‘Crash-out on the HMS Cavalier’

Tuesday 5th November—Wednesday 6th November 2019

As part of our topic this term, Lilac Class took a trip to the Chatham Historic Dockyard to experience what life was like there during World War Two. What an action-packed trip this turned out to be! They started the morning by having a tour of the HMS Ocelot submarine—many were shocked by the size inside (considering it would have slept 69 crew members) and somewhat in awe of the fact that they would go 3 months without showering! They were then tasked with counting how many air-raid shelters they could spot on sight, before getting the chance to go inside one. This air-raid shelter was used by Officers during WW2 and was therefore classed as ‘posh’, which shocked many of the children. Sound effects were used to enable the children to hear what an air-raid would have sounded like and they sang a traditional WW2 song to keep themselves entertained during the raid. After lunch, the children were taken to The Ropery, where they learnt how rope is made and even got to make a piece to bring back to school! They were then put into competition with each other to create a WW2 Warship replica and race them to see whose was the fastest—and most watertight! After a filling dinner, we headed to the HMS Cavalier (the last remaining WW2 warship) to set up our bunks for the night. We were given a tour of the ship by a retired Naval Officer, who told the children some great stories and facts about life as a sailor, and we even managed to spot some fireworks whilst up on deck! The next day, we spent some time looking around the museums on site (after a full English for breakfast, of course!) and exploring the dockyard. It was a fantastic trip and the children behaved so beautifully, even though they were full of questions and excitement.

Impact & Knowledge Gained

An exciting and educational overnight adventure on board the Royal Navy’s last remaining Second World War Destroyer. The children were able to experience life on board first hand, sleeping in real sailors’ bunks in two of the ship’s original Aft Mess Decks. Their knowledge of battle strategy and artillery used during the Second World War is now clear. They learnt about the role of the Dockyard during WW2 and were also able to go into a real-life Air Raid Shelter and gain an understanding of people’s struggle. They have since used their experience and all of the things they got to do to write a persuasive and informative leaflet, encouraging people to visit.