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Gunner Weatherill Brings WWII to Life

History was brought vividly into the present day for our Junior School children as a veteran of World War II visited the school to tell us all about life defending the home front.

Mrs Weatherill, or Gunner Weatherill to give her her military title, visited the school as part of our remembrance celebrations and told the children all about her life and work during the war as she served as a Driver Mechanic in the Royal Artillery.

Having volunteered for the army at just seventeen years old, she worked as part of a team who transported and maintained anti-aircraft guns, some weighing as much as 12 tonnes.

It was noisy work with many of Gunner Weatherill’s colleagues finding that their hearing had been permanently damaged.  “When we fired a gun the noise was terrific, the ground shook,” she said, “and when we stopped firing you could almost hear the silence, there were no animals or birds. It really was quite something.”

It was also hard and dangerous work with exploding guns, falling shrapnel and long hours to contend with.  “One girl that I worked with was hit by a piece of falling shrapnel, she carried on doing her duties, but eventually lay down dead,” she recalled.

Mrs Weatherill was also keen to relate the joys of working as part of a team on such important work.  “It was a hard time, but there was also a lot of fun.  We were all girls together and I made a lot of friends, many of them became friends for life,” she said.