Trip to Upottery Airfield

To support their learning about World War II, the Key Stage 2 children went on an outing to Upottery Airfield Heritage Centre at Smeatharpe. This small museum, staffed by a team of enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful volunteers, is on the site of one of several Devon airfields that were used by the American air force in the run-up to D-Day in the early part of 1944. The children learned that on 6th June 1944, planes and gliders carrying hundreds of American paratroopers left this base to travel to France to support the troops landing on the Normandy beaches on D-day.

While at the museum, the children had the chance to dress up and handle replica rifles. They saw how a stirrup pump would be operated; translated a message from Morse code and wrote out a coded reply, using a replica radio transmitter to send their response to the message; sketched a range of World War II artefacts and found the answers to quiz questions to help them engage with the museum displays. They were also shown a film about D-day – code named Operation Overlord - and had the opportunity to ask questions of the museum’s knowledgeable volunteers.

While some of the children were in the Museum, others went to the nearby village hall to practice their orienteering skills and then the two groups swapped in the afternoon. It was a busy, enjoyable and informative day and supported the children’s learning enormously. Later in the term, the children used what they had learned to write diary entries in role as paratroopers leaving from the Upottery airfield on D-day.