Pupils at an Aberystwyth primary school have been given a taste of what wartime was like for youngsters in the 1940s.
Sixty pupils from Plascrug Community School finished their learning voyage about the Second World War with an evacuation to Devil’s Bridge on the Vale of Rheidol steam train.
There was much excitement as the children arrived in school dressed as evacuees from the 1940s along with their homemade gas mask boxes and identification labels. After being sorted in the school hall, the staff, also dressed as teachers from the period, marched them down to the station, waving to passers by as they went.
Many parents, guardians and family members were there to wave the children goodbye at the station whilst music from the 1940s played on the speakers at the station to help set the scene.
As the train left the station, children waved goodbye to their loved ones but were very aware of the stark differences between what it would have been like all those years ago at the beginning of World War II when thousands of children, mainly from Liverpool arrived in Aberystwyth to flee the bombing during the Blitz.
During their learning journey, the pupils has read diary entries from children during the war as well as read the book When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle, to help them understand what it might have been like for children to leave their homes and families for years to avoid the heavy bombing in major cities of the UK.
In the carriages, pupils chatted, played cards and sang songs.
Before returning to Aberystwyth, the pupils and staff visited the war memorial in Devil’s Bridge to remember the fallen in all wars and learn about the evacuees who had attended Mynach school during the war and in particular, Ron Howarth who wrote his memoirs of his time in the village as a boy and how he returned as an adult to build a home and live there with his family right by the war memorial. He is now 91 years of age and fondly remembers his time as a young boy in the village with his adoptive family and new friends.
After laying their poppies to remember those lost in war, the pupils reflected on their learning journey during a two-minute silence and then slowly returned to the station to board the train once more to return to Aberyswyth.
To finish off a memorable day, pupils and staff were very fortunate to have a real-life evacuee visit the school, who happened to be the grandmother of a pupil in Year 6, Albie Jones.
Norma Jones, along with her daughter Dilys Jones, enthralled the pupils with her story of being evacuated from Liverpool at the beginning of the war, learning Welsh fluently and after returning to her home city after the war, soon moved back with her adopted family in Trefenter, eventually marrying a local boy.
Year 6 staff would like to thank the Vale of Rheidol, Two Hoots Café and to Norma Jones for making the day one to remember.