HMS Leigh - Guardian of the Thames is a project that covers many areas of the curriculum – from World War 2 History, Art, Music and Citizenship. It also offers Secondary Schools the chance to engage with the wider Southend community in a positive and useful way.
Every town, city or village has a story to tell about life during WW2, but in Southend-on-Sea, due to the importance of what Southend Pier was to become during the conflict, there is a crucial role to reveal and explore that has never been studied in detail. Much of this history will soon be harder to collect and that is why the HMS Leigh team need teachers to help us to work across generations to learn what made the Southend community unique in WW2. The HMS Leigh Team of experts and
volunteers want to offer a new way to share this story with students that enables everyone to feel part of our history by providing teachers with accurate and inspiring source materials.
Class in WW2
War is obviously about those men and women that fought in the front line, but it is also about the courage it takes to keep a society going while supplying the Army, Navy and Airforce. Each year there are fewer veterans to share their experiences. Now, is also the perfect time to listen to those who were children during WW2 and capture their memories.
What the project also wants to build is a community that comes together creatively around these stories and archive. There are challenges to how this is done due to the pandemic, but we believe with your expertise guiding us that these can be overcome safely. It makes sense that at this time where young people have had to stay home and apart from each other to try and find ways that we can come together to share in their creativity. If all else fails, we will be able to connect everyone online as we did this year.
Each school in Southend will be receiving an invitation to get involved with HMS Leigh: Guardian of the Thames. We are starting from the position that general WW2 lesson materials are not in short supply, however if you would like HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames to supply any local archive, stories or support, then please do contact us at feedback is always very welcome and useful to the Team.
HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames has been honoured to receive personal memoirs from the time, family stories, photographs, documents and the personal histories that are never told in textbooks. All of these are free for educational use and may be duplicated as required.
A.P Herbert Telling a Story
We are starting from the position that you would prefer to create your own lesson materials, however if you would like HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames to produce lesson plans and worksheets or share yours with us, then please do contact us at
The images included in all documents are from Southend Museum, Southend Pier Museum, have been given to us by families sharing their history or have copyright attribution on them.