Shooting Butts School, Rugeley

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Date:1940 - 1945 (c.)

Description:A celebration meal in the canteen at Shooting Butts.

Shooting Butts Camp School, Penkridge Bank Road, Rugeley was opened in May1940 for evacuee boys from Birmingham. There was also a similar Camp School for girls at Pipewood, Blithbury. Together, the schools offered places for about 240 pupils from Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

Mr David Lane, who appears in this photograph, has kindly provided further information:

"On the photo of the celebration in the dining room, on the first table to the right of the photographer, in the foreground of the picture, there is a group of three boys. I'm the one in the middle. I went to Shooting Butts about two years before it closed. I don't know why I was sent there as I originally was evacuated to South Wales then went back to Birmingham. I was at the school in its final years in Kenilworth Dormitory and in Mr Amigino's class.
From what I remember it was all rather spartan. I remember that the food was sufficient but not ample. We were on our own quite a bit. One thing I remember (and learned) was: 'Walk and Talk, not Run and Shout'. I 'got the stick' for running along the boardwalk outside the dining room. I remember also Mr Mould, the music teacher, who gave me some piano lessons. We had lessons in the morning and evening. The afternoons were free and I remember going into Rugeley in the afternoons as well as onto Cannock Chase. Some boys tried to run away home. The ones who came back had a 'rest cure' which meant a few days just laying in bed in the dorm. My mother came to visit me some Sunday afternoons.
I also remember the visit of an American Army Black choir - they gave a very moving performance. I don't remember any other diversions. I remember also a solo by one of the boys, Leslie Holmes (I think that was his name), who sang 'Bless this House'. The farm I remember was quite an important part of the school. It was run by the 'big kids' and, as I was one of the youngest in the school, I hardly ever went there. We all however received a dividend when the camp closed and they sold up the farm. I got something like 10 pounds.
The only boy I kept in contact with after we all left was John Titley who lived in Yardley. He joined the Hussars and fought in the Korean War, I think he lost his life whilst serving in a tank.

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Donor ref:5462/1 (201/32022)

Source: Staffordshire County Record Office

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