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Requisitioned Holidays during WW2

Various holiday camps were requisitioned during World War Two. In East Anglia, these included Golden Sands and Hopton Beach.

Golden Sands was requisitioned in 1939 and taken over by the London County Council Education Department for evacuees. The military then took possession a year later from 1940 until 1945 before it was returned to its original owners and reopened to the public.

Hopton Beach housed various troops of the 419 Battery of the Royal Artillery, the 4th Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment and the Suffolk Regiment. In the document below, 36 chalets were certified for use by Suffolk Regiment in 1940.

(LA) 342/23 Papers re the requisition, use and dilapidation of Potters Hopton camp during World War II, 1940-1949

It was difficult for people to go away on vacation during the war so the government initiated ‘stay at home’ holidays. In Suffolk, there were numerous events and activities that were devised in line with the scheme. These included a ‘Holiday at Home Week’ from 31st July to 7th August 1943 in Beccles, and various ‘Holiday Weeks’ in Ipswich in the summer of 1944.

(IA) HD2272/153/10/1/3/5 Ipswich – Second World War – Civilian Projects – Programme, 1944

Special attractions on offer during holiday weeks in Ipswich included Underwood’s Wonder Fun Fair, open air boxing, and a dancing enclosure. The country was still at war however, and air raid warnings were in place. As the programme for the ‘Holiday Week’ explains:

‘It is to be understood that all the arrangements as set out in this programme are, owning to the present emergency conditions, subject to alteration or cancellation without notice.’

Families adapted their usual holidays and took day trips visiting local landmarks, seeing friends and family, and helping farmers with harvesting during the summer months. Below is a clip from a collection of home movies made by Charles Scott during the war. It shows Charles and his family enjoying a trip to Watford as an alternative holiday in 1940. You can watch the full film here.

Clip from a collection of home movies shot by Charles Scott, 1939-1944. With thanks to East Anglian Film Archive at the University of East Anglia.

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