VE Day 75: A wartime child evacuee recalls writing home after he was sent away

Alan Gifford sent letters home to his parents while he was away from home during the Second World War Credit: ITV News Central

A man who was child evacuee during the Second World War has been recalling his experiences of wartime Britain, as the country marks the anniversary of end of the conflict in Europe - VE Day.

On 3 September 1939 - the day war was declared - 10-year-old Alan Gifford and his younger brother Douglas, were evacuated from their home, and sent to the countryside for safety.

Alan wrote to his parents regularly, and the letters were very precious to his mother.

They were only sent eight miles away from the city, to Belper, but it might as well have been another world for them.

It was a bewildering time for two boys from Derby who'd never left their parents.

Alan and Doug pictured in their childhood days Credit: ITV News Central

More than 3,000,000 children and vulnerable people were evacuated from their homes to the countryside in just four days.

It was a logistical exercise of epic proportions. For Alan and his brother it was a real wrench.

Alan found the letters after his mother died. They must have meant a great deal to her.

He said, "I think a few tears must have been shed. In the letters I wrote, it was obvious that we were itching to get home."

Both boys were well looked after though and did adapt to their temporary life.

Alan and Douglas returned to Derby after a few months.

Alan is also a member of the British Evacuee Association. It was formed in 1996 to ensure that the true story of the great evacuation would become better known and preserved for further generations. There are over 1300 members worldwide.

There were two further evacuations during the war, known as operation Pied Piper. It was the most concentrated population movement in British history, saving thousands of lives.