Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Previous section
Even Boys Knitted!

Coping with Wartime Dangers

All children had to know how to respond to an air raid and school air raid practice. As well as having shelters in homes, air raid shelters were also built in school grounds in case the air raid sirens sounded during school hours. In some cases, children were involved in building their school shelter. 


First of two photographs showing schoolboys building an air raid shelter using bricks.
Schoolboys Building an Air Raid Shelter


Schoolboys having completed their air raid shelter.  Standing with a concrete block that they've carved the date and name of their school in.
Schoolboys Having Completed their Air Raid Shelter

There were also strict rules that children had to follow if the air raid sirens were heard.  Once the sirens had sounded parents weren't allowed to collect their children from school and if children were in school, they had to stay there until the all-clear was given. 

Instructions to Parents and Householders.  1.  Children should never move away from home or school without their gas masks. 2.  All children should have a label fastened into their clothes in such a way that it will not readily become detached.
Air Raid Precautions for Schools

Despite everything that was done to try and keep them safe, sadly some children died in the war.  Below is  the death certificate of a twelve year old boy who died in the Leicester blitz, when he was buried under the wreckage of a bombed building.


Certificate reads: "Death due to war operations,"
A Civilian Death Certificate for a 12 year Old Boy


Air raid - bombing from enemy planes overhead

Blitz - period with lots of air raids

Death certificate - official record made whenever someone dies

Siren - alarm to warn people of danger 

Wreckage - broken pieces when something has been destroyed