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Extracts from the School Diary -WW2

1938

Sep 27 The Headmaster attended school this morning but owing to the gravity of the international situation reported to his Air Raid Precaution Depot.

Sep 28 Certain information regarding evacuation of children and certain of the adult population for the Town in the event of a state of emergency being declared, was received from the Education Department this afternoon. This was duly noted.

1939
Apr 28 Forms were distributed during the week with reference to the Government’s Evacuation Scheme during War. A parents’ meeting was held in the Institute and the headmaster explained the Scheme.

Jul 27 The school was closed today for the summer vacation. Prior to this children were “grouped” with their teachers in case of evacuation during the holidays.

Aug 24 The Headmaster returned from holiday today – by request.

Aug 25 Teachers were informed, by wire, to proceed to Southampton and report for duty.

Aug 26 (Sat)The staff reported for duty at 9am. At 2pm scholars attended to receive instructions. Helpers were instructed to “stand by” and the necessary preparations made for evacuation.

Aug 27 The school was opened from 9am till noon and 2pm to 4pm. The time was spent in further preparation and interviewing parents.

Aug 28 Evacuees, mainly of school age, assembled at 6am and full rehearsal for evacuation took place. Owing to the news broadcast by the BBC differing from local instructions only some of the evacuees reported.

Aug 29 School commenced after the summer vacation.

Aug 31 Orders were received today that Evacuation would take place forthwith. This school is to evacuate on Saturday Sept 2nd at 6.00 am. Children were given instructions and helpers were notified.

Sep 2 Evacuees and Staff – one hundred and seventy one persons in all – assembled at 6am today. The party left school at 7.40 and were taken by special trams to the Terminus Station. Here they entrained for Andover and from Andover were taken by special buses to the following villages in the rural district. Group A to Appleshaw, Group B to Amport, Group C to Monkton and Penton Mewsey and Group D to Weyhill and Clanville. All were billeted by 1pm and with the exception of two or three cases, all billets proved to be satisfactory.

Sep 19 The Headmaster returned to Southampton and placed in charge of a number of teachers for Electricity Rationing.

Nov 29 The school commenced as a Report Centre today.

1940
Jul 1 The School opened today for the purpose of registration of children whose parents wished them to be evacuated. Nobody came.

Jul 3 An official from the Ministry of Home Security visited the school in order to inspect the air raid shelter accommodation.

Jul 9 We were officially informed that this school would be reopened on Monday next for part-time education.

Jul 25 Air Raid warning sounded this afternoon 3.30 – 4.05. Children and staff sheltered.

Aug 19 Estimated accommodation of shelters is playground shelter 60 scholars and 4 adults, Institute shelter 75 scholars and 4 adults and 70 scholars and 2 adults in the Vestry.

Aug 26 The school reopened today on a fulltime basis but attendance was poor due to a five hour “warning” during the night.

Aug 30 Morning attendance was poor this week as the children have had interrupted sleep owing to the sirens sounding at night and with intermittent gunfire.

Sep 30 Owing to air raid warnings it was not possible to dismiss school until 6.15pm today.

Dec 2 Owing to intensive air raids attendance was very poor. Two scholars have been given permission to be absent as their homes have been damaged. The school was used as a registration centre for the evacuation of children. Only 2 registered.

1941
Jan 17 Mr Brown, teacher, is due to join the RAF. He was given a cigarette case and lighter from the staff and scholars. He was wished a happy life in the Service and a safe return.

Mar 3 During the night a ‘stick’ of eight bombs fell around the Church, School and Institute. There are holes in the roof of the Infants room and the main room. Several windows have also been broken. Part of the school is flooded due to damage to the drains in the Girls’ yard. Water is flowing into the Infants’ room, there is a danger that sewage is in the water. It was decided to dismiss the children who were told to report back on the 5th of March. The Bishop of Winchester visited the school today. The staff were preparing lists of addresses in case it is necessary to commence the ‘Home Service’ scheme.

Mar 5 Scholars were reported but as the school lavatories cannot be used it is not possible to have the children accommodated for any length of time. Each class was divided into groups and were told to report each day for one hour and a lesson would be given and homework allocated. No scholars were allowed in the school and lessons were held in the Church Vestry and in the Institute.

Mar 13 ‘Full time’ education recommenced today. Classrooms have been thoroughly washed and disinfected.

Mar 18 Electric light and heating are being installed in the playground shelter.

Jun 23 Attendance is low as a parachute mine was dropped by the enemy at the junction of Heatherdeane Road and Highfield Lane. A number of scholars are homeless as a result and families are moving to other areas.

Aug 18 The Headmaster received congratulations as he has been made, by His Majesty the King, a “Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” for leadership and rescue work during air raids. These duties were carried out in his capacity as ‘Divisional Warden’.

Dec 19 Mr Cotton, teacher, was released from duties in order to take work instructing troops in elementary work with Radiolocation etc.

1942
Jun 22 A fairly heavy air raid made on the town during the night caused poor attendance. Some bombs were dropped in the school area and several scholars are homeless. The headmaster was absent part of the day to attend a Warden’s funeral.

Jul 27 The attendance is poor this morning owing to late alerts and then an early morning one with gunfire.

Jul 30 The senior scholars gave a concert this afternoon; 13/6 was taken for the “Comfort’s Fund”. The school “closed” today with reference to the usual work. Acting on a request from the Local Education Authority the School is remaining open so that the scholars may come for organised games, outings etc during the holidays. The staff will be on duty as follows: First fortnight, The Headmaster (Mr HR Leggett, MBE) Miss Compton and Miss Gascoigne. Second fortnight, Mr Winsor, Miss M.M. Bennett, Miss Reed.

Aug 28 The school remaining “open” during the holidays has proved a success in so far as the number of children attending for games etc in the last week approximated closely to the number in the first week.

Sep 3 A National Day of Prayer. The scholars attended a Special Schools’ Service in the Church at 9.30, coming out at 10.15. As the regulation two hours secular instruction was not possible a “Managers’ Holiday” had previously been notified; the school however was not closed but carried on as usual – registers were not marked.

Dec 16 Owing to three lengthy air raid warnings during the afternoon attendance was below average and very little class-room teaching was possible.

1943
[Note: staff could be deployed between schools by order of the LEA during the war.]

Mar 5 Today is the end of the first week of the Meals at School Scheme. The Institute has been used and is let to the LEA for 10/- per week. The meals (5d each) have been good and there had been no waste. The Headmaster with one other member of staff have been on duty every day.

Mar 16 Chief Inspector Stacey B.E.M. today gave the scholars a talk on “booby traps” and the dangers of handling strange objects such as unexploded grenades. The talk was most useful and a small charge of cordite was ignited to show the effects of mishandling.

May 24 Empire Day to commemorate Empire Day, Wings for Victory and the end of the North African Campaign the school was given a half-holiday.

May 28 “Wings for Victory” A special effort has been made in the School. Talks have been given, posters painted and models made. The school target was £125 but the final sum saved in National Savings was £190.

Jul 27 The Mayor and Mayoress visited the School this morning. They were welcomed by the Headmaster who briefly outlined the “war activities” of the school.

1944
Jan 10 School re-opened today.

Mar 27 The Headmaster has been absent for part of each session as the news has been received that his only son, Flying Officer E.R.F. Leggett (an old boy of the school) lost his life on the night of February 20th.

Apr 5 Lady Brickwood attended at the school this morning at 11a.m. and received, on behalf of the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund, a cheque for £22 – this money was raised mainly by Std IV. The Salvage Drive for books commenced this week.

Apr 28 Salute the Soldier Week The grand total of savings for the week is £300 – the School target was £130.

May 15 There was enemy activity in the town last night and as a result of bombs being dropped several houses in Sherborne and Merton Roads have been demolished and damaged. The school has again suffered from blast effect to windows, slates and guttering. Repairs are being effected by the L.E.A. – the cost will be repaid by the Church Managers under the “War Damage Act”.

May 24 Respirators were inspected this morning.

Jul 3 Attendance is poor this morning owing to the “alert” being sounded at 0045 and the final “all clear” at 1800 hrs. Flying bombs were crashing in this area during the night. At 9.45 this morning there were 120 scholars present.

Jul 7 Attendance low this morning due to the “alert” being sounded at 1am and the “all clear” given at 6am. Flying bombs crashed in and around the town.

Nov 21 Spitfire Mitchell Memorial Fund Scholars visited His Worship the Mayor & handed him a cheque to the value of £21- this being the result of the scholars efforts re. the above.

1945
May 8 “VE” Day The news was broadcast overnight that the unconditional surrender of Germany was an accomplished fact and that today and VE+1 day were to be public holidays. The Headmaster and Staff arrived at the school at 9am. Milk and meal orders were cancelled. Six scholars arrived and were informed of the holiday and sent home. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to mark the occasion by means of a school celebration but this must be borne in mind.

Sep 11 The school re-opened today at 9.a.m. (Tuesday) Monday being V3 day in this area.

Oct 15 Thanksgiving Week National Savings. The target for the week is £150.

Oct 19 Close of National Savings Week – the total for the week is £313.

Dec 21 Mr. O.M. Brown has been demobilised (from the RAF)and is due to commence duty on Jan. 7. 1946.