you're tempted to think that the D-Day anniversary events are merely
a chance for those who were there to reminisce about their part
in it then think again.
the fathers long tell the children about this tale" Winston
Churchill once said of World War II, so he for one would be very
pleased that the D-Day anniversary is providing a platform for young
people to learn about not only a key event in World War II but a
pivotal moment in world history.
about D-Day in the classroom
visited a St Albans school who had used their learning about the
D-Day landings to put themselves in the same position and through
words and pictures, realised that war is the same for everybody
- whatever side you are on.
Like many young people all over the country, year 6 at St John Fisher
RC School in St Albans have been learning about the events both
leading up to D-Day and the day itself.
then imagined that they were either taking part in the operation
itself, either as a British, American or German soldier, or that
they were reporting on it. By looking at their work (see below)
you can tell that they have really taken on board not only the factual
information about how and why it happened, but also what it must
have felt like to be involved.
shows in their writing is that they discovered that although they
were fighting on different sides, the feelings of trepidation and
terror were common to both.
Their class teacher Kevin Creaton explained that before they started,
they put the whole war into context before looking at some footage
on the video and various texts.
then embarked on various pieces of writing in the style of newspaper
articles and diary entries, and concentrated on thinking about what
it must have been like at the time from different sides.
film The Longest Day gives both an overview and a range of perspectives"
we used the idea of having a range of perspectives in the classroom
to do some diary writing from the point of view of the Germans stationed
in Normandy, the French Resistance, American paratroopers and the
He revealed that the children had really taken the subject to heart
and while they had enjoyed the work, as a teacher he had also been
careful to stress the seriousness of the subject and what we can
learn from it today.
in the War by Jamie P
study of these events also encapsulated a lot of other subjects,
such as geography, and Mr Creaton said that, all in all, the project
had been a great success.
been very good and great for their writing" he said.
really got into it and we even practised storming the beaches in
the playground. They really enjoyed it but you have to then remind
them of how serious the whole subject is.
looking at their writing there does seem to be a sense of angst
coming through as well" he added.
He also stressed how important it was for younger people to learn
about such things.
showed them stills of Auchwitz from 1944 which helped them to understand
what was going on in Europe at the same time" he explained.
also talked about how Poland was carved up and how Russia suffered
terribly during the war and how global the war was.
take so much for granted nowadays and it saddens me that children
aren't quite so aware of the war" he continued.
could all have been so different. It's such a significant piece
of history for mankind and just to have that within living memory
and for people not to be fully aware of it is scandalous to a certain
to reflect on the amount of human suffering that did take place
and to appreciate that suffering and wars and atrocities are still
taking place is important."
While we were at the school we also talked to the children about
interviewing techniques. They then took the roles of war reporters
and soldiers, thought up their own questions and interviewed each
other using our recording equipment. You can hear some of the results
using the links in the left hand column.
day there finished with a prayer for peace. I don't think any more
needs to be added to that. Except to say look at their work below.
Landings by Daniel O
BEGINNING OF THE END FOR HITLER
the Allied Forces storm the beaches of Normandy, the beginning
of the end draws near for Hitler.
(6th June 1944) at dawn, our brave lads stormed the beaches
of Normandy in France. The Germans had taken over France.
The unsuspecting Germans were scared out of their skins as
a fleet of about 4,000 ships closed in with over 150,000 troops.
The landing of these troops had a secret codename - Operation
caught up with John H. Flannigon, a fighter that survived
the D-Day landings.
was scared stiff. There were lots of Germans firing at us
from the trenches. As soon as I stepped off the landing craft
into the water, we had to run for cover" he said.
reporter radioed in and said how we had the Germans running.
Was that really the case?
thankfully. The Americans landed on the other beaches and
really got bogged down, so we're very lucky" he said.
also explained why our soldiers were so eager to win this
coastline battle. "We want to get them back for that
incident at Dunkirk."
Today's weather has been really terrible for June, it's been
really rainy and windy all day. Because of the bad weather
the attack has been postponed but I'm actually quite relieved
because I was really nervous about having to fight.
really missing my family now, I wish I could be with them
back in England. I hope they are all OK and haven't been hurt
or anything. I'm starting to get really scared now. I hope
we don't have to go yet.
It's now 6.04am and we've just landed on Gold beach. Some
of my soldier friends have already been captured and we've
killed a few Germans. That means less people to fight.
wish we could go home now. I've had enough of all this fighting.
I don't actually like trying to kill people. It makes me feel
atmosphere here is horrible, people shooting each other, loud
banging noises of the guns firing at people, screams and shouts
of dying men. It's absolutely horrifying.
All it is now is waiting and more waiting. Yesterday's weather
was really bad, rain, cold and even a storm. Today is the
slightest bit better as it is not raining as much and it's
a degree or two warmer. It's 18.20 exactly now and at 2.00
we're bombing the railway. A few of my friends in the Resistance
have been caught and tortured. I'm really scared. We have
just received a code. I don't know what it's saying.
hope it's a clean battle and that none of us gets really badly
have been listening on our secret radio getting ready for
the night time.
It's almost time, just 25 minutes left. At least six of my
friends have been captured. One of my best friends too, George.
On the 5th of June more had been captured. We saw some even
be tortured in front of our eyes.
want my family and I want to know that I'm safe. My heart
is pumping so I stand up. I'm terrified!
time to blow up the railway. At this point I really don't
want to be here.
now 2.20, the railway has blown up and it's all over. Nothing
has really changed, there are just pieces of metal everywhere.
I'm glad it's over but I want my family and friends.
by Alison F
I hate being here in France. I want to go back to Germany,
my home, but I'm scared the Russians will invade Germany.
losing the war in Italy at the moment.
weather is terrible here. It's raining really heavily, so
there won't be a battle tonight.
really missing my family, especially my children and wife.
I wish this war will end soon.
Today we saw 4,000 ships! We were terrified. The English came
and landed on this beach. They captured loads of Germans and
some of them were very good friends. I wish I wasn't in the
war. The Germans and I were nervous and scared fighting and
we were also very tired. The fight killed loads of us. It's
horrible knowing your friends are captured because we have
been told they are going to be tortured.
scary here with loud bangs. Sometimes the ground shakes. Bombs
drop making huge explosions. There are loads of dead bodies
everywhere which makes me sad.
weather today was slightly better than yesterday, not that
it makes much difference.
am really missing my family. I hope they are all well, especially
the children. I am going to write to them soon. I'd better
go to bed now, bye.
it all coming to an end for Hitler?
at around 2am the Allied Forces covered the beaches and Lands
over 156,000 troops covering Normandy's land it now looks
like the Germans will be having a hard time.
ships overflowed sword beach and many more. There were different
types of ships such as the warships, the landing craft and
the minesweepers. There were 3323 landing craft, 467 warships
and 150 minesweepers.
the French Resistance have blown up a railway and it has been
said they have been sending secret codes to each other. Whether
or not this statement is true - that is up to you to be decided.
interviewed James Stone before he left and this is what he
How are you feeling now about D-Day?
I'm really scared, I'm frightened and worried. I want my family
with me there, all the way. I know that won't happen and I
wish D-Day wasn't happening.
What are you most scared of?
Everything. I'm scared I'll get captured and then tortured.
As I have said I'm scared of losing my family, or should I
say my family is scared of losing me.
I've been waiting to know when we are going to go off to Benouville
(6 miles north of Caen) which is in German occupied France.
we do go we all sit in a glider and we wait for it to land.
We use a glider because it is silent. Then what should happen
is that we storm the bridge and kill the Germans that are
the meantime I gamble. I am going to try my luck now and see
what I can win with £2. I'll write again later.
don't believe it! £20.00. That's what I can win with
£2. The weather's pretty bad so I'll find out soon.
We're going at 12.00 tonight.
We took over the bridge. I nearly got shot. We killed the
Germans in the area and are now having to guard the bridge
and wait for reinforcements. We also have to keep it German-free.
weather's a bit better today but waiting is boring. We have
to keep on our toes in case the Germans try to win back the
bridge. A couple of my friends were shot. One of them broke
their leg on the rough landing. We just thumped to the ground.
The beginning of the end is near for the Germans.
really scared and jumpy at the moment and I miss my home and
family. Being a British Commando isn't easy.
WORK FROM ST JOHN FISHER SCHOOL
Dinning from Milton Keynes returns to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary