Schoolchildren explore wartime links with Somerby and Burrough

Young children have been finding out about their local area’s wartime links, including a special visit to a memorial commemorating the sacrifices of paratrooopers.
Pupils visit the Friends of The Tenth war memorial to the 10th Battalion at Burrough-on-the-HillPupils visit the Friends of The Tenth war memorial to the 10th Battalion at Burrough-on-the-Hill
Pupils visit the Friends of The Tenth war memorial to the 10th Battalion at Burrough-on-the-Hill

Pupils from Ab Kettleby and Somerby Primary Schools enjoyed finding out about life during the Second World War through a programme organised by the Friends of the Tenth (FOTT), a charity which highlights the service of the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, which was stationed at Somerby before suffering heavy losses at the Battle of Arnhem.

Members met 50 of the excited and enthusiastic schoolchildren at the FOTT memorial at Burrough-on-the-Hill and the youngsters also toured Somerby to hear about stories from wartime there.

They were met by serving paratrooper, Corp Danny Mawson and Paul Turner, dressed in World War Two para uniform, with his Jeep and equipment.

Davina Bates tells pupils about life in Somerby during the Second World WarDavina Bates tells pupils about life in Somerby during the Second World War
Davina Bates tells pupils about life in Somerby during the Second World War

The children enjoyed learning about some of the ‘naughty’ antics the Paras got up to during the war.

The also met ‘Myrtle, the parachuting chicken’, who was recently parachuted into the Arnhem and Normandy Commemorations with Corp Mawson.

In the village hall they saw a display of wartime weapons and artefacts, which were found in a local house which had been requisitioned by the battalion in the war.

The children listened to the stories of Davina Bates, who attended Somerby Primary School during the war and lived at the village bakery, as she gave a fascinating account of wartime school life.

Pupils went on to visit All Saints’ Church to see the various memorials to the 10th Battalion.

Somerby teacher, Rachel Sida, said: “It was great to give context to children, bringing their learning to life.

"We are hugely grateful for the immense efforts and experiences that were created by FOTT to share so much knowledge and history with our children.”

Alec Wilson, chairman of FOTT, said: "Working closely with the children has been a pleasure, and we hope that our relationship will be developed in the future.

"The charity aims of Friends of The Tenth include educating and informing and we would be pleased to hear from any other local schools or colleges who would be prepared to join us on our mission.”

FOTT have asked the pupils to put together some reflections on the day so the charity can create a memory book of their trip.