I will arrive in class in full kit to create an immediate impact for the students.
The talk will be interactive, and cover the following areas:
- Typical Dress of First War Tommy
- Description of Kit
- Kit layout and the use of various items
- What and how they ate.
- tinned food like today, beans and sausage, cold as hot when cooked but by time at front line cold!!!
- Sample “Bully Beef” and “Hard Tack” biscuits
- Mess tin, shaving/washing/drinking & eating
- Weight & balance of Rifle
- Weight of equipment Full Service Marching Order 1914-1918
- Weight & comfort of helmet from 1916 onwards
- Comfort and material of shirt and uniform
- Typical daily routine when not in the Front line
- Boredom, tedium of rebuilding trenches, filling sandbags and so on
- Lack of sleep, water and mud up to the knees, water tasting of BP or Shell as contained in fuel cans
- Lice/ stench/ rats and vermin
- Self sufficiency, sewing and repairing kit as and when required
The aim of my business is to provide a High Quality learning experience for Key Stage 3 and 4 of the National Curriculum in History, specifically The First World War period.
Although primarily aimed at year 9 upwards, I feel that the method of presentation is appropriate to children from the age of seven. The impact of a fully kitted WW1 Tommy arriving in class grabs the pupils’ attention straight away and they are fascinated by the experience.
My presentation has a hands on element for the pupils to get a feel for what the Private infantryman of the First World War had to endure and the physical constraints of wearing the uniform and equipment of that time.
This would involve the supervised handling of the rifle, helmet and webbing equipment to give the pupils an idea as to the physical strength of the men, bearing in mind that some were not much older than the pupils themselves!
In addition, where possible I would like the pupils to sample the typical rations of the time, namely “Bully Beef “, Maconachie Rations and “Hard Tack” biscuits!
I personally feel that this provides an unforgettable experience for the children and allows me to get across the message that we should remember our forefathers and strive for peace and understanding, that all conflict is futile and that carrying a gun or knife is not “big” or “clever”, which in today’s society needs re emphasizing.