Wednesday, August 24, 2011

War Years

Lionel John Aubrey
In October 1940 there were short periods of intense bombing on the City of Coventry, followed by the blitz of November 14 ~ 16 ~ OPERATION MOONLIGHT SONATA. Over this 2 day period over 500 tons of high explosives were dropped on the city and the city centre was ablaze, the city’s factories were blasted and burning and when the all clear sounded at 6.15 am of the third day, the shocked, dazed, frightened and tired people of Coventry emerged into what had once been streets, to find 4,330 homes had been destroyed and over 1200 people had been killed. There were further bombing raids with 6/8 hour intense periods on the 8th and 10th April 1941 and the last bombing raid was in August 1942.

Wyre farm was a boy’s school and records show that the first intake of boys from Coventry was in June 1940 increasing in intensity through to 1942. Records show that the boys were mainly from schools in the town and factory areas of the city and by December 1942, 283 boys had been relocated to Wyre Farm. It is assumed that most of the boys had lost their homes, or parents, or both. By the end of May 1945, 584 boys had moved through Wyre Farm.
Through the post war years in to the early 1950s as the city was rebuilt and food rationing was eased the intake of boys continued and by April 1948 over 100 boys had been accommodated at Wyre Farm. By January 1950 this number had increased to over 1200. From 1950 onward the records show that boys were accommodated for shorter periods of time perhaps out of term time to give them a change from city life and chance to enjoy the fresh air and countryside of Cleobury Mortimer. Later the school name was changed to the City of Coventry Boys School.
Living at Wyre Farm Camp School

Wyre Farm, situated on the outskirts of Cleobury Mortimer was a new home to many boys from the blitzed areas of Coventry and surrounding areas.
We were accommodated in dormitories given House names, I can recall my dormitory as Radford House, others were Godiva, Leofric, Earlsdon & Mercia etc. Your represented your ‘house’ in all aspects of life, collecting points from promptness, cleanliness, attendance, sport etc. Each house had a master and 2 prefects.
1st intake of boys at Wyre Farm were evacuees from Coventry blitz.
On arrival at Wyre Farm your health was checked by ‘Matron’, having been considered as suitable or in need, by a Coventry doctor, earlier.
(approx times)
The day usually started with a quick wash and off to the dining hut for breakfast. Prefects checked you into the hut (clean hands!) and in rotation you prepared your ‘house’ table and cleaned upon completion.
After breakfast you made you beds, cleaned and tidy the dormitory.
8.45 Assembly in the school hall, prayers, notices etc. On completion dispersed to classes. There was an opportunity here to visit Matron should you be unwell. Lessons were for set periods and you changed classrooms or teachers as required.
11.45 Lesson completed, return to dormitories to was hands etc.
12.0 Lunch, prefects supervised, on completion ~ free time.
13.0 Return by classes to classrooms
3.30 Return to dormitories, free time. There were various activities ava8ilable all supervised by prefects/Masters (Scout Group, Drama Group, Gardening, Sports)
5.0 Tea, on completion resume free time
6.30 Return to dormitories, showers bet ready for bed (supervised by prefects/Masters)
8.0 Lights out
7.30 Breakfast. On completion carry out set tasks under supervision f prefects. E.g. clean ablutions, dining hall, classrooms. Skirmish surrounds of buildings, paint areas etc.
10.0 Various activities.
Sports team prepare. Football and cricket mainly. School team was in a league with other schools from Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport.
Scouts normally went camping for the weekend.
Drama group was very active.
Tuck shop opened for one hour.
9.0 After breakfast assemble in school hall for church service. If weather permitted we marched to Cleobury Mortimer Church, (approx 3 miles) prefects supervising.
After church we made our own way back to school in time for lunch. Sunday afternoon at leisure, weather permitting most of us would go for walks.
One Sunday of each month, parents/friends would visit from Coventry. Coaches (2) would come for the day, arriving about 10.30 and departing about 4pm. Lots of the boys had no parents, perhaps some of their family might come. Those of us with a parent always had one or two in our company for the day. There was always plenty of sweets and comics to share around. On occasions we would all walk in Cleobury and have a lunch, this was a real highlight. When visitors left the rest of the day was free.
I remember that all activity groups were very well supported and the masters were very dedicated
At my time the Headmaster was MR MARTIN, Deputy Head MR MORRIS. Radford House and Maths Master was MR JONES. MR LOWE scoutmaster, MR WATTS drama & MR LAMBURY Sports.
The former City of Coventry Boarding School began life as Wyre Farm Camp School just before the start of the Second World War when a government quango, the National Camps Corporation, was set up to investigate the poor health of city children.

This is a music video about the Coventry blitz - music by Trev Teasdel and the Collective Unconscious 1986

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