Mission statement

The aim of The Tommy Teaches is to provide a High Quality, interactive and sensory learning experience for the National Curriculum in History, specifically the First World War period incorporating the Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in History (1HI0) and History of Medicine, covering The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18:

injuries, treatment and the trenches.

 

In addition numerous illustrated talks relating to The Pals Battalions, War Surgery 1914-1918 and Billy Knowles’s War; A Weavers Tale are available for evening/weekend presentations.

 

The Tommy Teaches Presentations/Workshops are suitable for a wide range of audiences from 4 years to 104 years of age and can be tailored to suit an individual clients requirements.

                                                  Background information

 

Welcome to The Tommy Teaches website, my name is Scott Knowles and I first developed an interest in my relatives involvement in The Great War, when I visited Serre in 1994, where The Accrington Pals were decimated within minutes at The Battle of The Somme on 1st July 1916.

 

From that visit I undertook research on my relatives involvement (my grandfather died before I was born and had never spoken about his wartime experiences and my other relatives were long since passed too), which took me to various regimental museums, reading the Battalion diaries and studying material through the National Archives.

 

A passionate interest in Social and Economic History led me to investigate the motivation and compulsion for my relatives to get involved in this “War to End All Wars” and I base my presentations/workshops on their day to day experiences of both the Western Front in France and Flanders and in Egypt.

 

I have been a Living Historian since 2006 as a member of The Great War Society, whose dedication to remembering, commemorating and accurately portraying the men of 100 years ago, appealed to my respect for my relatives and the sacrifices they made.

They say that to understand another’s point of view, is that “you should walk a mile in their shoes”!

 

To this end the equipment, uniforms and artefacts I use in my presentations/workshops are either original or historically accurate reproductions, painstakingly put together over a number of years after researching their authenticity.

 

I have been and continue to be heavily involved in the WW1 Centenary events and The Pals Battalions  Commemorations over this period throughout the UK and Europe.

Enhancing Learning With Artefacts/Contemporary Archive Material

 

My Workshops have a ‘Hands on’ element for the audience to get a feel and understanding for what the private infantryman of the First World War had to endure and what were the physical constraints of wearing the uniform and equipment of the period, enabling them to empathise with their relatives experiences in the Trenches.  

 

This involves the supervised handling of the (deactivated) rifle, wearing of the uniform, helmet and webbing equipment to give the audience an idea as to the physical strength of the men, bearing in mind that some were little older than the pupils themselves!

 

(Many are unaware that the school leaving age in 1914 was 12 and that children would be expected to earn a living for their families from then on!)

 

In addition, personal items, medical displays and sample gas fragrances are provided to encompass the total sensory experience

 

There is no doubt that the impact of a fully kitted out WW1 Tommy arriving on site grabs the audiences attention straight away and they become fascinated by the whole experience.

 

Through researching the Battalion Diaries of my relatives respective regiments, you will get a true representation of what a A Day In The Life was really about!

It’s like bringing a living museum to your premises!

Where possible I would like the audience to sample the typical rations of the time, namely ‘Bully Beef’ and ‘Hard Tack’ biscuits.  These could be provided via the client’s kitchen/catering staff ?

 

Booking The Tommy Teaches means all these things are taken care of for you. I bring the artefacts to your school; I encourage the audience to handle and investigate the items within a structured workshop tailored to your needs.

 

My  continuing membership of The Great War Society and years of engaging with the public at many prestigious events give me the specialist knowledge needed to interpret the artefacts; and communicate that understanding effectively to the audience.

Other Services

 

The Tommy Teaches has been involved in the sourcing and supply of historically accurate reproduction and original items for clients since 2006, supplying many Museums, film and TV production companies and Private collectors in the UK and around the World.

 

Research into Family Histories can be undertaken on an individual basis and fees are avilable upon request.

 

The Tommy Teaches can and continues to provide Supporting Artistes and Historical Consultancy Services for specific projects and has worked with the BBC, Granada TV, HBO and a number of independent producers.

 

As Unit Coordinator and NCO for the York and Lancaster Regiment of the Great War Society from 2007 to 2017, I have been correctly trained to provide historically accurate instruction in Marching, Rifle Drill, Grenade Proficiency and various other activities that can be provided to the client.

 

                                       All costings are available on request, subject to your individual requirements.

                                               All images copyright The Tommy Teaches Ltd 2006-2018

Harry Cookson

17th (2nd City) Battalion, Manchester Regiment (Manchester Pals)