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Passengers waiting patiently at Oban train station pulled out their smartphones in delighted surprise on Tuesday, when a long line of Dunbeg Primary School pupils arrived in costume, pretending to be Second World War evacuees.
As part of a study project, the children put themselves in the shoes of their grandparents or great-grandparents, and imagined leaving Glasgow for the village of Taynuilt, where they were collected by three grannies from host families: Granny Mary, Nanny D and Granny Wilma.
Pupils dressed up in flat caps, sang wartime songs such as Kiss Me Goodnight Sergeant Major, and carried their gas masks and ID cards around their necks, alongside packed lunches of ‘pretend Spam’ sandwiches and apples – which were rationed too.
They researched what life was like for real evacuees escaping German bombs in Scottish cities from 1939-45, and their families provided wartime stories and memorabilia.
One parent, Susan Simpson, said: ‘Both our girls were able to take items in that belonged to my Gramps Harvey, and share with their classes about his incredible bravery and sacrifice in the war. He was killed in street fighting on November 1, 1944, in Vlissingen in the Netherlands, saving the life of his friend and comrade in the process.
‘This whole study period has brought about so many family discussions about how the war shaped communities, society and our country, and I’ve been so impressed at how the school staff have enabled the pupils to immerse themselves in the reality of the period of history.
‘I would like to commend [head
teacher] Sine McVicar and the staff for the incredible experience they’ve afforded our children.
‘Words cannot express how grateful we are to our girls’ teachers, staff and head teacher for the hard work, dedication and true devotion that they put in to teaching them. What lucky girls they are.’