Alnwick District in the Great War

Invasion! Alnwick Prepares

Invasion! Activities - PDF

Who Can Help Prepare for War - PDF

Map of Evacuation Plans - PDF

Map of Northumberland - PDF

Britain was attacked from the sky for the first time ever at the start of 1915.

No one expected air raids, so when German airships first flew over Britain one dark night, the country was unprepared. The bombs they dropped were not very accurate, but still caused much injury and damage.

In times to come, whistles would sound the alarm and people learnt to run for cover, taking shelter in the Underground, at home, in cellars or basements. For some, though, seeing an airship was very exciting and when one crashed, fragments were kept as souvenirs.


Plotting the Enemy

The Germans used Zeppelin airships and then bombers called Gothas and Giants to attack Britain.

Pupils could design a symbol to represent each type of German aircraft. The children could go on to find out more detail about some of the attacks. When did they happen and where?

The children could place their aircraft symbols on an outline map of Britain, to plot the German attacks. Pupils could add labels with place names, dates and any other information they have discovered.

Discuss what can be learnt from the map. Why do the children think certain places were attacked and others were not? Is there any pattern to the raids?


Raising the alarm

Working in pairs, pupils could plan an information leaflet explaining what happens from the moment a scout spots an enemy aircraft in the skies approaching Britain. The leaflet could give advice on the best way to protect yourself in a raid and explain how the 'all clear' will be signaled.

Students could also discuss whether there are any drills or alarms in use in their community, such as fire alarms, school intruder alerts, or weather warnings.

After an Attack

After air raids, people had to come to terms with the damage and the loss of life.

Discuss how people might have felt after an attack. Encourage pupils to think of things that might have made people feel angry, sad or scared. What other, more positive, feelings might some people have experienced (relief, pride, determination, hope)? The children could jot down their ideas on sticky notes and group them under appropriate emoticons on the wall.

The class could go on to talk about the things people often do when they feel sad or scared. Some find comfort in church or in other places of faith. Pupils could write poems that aim to express the feelings of people who have endured an air raid. Some children's poems may take the form of a prayer.

The children could reclaim their sticky notes if they feel the words they had written would be helpful or comforting.