Henry J. Allen - Guernsey evacuees
During World War II Henry J Allen raised thousands of dollars for Guernsey evacuee children who escaped to England in 1940, just before their island was occupied by German forces. Over 5,000 children left the island of Guernsey without their parents, and 300 of them were evacuated to Bury, in Lancashire. Most of them lived in a building known as The Guernsey Orphanage. There was no postal service between Guernsey and England during the war, so for five years, the Guernsey parents were unable to send Christmas presents to their children.
A Bury man, 72 year old Mr John Fletcher, wanted to buy gifts for them. He sent an appeal postcard to friends and colleagues in America, and such a postcard must have been received by Henry J Allen. A postcard was received by a family in Bethesda Pennsylvania, and still survives. On one side was a photograph of the children, and on the other side was a message which gave thanks for the donations sent to the children in 1940,
'Believe me, the whole of these 200 unfortunate little ones got a great thrill on Christmas morning 1940 when on awakening, they found their gift parcel at the foot of their bed or cot.'
For five years, Mr Fletcher purchased over 200 parcels, and arranged Christmas parties for the children.
Guernsey was liberated by the British in May 1945, and the children were able to return home. Henry J Allen wrote to John Fletcher, saying,
I send my sincere congratulations upon the occasion of your Victory Farewell Tea Parties. My thoughts and my prayers will be with the children and you when the time of parting comes. May God bless you all now and always.
To find out more about these Guernsey evacuees, visit http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/evacuation/
Entry: Allen, Henry J. - Guernsey evacuees
Author: Gillian Mawson
Author information: World War II evacuation researcher
Date Created: February 2012
Date Modified: September 2014
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.