School Logs

1939 -1945

Carbrooke, Norfolk is a small agricultural village, with a surprising and fascinating history, with influences through the centuries from around the world. 

Throughout the years school headteachers have kept a school diary of events.

The Heritage Group have transcribed, and published Carbrooke school log for the years 1939-45, adding background photos and information. During the second world war, the Headmistress, Miss Mary Norton, kept a fascinating record of daily life and events in Carbrooke, through her entries in the school log, she was a much admired headmistress, with an obvious care for the children in her charge. Daily life went on as usual, admidst the highly unusual events bought on by war, particularly the kind involvement of locally based American troops.

During commemorations for WW2, we hope this, a fitting tribute, and launched the book with a traditional village tea party in the village hall on Friday 8th November 2019 at 2pm, the current school pupils, read excerpts, with music from Watton ukelele band, and military vehicles outside on display.
Carbrooke Heritage Group would like to thank Carbrooke Parish Council, for funding the printing of the books.



The books are available from Carbrooke Heritage Group at a price of £5 (£3 p&p)

CarbrookeschoollogMary Norton, held the post of Carbrooke School Headmistress from 1939 until 1945 – spanning the war years, she was conscientious and forward thinking and was highly regarded by the pupils in her charge. She kept a meticulous and detailed school log during her years as Headmistress.

For some time, Carbrooke Heritage Group had considered that it would make a fascinating project to transcribe her notes, and to research in more detail, some of the events mentioned.

Although this was a turbulent and frightening time, it appears that the children attending Carbrooke school at the time look back on their days with pleasure, Miss Norton encouraged the children with a happy, varied & safe school environment, she detailed events not only occurring in the school, but also in the village, nationally and internationally.

As the country made preparations for war during the 1930’s, land was requisitioned from local landowners in the parishes of Carbrooke, Watton and Griston, which became Watton Aerodrome. It was operational from 1937.  RAF Watton, opened up the small rural village of Carbrooke to the outside world. As the war began, it was used by the RAF, then in 1943 the American Air Force operated from there until the war ended.

The American troops were often involved in the local communities, and they are well remembered for putting on children’s Christmas parties and providing food parcels and gifts to the children. Miss Norton, describes how the school had dealings with the Americans in her log. This leads on to a most surprising story. 

During Family History internet research, a former Carbrooke resident, discovered a reference to his father in a Library in Norfolk, Virginia USA. After further contact, he discovered that his father, along with other Carbrooke children had written to an American girl – Leonie Robbins aged 11, a relative of Lt Col. Field (based at Watton) during the war, and the letters had subsequently been donated to the Library by her daughter. As a result of our Facebook page, Jan Godfrey, a pupil at the school at the time, heard the story, remembers the letters, and American servicemen visiting the school. The letters were passed onto Jan who copied them and made them up into booklets entitled ‘An Ocean Apart’, Leonie always replied to the letters sent by the children, and often sent little gifts to the children. In the school log, Miss Norton mentions these letters.

Carbrooke School log

Also included in the logs are the day to day running of the school, such as visits by the school doctor or dentist, and acquiring school supplies. Other entries of interest for us to research further are – the school meals service, it is thought that Carbrooke was the first to get this service. The children also supported a number of Naval war ships, writing to the seamen, raising funds or produce, knitting socks etc. Miss Norton also related events happening in the village, some of the notable characters, weather conditions or outbreaks of disease.

Sadly for the Carbrooke school pupils, Mary Norton left the school in 1945, to marry – in those days, married women, were not permitted to continue teaching.


Page last Updated 06.10.20