Recounts from World War Two
Teacher Notes
Personal Recounts from World War Two
Reading and comprehension exercise

This site includes several first hand recounts from people who were children or young adults during the second World War. These recounts are from individuals from all parts of the country (map). See below for a summary of the individuals and their recounts.

This unit could be linked to a World War Two history study. There are several links, to other sites on the web, that contain personal recounts from the war.

Ideas for use in class

Each recount is accompanied by a set of comprehension questions that can be completed on-line. These are self-marking. Children could read different recounts, make notes and report back to the class with a summary of 'their' recount. These can be compared and discussed.

The recounts could be copied and pasted into a word processing program and/or printed off for use by the children and/or the teacher. For example, the harder, perhaps topical words could be identified, defined, and made into a glossary. (see Great Bedwyn text with glossary)

The individual texts could be used with the whole class via a projector or copied and used on an OHP. Features of a recount could be identified, as well as the more difficult vocabulary.

The children could identify with some of the writers. E.g. If they were Joyce, evacuated to Great Bedwyn, what would they write in a letter home?

Children could ask their own grandparents/other older adults if they have any recollections from the war years. They could interview them and write recounts in the third person. (send them in to us at and we'll put them on-line.)

NLS Links
Recount texts are referred to in Year 5 Term 1 and under autobiographical/biographical texts in Year 6 Term 1.
Y6 Term 1 T11 Text Level
Y5 Term 1 T21
Summary of recounts
York Tony remembers serving on fire-watch duty as a pupil at St Peter's School. He witnessed a train driver's brave act that saved York station.
Hadfield, Derbyshire Eileen remembers starting school as the war started. She can recall the dreadful sound of the sirens, and being hungry because of the rationing.
Coventry The sight of the Cathedral burning will stay with Beryl forever.
Brentford, Essex Eve recalls working at a garage when really she wanted to join the WRENs. She remembers the bravery of the Royal Engineers, and the death of her brother at the age of 21.
Devonport Memories of World War II by Mary Whalley.
Wellington Mavis particularly remembers the pitch-blackness of night-time and VJ Day celebrations.
Bradford Isobel was only four years old at the start of the war. She remembers the air - raids but not being afraid.
Portsmouth Peter remembers playing in the bombed-out houses with his gang of friends.
Tewkesbury Roger was ten years old when War was declared and can remember hearing Chamberlain's message on the radio.
Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire Joyce remembers being evacuated and longing to be back with her family in London.
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