What was it like to be a World War II Evacuee?
What did it feel like to be an evacuee?
Using the account by Donald Rust of life as an evacuee in Wollaston, consider Donald's experiences with other characters in the story. What thoughts and feelings might he have experienced at different points througout his childhood?
After listening to the story, ask the pupils to re-enact parts of the story by pretending to be Donald Rust and his friends. You can use the 1940s names to select character names.
Think about the thoughts and feelings that he might have experienced. Give the pupils approximately 15 seconds for each 'scene' and ask pupils to freeze when you clap/blow a whistle.
Suggested situations to re-enact:
- You are at the railway station in London saying goodbye to your Mum and Dad. You don't know when you will see them again.
- You have just got off the train at your destination of Irchester near Wollaston. What do you think of this strange, new place?
- You are stood in line with all the other children who have just got off the train. The adults are picking the children they would like to look after. You have still not been picked.
- You have just arrived at your new home and met the family you will now be living with.
- Time for Dinner. You have just sat down for your first meal with your host family. A plate of strange looking 'Country' food has just been put down in front of you. How do you react?
- Mrs Smiddy from the village is using you to help on her milk round around Wollaston. Your job is to look in all of the milk cans before Mrs Smiddy pours in the milk. You are looking for Earwigs. What is your reaction when you find one?
- Finally you are re-united with your family. How do you feel?
Ask the pupils what they think Donald's worst experience would have been and what his most fun or exciting experience would have been.
Did all children feel the same about being evacuated? You can also download the diary of 13-year-old evacuee Gwen Milton (nee Jones). What are the similarities and differences between Gwen and Donald's accounts?