SCHOOLCHILDREN in Musselburgh transported themselves back in time to the Second World War to experience what it was like to be an evacuee.

The 30-strong group of pupils – who are in P5 at Musselburgh Burgh Primary School – complete with identity cards and name tags, boarded a train bound for their temporary home in North Berwick as part of their studies about the home front.

During their recent evacuation day, they enjoyed lessons reminiscent of the era in a classroom at Law Primary School.

Sitting alphabetically in desks, two by two, they practised their handwriting by writing the class rules before having a go at cracking Morse code on tea-stained paper to make it more authentic.

They wrote postcards home and went outside for games including hopscotch, skipping and exercises. They also tucked into their 1940s rationed packed lunch after being asked to include food such as bread and butter, a plain jam sandwich, hard boiled egg, plain biscuits, and an apple or vegetables grown in the garden. They also tried some ‘mock marmalade’, which was made of apples, carrots, orange essence and sugar, on bread.

The children were invited to take part in period dress along the ‘Make Do and Mend’ philosophy, wearing long socks, shorts, shirts, jumpers, blazers, flat hats, sensible shoes and pinafores.

They carried gas masks decorated like Minions, as children during the war had ones like the cartoon favourite Mickey Mouse to make a potentially terrifying situation less frightening.

The living history event was organised by P5 teachers Nicola Davies-Jenkins and Fleur Hoole.

Mrs Davies-Jenkins said: “We have been focusing on what life would have been like for children in the war. We have learnt about rationing, air raid shelters, the Blitz and the evacuation of children from major cities.

“We have baked a Second World War no-egg chocolate cake, made Anderson shelters, gas masks as part of an art project and had regular air raid drills in class where the children have had to hide under the tables.

“The children have also been basing their writing on an imagined personal response to an air raid siren. We have had children bring in gas masks, identity cards, silk maps from Japan, coins from the early 20th century and medals.”

She added: “The children really embraced the day. They carried their gas masks with them at all times, stood up whenever an adult entered the room and even sang We’ll Meet Again to their parents and carers as the train rolled in to evacuate them.

“They should be proud of themselves and their wartime spirit.”

Angus Ross, aged nine, said: “It was really fun and educational because, when we learnt Morse code, it was like we were actually doing it in the war.

“At the end it was a little weird as we had to do the exact same things at the exact same time – doing 1940s gym exercises in rows.”

Nine-year-old Adam West said: “The day was spectacular and relaxing, surprising as it’s a school day. I enjoyed everything about the day. I would recommend it to someone and the exercises I did were amazing, and it was nice of people to give us a classroom.”