• The Teaching Activities are intended as ideas for teachers to adapt, modify and extend for their students. They are cross-curricular in nature, but focus mainly on the National Curriculum in History, the Literacy Framework and ICT. Teachers may choose to follow through all the activities, or pick and adapt those which are most suitable for their needs. Prior knowledge of the Home Front and what it was like to be a child in World War 2 will provide a good basis for these activities.
  • The activities are structured through a narrative of Milly's investigation into Walberswick's past.

1. Setting up the Investigation

  • Milly sets her own investigation 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?
  • Teachers can ask the students to create their own questions or add their questions to Milly's list. Students are asked to think about other sources of information they could use to answer the questions including asking someone in their family.
  • Milly considers the time span from World War 2 until now and how that is reflected in her family. Teachers can use this as an opportunity for timeline work, compiling students' family and generational data into a chronology with World War 2 in order to calculate the ages and chronology of the generations of their family and who might have been alive and a witness to World War 2 events.

2. Don't mention the war?

3. Seeing Walberswick at War

  • When Milly added WW2 to her Walberswick search term she finally found what she was looking for - a new website!


  • Students can explore the website using the Menu on the left side of the Homepage to guide them. Teacher might like to set search questions appropriate for the level of their students as a guide but as the content is mainly aimed at adults and university students, a simple Milly's Guide to this website aimed at directing them to the most appropriate and useful content has been included.
  • Students can respond to their exploration of the animations using the activity Seeing the Past:

Milly said that what she really liked about the animations is that she could see things she can't see now. Ask the students to look at each animation and complete the following:

We/I looked at                                                                                       (title)

and what we/I noticed were

What we/I really liked about the animation

Other things we/I would have liked in the animation


Questions we/I would like to ask about the animation are


Extension: Students could write a ‘voiceover' guide to each animation designed for children to understand what they are seeing. They could also suggest sound effects, music and dialogue that could bring the animations to life.


4. What about the people in Walberswick?

  • Review Milly's questions about the war in Walberswick and any additional questions your students posed. What answers do we have now to those questions? What do we still need to find out? Questions about living in Walberswick and being a child there during the war have not been answered.
  • Go to ‘Teaching Pack' in the Menu and find the Resources Folder. This contains:
  1. Timeline 1939-1941, and edited transcriptions of
  2. Minute Book, Walberswick School 1939-1941
  3. Log Book, Walberswick School 1939-1941
  4. War Diary 2/4th Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment May 1940
  5. Memories of Walberswick people during World War 2
  6. 2/4 South Lancashire Regiment Home Defence Scheme East Anglia April 1940
  7. War Diary 558 Field Company Royal Engineers November 1940
  • Source 5 includes memories of three schoolgirls, Jill, ‘Tommy' (Christine) and Beryl, all pupils at Walberswick Primary School when the war broke out, which 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
  • Divide the class into three and give each group printed copies of either Jill's, Tommy's or Beryl's memories and ask them to highlight or underline the following:
  • Red or pink - feelings
  • Green - actions or activities
  • Blue - sights 
  • Yellow - problems or difficulties
  • Black - sounds
  • Discuss the girls' experiences of the war - were they mainly positive or negative? How similar were their experiences?
  • Look at Source 2 and 3. Are there any similarities between the girls' memories recorded in the past 10 years and the official school records of 1939-1941?
  • Note: Jill is also mentioned in Source 3 the Walberswick School Log Book as the girl who kept coming to school without her gas mask. Her recorded memories do not include this.

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 ... "

  • This activity considers what an invasion might mean. 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?
  • Ask students to 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: http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/education/resources/jou/index.asp
  • What would you pack in one bag in case you had to flee an invasion?
  • Using Sources 2, 3 and 5 ask the students to make a list of the way the war had changed children's lives in Walberswick.
  • Teachers can choose to complete this learning activity at this point as part of their World War 2 The Homefront study or they might like to complete the unit with a final challenging task.

6. Sharing the Secret! Making history public!

  • This is the core task of this learning activity. It asks the students to bring together all they have discovered and apply their learning to designing interpretation materials based on the new knowledge they have acquired.


  • Suffolk Coastal District Council has asked for ideas for interpreting the World War Two remains for visitors who come there. We have been asked to design
  • 1. Interpretation panels or signs containing pictures and text that can be put up to tell the story of Walberswick's coastal defences
  • o All the panels must have a common style and design and be suitable for outdoors so we need to look at some examples to get ideas.
  • o We will need to decide how many panels are needed and where we will put them. We will also need to choose some photographs or drawings and some stories about Walberswick's war from people who were here would also make them more interesting.
  • Your local museum or heritage officer with the local council might be a good place to start to find out about interpretation signs or panels.


  • 2. A guided trail or leaflet that visitors could buy or download to use on a walk to understand the World War 2 landscape and remains. You would need to draw a map of the walk to guide visitors.
  • For an example of a local Walberswick Dunwich walk go to http://www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org and click on Discover the Area where you will find an interactive map and walks.


  • 3. An audio-trail that visitors can download and listen to on their ipods or MP3 players or mobile phones - we could include sound effects and eye-witness accounts to make it more exciting!
  • An example of an audio about Walberswick in general can be found at http://www.pocketsouthwold.co.uk/mobileindex.html
  • Go to What to See and scroll down to Walberswick or you can find it on the web at http://www.pocketsouthwold.co.uk/pswfiles/audio/Walberswick.mp3
  • Another local Suffolk company produces audio guides and has one on CD about Southwold that includes some memories about Walberswick - you can listen to some of their guided tour of Framlingham on their website http://www.soundingboardproductions.co.uk/audio.html
  • It is recommended that students work in groups, each group choosing to develop a panel and walking tour or audio guide for each of the 4 areas covered by the 4 animations on the site:
  1. Sallow Wood Covert - Field Gun Battery
  2. Hoist Covert - Battery Observation Post, Pillboxes and trenches
  3. River Blyth and Southwold Battery - Emergency Coastal Battery
  4. Walberswick village and beach
  • They should look at examples of interpretation panels and audio and walking guides. There are many examples on the internet and local museums and heritage officers in your local council may be able to help.




[Walberswick mine]


  • Write a letter to the Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times explaining how that mine came to be on Walberswick Beach and letting readers know how they can find out more.