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Evacuation and arrival in Britain:
the camp at North Stoneham

Once it had been agreed that children could be evacuated to Britain, the Basque Children's Committee
was created to co-ordinate their care. Under the leadership of the Duchess of Atholl, the committee
included representatives of the Quakers, the Salvation Army, the Trades Union Congress, Save the
Children, the Committeefor Medical Aid to Spain, the Catholic and Anglican churches and political parties.
In Bilbao, the Basque government, political parties and trade unions registered children for evacuation:
despite the British government's stance, evacuation places were allotted to political parties in Bilbao
in proportion to the voting pattern in the last election. Each child was given a numbered, hexagonal
badge. A medical mission was sent from England to carry out checks on the children selected for the
Expedition a Inglaterra.

"I wasn't asked 'Do you want to come to England?' I'm sure if I had been asked I would have said,
probably, 'No'... But with the conditions being so bad, there must have been announcements
to say ... we are sending children for two or three weeks; anyone who wants to send their
children ... If your parents said, 'Yes, we'd like that', you went and had your medical and if you
were alright it was OK, and in three weeks' time you will be in Bilbao again. (Venancio)
My father took us to Santurce to the boat. He was very upset, he handed us over to those taking
the children on board, and left quickly. We boarded the boat and were ushered downstairs into
a vast hall already full of children. We knew no-one. The first night on the boat was dreadful.
A girl cried and called on and on that the captain should be told to turn back. She wanted to
get off and go home to her parents. (Herminio)"

On arrival in Southampton the children were examined by medical teams and were transported by bus
to a temporary camp at North Stoneham, organised by the National Joint Committee. Although the
camp was in use for about four months, it was a transit camp and children were dispersed throughout
this period to 'colonies' around the UK with, for example, some 400 leaving for the Salvation Army
hostel at Clapton after only two days.
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