Youngsters learn of life at war

A FORMER desert rat, an ex prisoner of war and serving officers were all on hand to thrill children with their tales from the armed forces.

A FORMER desert rat, an ex prisoner of war and serving officers were all on hand to thrill children with their tales from the armed forces.

Nearly 200 youngsters from six local primary schools packed the Woodbridge Community Centre yesterday for the talks.

They listened to stories from veterans and heard from serving officers including a corporal from Wattisham, members of 23 Engineer Regiment at Rock Barracks, a former desert rat, an ex prisoner of war and a soldier who served in the Korean War.

The 175 youngsters - from St Mary's, Kyson, Woodbridge, Melton, Abbey and Hollesley primary schools - were also able to ask questions and view pieces of military equipment.

The event was organised by Woodbridge Town Council ahead of National Armed Forces Day, which is happening on Saturday.

Chris Walker, clerk of Woodbridge Town Council, said: “Everyone really enjoyed it. The children were able to find out what the veterans went through and what it's like to be in the armed forces today.

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“Woodbridge obviously has close links with Rock Barracks and we were very pleased and grateful that members of the regiment were able to take time out to support the event.”

Andrew Rowe, headteacher at Melton Primary School, took 25 pupils, aged 10 and 11, along for the day.

“They seemed to enjoy it and discovered what it was like to live through the war,” he said. “It was also interesting because they got to find out what it is like in different services.

“I think it makes the children appreciate - particularly at this current time - the sacrifices that the people made and how they were away from home for months at a time.”

Olivia Neal, year four class teacher at Woodbridge Primary School, said: “We took 21 eight and nine-year-olds in total. It was a fabulous opportunity for the children to ask questions.

“They have already studied the Second World War and it was great for them to be able to experience it first hand. It makes it that much more real and they can extend their knowledge by talking to people who have lived through it.”

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