Published: September 27, 2010
Youngsters re-enact wartime evacuation in Highbridge

A history lesson came alive for dozens of schoolchildren when they re-enacted a wartime evacuation in Highbridge this week.

Ninety children from Walliscote Primary near Weston travelled by train to Highbridge Railway Station dressed in wartime costumes, holding their ration packs.

During the trip, they visited Highbridge's historic Frank Foley statue, where they heard about the story behind the town's wartime hero.

"We wanted the pupils to gain a real insight into what children back in 1940 would have experienced," the school’s Oriole Harris told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

"They dressed up in authentic clothes and caught the train from Weston to Highbridge, and were welcomed by Burnham and Highbridge's Mayor and Mayoress, Michael and Maria Clarke."

Highbridge town councillor Derrick Cooper recounted to the pupils how wartime hero Frank Foley had helped free thousands of Jews.

"When we returned to Weston, the children's parents were waiting to greet them off the train. Only the parents knew of our plans, so the youngsters were surprised when they were told what was happening."

The school also thanked Cllr Pat Burge and Pam Lyes for helping to organise the day.

Major Frank Foley was born in Highbridge in 1884 and was a spy in Berlin who used the cover of head of the passport division of the British Embassy. He risked his life by helping persecuted Jews leave Nazi Germany, saving thousands from certain death.

He entered concentration camps such as Sachsenhausen and gave visas to the authorities so Jews could be free to travel. He also hid Jews in his home and helped get them false papers, forged passports and visas, breaking British law, and risking his life because as a spy he would have no diplomatic immunity. It is thought he saved 10,000 people who went to countries under British rule.

RELATED LINKS:

Commemorative statue for Frank Foley unveiled in Higbridge

 


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