Malhamdale Local History Group    





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Teacher Doris Carr riding home to Lee Gate from Malham Tarn School (1939)  


Malham Tarn School 1943, the teacher Miss Smith with Bernice and Harry Beresford, Margaret Carr and Robert Harrison holding the cup for National Savings.

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Malhamdale at War


At the outbreak of war Malhamdale had three schools in operation, at Kirkby Malham, Airton and Malham Moor. The teachers at Airton were Miss Collin and Miss Carter and at Malham Moor it was Doris Carr until her marriage in 1942, when she was followed by Miss Billows and finally Miss Smith. Doris Carr travelled from Lee Gate daily by pony. (See Evacuees). At Kirkby Malham, Marion Cockerill was the Assistant Mistress throughout the war, with Eleanor Bramley followed by Kathleen Hawkins and finally Ann Turner as Headmistress. John Geldard used to collect Miss Cockerill from Bell Busk Station every Monday morning in the horse and trap.

One of the first things to happen after war was declared was that the schools were visited by the ARP warden, and each child was issued with a gas mask in a cardboard box which had to be carried at all times. They were given some ARP drill, but as there were no air raid shelters, the children at Malham Moor were each designated a rock to hide behind in the event of an air raid!

At Airton in the event of an alert, the old mill bell was rung and the children, complete with gas masks, were hustled down the hill to crowd under the stone river bridge for extra protection.

School trips were cancelled because of lack of petrol, so school outings were limited to nature walks and picnics. Many children were expected to help out on the farms because of lack of labour, and a holiday was given in October to enable children to help with potato picking.

Primary school children were encouraged to collect things to help the war effort such as rosehips which were made into rosehip syrup, a rich source of Vitamin C, jam jars for re-cycling, sheep’s wool caught on the hedges and fences and sphagnum moss used for dressings. Nothing was wasted. National Savings Groups operated through the schools, and children took money every week until sufficient had been saved to exchange for a Certificate, 15/- or £1. Cups were presented to schools which did well in these collections.

At this time most children completed all their education at the village schools, although a few children from the Dale went to Ermysteds Grammar School or the Girls High School for their secondary education, travelling daily by bus. Small groups of girls from the High School went to the Food Office on Otley Street to help with the allocation of ration books. Children of every age were expected to contribute to the war effort in some way.


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