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Following their great success with the Forties weekend, North Norfolk Railways Poppy Line has turned teacher. Sixth year pupils from all over North Norfolk have been experiencing the traumas of evacuation.
I spent the day with Sheringham Primary Schools sixth year pupils, all dressed in outfits that reflected the 40s. The pupils looked great in their cloth caps and head scarves and were supplied with their ID cards, gas masks, etc. for the day. Even the teachers looked the part.
It all added up to an excellent educational day, showing the children just what it was like to live and be evacuated during World War II. They had to line up at Sheringham station and be counted 92 in all; then they were all checked for lice and nits and deloused, before boarding the train aptly the 92 Squadron locomotive pulling them to Weybourne, where they were counted again and organised by St Johns Ambulance man, Sgt Storey. Mrs Brinkhurst was in charge of sending the children to various homes in the area, including Mrs Davids Farm, Mrs Binns, the church choirmistress and Lady Harpers group to go to her country home. The groups were called the Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters, and they revolved in three groups around the station, but not before they had a simulated air raid warning, and were crammed into the waiting room until the all-clear was sounded.
They then went to their three tasks: the Home Front group; the Dig For Victory group and the ARP group, where their tasks were outlined and their hands-on educational approach continued. The children had all been asked to bring a typical 40s type packed meal, wrapped in greaseproof bags; the menus reflecting the rationing of the day; mainly spam sandwiches and water.
The other members of the "cast" taking part in the realistic day were Pilot Officer Drewry, who had been shot down and was still carrying his parachute Lady Blag Mrs Gray; and Miss Housecoe, the ARP lady.
A thoroughly enjoyable day for the children and adults
as well, and a more interesting way to learn about life during the Second World War.