Air Raid – Civilians in Danger!

At Christ Church Primary we have always valued our local heritage, so we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund First World War: then and now grant to help us investigate air raids in both world wars.

During the summer term 2018 our Year 5 children will explore how the experiences and legacy of the shelling and aerial bombing of British civilians in the First World War contributed to air raid precautions and civil defence in the Second World War.

This will include researching Air Raids during 1914-18 and how new and emerging technologies brought the terror of war from the battlefields to threaten ordinary people in their own homes.

We will study the threat posed by Zeppelin attacks, for example on Palmers Yard Jarrow in June 1915 and the tragedy of the Gotha Bomber raids on London, notably the direct hit on Upper North Street School in June 1917.

In particular we will research the early days of ARP (air raid precautions) including Home Defence squadrons of interceptor fighters, early warning observation and sound systems (one survives near Sunderland) the first black outs and search lights deployed along  the Tyne.

Geographically, Christ Church is the nearest school to the site of W.A. Wilkinson Ltd. The public air raid shelter in the basement of this factory was destroyed by a single bomb in 1941, killing 107 of the 192 local residents sheltering inside.  Many of the civilian dead are buried in nearby Preston Cemetery. This was the heaviest death toll from a single bomb outside of London during WW2. We will explore this Factory Air Raid Disaster and its local impact.

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