Children get a taste of life on Western Front

CHILDREN from Holt Primary School experienced a taste of life on the Western Front when they visited a replica First World War trench system in Bradford on Avon.

 

The trench, complete with a full-scale replica First World War tank and a hospital section for the wounded, was erected in the historic Saxon Tithe Barn as part of the town’s Countdown to Peace programme.

Over the past few days, more than 600 pupils from five local schools have visited the re-enactment to see what life was like for soldiers on the Western Front during the 1914-18 war.

Holt Primary School’s deputy head Jo Hodge said: “We took Years 5 and 6 and they found it very interesting and informative. It has kick-started a whole term’s worth of work on WW1.”

Other schools who sent pupils included Fitzmaurice and Christ Church primary schools in Bradford on Avon, West Ashton Primary School, and St Laurence secondary school, also in Bradford on Avon.

Sonia Fox, of Christ Church Primary School, said: “We took our class and it was a great thought-provoking experience.”

Cllr Simon McNeill-Ritchie, who is spearheading the Countdown to Peace initiative for Bradford on Avon Town Council over the ten days leading up to Remembrance Sunday, said: “The response has been fantastic. We’re expecting between 2,000 and 3,000 to have visited by Sunday.

 

“It gives visitors a sense of the conditions in which their ancestors lived and fought on the Western Front, and experts were on hand to help them understand what trench life was like for First World War soldiers, from eating and sleeping to ‘going over the top’.

At the end of the experience, the school children were invited to write a ‘letter home’ to their parents, much as soldiers would have done during the five-year conflict, which claimed millions of lives.

Countdown to Peace is a programme of more than 40 events to mark this year’s centenary of the end of the First World War.

Organised by local community groups, it features poetry, musical performances, a screening of the film Journey’s End, plays and talks.It is part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with profits going to support the Royal British Legion and the armed forces charity, SSAFA.

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