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Children recreate evacuation trauma

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:28 06 July 2010

Hayley Mace

Dozens of Lowestoft schoolchildren brought history to life yesterday as they recreated the evacuation of youngsters from the town nearly 70 years ago.

Dozens of Lowestoft schoolchildren brought history to life yesterday as they recreated the evacuation of youngsters from the town nearly 70 years ago.

Year Four pupils from Grove and Dell Primary Schools gathered at Lowestoft railway station to speak to former evacuees who shared their experiences of being taken away from the coast on June 2 1940.

Six trains packed with local children left Lowestoft railway station 70 years ago to take children to safety in Derbyshire.

The departures were among 97 trains which took 48,000 children to safety from 18 coastal towns around south east England.

Yesterday the youngsters, dressed in 1940s outfits complete with name labels and gas masks, found out what it was like for children to be separated from their parents

Alan Coleman, who was evacuated to Whitwell in Derbyshire when he was 13 along with three younger sisters, said: “It was traumatic, and I would never want these children to have to experience anything like that.

“It was very frightening, but I think I was lucky because I was one of the older children. It is very important that children learn about the evacuations, and it is nice for them to be able to speak to people rather than just reading about it in books.”

He added: “I remember the train journey from Lowestoft. We were only allowed to take what we could carry, so I had a small suitcase, my gas mask and some sandwiches.

“We stopped somewhere on the way, it might have been Peterborough, and were all given a glass of water, but that was it.”

The Lowestoft Evacuees Association's 70th anniversary project continues next week. On Wednesday, a plaque commemorating the evacuations will be unveiled at the railway station at 11am and next Saturday there will be a 70th anniversary reunion for former evacuees at the Marina Theatre from 9.45am. Free tickets can be booked through the theatre box office on 01502 533200.

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