Eleanor Roosevelt and La Chaumiere school

During World War 2, June 1940, the youngest Goasdoue children – Renee, Denise, Henri, Robert and Paul were evacuated from Guernsey to escape the imminent invasion by the Germans.

Robert and Paul attended La Chaumiere school which was one of the few of the schools given permission to remain intact in England – they ended up together at Moseley Hall in Knutsford, Cheshire.

In her  book “Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War” (1) Gillian Mawson interviewed Guernsey residents who had been evacuated and stumbled upon this fascinating  connection to Eleanor Roosevelt.

According to Gillian, the school “needed support to keep going so its administrators turned to an organization created by private citizens in America – the Foster Parent Plan for War Children…From its inception, the program included among its donors many well-known Americans in show business (Jack Benny, Bing Crosby et al) who were willing to donate to the young who were affected by war.  It was the only school supported by the programme and “each child was financially  ‘sponsored’ by an American citizen” (2).   I wonder if we can find out who sponsored Paul and Robert?

Gillian learned that when Eleanor Roosevelt was in London in 1942 “she stopped to visit the Foster Parent Program’s offices.  At the time, she decided to sponsor three children; one of them was Paulette Le Mascam from Guernsey. Paulette was a pupil at La Chaumiere along with Paul and Robert.  Mrs Roosevelt supported Paulette financially throughout the war and also sent letters and parcels to her. Much of the correspondence between them still exists today. ”  (5)

 

part-letter-from-paulette-to-mrs-roosevelt

Letter to Mrs Roosevelt from Paulette Le Mascam, La Chaumiere school

 

BBC North West’s ‘Inside Out’  programme featured Paulette’s story in 2010. Here’s a link to the clip (the full episode is only viewable in the UK) (3,4)

I do have some more information about Moseley Hall – some photos, Red cross messages and a newspaper clipping, so be on the lookout for a new page devoted to the evacuation story.

And finally, I was thrilled to find out that the Foster Parent plan organisation still exists today – now they are known as Plan International, and are a global children’s charity, working with children in 50 of the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future. They campaign and advocate for every child’s right to fulfil their potential. – See more at: http://www.plan-uk.org/about-us/our-history/#sthash.74TuEHCv.dpuf   We owe them a debt of gratitude!

Sources

  1. https://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/eleanor-roosevelt-the-guernsey-evacuee/ 
  2. http://www.historyinanhour.com/2011/10/18/guernsey-evacuees-world-war-two/#sthash.5cmLef97.dpuf    This link contains a detailed background to the evacuation – well worth a read
  3. https://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/bbc-tv-guernsey-on-air-6th-december-7-30pm/ 
  4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wk9wn 
  5. http://americacomesalive.com/2014/02/25/eleanor-roosevelt-foster-parent-world-war-ii-refugees/#.VybOeNR95NC
  6. http://www.plan-uk.org/about-us/our-history/ 
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