Grenades and machine guns bring war history alive for York cubs and scouts

13 Jul 2015 @ 3.39 pm
| Education, History

If you’d gone down to the woods last Saturday (July 11), you would have been sure of a big surprise.

Soldiers, machine guns and escape tunnels made it look like a scene from wartime Britain. And lots of eager beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers were there, immersed in all things Second World War.

lord-mayors-own-scouts-stick-granade
Armed and dangerous – cubs pose with a German M24 fragmentation stick grenade
morris-commercial-c8-2nd-st-thomas-scouts-york
Lookout. Cubs from 2nd St Thomas survey the scene

Young troops from across York Minster District Scouting dug into the woods at Snowball Plantation, Stockton-on-the-Forest.

It was part of a ‘Bring History Alive Day’ recalling Britain’s darkest hour.

Re-enactment soldiers dressed in American, German and British uniforms explained the history, methods and weapons used in the war.

rifle-snowball
A reenactment soldier demonstrates the Mauser K98 rifle to a young scout

Two D-Day veterans, Ken Cooke of the 7th Battalion Green Howard’s and Ken Smith of the 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, brought a touch of reality home.

They explained patiently to the enthralled scouts a little of what they experienced during the Normandy landings.

ken-cooke-ken-smith-snowball-york
D-Day veterans Ken Cooke (left) and Ken Smith pose in front of a restored Morris Commercial C8 Field Artillery Tractor
ken-cooke-ken-smith-2nd-st-thomas-scouts-york
The D-Day veterans share their memories with 2nd St Thomas cubs

As well as the history lessons, the youngsters got to crawl through escape tunnels, battle the assault course and feast on Second World Wars classics – pan haggerty and cottage pie.

A touch of home front authenticity was added with rhubarb crumble using fruit grown by the Stockton & Christchurch troop in the community garden.

cath-shapcott-beaver-leader-cooking
Beaver Leader Kath Shapcott prepares the potatoes to go with the onions, cheese and bacon for pan haggerty. Read the recipe here
cub-scouts-york-snowball-poppies-lest-we-forget
Lest we forget… poppies made by the Scouts bask in the sunshine