In the summer of 1938, the government of Great Britain deemed it necessary to arrange for the mass evacuation of all children from Britain's largest cities. This proposal, known as compulsory billeting was organised by Sir John Anderson. He partitioned the country into "evacuation, neutral, and reception"; those people living in rural areas, or "reception" were forced to provide shelter for these evacuees. Although some complained that this measure was far too authoritarian, and one MP referred to it as "worse than war", these billetors were compensated for their pains. A billetor would recieve 10s. 6d. from the government for taking one child, and 8s. 6d. for every additional one. However, conflict would still arise between billetor and evacuee; if a mother was evacuated with her child, she was responsable for buying her own food and doing her own cooking. Perhaps the largest conflict that arose from this situation was a result of blurring the lines between different classes of people in Britain. Many of the children removed from urban areas were in a poor state of health due to their economic means and subsequent lifestyle. Around half of these children had head lice or fleas, while others also carried impetigo and scabbies. There are reports of children who had never used a bed or bathroom facilities, and thus relieved themselves in the living room, and slept under the bed. The "supreme emergency" of the situation in Britain during World War Two justified abandoning British Societal tradition, and called for a measure that possibly went against the democratic principals of the nation.
First Hand Accounts:
Oliver Lyttelton sheltered ten children from London in his country house.
" I got a shock. I had little dreamt that English children could be so completely ignorant of the simplest rules of hygiene, and that they would regard the floors amd carpets as suitable places upon which to relieve themselves."
Susan Issacs wrote a report on the evacuation, and heard this from one child:
" The country is a funny place. They never tell you you can't have no more to eat, and under the bed is wasted."

For more related primary documents: www.