In Fauldhouse, the local schools carried on much as usual despite the war. Many of the children must have been deprived of their fathers’ or brothers’ presence during some or all of the war; and a good number of male teachers presumably volunteered or were conscripted into the forces; but there is no evidence of the effects of these in surviving school log books or in the local newspapers.
Early in the war, Mr Collins the RC head teacher was 'trying to induce the children of the highest class to read the War news daily'. The old RC school with its 'deplorable' conditions was replaced by a new five-classroom school which opened in 1916. But class sizes were huge - in April 1918, 'the whole Infant Division with a roll of 82 was under the charge of a single teacher'.
The 'flu epidemic caused both schools to close for a week in November 1918. A half-holiday was given on the day of the Armistice.
There were a few organised activities for children, many of them organised by the churches - annual soirees for Sunday School children or the Band of Hope (which encouraged children to 'sign the pledge' to abstain from alcohol throughout their lives.
The annual joint Sunday School picnic continued during the war years. In 1915, some 600 children, headed by pipers marched through the village to a field at Leadloch Farm. On arrival they were supplied with 'a liberal refreshment of buns and milk. Thereafter the afternoon was given up to races and games'.
Fauldhouse Gala Day continued throughout the war, despite misgivings by some that people at home should not be wasting money and food on frivolities. But the more general feeling was that children should not be deprived of one of their few treats, and that the men serving in the forces would be pleased that their children could still enjoy the gala.
Children played their part in the war: their food was rationed too, and many were parted from their fathers for years on end. They played a particular role in fund-raising, gathering goods like paper and scrap metal for recycling. At the Public School, the children were encouraged to put their pennies into the Savings scheme to help the war effort.
For more information on any aspect of West Lothian and the First World War, contact firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.westlothian.gov.uk/article/2055/Local-History-Library.