Keeping Britain Afloat
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world - Nelson Mandela
A series of lesson plans for Key Stage 2&3 have been developed and can be viewed below. The plans fit in with the specific topic of “challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day.
The lesson plans follow the broad course of the war and focus on the personal contributions of the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, the Fleet Air Arm and the Women of the Royal Naval Services [Wrens].
“We relied on the Navy to stop us from starving and we were at starvation point through the war.”
The lesson plans fit in with the History National Curriculum, “A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils' curiosity to know more about the past.
Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
“Thank you for keeping our memories alive for future generations.”
Keeping Britain Afloat is an oral history project, recording the stories of veterans of the Second World War convoys. The veterans include the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, the WRNS and workers from the shipyards.
There are five resources for Key Stage 3. Students will learn how a convoy operates, what life was like and also how the wider history of the Second World War impacted on the Naval convoys. Each resource contains background historic information, discussion points, activities and veteran interviews.Download
Life On A Convoy
Lesson Plan 1
Following the outbreak of war, the Admiralty swiftly introduced the convoy system, developed with great success in the First World War. The convoy system involved the Royal Navy escorting merchant and troop ships, protecting them from enemy attack.Download
Against All Odds
Lesson Plan 2
Britain faced a crisis in the early months of the war. In 1939 Britain imported 68 million tonnes worth of raw materials, food and other consumable goods, by 1941 this had fallen to 26 million tonnes. Despite Britain mobilising for war, converting factory production to the war effort and later introducing rationing, Britain was still wholly reliant on imports from overseas. Britain faced several problems in Keeping Britain AfloatDownload
A Turning Tide
Lesson Plan 3
1942 saw the turning point for the Allies. The Axis defeat at El Alamein, the arrival of US troops in Europe, the Soviet Union advancing westward and the Battle of Midway in the Far East began to give the Allies hope. However, things did not get easier for merchant shipping; the winter of 1942/3 was the worst year of the war for shipping losses. But the tide had turned…Download
Lesson Plan 4
The naval convoys fulfilled many functions; not only did they enable Britain and her Allies to be kept supplied with food and raw materials, but they also fulfilled a political function.Download
Stretched To Breaking Point
Lesson Plan 5
In the convoy system, Royal Naval vessels would escort merchant shipping to protect them from sea and aerial attack. However the Royal Navy were also needed for other tasks involving the war effort and this sometimes impacted upon the number of merchant vessels that were able to sail.Download
MEET THE VETERANSWHO APPEAR IN THIS LESSON PLANSEE ALL STORIES
John Roche served on HMS Renown throughout most of the war. He gives a fabulous account of himself and provides a fascinating insight to life onboard.
Ted Wells provides a fascinating account of his lengthy spell at sea during WWII. Torpedoed and bombed on numerous occasions he's...
Mervyn Salter gives a great account of his life at sea on HMS Saumerz. Operating in both the Arctic and the Pacific he witnesses more than his fair...
Patricia Massett was a Morse Operator who was stationed at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Her task was to identify individual ships that were passing...
Margery gives an outstanding account of her wartime memories. She was incredibly fortunate to survive the Devonport blitz
Albert provides a great account of his life at sea onboard the Flower-class corvette, HMS Oxslip.
MEET THE VETERANSRELATED TO THIS TEACHING RESOURCESEE ALL STORIES
Clarence Obi served with the Royal Pioneer Corps in 1973. In his revealing interview it becomes very apparent that attitudes to race were very different at the time. Clarence was interviewed thanks t...
Michael Wainwright is one of the Battle of Britain fighter pilots we filmed with the help of the Roger De Haan trust and Group Captain Patrick Tootal.
Ralph Tyrrell gives an amazing account of life as a 20 year old bomb aimer. '..it was my job to go and lay on my stomach, open the bomb doors and...'. Ralph passed away following a short illness on C...
George Reynolds was captured during the fall of Singapore and sent to work in the copper mines at Kinkaseki in Taiwan.
During the Second World War, Jim Knox served with the 4th Parachute Battalion. He was assigned to Brigade HQ and spent his time in Italy in a small troop interrogating prisoners and gathering intellig...
Joy Lofthouse flew Spitfires with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during WWII. This short film [edited from her whole interview] is thanks to the support of the Royal British Legion. Without them
This promo film of Patrick has been created for a VE Day celebratory series called Home. Special thanks to the Royal British Legion for making it happen. Patrick provides a fabulous interview of his l...