School Years during the War

The air raids (Tweeddale school)

By Zoe Roberts

Photo:Old air raid shelters at Glastonbury School

Old air raid shelters at Glastonbury School

Sutton Local Studies and Archives

During WW2, schools made preparations by building shelters within the school playing grounds. As and when the siren was heard, the children would go into the shelters and stay until the all clear siren was given. The teachers would also stay in the school for night fire watching.

We spent most of the time down the shelters in the air-raid.  It was just going to the air raid shelters with our spelling books. I wondered why I wasn't brilliant at spelling 'cause that's about the only thing we used to be able to grab and take with us.  And my mother was on war work as well so we had to stay there until somebody came to fetch us. (Jean Kitchener née Fitches)

And at school we spent a lot of our learning time in the brick shelter that they had at the school -Green Wrythe Lane School.  So we spent many hours sitting in there whilst the bombs and that were coming over.  Well we used to do lots of spelling things to keep us going.  We did have to take certain amounts of work in there which mainly ended up in sort of trying to get children spelling or singing songs and anything that would keep us amused. Trying to teach us before we would file into school again. So it was a matter of just devising games that you did learn by - sort of with arithmetic and spelling,  writing out poems or reading out poems or trying to write a poem of  your own. (Doreen Porter née Wilkes)

Extracts taken from Tweeddale Primary school (School No. 10) log book entries made by the Head Teacher (M.M. McClaren)

19th January: (During the war, most of Tweeddale School attended Green Wrythe Lane School.) Class 1 and staff removed all stock from Green Wrythe Lane school and children returned to this school for afternoon sessions

5th July: Medical examinations of children whom it is proposed to send overseas.

5th September: Air raid warnings have been given each night this week between 9 and 10 p.m. On September 5th - 6th the raid lasted from 9:15 p.m. - 6 a.m. Following the time spent in the trenches, the children have a short period of play on the field.

11th September: Air raid during the night started 8:20 p.m. on the 10th September and lasted till 4:45 a m., but much quieter in the neighbourhood. Air raid alarm 11:55 - 12.15 p.m. Some of the infants had already started for home, but many came back when they heard the siren. The siren sounded again at 3:30 p.m. Only a few of the babies had gone home, but the rest of the children went to the trenches where they remained until the all clear went at 4:45. Another siren went at 5:05 and lasted until 5:25. The night alarm lasted from 8:40 p.m. until 5:40 a.m. The night was very noisy owing to strong barrage instead of search lights. The attendance is low this morning.

13th September: First air raid warning 7:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. The children arrived just after 9 o'clock. All the staff were present by 9:15 a.m. At 9:15 a.m. the siren sounded and the raid lasted until 2 p.m.  Each child was given a bottle of milk and barley sugar. The first mothers came at 1:20 p.m. and took their children home to dinner. Others brought sandwiches.

30th September: Most children now sleep in the shelters or safest place downstairs in their houses.

17th October: This was the largest night raid lasting 6:50 p.m. - 7 a.m.

27th September: The air raid warning lasted 9:10 - 9:55 a.m. At 11a.m. gunfire was heard overhead and the warden advised going into the trenches.

16th January: Miss Wickers, Miss Bowmaker, Miss Phillips, Miss Jenkins remained at school for night fire watching.

17th January: M.M. McClaren remained at school for night fire watching.

21st January: Alert sounded 10:35 - 11a.m. Children did not go into trenches but remained under tables. Alert sounded 1:25 - 2:15 p.m. Children remained in school.

28th January: Alerts sounded.  Children remained in school under tables.

19th February: At 9:05 p.m. a landmine fell in allotments opposite Winchcombe Road causing damage to school. From blast, windows and window frames were blown in, hall classroom, corridors, clinic room, staff room, boys' cloakroom, H.T room and staff cloakroom. Panes were also broken on south side and doors of classrooms.

School closed on 20th-21st owning to precarious positions of window frames and broken glass.

24th February: School re-opened. 


This page was added by Zoe Roberts on 28/05/2010.

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