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Remembrance: Ernest Bevin College poetry reading

Date: November 22, 2017

On 10th November, we were visited by boys from Mrs Heather Moody’s English Literature class in Year 8 of Ernest Bevin College. They had been working on Word War I poetry and came to read us some of the famous poems of Sassoon, Owen, Brooke and McCrae. The experiences of the people at the front, and the desperate conditions in which they lived whilst fighting a war where new technology had rendered old strategies ineffective, were very vivid as described in these words.


Standing in front of the World War I memorial names on our rood screen, the boys heard stories of some of those names, belonging to real people made so vivid by the research done by Margaret Bell in our congregation. She has managed to find information on all but a few of the people remembered there.

There were also artefacts from the war: Dora Littlechild brought a photograph of her uncle and his medals, and these were carefully passed around.

We heard that although young men had to be eighteen to sign up, many younger boys tried to enlist. One twelve-year-old, the same age as many boys in this class, was caught volunteering and sent home. In 1914, you could leave school at twelve years old – a topic we decided not to pursue!

Along with refreshments, there was a chance to explore other parts of the church, and the World War II memorial in the Quire and the organ were both popular, and raised lots of questions.

We would be very happy to arrange themed visits and learning experiences for other schools.