Children in the Second World War

History, Literacy and Remembrance

Key Stage Two

Session One

Two - Four Hours

 

In this second session you will learn about two young people that were evacuated from their homes during the Second World War. You will have some activities to complete throughout the session.


 

© IWM (D 3101)
© IWM (D 1939A)

Jean Huckstepp – a life in Wales

Jean Huckstepp was born in London. She was very young when she was evacuated to Wales, where she was placed with an elderly couple. Jean loved living with her host family saying she had a wonderful time and they felt like her family. She found it hard when she went back to London as she had to readjust to her life at home.

 

Below she talks about her experience of being an evacuee in the Second World War:

“Being so young, I have no recollection of anything before living in Hirwenydd in the village of Beulah (in Wales). Mammie and Jack were a wonderful couple, already in their 60s and had brought up 12 children of their own, so they had plenty of experience and they treated me exactly like one of their own family.”

“I count myself very, very lucky to have been brought up by such a loving, caring couple. I lived with them for five years and it broke my heart to leave them and my friends that I had made. It was the only life that I knew. I could speak and understand Welsh, I felt Welsh and to me it felt as though I were leaving home. Although I was going back to England to live with Mum and Dad and my sister and brother, I'm sure that the situation didn't really make me as happy as it should have done. I was going to live in a completely different world, and I didn't know what to expect.”

 

Images: © IWM (D 1939A)  © IWM (D 3101)

Task 1

Jean’s Diary

 

How do you think Jean was feeling as she travelled back to London from Hirwenydd? Pick three of the words below.

 
 

Pretend that you are Jean, travelling back to London. Write a diary entry describing how you are feeling. Try to include the three words you chose.
© IWM (LN 6194)
© IWM (LN 6194)
© IWM (HU 88869)
© IWM (HU 88870)

Vera Schaufeld and Kindertransport

 

Vera Schaufeld was born in Czechoslovakia where she lived with her mother and father. Her mother was a doctor, and her father was a lawyer. 

Just before the start of the Second World War, Czechoslovakia was invaded by the Nazis. Because Vera and her family were Jewish, the Nazis arrested Vera’s father and would not let her mother continue working as a doctor. 

Vera’s mother and father wanted her to be safe, so they sent to her England as part of Kindertransport. Vera’s parents were not allowed to go with her so Vera got on the train alone. Her parents waved their handkerchiefs to say goodbye, as the train left. 

When Vera arrived at the train station in England, she was worried that nobody would come to collect her. But Leonard and Nancy Faires picked her up and looked after her. At first, Vera would receive letters and presents from her parents, but when the Second World War started, she stopped hearing from them.  

When the war was over, Vera thought that she would go home and live with her parents again. However, she soon discovered that her parents had been killed by the Nazis along with the rest of her family. Her last memory of her parents is them waving their handkerchiefs at the train station.

 

Images: © IWM (HU 88869) © IWM (HU 88870)

More on Vera's Story can be found here:

Vera's Story

Task 2

Second World War Map

 

In 1942, Nazi Germany controlled much of Europe as well as parts of northern Africa, including: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, East Prussia, Poland, west Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Tunisia, north Algeria, Libya and north-west Egypt.

 

Here is a map of Eurpe labelled as it was in the Second World War. Can you copy this map and colour in all the areas that were invaded by Nazi Germany in 1942?

 

Map showing Europe as it was in 1942

What would evacuees take with them?

 

This is the list that was sent to parents. Do you know what all the items on the list are? If you don’t, why not try and find out?

 

Children that were evacuated first often took a teddy bear or toy for comfort. Later children were not allowed to take toys or teddies, but some smuggled them along anyway.

 

List of items Evacuees could take with them

 

Task 3

Evacuation Suitcase Activity

 

You are going to be evacuated and you have been asked to pack your suitcase. Look at the list above and draw these items in your case. What else would you take? Would you take a toy, a book, or a photograph? Draw and label everything in your suitcase. 

 

Image of the Memorial to the British Evacuees
Image of a woodland canopy

Session Complete

Well done! Now, you have completed your final Children in the Second World War session, why not discover more about Women at Work in the First World War.

Visiting Us

The National Memorial Arboretum will remain open to pre-booked visitors from the local area for outdoor exercise. People visiting the Arboretum must follow the latest government guidance relating to travel and social distancing, and anyone advised to self-isolate or shield should not visit the site at this time.

Access to the Arboretum will be via the Remembrance Centre where our visitor toilets remain available. A limited take-away service is available from our Coffee Shop kiosk.

We are currently unable to offer dine-in options in our Restaurant and our talks and tours are unavailable. Our Gift Shop is closed. 

Further information about the measures currently in place at the Arboretum can be found by following the link below.

Find Out More