Children In Ww2

Discussion in 'General' started by frankie, May 31, 2005.

  1. frankie

    frankie Junior Member


    My name is Frankie and I am 11 years old. For my school prooject, I have chosen Children in WW2. Does anyone have any memories that they could tell me about? I don't have anyone that I can ask and I don't just want to learn about it from books.

    Thank you very much
  2. salientpoints

    salientpoints Senior Member

    Hello Frankie -

    Have you visited the Imperial War Museum? they have a special exhibiton on 'Children at War' a lot of info is also online -


  3. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    Originally posted by frankie@May 31 2005, 05:39 PM

    My name is Frankie and I am 11 years old. For my school prooject, I have chosen Children in WW2. Does anyone have any memories that they could tell me about? I don't have anyone that I can ask and I don't just want to learn about it from books.

    Thank you very much
    [post=34927]Quoted post[/post]

    I was your age when WW2 broke out in 1939, Frankie -- please visit my British Homefront Memoirs Web pages -- clickable link in my signature block below.
  4. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Even some of us relative oldies - I am 58 - were born after WWII, so it is getting harder and harder to find people with personal experience.

    Evacuation is one of the big topics as far as British children are concerned, but please do remember that most children lived outside the big cities and were not evacuated. Even in the big cities they were often not. A recent book published about WWII Britain had a photo on the dustjacket of bomb damage being repaired in Liverpool and there are six children in the photo*.

    Another point to remember is that wartime rationing actually led to an improvement in the diet of many (but not all) children, with resulting improvements in their health. And wartime ideas (the Beveridge Report for instance) and legislation (Education Act 1944) had profound consequences in terms of improvements in the lives of children after WWII

    * Juliet Gardiner: "Wartime: Britain 1939-1945", 2004
  5. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Also see if you can get your hands on the Channel 4 DVD, "The 1940s House." Channel 4 put a typical English family of 1999 into a typical London suburban house of 1940 and made them live there for eight weeks under WW2 conditions -- clothing, furniture, rationing, blackout, air raids, even damage from a V-1 blast. They had to buy their food at a grocers, who stocked wartime food, and use ration books, build an Anderson Shelter, and even do Women's Voluntary Service work at a retirement home, where wartime WVS women lived -- all in the appropriate wartime uniform. It's an incredible show, and will tell you more about living in wartime Britain than you could imagine.
  6. frankie

    frankie Junior Member

    thank you very much.

  7. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    I have always enjoyed the film, Hope and Glory, for it very much captures the spirit of the WW2 British Homefront the way I remember it. In some ways the experiences of the young boy featured in the film are eerily similar to my own (although he is depicted as living in the London area and I lived in the Manchester area). He appears to be about the same age I was when the war started and his middle class background, the house he lived in and his attitudes & outlook on life were very similar to mine.

    Another coincidental similarity is his learning how to bowl cricket "googlies" (his father teaches him in the film) -- I taught myself by bowling at a clothesline post in our back garden. My great sports passion was (and still is) cricket. My father started taking me to the Saturday afternoon matches at Burnley Turf Moor in 1938 and also to many away matches (I kept my own scorebooks). I also followed county cricket in the newspapers and soon became an ardent follower of Test Match cricket. The towering figure of test cricket in the 1930s was Don Bradman (then, and still, my ultimate sports hero). My father took me to see him at Old Trafford in 1938 (Lancashire vs Australia) -- and also in 1938 to Leeds for the fourth test -- later that year to Stanley Park, Blackpool (England XI vs Australia) -- Bradman didn't play but I got to see great bowling by another hero of mine -- W. J. (Bill) O'Reilly, the great Australian leg break bowler -- who bowled with his usual venomous fury. I was a poor batsman and fielder, but I developed into a pretty good leg break bowler -- although I got into the habit of turning my wrist too far over when bowling my googly which resulted in an occasional top spinner -- still a good delivery but lacking the subterfuge of a googly! Sorry for the digression, but I don't get many opportunities to write about cricket these days! There is much made about googly bowling in the film -- of course I really enjoyed those scenes!

    There are some nice authentic touches of nostalgia in the film -- some highlights for me: The great introductory music - "In the mood"; the depiction of the impact of Sunday, 3 September, 1939 (war outbreak day) on a typical British family (I was returning home from Sunday school when I found out that war had been declared); putting the car up on blocks for the duration (my father did that with our Standard); installing an Anderson shelter in the back garden (I helped my father do that in ours); evacuation of children scenes; taking shelter under the stairs during an air raid (I used to do that at my auntie Clara's house); harvesting shrapnel after an air raid; gas mask drill in the school air raid shelter; the boy drawing eye brow pencil seams down the back of the (tinted) legs of his sister to simulate silk/nylon stockings (I used to do that for one of my cousins); some great jitterbugging; the wartime Christmas party which was very similar to the ones we used to have at our house; the beautiful music throughout the film (a little Mozart and including a take-off of the legendary Myra Hess lunchtime piano recitals) and a nice touch in concluding the film with "Land of Hope and Glory".

    To me, some of the Air Raid and family crisis scenes are a little over dramatized -- but this, after all, is a movie and other people in real life may have had experiences very similar to the ones depicted in the film. We didn't have martinet school teachers as depicted although some of mine were "Victorian severe"; Our school was not bombed; My own grandfather Pickering was a far better sport than the grandfather in the film (although he was quite a character); the main boy character does not seem to age as the war progresses in the film; the kids in the Saturday morning movie matinee (Mickey Mouse club?) scene were wilder than we were ever allowed to be -- but not a whole lot.

    Overall, though, a pretty faithful depiction of life on the British Homefront in WW2 -- and, IMHO, a very good film!

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