Echoes of the past: VE Day celebrations at Field Lane Primary

Youngsters from Field Lane taking part in VE celebrations in May 1995
Youngsters from Field Lane taking part in VE celebrations in May 1995

I heard a nice story a few weeks ago about a school in the Midlands from a friend who is a retired teacher.

The story goes that the teacher intended having a display of artefacts relating to the Second World War, and asked the children in the top class to ask amongst their relatives if they had anything suitable for the display table.

Well, Jimmy an enthusiastic member of the class ran home and went to visit his granddad.

He must have something, Jimmy thought to himself.

Granddad produced his old ration book. Having explained what it was and what it was used for. Jimmy was keen to show it to his teacher. I am sure that some of you will have tucked away in the dark corners of a cupboard somewhere the old ration book your family once used. Or maybe some of you may still have those petrol coupon books from the 1950s during the Suez crisis.

I digress, it transpired that Jimmy and just a couple of his friends brought things for the display table. The teacher pointed out that they needed a few more things.

Jimmy ran all the way back to his granddads and asked if he got anything else. Giving it serious thought, not wishing to let his grandson down, he produced his old army tin helmet.

Well, you can imagine how pleased Jimmy was, as he marched round his granddads kitchen proudly wearing the helmet. ‘Don’t lose it’, granddad said. Jimmy ran all the way to school the following day and with a big smile on his face presented the helmet to his teacher. ‘This is wonderful Jimmy’. On close examination the teacher was still not overly excited about the few contributions. She asked the children for the final time to ask their family members if they have any other items dating back to the Second World War period.

Jimmy went to visit his granddad for the third and what transpired to be the last time, in his quest for those memorable things from the war years. ‘Granddad have you anything else, our teacher wants them for the table...’

Giving it serious thought before he answered. He said ‘Well, Jimmy I have a great coat I had when I was a soldier’. Jimmy looked at his granddad with a look of curiosity having no idea what such a thing was.

‘Granddad where do you keep that..? ‘It’s in the loft wrapped round the tank...’ ‘With a look of disbelief. ‘You’ve got a tank granddad ... WOOOOOW.’

Some might say if you believe that, you might just believe anything, but the old ones are often the best. No fear of such incredible stories with the youngsters from Field Lane in this VE photograph celebrations taken in May 1995. That is twenty two years ago, when these six took part. Some of them will now be approaching their thirtieth birthday, I wonder if they can remember this day all those years ago when they dressed up, in a war time tin helmet?