The history of World War II has been brought to life for students of Yattendon Church of England Primary School with a visit to Englefield Estate’s Anderson Shelter.
25 pupils from years four, five and six, aged eight to 11, visited the air raid shelter in the Estate Yard in Englefield Village, which was built in 1939 and primarily used by Estate staff who were supporting the war effort.
The pupils, who are studying the experiences of children during the second world war, were tasked with focussing their senses on how child evacuees might have felt seeking safety in the shelter.
The children then went into the shelter and were asked to try and put themselves in the shoes of children who were evacuated in World War II and would have sought safety in such a shelter.
One of the pupils said: “When the door was closed, you got a real sense of how it must have felt in an air raid. I knew that I was safe but still had goose bumps!”
Following their visit, the children were asked to write a descriptive line focusing on one of the five senses, which have been edited into a class poem about their trip and their studies.
Mrs Weedon, senior teacher, said: “Yattendon prides itself on actively seeking out opportunities to enrich the curriculum. Visits such as this are important in helping children to learn about history, particularly that locally to them.”
Edward Crookes, Estates Director, said: “The Englefield Estate and the surrounding villages are steeped in history and its important for children to learn about this. We were thrilled to welcome the children to the Estate and are so pleased that their visit gave them a sense of what it was like during the War, supporting their classroom studies.”
Stale breaths drift silently up my nose,
Distant bombs harass my head as I try to sleep,
Metallic, rhythmic drumbeats bounce angrily on the roof,
Tiny shards of light reach through the gaps.
Ice cold, solid walls block my desperate escape,
Rough, rusty nails scrape my bare skin,
Thumping, anxious heartbeats weep sadly in the gloom,
The dying lamp glows helplessly as it tries to stay alight.
Dark, ghostly shadows shiver menacingly in the corner,
Swaying, warm smoke taps wildly on the rotting door and then scurries towards the walls,
A screeching, whirling siren begs to be answered,
Deadly silence scars my mind.
- Kingfisher Class, November 2017