Milly's Guide to

"There's a lot of information on the site which is quite hard to understand - probably because the site is aimed at university students and adults. So here's my tips for exploring the site!"

  • The best bits are the animations and the maps, especially the interactive map in ‘Documents and Maps' in the Menu. If you click on Interactive Map you will see what I mean - click on the red dots to discover more! This section also has some original documents from the archives on it - it is amazing to see the actual pages of the War Diary that were typed on an old typewriter! And what is even better, if you click on the actual page, a transcript or printed version that is easy to read comes up.
  • But the really best bit is the animations - click on ‘Animations' in the Menu and you will see a coloured ‘birds-eye' view of Walberswick with four circles on it - each of these starts an animated video of how this area looked in 1940-41!! You can choose high or low speed and sit back and watch! But don't miss the bits of information and some real historic photographs which pop up on the two lower white boxes. 
  • What I really liked about the animations is that I could see things I can't see now like in the Emergency Coastal Defence Battery video - the huge searchlight so the gunners could see their targets and the virtual Lewis Gun used to shoot at aircraft and the real photograph of one, with the round ammunition magazines on the ground. And there were huge 6 inch guns in Aldeburgh too - you can even see one being fired in the photograph. And the shells were all stored underground in magazines - I wonder if those buried rooms are still there somewhere under the beach? And then we move on to the Observation Post up high - look at all the equipment the observers used to keep watch! Notice what's pinned up on the walls. No wonder the Germans didn't come ashore here! 
  • Look at the other animations - I don't want to give too much away so I'll leave it to you to list all the things YOU notice as you watch (and you can stop the video and restart it using the buttons below the video window).
  • Don't forget to look at the ‘Learning Zone' in the Menu and see the black and white photographs in ‘Coastal Crust' and ‘Walberswick' and now I know about the Coastal Crust, Stop Lines and Vulnerable Points and why Walberswick was an important part of all of these!
  • And if you want to learn more about what you can see in the animations then there is a whole section on ‘The Defence of Walberswick, 1940' and finally I found out all about the blocks on the beach!"

Milly thought about her earlier list of questions:

  • Who put the blocks on Walberswick beach and why?
  • Why were the other structures built and who used them?
  • How did the war come to Walberswick?
  • What was it like to be living here then? Were people afraid?
  • The website could answer the first three but what about the fourth question? Milly wondered about the people who lived in Walberswick during the war. What was it like for them and the children - could they still swim and play on the beach?

➢ What about your questions?

  • How could we find out what it was like to be living in Walberswick during the war?
  • These memories of three schoolgirls, Jill, ‘Tommy' (Christine) and Beryl, all pupils at Walberswick Primary School when the war broke out, have been abridged from: Further Suffolk Memories - More Stories of Walberswick and Blythburgh people during World War II compiled by Arthur Sharman and Patricia Wythe,The Yard Press, Sudbury, Suffolk 2001
  • Read Jill's, Tommy's and Beryl's stories [See Source 5]
  • Did people really think they were going to be invaded? 
  • Tommy said,

"We were expecting an invasion: the Germans were at the ready the other side of the water. I sometimes watched from the top windows of our house out to sea, half expecting to see them coming. We kept a bag packed ready ... "

  • Milly thought about how the war had affected the children in Walberswick. What would it be like to look out to sea and wonder if invaders were coming? What would she have packed in her bag?
    ➢ Think about that packed bag. When people have to flee their homes they often can only take what they can carry. Look at the Suitcase Activity from the Queensland Museum in Australia to find out what sort of choices people have to make about their possessions if they have to leave home in a hurry:
  • ➢ What would you pack in one bag in case you had to flee an invasion?
  • ➢ Using Sources 5, 1 and 2 make a list of the way the war had changed children's lives in Walberswick