WW2 activity 8: The Battle of Britain – a child’s eye view
Pupils research the Battle of Britain using Learn with Objects WW2 13: Battle of Britain and other sources.
They then explore a compelling piece of evidence. A dramatic black and white photo of small children, sheltering in an open slit trench, looking nervously and excitedly to the skies above.
This is used as the starting point of a piece of poetry or creative writing, written from the point of view of one of the children.
- What’s happening in the sky?
- How are they feeling?
- What might happen next?
Image copyright: Kent Messenger Group
Increased knowledge and understanding of WW2 Home Front, Folkestone in WW2 and the Battle of Britain.
KS1-2 History (WW2 Home Front, Local Area Study).
KS1-2 English (create a piece of creative writing, poetry, role play)
In summer 1940, the Battle of Britain raged in the skies above Kent and was witnessed at close-hand by men, women and children living in Folkestone and the surrounding area.
See these incredible photos of the Battle of Britain taken by Roderick Timms at Folkestone Electricity Supply Company in summer 1940.
In this activity pupils research the Battle of Britain before creating a piece of creative writing inspired by it.
The following websites may be useful to teachers or pupils
Schools in East Kent may also like to consider visiting one or more of the following sites connected with the Battle of Britain as part of this project.
The Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge
The Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel le Ferne
The Spitfire and Hurricane Museum, Manston
Imagine you’re one of the children sheltering in the slit trench, in the black and white photograph in Learn with Objects WW2 13: Battle of Britain.
Re-enact the scene as a freeze-frame role play activity with children in the class playing the part of those in the photograph. Discuss the photo first, thinking about the questions below. Then tap the children one at a time on the shoulder to get their responses (from their own imagination to the following questions).
Describe how you feel.
- Are you scared, worried, excited?
- What’s it like in the trench?
- Cold, wet, muddy?
- What’s happening in the sky above?
- Are mass formations of enemy planes heading over to bomb Kent airfields or London? Are they being attack by British fighters?
- Is there a dogfight taking place?
- Are bombs falling?
- Has a plane been shot down?
- Describe the action?
- Does it feel real?
- Or distant from reality, the planes making beautiful patterns in a bright blue sky. Think about the reactions of the people around you - adults, teachers and other children.
- What do you think will happen next?
- How did you end up here?
- Who are you? And what are your hopes for the future?
The pupils then develop a piece of creative writing or poetry, from the viewpoint of one of the children in the trench, describing what’s happening, both in the trench and in the sky above their heads, and how it makes them feel.