Bringing History to Life: We Will Remember Them
One hundred years ago, the UK had prepared for only its second Armistice Day and the War was still very fresh in many people’s minds. Today, November marks a month-long period of reflection and in line with the National Day of Remembrance, boys across the School have taken the time to learn and reflect further on the sacrifice that a generation made one hundred years ago.
‘The Unknown Warrior,’ in Westminster Abbey, was laid to rest to symbolsise the sacrifice that the generation had made. The dead body of the British soldier was selected at random from the battlefields of the Western Front and was an important step to begin the healing process for the country. In addition, a flu pandemic had emerged in the summer of 1918 and continued into the spring and early summer of 1920. It was estimated the flu had infected approximately a third of the global population. By autumn 1920 the devastating effects of war followed by a pandemic had been felt by everyone so the desire to commemorate loss and come together to remember sacrifice was even more important.
Remembrance is about reflecting on the selflessness of the men and women in the armed forces and the sacrifices they and their families have made, and continue to make, for our country and freedom. At Davenies, we talk to the boys about, inter alia, the importance of being resilient and reflective. There are many similarities that can be drawn between 1920 and 2020, as mentioned above. We have still held our two minutes’ silence of reflection as well as a number of other activities so that we can all pay our respects for those who sacrificed so much.
Boys in Years 3–7 have learnt about Remembrance in their History lessons this week. Year 3s and 4 have spent time this week learning about what life was like for soldiers during WW1, from daily routines to health and safety in the trenches. This culminated in Year 3 writing diary entries of a soldier in WW1. Year 4 went one step further reading about the story of the Christmas Truce – the football match played between Allied and German soldiers on Christmas Day and have written some fantastic poems, putting themselves in the soldiers’ shoes. Year 5 focused on the Battle of the Somme, 1916, to inspire them to write a letter home about life in the trenches whilst Years 6 and 7 compared different sources to make their own interpretations about trench life. Not only do these lessons serve as an excellent opportunity to fine tune key skills in History, they further educate the boys on the importance of resilience demonstrated by the men and women throughout the wars.
Running alongside the Remembrance Day lessons in class, boys were set the challenge of finding all the silhouettes of the soldiers on display around the school to symbolise the tragic loss of life, like ‘The Unknown Warrior’. Two of our Cubs, along with Akela, were among the few in attendance at the Beaconsfield Remembrance Service on Remembrance Sunday whilst the rest of the Pack worked towards their art badge with Remembrance inspired art, as well as a Remembrance themed lunch and the Remembrance themed library trolley with Mrs Gamble.
So, one hundred years later the symbols of Remembrance are well-established and recognised. The problem this year has been that the collectiveness of our Remembrance was not possible as a pandemic has once again swept around the globe. There have been no parades, no poppy collectors and none of us have been able to attend Remembrance events in their usual forms. However, more than ever, the need to come together to remember the sacrifice that others have made has never been greater. This has been demonstrated through the activities that have taken place both in and out of lessons this week to which the boys have responded in a respectful and mature manner, of which we should all be proud.
Mr Fryer, Head of History