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Caring on the Home Front - Volunteer memories from World War Two

Stories » Teachers’ centre » Surviving the Blitz – a cross-curricular project

Surviving the Blitz – a cross-curricular project

A Cross-Curricular History, Literacy and PSHE/Citizenship Project (Key Stage 2)

Your chance to consider the lives of ordinary people during the Blitz.

Curriculum context

Programmes of study:


During the Blitz people’s lives were thrown into turmoil. It wasn’t just the big things like bombing that affected them; it was thousands of smaller deprivations, like shortages, food rationing, clothing, leisure activities and holidays.

This project pack encourages pupils to consider the lives of ordinary people, especially children, who experienced the bombing raids that were known as the Blitz, by:

Step 1: Explore the Caring on the Home Front website

Look at some of the stories in the website that talk about bombing and its effects and what it was like to try and live your life through the Blitz. The following stories are especially relevant:

VADs: Annie Gadd, Norma Hanson

Air Raids: All stories

Welfare Work: Kathleen Thomas, Helen Owen (for evacuation)

Youth and Cadets: Ron Davis

These stories also show how some people volunteered to help other people affected by the Blitz; sometimes putting their own lives at risk.

Step 2: Create the ‘Virtual Blitz’ museum

This project focuses on the creation of a ‘virtual blitz’ museum display in your own classroom. The aim of creating the virtual museum is to highlight how the Blitz affected ordinary people, as well as to show how people volunteered to help others in need.

No bombs are allowed, but an air raid shelter is. Students can build a replica air raid shelter, (see fact sheet about air raid shelters) and create a virtual world around it with work they have done on the war and material they have collected.

Resource materials

You’ll find lots of visual stimulus for class work in the Resource Library and through the site’s contributors, especially those outlined above.

These resources provide lots of background information about everyday life during the Blitz. Others have been especially chosen from the St. John Ambulance and British Red Cross collections to show how ordinary people became ‘Home Front Heroes’. They can be printed out and used in your virtual museum.

The following are extremely relevant:

Fact sheets

Film clips

As well as printing out and using materials from this site, use work the children have done. Also, why not ask children to bring in objects, photos and stories from family and friends who remember this period, especially those who can remember the Blitz as children.

Displaying the work

Work could be displayed on the classroom wall, grouped perhaps by subject or by child. One really interesting way would be to ask children to print out their favourite stories from the website and turn them into a ’story-strip’ on the wall, with their own work pasted up nearby.

Another way could be to create a Timeline for the Second World War, adding children’s work. Or you could identify themes to group work around, such as rationing, or bravery or air raid shelters.

You’ll also find some oral histories and video clips to download and add to children’s own PowerPoint presentations in the virtual museum. These could be shown on class computers – the more advanced ICT students could perhaps make their own library of sound effects for bombs, air raid sirens and other sounds they imagine might have been heard on the Home Front.

Step 3: Completing the project

Having completed their displays, you could spend a session with children getting them to discuss volunteering and taking responsibility for others. Wars still happen today, volunteers are still needed and children still need to be encouraged to help others – even in situations they would naturally shy away from.

You could perhaps start your discussion by gathering the children’s views about the Second World War, the Blitz and what it was like to try and lead an ordinary life. You might like to contrast the children’s views with some of those from the site’s own contributors . Were those people any different to us?

At the end of your discussion ask the children to think about the lives of children today who are disrupted by famine, war, natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes. Don’t just think about disasters a long way from home but end by linking back to a local story. There’s bound to be one or more in your local paper. Talk about the volunteer groups that exist to help people in these situations. St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross are two of the most important, but you will probably have others in your area. All volunteer groups are eager to explain what they do and will be happy to come into your class if asked.

Extension work

You could hold a Blitz day at school to remember and thank people who participated – especially those who were ‘Home Front Heroes’ and helped care for others caught up in bombing and all the other horrors of warfare. You could invite people who helped out in the creation of the virtual Blitz museum by providing memories and material, as well as people who volunteer to help others today.

Useful links