15 Jun 2017

Evacuation experience for pupils

Isle of Wight school children are to discover what it was like to be evacuated during the Second world War. The annual event at Havenstreet's Isle of Wight Steam Railway will see the station transformed to replicate a wartime station, between 19 and 22 June.

Organised by the council's Heritage Service, the event recreates the scenario that tens of thousands of school children went through at the beginning of the war.

Cabinet member for environment and heritage, Councillor John Hobart, said: “This is an interesting and thought provoking chance for our school children to gain a small insight into World War II that they would not be able to obtain from their school books.

“Experience days such as this ensure that future generations are made aware of the great sacrifices that have been made in the past for them to live freely today and helps bring to life, albeit in a small way, just what children of their age experienced at the time.”

Pupils and staff from the schools will be able to dress up in World War II clothes and will arrive at the steam railway complete with gas mask ahead of a ride of the train, mirroring the experience from the war years.

Pupils will taste authentic wartime food, such as ‘eggless’ cake, learn about rationing and make-do-and-mend toys and experience a school room environment with lessons. As happened during the war, there's every chance the lessons could be interrupted at any time by an air raid siren - if this happens, the pupils must cram into a makeshift air raid shelter. As they board their train and are waved off from the platform, they will get a real feeling for how it might have felt to be evacuated all those years ago.

Monday 19 June to Thursday 22 June will see morning sessions held between 10.15am and 12.30pm. Trains of evacuees will be:

• leaving Havenstreet Station at 10.30am and returning back with them at 11.16am on Monday;

• leaving Havenstreet Station at 10.30am and returning back with them at 11.16am and leaving Havenstreet at 11.51am and returning back with them at 12.28pm on Tuesday;

• leaving Havenstreet at 11.51am and returning back with them at 12.28pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

The activities have been put together by the Heritage Education Service to support the learning of students as part of their local history programme.

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    Factfile
    • The event is organised by Isle of Wight Council's Heritage Service.
     
    Isle of Wight, UK