World War Two evacuee shares his story with pupils at Northdown Primary School

World War Two evacuees Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Year 6 pupils at Northdown Primary School, Margate,  were honoured to welcome 93- year- old Thanet resident James to their school last week to share his experiences of life as a child in World War Two.

Despite a recent accident, James was determined to head in to talk to the youngsters about his time as an evacuee, regaling them with colourful stories about his childhood antics and what it was like to live through the air-raids and bombing of Britain.

James was born in 1930 and lived through World War Two as a child. At ten years old, he was evacuated to a farm with his siblings.  For the past few years, he has enjoyed going  to Northdown Primary School to talk to Year 6 children about his experiences growing up and living during those times.

Key Stage Two lead Harry Fetherston explained the importance of James’ visit for the children: “He spoke to the children about what life was like as an evacuee, often calling it an adventure. He told us stories about what it was like hearing the air raid sirens and having to go down to the bunkers with his teachers who would continue teaching him.

“The children were fascinated with his stories and James always explains how he loves coming to talk to the future generation and tells them that they are the future powers of this country.”

James’ visit was a fitting end to the children’s focus on World War Two where they learnt many facts about life during the conflict across the term.

Christina Goldsmith, Inclusion Manager, said: “It is so important for children to realise that history is about real people. Meeting James and hearing his story helped the children make connections with their own lives and better appreciate what their ancestors sacrificed for them to have freedom today.”

Following the visit, the pupils wrote letters to James to explain the impact of his visit for them.

“Dear James,

I cannot thank you enough for visiting us today. It has been a pleasure to listen to all of your explanations about your time in WW2. We as a class can’t even imagine how devastating it must have been during the war. I do feel relieved that in the 21st Century we haven’t yet come across anything like what you experienced.

“You are one of the lucky people to have survived such a historic event. I really appreciate you coming to see us today. It will definitely help provide us with facts about World War 2. Listening to your story today has proven to myself now that we are so lucky to have not listened to the bombing of the UK, or the gunshots on the coastline. Thank you for sharing with us your experience. 

From Elesha-Jay.”

“Dear James,  

Thank you for coming into our school and teaching us about World War II. It was very beneficial to our learning and has given us more information. I enjoyed listening to your stories and found them very interesting. I am so glad to have been given the chance to meet you – this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I will never forget it.

Thank you so much, Laice”

1 Comment

  1. Did he mention rationing? As a young evacuee with my mum, I was rationed to 2ozs of sweets a week (26gramms) My mum would give me a toffee, and after a minute or so I would give it back to her, and after sucking on it for a while, she would give it to my younger brother. Mum would then have to try and wrestle the half sucked toffee from my brother and give it back to me! It took a lot of effort to wrestle a toffee from my 2 year old brother! Can children today imagine what it was like to share a toffee between 3 of us

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