British immigrant children on the Rangitata

Arrival of British children on board the Rangitata, c. 4 October 1940

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What do you know?

Brian Bartrum

Posted: 13 Oct 2021

The pic labelled British Immigration Children is in fact a pic of Evacuees in the very early years of WW2. One of them (the late Gordon Telford) stayed with us in Christchurch until 1946 when he returned to the UK. The voyage of the Rangitata during this sailing could have ended in disaster for the children, because a torpedo from a u-boat skimmed passed the Rangitata's bow to hit an adjacent ship in the convoy sinking the passenger vessel. Another evacuee passenger vessel was sunk about the same time prompting Churchill to cease sending any more child evacuees overseas. I do recognise the faces of others in the pic who came to Christchurch when we (evacuees and children of the host family) all met together for a luncheons on several occasions.
In the BBC TV series, "I Was There" an evacuee on the Rangitata voyage describes his experiences both of the voyage and of his time at his hosts home in Dunedin.