Whitehawk School shelters
It is July 2005 and I have just returned to Canada where I now live after spending 4 weeks in the U.K. My visit this year had an unexpected but very nostalgic event to it that I am going to share with you. There will be many of you out there who will be in awe as I was.
You see, I have a niece who works at WHITEHAWK PRIMARY SCHOOL and she told me that the old air-raid shelters that were built at the back of what was the Senior Boys and Girls school had been opened up. Of course I asked if there was any chance of my seeing them. My niece made enquires and it was arranged with the site manager (Dudley Button) to escort my niece and my wife and I through the shelters.
We couldn’t believe how after 60 years of being closed up they were unchanged. Dudley had found and purchased such items as a gas-mask, a helmet, a stirrup-pump, water bucket and many other items relating to the war years. A showcase of cannon shells, bullets, identity card and other memorabilia pertaining to those days. There were framed extracts from the school log telling the date and time of an air raid and how long it lasted. Dudley even played a tape of a typical air raid with gunfire and bombs exploding. It really was as though time had stood still and we were once again kids in that shelter.
There must be many other people still around that spent time in them and would like to see them. Although Dudley didn’t experience the war years spent in the shelters he is very knowledgeable on these particular ones. It was a privilege for us to be taken on the tour and my wife and I send Dudley a big thank you and three cheers for Whitehawk School. You have as good a wartime tourist attraction as any other wartime site.