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» News » Students work with The Green Howards Museum on impressive World War 1 project

Students work with The Green Howards Museum on impressive World War 1 project

21 November 2019  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

In recent months, the History department has been working with the Green Howards museum on a project following the renovation of their medal room.  The museum has 14 Victoria Crosses, which is the highest award for bravery that a British soldier can be awarded and each of the local secondary schools was invited to ‘adopt’ a medal and research what happened to him and then produce a banner to celebrate his achievements and inform others in the wider community find out more about the recipient. In recent months, the History department has been working with the Green Howards museum on a project following the renovation of their medal room.  The museum has 14 Victoria Crosses, which is the highest award for bravery that a British soldier can be awarded and each of the local secondary schools was invited to ‘adopt’ a medal and research what happened to him and then produce a banner to celebrate his achievements and inform others in the wider community find out more about the recipient. In July, Year 10 students Cora Aked, Edie Heringman, Jess Duncan, Charlotte Hoole, Evie Schmidt, Alice Brown, Ross Wheatley, Nathaniel Morton and Emily Coates went to the museum and learnt more about how Victoria Crosses are rewarded and the workings of the museum.  They were given the soldier Private Tom Dresser to research and were told very little apart from he fought in the First World War at the battle of Arras in 1917.  The students then did the work of professional historians, using archive material and photos to build up a picture of who Tom Dresser was and why he earnt the Victoria Cross.  It was fascinating to discover that he had twice bravely carried a vital message, strapping it to his body and even after being wounded he made sure the reinforcements came to help his fellow soldiers. Even after the war, Tom was a very modest man, keeping his medal in a tobacco tin and showing customers at his Middlesbrough newsagents. All the students really impressed with their enthusiasm to find out more, attention to detail and willingness to learn.  In a totally different environment and outside the classroom, they conducted themselves in a very mature manner. The task given to the students by the museum was to produce an information banner which then could be shown to the wider community.  They all worked very hard, researching the events, writing up his story and selecting the images to be included.  The final design took several weeks to put together but was an excellent team effort, presenting their findings in an accessible and eye-catching manner. On Remembrance Day, Alice Brown, Ross Wheatley, Emily Coates and Evie Schmidt represented the school at the presentation of the finished banners at the Green Howards Museum. Colonel Jason Wright was delighted to be a guest of honour to celebrate the Project. He was commissioned with the Green Howards Regiment in 1989 and is now a trustee of the Green Howards Museum and an honorary Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment. Colonel Wright observed the two minutes silence with the students and said: “Silence is a rare thing and we should appreciate that peace is not to be taken for granted.  Soldiers have given their lives for us so we can enjoy peace today.” Colonel Wright went on to say: “You have worked superbly well, with such creativity. Marrying together history and the ability to interpret an event from the past is very impressive. The importance of the Victoria Cross cannot be overstated. It is the most-conspicuous bravery, pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice in the face of the enemy.   I know you will take your banners back to your schools and broadcast this important message further.” As ever, our students conducted themselves in a very mature manner.  They spoke with Colonel Wright very confidently about the soldier they had researched and what their project had meant to them as a whole. Ross and Alice were interviewed by the British Forces Radio about it and, with no preparation, they spoke confidently and without hesitation about their involvement in the project and were definitely a credit to themselves and the school. Sophia Mawer, Lead Teacher for History, said: “Extra projects outside of the curriculum are often time consuming but working with such a lovely group of students who were so enthusiastic and committed to achieving excellence made it a genuine pleasure.  The finished banner that they produced is of an incredibly high standard and they should be very proud of what they have achieved. Our special thanks go to Carl Watts and the staff at the Green Howards Museum for all their support with this inspiring project.”

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