Pupils are taken on board train to taste life as a wartime evacuee

LEAVING From left, Jasmine-Faye Bilham, seven, Jake McGuire, eight, Harriet Erridge, seven, and Jude Allan, seven, at Portsmouth and Southsea train station. Picture: Sarah Standing (133560-2123)
LEAVING From left, Jasmine-Faye Bilham, seven, Jake McGuire, eight, Harriet Erridge, seven, and Jude Allan, seven, at Portsmouth and Southsea train station. Picture: Sarah Standing (133560-2123)
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DRESSED as evacuees complete with name tags and suitcases, 90 children took a trip back in time on board a train to experience life as an evacuee during the Second World War.

The Year 3 and Year 4 pupils from St Swithun’s Primary School in Southsea travelled from Fratton to Portsmouth and Southsea station dressed as 1940s evacuees.

DOLL Tia Woolmer, nine.  (133560-2138)

DOLL Tia Woolmer, nine. (133560-2138)

They then spent the day at nearby St Edmund’s Catholic School where they took part in a series of activities, similar to those that would have taken place in school during that time.

Melody Jones is a teacher at the school.

She said: ‘We have this every two years where we “evacuate” the children.

‘It’s more realistic if they can take part in it.

‘It’s a practical activity which gives them some empathy with the children who would have done it.

‘They were very excited. A few of the children were a bit worried because they didn’t know where they were going because we didn’t tell them.

‘They thought perhaps they were being evacuated to the country and would not see their parents again.

‘We reassured them that it’s a drama activity.’

As part of the day, the children ate a Second World War packed lunch, and wrote postcards to their families. They also cooked some food that people would have eaten at that time.

And Mrs Jones said the children found the whole day very exciting and beneficial.

‘Some children have never travelled on the train which is unbelievable in this day and age,’ she said.

‘They are quite familiar with what an evacuee would have gone through.’

As part of the topic, the children had a visit from an evacuee and watched videos about what happened during the war. They also listened to wartime music.

Moira Howorth is assistant headteacher at St Edmund’s.

She said: ‘We work closely with our feeder schools.

‘Knowing that many of them hadn’t travelled on the train or been in a secondary school we thought it was a good opportunity.

‘It was great for us to work with our neighbouring schools.’