First World War project allows pupils to see its impact on their families (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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First World War project allows pupils to see its impact on their families
5:02pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
A £33,000 award-winning film project is capturing children’s interest in the Great War by making it personal to them.
Each of Chippenham’s secondary schools has been given an interactive display unit enabling the research of more than 500 servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War.
Teachers say their pupils have been fascinated by the computerised units, on which they have discovered fallen relatives and men who gave their names to streets in Pewsham.
Abbeyfield history teacher John Ward said: “We can’t get them off it. The key thing is to make it personal to them.
“Fifty-three of the streets in Pewsham are named after men killed in both wars, such as Beaven Close after Frank Beaven and Chivers Close after brothers Edwin and Sydney Chivers.”
The unit, also at Chippenham Museum and available to hire, was unveiled on Friday at the Neeld Hall, where nearly 2,000 patients were treated when it was used as a hospital during the conflict.
The launch was attended by mayor Sylvia Gibson and James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, who said: “This seems to me to be exactly what we should be doing at a local level to commemorate the war.”
The film Letters from a Small Town, which won a Platinum Remi award at the Worldfest-Houston independent film festival in April this year, can be screened on the unit.
Richard Broadhead, who wrote the film’s script, said: “It stands out as a film because it’s real things that actually happened. The stories include those of regular and volunteer soldiers, conscripts, white feather recruiting girls, Land Girls, civilians and a nurse from the hospital set up in the Neeld Hall and civilians.
“It also covers propaganda, food shortages, air raids on the Home Front and Chippenham men at Mons, Gallipoli and even taking part in the Christmas truce in 1914 in Flanders.”
War artefacts have also been on display. The Great War project has been created by commemoration group Finding the Forgotten with help from a £30,000 National Lottery grant and £3,000 from Wiltshire Council.