We visited Gressenhall Museum and Farm to experience what life was like on the ‘homefront’ during World War 2.
We met an officer from the Homeguard who taught us self-defense, using a broomstick handle as a bayonet! We had to ‘fall in’, stand to attention and march in line. He even checked that we weren’t spies.
We met a ‘land girl’ on the farm who showed us how to clean the harnesses for the Suffolk Punch horses. We tried our hand at milking cows (using fake udders) and learned how the role of women changed during World War 2, as many women stepped in to keep farms, factories and transport going.
The Air Raid Precautions Warden let us hear a real air raid siren and try on a gas mask. We huddled in the air raid shelter and sang ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary!” He showed us playing cards from World War 2 which featured pictures of German, Japanese and RAF planes.
In the cottage, we helped make chocolate truffles using rationed ingredients. There was even mash potato in the mixture but some of us still gave it the thumbs up!
At the village shop, we saw how to show our ration card to buy portions of food. We learned how people used their gardens and parks to grow food and kept chickens to help stretch out their rations.
We had an amazing time at Gressenhall. We were able to show how much we have learned about life on the Homefront. We also gained lots of new ideas, to add to our Working as Historians showcase!