Forefield in Wartime
Forefield children on Empire Day, circa 1945

Children of Forefield Lane School on Empire Day, circa 1945.
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Memories of Forefield Lane School, by Robert Ballantyne
Forefield pupil September 1940 to July 1946

"My memories of the school are, surprisingly, still reasonably clear and, despite the war, were nearly all happy ones. I was living with my parents in Park Avenue, off Moor Lane, and for all except the first year used a tricycle to school. The teachers included Miss Darling and the headmaster was Mr Bellis. Miss Mountain was also a teacher and became headmistress after I left, I think.

Sometime was spent in the underground air raid shelters on the field beyond the school, which were lit by blue lights so it was impossible to work, but we were encouraged to sing until the all clear sounded. We had tape over the windows and black out blinds and carried a box with a gas mask in. School meals were very healthy as no cooking oil was available, but they were wholesome and we drank 1/3 pint of milk a day from small bottles.

As it was easy to collect the fins from bombs and incendiaries, quite a lot of swapping was carried out of burnt bits of metal. James Watt, who lived in Forefield Lane had the front of a glider in his front garden with the pilots seats and controls intact. His father was in the police and had managed to acquire it! He was a very popular boy.

Special emphasis was placed on Empire Day at the school and the photo (above) was, I think, taken in 1945 when we were asked to bring a flag or prized possession from home, hence one or two yachts can be seen.

Due to the excellent teaching and relationship beteen parents and teachers I was lucky enough to pass the entrance exam to Merchant Taylors School and win a scholarship, so saving my parents school fees, which were considerable even in those days."

Robert Ballantyne, 2008

Medal awarded to Robert Ballantyne
This medal was awarded to Robert Ballantyne for behaviour and attendance.
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