HISTORY came to life for youngsters at Padnell Junior School as they had a taste of life during wartime in the 1940s.
The Year 6 pupils at the Waterlooville school underwent a Second World War-style evacuation programme.
Led by their teachers and the Royal Armouries’ education team from Fort Nelson, near Fareham, the pupils learnt how children were sent away from their city homes in a bid to save civilian lives from aerial bombardment during The Blitz.
The evacuation was kept as a complete surprise from the children, with only their parents knowing about it through a secret letter that was sent home.
The evacuees took part in an air raid and evacuation to nearby St Wilfrid’s Village Hall.
Katie Pinhorne, head of Year 6 at the school, said: ‘We had a lot of children saying they really enjoyed it.
‘It was just to give them a real hands-on experience of what it would have been like.
‘They loved it, they were really enthusiastic.
‘We try to do it early in the year to bring it to life for them and it worked.
‘It’s really fired them on to find out more.’
To help add authenticity, the children handled artefacts from the Royal Armouries’ collection, dating back to the conflict. Second World War role play experiences were led by teachers and Royal Armouries’ staff in full costume.
The pupils arrived for their school day as usual, before being labelled and sorted in preparation for the evacuation process.
They also read letters sent by their parents, wishing them luck and preparing them for what lies ahead.
They rounded off their evacuation experience by tasting rationed food.