'I don't think it's something we talk about enough': Primary school children go back in time and remember March hero Jim Hocking
PUBLISHED: 11:38 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:38 01 July 2019
HARRY RUTTER / Archant
Primary school children were transported back in time as they learned everything about the 21-year-old March hero Jim Hocking.
More than 120 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from Cavalry Primary School have spent a day with 20Twenty Productions who took them back to WWII to meet Mr Hocking on June 19.
The project - funded by the Heritage Lottery - aims to educate school children about Jim Hocking who was flying over the town on July 28 1944 when one of the engines in his plane caught fire - Jim steered the aircraft away from the town to save many lives.
Katherine Nightingale, director at 20Twenty Productions, says that Jim's story is not something people "talk about enough".
She said: "We're not talking about it and we should. Jim really caught my attention because he was just an ordinary young man. I felt his story just needed to be told."
The arts organisation held the events at the March Town Hall on Wednesday, June 19 and 26th. Jim's family have been involved in the project and were asked to record some of the letters that Jim had written to his parents.
The event came to a halt just after lunch time when 20 Twenty staged an air raid alarm. Dressed in character, the home guard came in an assured everyone it was safe to come out.
Mrs Nightingale added: "We want to do more of these events with more schools and children to really share Jim's legacy and his story.
Apprentices and volunteers from 20 Twenty Productions dressed in war period clothing and even hosted a hot seat session where children could ask Jim Hocking questions.
Mid-way through the session, children could collect their sweetie rations if they had taken part in all of the day's activities.
The children then headed for March Museum which is home to a Jim Hocking memorial. On display is his jacket, medals and various facts about the town hero.
The pupils were sent on a challenge to find out as much information as possible and completed a fact-finding trail around the museum.
"The project is all about learning about Jim Hocking and what March was like during the war, we even showed our film we made three years ago, Home From Home."
The film follows the lives of young people who are evacuated to Chatteris during the war, explaining the process and showing what they had to go through.
20Twenty Productions plan to take this project into more schools and tell Jim's heroic story to as many people as possible.
Copies of the 'March Hero' book all about Jim are available to buy from March Museum at £10 each, with all proceeds going to the museum.