people who were at school during the war were interviewed, providing wonderful memories.

Jane said: “From their stories and information in the logbooks, we learned about the evacuees from London and the south but mainly from Shoreham. Many of those children who were evacuated from Shoreham came from the children’s home.”

On March 24, 1941, nine children, including three pairs of siblings, from Shoreham were admitted to Silkstone Common Council School.

Jane said: “By April, the school committee decided that one boy’s behaviour was so bad, he had to be returned to the children’s home. Poor children, not only had they most likely lost their parents but they had been sent miles from their secure children’s home to live with strangers whose accents they couldn’t understand. It’s no wonder they misbehaved.”

Also in March 1941, arrangements were made for Shoreham children to attend the infant’s school in Silkstone.

Jane said: “It is not known how many children were admitted but the logbook shows that two teachers, Miss Ogden and Miss Dann, accompanied the children and there were several visits from education welfare officers to help these young children settle in.

“We would love to hear from anyone who had been evacuated from Shoreham to Silkstone. The information will be on display in the church and also put into book form to present to Silkstone and Silkstone Common Junior Schools.”

Email Jane Raistrick at oldtimer11@btinternet.com or message via the Heritage Silkstone page on Facebook.