Pupils keep calm and carry on

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Portlethen Primary school pupils learnt about World War Two with a difference last week when they were introduced to a local man’s historic collection of World War Two items.

Primary six and seven children, who have just begun their project on World War Two, had a hands on approach to how life was during the war.

Newtonhill man Alan Fraser visited the school with a vast array of World War Two items and set up the interesting exhibition. Mr Fraser went through many aspects of war with the children such as teaching them war-time songs and about clothing of the time, as well as many other aspects of life on the home-front during World War Two.

The exhibition had a wide range of World War Two memorabilia with information on Anne Frank and Nazi propaganda as well as a range of authentic clothing, including Mr Fraser’s mother’s wedding dress from the time.

The majority of the items set up in the exhibition were collected from the time period of World War Two but there were also some information books for the children to look at about the time period. There were gas masks, posters, ration recipe books, photographs, letters, suitcases, helmets, kitchen items, school items and anything possibly imaginable (and safe!) relating to the time period.

The children were introduced to a delicate apron from the war period that had small, well sewn patches on it and taught about the whole idea of “make do and mend” and how important it was during the war.

There were genuine, rare ration cookbooks from World War Two and examples of what someone would get as their weekly ration was available for the children to see, with only one egg, a small amount of butter and one or two other small items.

Mr Fraser also had, alongside his mother’s wedding dress, an example of what wedding cakes were often like during World War Two when money and food were limited. The wedding cake was in fact a cardboard box covered in icing and decorated to look like a cake.

Mr Fraser, who retired as a teacher from Portlethen Primary School a few years ago set up his business - Alan Fraser’s World War II Exhibition and Workshops - and tours around primary schools and other places interested giving people an insight into home life, the life of children, schooling, technology and science through artefacts, role-play and experiences.

The children, who have just started the project, seemed very excited at getting a hands on approach and being able to see genuine World War Two items instead of just hearing about them or reading about them.

Mr Fraser also had an example of an Anderson shelter for the children to go inside as well as cardboard cut outs as an example to show the size of some of the bombs that would have been dropped in this area.