Memories of hiding from German bombers as former pupil Ernie Germeney, now 85, returns to Ten Mile Bank school

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Also pictured is

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Also pictured is Ashton Knotte (9). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

An 85-year-old former pupil has returned to the Norfolk school where he and classmates ran for cover when German bombers flew overhead.

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Also pictured is

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Also pictured is Ashton Knotte (9). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Ernie Germeney grew up near Denver Sluice in the 1930s and 40s and attended what is now the primary school at Ten Mile Bank.

Coincidentally Natalie Bressani - a partner in Driving Miss Daisy, the King's Lynn driving and companionship service Mr Germeney uses to get around - taught at the school.

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Bur

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

When she mentioned this to Mr Germeney, he showed her clippings he had kept of parents' recently-won battle to keep the school open, saying he would like to visit. So Mrs Bressani got in touch with staff to arrange it.

'When we told Ernie where we were taking him the following week, he couldn't stop smiling and told everyone he saw on his weekly shop in Morrisons,' she said. 'Many conversations were had on the phone as memories of his time at the small village school resurfaced. He remembers the floods and showed us which side of the river was affected.

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Bur

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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'Seeing the school though brought more memories back, he described how he walked to school with his sandwiches over one shoulder and his gas mask on the other. If German planes were heard or a siren sounded, the teachers instructed the pupils to leave the school and run down the track at the side of the road, the pupils had to hide in the hedgerow until danger had passed.'

Mr Germeney left school at 14 and went to work at a garage in Downham Market, where he remained until he retired. He still remembers his schooldays in the Fens, travelling to and from Ten Mile Bank on the back of a horse and cart along the river bank.

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Bur

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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'Ernie said he had an amazing visit, he was delighted that this community school had been saved,' said Mrs Bressani. 'The school has always been at the heart of the village and that is where he feels it should stay. He said he was overwhelmed by how many lovely resources the children now had, as in his day it was so plain. He loved how interested the children were in learning about the past of the school they were clearly so proud of.'

After the visit, the children said they enjoyed meeting Mr Germeney and it was fascinating to hear first hand the history of their school. They were also relieved they now don't have to hide in hedges from enemy planes.

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Bur

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Bur

Ernie Germaney (85) went back to his old school at Ten Mile Bank for the afternoon. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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