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Wartime evacuees share experiences with pupils

Calcot schoolchildren learn about rationing, air raids and blackouts

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas

fiona.tomas@newburynews.co.uk

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Wartime evacuees share experiences with pupils

CALCOT Junior School’s hall was transformed into a 1940s billeting station last week when pupils welcomed a host of wartime evacuees for a special educational day.

The event kickstarted the pupils’ new Second World War topic this term and allowed them invaluable contact with a generation who lived through one of the most traumatic yet fascinating periods of British history.

Former evacuees Mike Mellor, Gillian Allen, Jill Vallis, Russell Bevan and Dennis Jones spent the morning with the Year 6 pupils, explaining wartime concepts such as rationing, air raids and the blackout. 

The children also listened to former Calcot School pupil Shirley Webb and Reading-born Elizabeth Watkins, whose families took in evacuees from London during the height of the bombing. 

Pupils also dressed up as wartime evacuees for the day.

Euan Wardle, aged 10, said: “It was so exciting to meet the evacuees and hear their stories of school life during the war, which was so different to ours.” 

During the day, pupils were ‘inspected’ by teachers in the playground in a mock-up exercise of the selection process endured by 1940s evacuees at billeting stations across the country. 

Year 6 teacher Annette Bevan added: “The children haven’t stopped talking about their special visitors and learnt so much from the day, both in a historical sense and one of respect and appreciation.

“It was amazing to bring two very different generations together.”

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