London 2015 – day three, part one 23 Oct 2015

It was midnight before some of the girls got to sleep last night, but amazingly most were up by 0615. The boys, however, with Freddie as the prime example, knew that bed was the place to be until at least 0715.

We have had breakfast and are in the Mess Room on HMS Belfast, learning about its fascinating history. Did you know that the camouflage of warships of the 1930s was based on the male Eider duck, designed to look like the colours of the water, and the aim was to confuse the enemy so that they did not know the height of the ship, which direction it was going or which part of the ship was which?

We are looking at a range of artefacts and evocative images. We are truly moved by the story of the artic convoys, and the difficulty of the lives they were living. We discussed seasickness that would be part of their everyday life. Harry is holding up a crowbar which would have been used to smash the ice off in temperatures approaching -40 degrees Celsius.

We are looking at meal times and a photo of one room where six men are around a table, with one looking a newspaper, one is writing a letter, and four are playing cards (a popular pastime for Tresillian class on the train and in Jamie’s). To the left a man is sewing, and another is I. A hammock, either trying to get to sleep or waking up.

Now Charlotte is putting an innocuous piece of wood into the ropes at either end of a hammock. One of our mystery objects is a hammock stretcher. There is no an image of sailors off duty, sleeping in the gun turret. They are packed in, with coats and woolly hats on, sleeping on a cold metal floor. If they had a few moments off, the first thing soldiers would do is sleep.

Harry “This morning I learnt a lot of things, such as how the Belfast was used and the conditions that they had to work in when they were protecting the convoys. I never forget that we slept on this actual ship.”

Grace “I love the lights at night because it is peaceful and like Vegas. I didn’t think that I would survive this long because I thought we would lose our money or put it in the bin. London is huge, extraordinary and magical.”

Dan “I enjoyed going on the London Eye as you could see most of London. You could see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and showed how big London is.”

Next stop, Anson Primary School, London NW2 4AB.

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