Thursday, 27 July 2017

Imperial War Museum and Blitz Bomb Sites

On the final day of the project CRAY headed for London to visit a number of places involved in the Blitz.

First we headed to the Imperial War Museum to view the WW1 exhibition. On the way in Peter pointed out the plaque for the Bethlem or 'Bedlam' hospital which the mueseum was once home to during WW1.

We first looked at The Underworld painting which depicts the role of the London Underground during the Great War.

We then visited the WW1 exhibition where the children got to see different uniforms, including the Australian one, and learn about aspects such as the medial checks which an applicant had to pass.

Next we went to St Edmund King and Martyr - the location of an unexploded Gotha bomb which landed on the altar in July 1917. Ian Castle, historian, spoke to the group about the event and showed the fragments which survived. 

Filming began for the interview with Ian Castle.

For the rest of the day the group visited different bomb sites from the first Blitz in London. These included Postman's Park, Ironmongers Hall and Cleopatra's needle. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

RAF Museum Hendon

The filming would be underway once again at the RAF Museum Hendon. CRAY arrived and were taken on a guided tour of the First World War in the Air exhibition by Vernon Creek. They were shown exhibits such as that of the Vickers Gun bus which was the first fighter plane built at the Vickers factory in Crayford. 

Throughout the day the two filming groups recorded interviews. Some with Vernon Creek who explained Wilfred Salmon's aviator uniform and Will Ewart as Salmon, discussing his life as a pilot and experience in Egypt and France during the war.

Vernon showing the aviator's uniform to the children
The Children also had the opportunity to try some of the uniform on for themselves!


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Crayford Vickers, RFC Joyce Green and Salmon's Grave

Filming was underway again as CRAY visited the remains of Crayford Vickers factory to film. Matt's group interviewed Simon McKeon from Bexley Archives about Vickers and the impact it had on Crayford. The town hall and Maplin shop were once part of the factory.
Sav's group interviewed Peter in front of the statues of Captain Crayford and Propella. The two statues represent Vickers involvement with World War One and Crayford's involvement in aircraft development. 

Peter talks about the ammunition stores
Next we were headed for Dartford marshes to see the remains of Joyce Green airfield which was once present there. Peter pointed out the ammunition stores which were distinguishable by the ditches they sit in and lack of roof - both features intended to minimise the effect of any accidental explosion. Generally, the site was a poor location for the airfield as it was marshland and made emergency landings of aircraft dangerous.

The children completed their worksheets using the information they had just learnt.

Children complete their workshets

They also got to try the uniform on worn by women who worked in the Vickers factory and explore the remains of the ammunition store.

Then we looked at the old maps of the hangar which were on the airfield and the groups searched for their location. We found the remains below which could possibly have been where the hangar was located.

Done at the marshes, we were then headed to Salmon Road which was named after Wilfred Salmon.

We headed to St Alban's church to view its memorial which featured pilots killed during the War from the area. We spoke to a lady from the church and discovered she had family who worked at Vickers, she agreed to be interviewed and contributed her family's story to the documentary. The children researched some of the pilots on the memorial and found out how they died. They were filmed in front of the memorial reading out the names and their cause of death to remember once again those who were lost in the War.

Finally, we visited Watling Street Cemetry to see the grave of Wilfred Salmon who was buried there after his death at the hands of German Gotha bombers. The children had picked wild flowers whilst at Dartford marshes where Salmon died and placed them on his grave. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Further Training and Learning about the Zeppelin

The group met again at Bexleyheath library. The focus was on the Zeppelin airship which dominated the skyline during the early years of the Great War.

Peter spoke about these airships and showed
 an interesting documentary to the
group about them.

 From this the children, in groups, came up with some questions to ask the Professor who they would soon be interviewing. The questions each group had thought of were heard and then a list of ones which would be used were compiled.

Peter also spoke about the early life of Wilfred Salmon in Australia, giving further background information to his story.

Interview techniques were learnt and practiced to prepare for the interview with Giles Camplin. This also helped the children to prepare for their interview later on in the week with historian Ian Castle.

Questions and interviewers prepared, Giles Camplin arrived and was interviewed about the threat of the Zeppelin to London.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Trip to Stow Maries World War One Aerodrome

The following day the CRAY group visited Stow Maries aerodrome. The aerodrome was in use during World War One and would've been similar to the one situated at Joyce Green where Wilfred Salmon trained and fought the German Gotha bombers. When we arrived the group were taken around the museum by a guide who explained the role of the aerodrome and elements of being a fighter pilot in WW1.
The tour included a section on the Poplar school bombing which was likely to have later been a motive for Salmon's pursuit of the German bombers. The bombing took place on June 13th and resulted in the deaths of 18 children. It was written by Mr C. E. W Bean, Australian official war correspondent, that Salmon had "begged his squadron commander to allow him to go up, but permission had been refused" after his witnessing of a large group of German planes flying overhead for London.

Interviewing Wilfred Salmon in aeroplane hangar

After looking around the museum and grounds, the children split into their filming groups. One went with Matt to film actor Will Ewart as Salmon in an aeroplane hangar. The other group went with Sav and  interviewed members of staff working at Stow Maries. They spoke to a variety of staff members, some volunteers and others who worked as Reenactors, providing an insight to the life of people during times past.

Group prepares to interview education 
officer Vernon Creek about aces James
McCudden and Mick Mannock

Once filming was completed, the group had lunch and had the opportunity to watch an air show. A variety of different planes were flown and we even got to see a Sopwith Camel as was flown by Salmon! 

'Wilfred' with the Sopwith Camel

Throughout the day the children (and adults) had the opportunity to try the WW1 aeroplane virtual reality experience. It was an exciting experience and gave all the chance to see what it would be like to fly and engage in a fight with enemy planes. 

Meeting the Reenactors

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Beginning of Summer Film and Drama Project

Saturday was the first day of the summer project and the children met at Bexley Library. In the morning, they learnt the story of Wilfred Salmon with actor Gary from MOD. Before things kicked off they played games to break the ice. Then the group went through their workbooks.
 Next the children undertook a historical drama workshop with the MOD actors to develop their knowledge and better understand Wilfred's story. They were put in different groups and were each tasked with covering a certain period of his life.
Once lunch was over, Matt and Sav of Digital Works explained what would be happening during the visit to the Stow Marie aerodrome where they would have to interview various people. For this the children needed to think of questions which could be used.
When this was done Digital Works trained the group in film-making which would be needed for the following day and the rest of the project.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Performance at Bexleyheath Broadway

24th June 2017

Today was the beginning of Armed Forces Weekend in Bexleyheath. Stalls, tents and vehicles had been brought to Bexleyheath Broadway to display the history of the armed forces as well as to support current armed forces in action. At the top of the street was a stage where the St Paulinus pupils would be performing their Wilfred Salmon musical.

St Paulinus pupils waiting to have their picture taken

Information about Joyce Green Airfield and Lieutenant Deighton Simpson an RFC pilot
4 tents at this event were part of the Wiff Salmon project – the first tent contained the replica uniforms from the beginning of the week. People were invited in to learn Wiff’s story whilst trying on the uniforms and posing for photos. Many St Paulinus students came to this tent and posed for photos alongside Wiff.

Another tent consisted of a craft table, where local kids could colour and decorate images from World War 1. Kids could use a variety of methods to add colour to the pictures including pens and pencils, tissue paper and googly eyes.

Animating the funeral scene

Local kids help the animation team

The final two tents included within the Wilfred Salmon project were the stop motion tent. All the figures, buildings and trees created on the first two days by the year 5s and 6s were brought to Bexleyheath Broadway, where the animation of Wiff’s funeral would begin. Local kids could come in and assist with the animation – and all of them will receive a credit for helping to create the film.

Pupils go over their lines with Chris
Before their big performance, the pupils had a final run through of their lines and a mini rehearsal. The performance was split into three acts each lasting 20 minutes. The audience began to gather around the stage as well as many passing pedestrians. The performers put on their costumes before starting the first act at 1:00pm.