Year 2 enjoyed a trip back in time yesterday. Dressed as 1940’s Evacuees, we arrived at the STEAM Museum Swindon for an Air Raid and Evacuee experience.
We were met by home guard Mr Smith who explained about the different types of air raid shelter and showed us how tiny the Morrison shelter would have been for a large family. All were relieved that a public shelter was nearby when the air raid siren sounded! Acting as the Air Raid warden Ben carefully counted us into the shelter which could have held up to 50 people. We sang morale boosting songs as the aircraft flew overhead and bombs were dropped. Mr Smith explained how people would have stayed in the shelter all night and slept against one another. The smell of carbolic soap was quite strong as we played ‘Spot the Aircraft’ and thought about all the activities people would have done to occupy their time, other than homework. When the All Clear was sounded we were relieved to see the daylight, but Oh no! there was an unexploded bomb! Luckily a few volunteers were able to deal with that for us. We left our air raid experience feeling relieved.
Arriving at the platform as Evacuees we met Mrs Howard, our Billeting Officer who assured the children they would be safer in the countryside away from the bombing and air raids. On the train we investigated the contents of Evacuees cases and had fun working out what some items were. The knitting pattern was met with mystification, was it Morse Code? And the baby’s bottle was an unusual banana shape. We had a gas mask drill and tried to place a baby in its enormous gas mask case. Not an easy job. Arriving at our destination we were met by ‘strangers‘ who were there to select children. Lady Mackenzie was the mean Lady of the Manor who only wanted to take 2 children, despite having 21 bedrooms. Kindly Miss Blanford, the local publican took four healthy children to help. We all thought about how we would have felt in these circumstances and were able to empathise with children who experienced all the discomforts of the war and count our blessings.