World War Two Day
Year 6

 

On 2nd December Year 6 had an Evacuee experience on World War Two Day. To get into role everyone came to school dressed as if they lived during the war and were about to board the train to take them away from the dangers of The Blitz in London to be billeted in a safer country area away from the bombs but also away from their families. Here are some of the evacuees arriving at school with their packed lunches in brown paper bags.

 

The evacuees were herded into the hall where they met their new teachers: Mr Hemsby, Miss Green, Mr Groves, Miss Lillie and Mr Sharp. They were reminded of the strict rules of no talking, standing up when spoken to by a teacher, speaking politely and remembering their manners. There was a late arrival, who nearly missed out on being saved from the bombs in London, who received a stern rebuke. There was also one evacuee who seemed to have brought "the rations for a whole army" in his oversized packed lunch bag!

 

 

 

The priority of the morning was to issue all the evacuees with a gas mask in a box. The children were reminded that the gas mask had to be carried at all times in case there was a gas attack. It was start of many queuing sessions and keeping to the strict rules of silence was hard for some. It was also necessary to make sure that each child had a label with their name on just in case they got lost en route.

 

Then everyone had to receive their identity cards and ration books. It was impressed upon all the evacuees they must keep both of them on their person at all times. Without an identity card the authorities might believe they were an enemy spy. Without a ration book there would be no way of getting rationed food like eggs, butter, sugar, meat and most importantly sweets. It wasn't long before one evacuee lost their ration book and encountered the wrath of Mr Hemsby!

 

Once all the formalities were completed the evacuees had a selection of activities to experience. There was a lesson with Mr Hemsby starting with a poem from World War One which portrayed the harsh life of a soldier. Some lucky people were volunteered to read the poem from the blackboard. Newspapers and magazines from the war provided a glimpse of life at that time. There were also 1940s children's books to read. Maths was not neglected as the class had to chant their seven times table. Mr Hemsby, a veteran of World War One, was very strict!

 

 

The boys were split from the girls when it came to cooking as obviously boys would not have cooked in the 1940s! The girls had to make rock cakes and cheese straws and prepare sandwiches for a celebration later in the day. While they were busy measuring and mixing the boys had pencils, paper and scissors to produce some party bunting.

 

 

Wartime food rationing was waived so that the evacuees could literally have a taste of the war years with Spam and tongue, Bovril and Camp coffee, Ovaltine and condensed milk, paste and mustard. Some children were adventurous while others were very suspicious. Their faces show their feelings about some of the food they tried!

 


No wartime experience would be complete without heading for an air raid shelter. The children had to crawl through the tunnel into the shelter then shared their wartime stories of families in London, brothers in the war, bombed out houses and pets left behind. Warm blackcurrant to drink helped pass the time until the all clear was declared and the children could crawl back into the light.

 


During assembly the evacuees were introduced to the rest of the school. Mr Hemsby explained why the children were visitors to the school and explained what they were carrying with help from some of the children. Gas masks, identity cards, labels and ration books were shown as well as the teddy bears that were the only link that evacuees had with the homes they had left behind.

 

 

It was fortunate that the sweet ration had been distributed just before the air raid siren sounded and everyone had to dive under tables until the all clear sounded. There weren't quite enough tables for everyone so a settee had to suffice.

 

After lunch, while the girls watched some wartime films guaranteed to keep up morale on the Home Front, the boys were drilled by Mr Hemsby. Putting hands in pockets for warmth led to a demonstration of how hands could be easily warmed up! The jog round the playground did not cause too many problems, although one boy needed some instruction from Mr Groves. The same could not be said for following instructions. Mr Hemsby despaired of this group of boys ever becoming soldiers defending our nation from the enemy! Then it was the turn of the girls who found the jog more challenging but did well with the jumping and made a much superior marching troop than the boys.

 

 

Finally, after the long years of war, peace was declared and the partying could begin. God save the King was sung and thanks given for the end of war and the wonderful feast. Then the food was devoured before the dancing began. 

 

 

 

Our World War Two Day could not have provided such a rich experience for Year 6 without the contribution of the staff and parents. Thank you to all those who helped with providing costumes, collecting props, buying food, preparing activites and running the activities on the day.