Children learn about World War Two home front effort at Beamish Museum's Dig for Victory event

Families have been enjoying a fun-filled day at Beamish, learning about the World War Two home-front effort as part of the museum’s Dig for Victory event.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 12:08 pm

Visitors were issued with identity cards which had to be carried during wartime and were checked by the museum’s onsite Home Guard.

Children planted seeds in the farm garden, as would have been the case 80 years ago as many families resorted to growing their own food due to supply shortages as the impact of the war led to rationing.

Grace Kelly, seven, said: “I’ve really enjoyed visiting the museum and it was fun planting the seeds. People needed to grow their own food as there was a shortage during the war.

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Grace Kelly, 7, planting seeds to be grown in the farm garden to help the wartime effort.

"It’s fun to see all the soldiers dressed in their costumes.”

Zachary Guthrie, also seven, added: “It has been interesting to learn about the war and see all the farm tools.”

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Zachary’s grandmother, Anne Barnes, believes it’s important children to learn about the efforts and sacrifices of what is now sadly becoming a rapidly diminishing wartime generation.

The Home Guard checking identity cards at Beamish Museum.

She said: “I really wanted to come to the event as I feel it’s important children also learn about what was happening on the home-front and not just overseas.

"Being able to see things in real life here at Beamish really gives them a feel for what it was like.”

Visitors were able to visit a conscription tent and see first-hand some of the weapons which would have been used by the Home Guard and soldiers on the front-line.

Dressed as an Airborne soldier was the museum’s rural life engager, Kevin Caroll, who said: “The children really enjoy being able to see the items first-hand and it’s really important they learn about what took place 80 years ago which has given us the freedoms we have today.”

A member of the Land Army making a cup of tea.

A key feature of the event was showcasing the role of women who worked as Land Girls and Lumberjills farming the land and providing a vital source of timber – two roles which had traditionally been carried out by men.

Kevin added: “These women played a vital role in keeping the country going.”

Also visiting the museum with her family was Sophie Wright, 15, who attends UTC in Newcastle.

The Wright family visiting the Dig for Victory event. Sophie Wright, 15 (far right), believes the "world would be a different place" if it wasn't for the efforts of the wartime generation.

She said: “I already knew about the role of the Land Army but being here at Beamish really brings it to life. It’s important that we remember the efforts of this generation as without it we would be in a very different world to what we have now.”

The event also played host to a range of vehicles used during the war effort including a Duffie Dodge jeep owned by Pauline and Bob Parkins.

Pauline, 74, said: “Seeing all the vehicles and costumes really brings history to life. I think it’s just as important we remember what was happening at home as well as overseas.”

The four day event will run until September 5 and will also include firing displays and performances of classic wartime music.

Historic events officer Paul Foster said: “Beamish is about living history which can engage people through sight, sound, smells and taste. It’s important for children to learn about the war effort and see history in action rather than in a book.”

Visitors will need to book time-slots via the museums website.

Brothers Abe and Zachary Guthrie, two and seven, with their ID cards.

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Airborne soldier Kevin Carroll.
Beamish Museum's historic events officer, Paul Foster, believes the Dig for Victory event brings history to life.
Women on the home-front repairing clothes.