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
"Joe” Pallent's flotilla of Royal Navy LCAs carried American soldiers of the US Army's 2nd Ranger battalion. The Rangers' orders were to scale, attack and secure Pointe du Hoc between Omaha and Utah
Sub-Lieutenant Hilaire Benbow RNVR was only 19 years old on D-Day. His Royal Navy LCA carried US Rangers from HMS Prince Charles for the planned second wave of the assault on Pointe du Hoc.
Sub-Lieutenant “Jimmy” Green RNVR led six Royal Navy LCAs carrying A Company of the US Army’s 116th Regiment from their ‘parent ship’ SS Empire Javelin to land on Omaha Beach.
Ted Wells provides a fascinating account of his lengthy spell at sea during WWII. Torpedoed and bombed on numerous occasions he's a true survivor with bucket loads of resilience. Check some of Ted's p...
Pam Torrens was a special duties linguist based at Abott's Cliff and Ventnor. She also went onto Germany. The interview is full of detail and humour..
Marsie Taylor worked as a Wren Writer initially at Norfolk House in central London and then at Southwark in Portsmouth. She was also awarded a British Empire medal for her work during the Blitz. She w...
William Sheppard provides a detailed and interesting account of his time as a Gunner on the mine sweeper HMS Onyx.
MEET THE VETERANSRELATED TO THIS TEACHING RESOURCESEE ALL STORIES
Fred Glover enlisted into The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) in the Second World War and later volunteered for airborne forces while serving as a Lance Corporal.
He qualified on the 6th of ...
Like most young men of his generation Bill Hurst joined the army as a National Serviceman. Badged 1st Kings Liverpool Regiment he was sent to Korea. A place he had never heard of.
John Lincoln was working in his father’s funeral parlour when he was called to do his national service. His day job proved the perfect training for the important role of stretcher bearer.
Michael specialised in bomb disposal whilst in the Royal Engineers. He was conscripted into the role as a National Serviceman.
Geoff Prater provides a detailed and often times, very amusing account of his time as a ‘Tankie’ in the Second World War. Conscripted into the army he joined the Royal Tank Regiment in 1942. Italy
In 1970 Tom joined the Royal Artillery in order to support his family.
What follows is an epic account of life in the military in the 70's and 80's. In 1975 he transfered into the Army Medical Cor...
Whether it was delivering false newspapers or concealing English soldiers, when the Germans invaded Belgium, Andrée Dumon put her life on the line. When you see her as a smiling young woman [in the g