28th June - Evacuee Day
Today, we stepped back in time as we boarded the train to be evacuated into the quiet, rural village of Otterbourne.
Upon arrival, our first task was to try and get picked by a host family. There were a wide variety of host families offering homes for us but they all appeared very strict! Some of us went to live and work on farms whilst others were sent to live with widows and school teachers. Unfortunately, there was a shortage of host families in Otterbourne so, regrettably, some of us did not get picked at all!
Once we had all been safely evacuated, we went out to play some lovely 1940s playtime games such as 'Kick the can', 'pick up sticks' and 'hopscotch'. Sadly, our play ended quite quickly as the air-raid siren sounded and we all had to head to the air-raid shelter with our gas masks. It was extremely cramped in the air-raid shelter and there wasn't much to do. Some of us slept on blankets whilst others played dominoes or chess. To keep up our morale, we enjoyed singing 'Run Rabbit, Run': this helped to drown out the constant drone of bombs exploding and guns blasting around us. We heard a story of one man's experiences of the Blitz and found out some shocking facts such as some people became ill from sleeping in such damp, cold conditions each night. Once we heard the all clear siren, it was safe to leave the shelter but we were shocked to see the devastation that had appeared around us whilst we had been hidden inside.
After we had recovered from the air-raid, it was time for a cooking lesson with Mrs Cook. Using freshly grown ingredients, we were able to make vegetable soup and potato scones.
We also had time to attend 1940s school with Miss Hutchings. Although she was very strict and carried a long wooden cane, she did let us explore primary artefacts such as Otterbourne Primary School's original Punishment Book.
Some of us brought traditional WW2 packed lunches with us which were wrapped beautifully in paper packaging (no plastic in sight!).
In the afternoon, our experiences continued as we learnt to write our National Anthem in 1940s handwriting.
We then went on to hear some first hand encounters of evacuation, firstly from Harry's amazing 92 year old great grandma and then from our visiting speaker (local resident Gillian Macdonald).
Our evacuees looked amazing today - thank you for all your effort in creating the costumes. We hope everyone has had a memorable experience and that your young evacuees have made it home safely to you!