Tresco Visit Highlight Of Children’s First World War Event

New Grimsby Harbour, Tresco

New Grimsby Harbour, Tresco

Finding out about life in Scilly during the First World War has been keeping younger residents and visitors busy this week.

Up to 15 children have been taking part in the three-day ‘Battleships Ahoy!’ event, organised by the AONB with the Children’s Services Team to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict.

Mark Cox, a community archaeologist for Somerset Council helped put the activities.

He tried to make it as ‘hands-on’ as possible, including a day exploring what remains of the old seaplane base at Tresco, and hunting for mines on the seashore.

And Mark says he also learnt a lot himself about Scilly’s wartime role. He says the islands were incredibly important in the battle to keep supply lines open across the Atlantic.

Seaplanes were deployed here to hunt for German U-boats, which were devastating shipping around the area. Trawlers were also converted into military vessels to join the battle.

Mark says the youngsters who took part in the sessions were surprisingly well informed about the war and many brought in memorabilia such as photos and medals of family members who’d served in forces.

The children also explored the lives of the people left behind, who had to keep the islands running.

One of the children taking part was Esran Stewart from St Agnes. He found out about a family member who had served as a gunner in the Staffordshire regiment and he says he enjoyed the day they spent on Tresco.

Max Conway, on holiday from Norfolk, was another who got to find out about his family’s wartime history for the first time.

His great, great uncle was killed in action.

Mark says they tried to avoid too much focus on the death and carnage of war, but they did visit the war memorial in Old Town Church to read the role of honour for the 45 islanders killed in the conflicts.

During their final session yesterday, the children produced a newspaper with historical facts, photos and biographies. That’ll be put up on the wall of the Children’s Centre and will be moved to the museum later.