• Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

North East Connected

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Students hear of tales of war

ELDERLY care home residents have recalled their memories of war to students from a North Yorkshire school.

Year 9 history students Daniel Ward, Matthew Hodgeson, Jamie Atkinson Alex Cavanagh and Hassan Afzal, of Northallerton School and Sixth Form College, listened to residents at Mount Vale Care Home, Northallerton, as they spoke about their experiences during Word War II.

The students, who will all study aspects of war as part of their GCSE course, were joined by sixth form history student Laura West and A-level RE student Alice Fyfe.

Head of history at Northallerton School and Sixth Form College Andrew Stacey-Chapman said: “It’s great to get our students really enthused about history and there is no better way to do that than to talk to the people who were actually there and lived through that time.”

Resident Elsie Llewellyn, 87, shared her story of how the German Luftwaffe ruined her day at school.

“I was nine when the Germans fighter planes came to bomb the local shipyard and engineering works but they also blew up our local swimming baths,” she said. “I was really mad as I loved swimming and I missed my swimming lessons.”

Former anaesthetist Dr David Hughes, 92, recounted the night his family had to run into an Anderson shelter during the Blitz.

“I remember looking back, once I was safely inside, when I heard an almighty bang and saw my mother, who was quite a substantial woman, being blown off her feet and hurtling towards the shelter before landing inside,” he said. “Thankfully no one was hurt. It seemed quite amusing at the time but it was also very frightening.”

Residents also spoke about carrying gas masks, having evacuees at school, rationing of food, petrol and sweets, barrage balloons, incendiary bombs, doodlebugs, the sadness for those that never returned and the joy when families were reunited at the end of the war.

Student Matthew Hodgeson, 13, of Northallerton, said: “It was extremely interesting to meet all of the residents and hear their stories.”

Daniel Ward, 14, of Northallerton, added: “Mr great granddad John, who is 92, was part of the Lifeguards at Redcar during the war.

“I haven’t asked him about it very much but I think I will after hearing the stories here today.”

By Emily