War comes to Haslingfield School 2

The Blitz of London started, leading to a new wave of
evacuees in the autumn of 1940, and necessitating the transfer of
a teacher from Surrey to meet the new demands. But by the end of
the year the local authorities had obviously got fed up with the

9th December 1940
New air-raid rules have been issued, by which there is no dispersal
on warning. Several parents have sent written requests that
children should be sent home. These will go home.

By the end of September 1942 there were 45 evacuees in the school, causing overcrowding problems:

29th December 1942
Mr. Godfrey, H.M.I. visited; the subject was the sanitary arrangements, which are reported inadequate for the numbers of pupils. In the event of further accommodation being vetoed, owing to war conditions, it was arranged that play-time should be staggered, the younger classes using lavatories before-time.

Crowded toilets continued to exercise the attention of the authorities during the first half of 1943, but little hope of redress was offered.

In September 1943 Cambridgeshire took up the option, offered long ago by legislation of 1906, to provide school meals for Haslingfield children. The first few weeks proved to be a bit of a trial:

October 18th 1943
Third week of school dinners begins with 44 diners on roll. We still
however await a cupboard for storing equipment, and have no
outside voluntary help, which makes the dinner hour somewhat

Meals at this stage were not made on the premises, and this
brought its own problems:

October 28th 1943
The School dinners’ van broke down, and no dinners arrived, so
had to send diners home. Three children were given snack meals
as their homes were locked up.

Hiccups in the service continued:

November 2nd 1943
Dinners arrived today at 1.30 p.m., necessitating late start for
afternoon school. Headteacher and Miss Ling dined at 2.30 p.m.,
having served and washed up. Dinner break 20 minutes.

As well as catering, the school staff were also responsible for the
weighing, measuring and inspection relating to the issue of
extra clothing coupons for the very tall, the very heavy and
those with big feet (embarrassing details can be disclosed at the
end of this reading for the provision of a small fee).

Just before D-Day the war came right to the doorstep of the

22nd March 1944
School Hall was used, by permission of Governors, for sleeping
twenty soldiers of the R.A.S.C. 71st Highland Division, who were
about on exercise. They caused no inconvenience, and everything
was left as they were before use.

July 1944 saw a further influx of evacuees escaping from the V1s
and V2s landing on London, a growth in numbers that at last
brought an increase in toilet provision.

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