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Brothers retrace their WW2 evacuee journey

Two brothers are retracing their steps to mark the eightieth anniversary of the mass evacuation in 1939, during the Second World War.

Gerald and Barry Gooders were sent from their home in South London to the Sussex coast when they were seven and five-years-old.

Barry and Gerald Gooders as children

In the first three days of Operation Pied Piper, one and a half million children, and other vulnerable people were evacuated from London to safer locations like Brighton in Sussex.

On their journey, Gerald and Barry Gooders wore gas masks around their necks along with tags stating their names and address.

At the station, the brothers were ushered onto double decker buses, before being introduced to the strangers who had agreed to look after them.

Britain had declared war on Germany shortly after the evacuation began.

  • Watch: Barry Gooders, Wartime Evacuee describe his childhood experience

Air raid shelters had already been built beneath playgrounds in schools.

Children could be sent down into the shelters up to five times a day as the war intensified.

The Second World War finally ended in 1945.

Children learning about WW2 in the restored air raid shelter Credit: ITV Meridian

The air raid shelter at Downs Junior School has been restored and is used as an educational resource. It is the only accessible school shelter in the country.

A simulation of an air raid gives children a vivid impression of what their predecessors endured eighty years ago.

  • Watch: Dr Hildi Mitchell, Headteacher at Downs Infant School explain why the air shelter is a positive experience for students
  • Watch Malcolm Shaw's full report: