Sunday, 19 October 2014

Children Calling Home: explorations of BBC Genome

I've been playing around with the BBC Genome website which has archives of the Radio Times. If like me you grew up with BBC radio this is an opportunity for a walk down memory lane and perhaps, as I found, to correct some faulty memories.

If you didn't grow up with the BBC you may just wish to skip this post.

I looked for listings of programs which connected World War II child evacuees with their parents back in the UK. A few thousand children were evacuated to Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in 1940. Many were evacuated privately, often in parties from "public" (non-state) schools. Others came through a government program operated by the Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB). The BBC program was "Children Calling Home" and was first broadcast on Christmas Day 1940 allowing children in Canada and the United States to greet their parents across the Atlantic. There were 54 programs altogether, not all of them involving children evacuated to Canada. The last from Canada was on Boxing Day 1943.

YouTube has a short video of the London end of the conversation from 1941 at

I searched for William Appleby who I recall being the host of a program broadcast to schools called Music and Movement. I was wrong. He hosted a program called Singing Together from 1948 to 1970. Music and Movement ran from 1934 to 1970 with various hosts..

If you're interested in home children The Weeks Good Cause on 8 September 1929 was an appeal on behalf of Middlemore Homes; on 5 February 1939 on behalf of Father Hudson's Homes; and on several occasions on behalf of Bernardo's Homes and Waifs and Strays.

Search for Toronto and you'll find during WW II there were regular broadcasts "For the Forces" in of Ice Hockey From Canada by Foster Hewitt, on a delayed basis.

1 comment:

Ellen Thorne Morris said...

Growing up in Egypt there seemed to be two radio stations, BBC and Arabic political news. BBC had classical music, an easy choice.