PoppiesI am a regular visitor to schools, giving talks and workshops on the Great War. These can vary from a general talk on a typical day in the life of a British Tommy to various specialist subjects as requested. I am currently visiting schools as part of the ‘Heritage Schools’ programme provided by English Heritage. I can provide props to illustrate many aspects of frontline life to students and am happy speaking to students from Year 5 upwards.  I am happy to travel – please use the Contact page for enquiries.

“Jeremy visited my class to support our learning in the history of our school and the Great War. He took the children through a typical day in the life of a soldier on the Western Front. His talk was full of the kind of incidental detail that really appeals to children and adds vivid colour to their understanding. Jeremy has a very thorough knowledge of many aspects of the Great War and was able to answer the children’s queries with great patience and detail – he has a particular expertise in the area of animals and the Great War which, again, fascinated the children. Jeremy’s visit added greatly to the class’ understanding of the subject which impacted on their empathetic drama and writing later on.” Michael GorelyYear 5 teacher, Sefton Park Infant School, Bristol

I offer a complete, bespoke package for schools or parties planning their own trip to the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium. Having spent much time on the battlefields over the past dozen years I have noted the huge increase in school visits and the many children walking through the more prominent CWGC cemeteries of Tyne Cot and Essex Farm as well as their attendance at the nightly Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.

Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium where 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried. 75% of these are unidentified, lying in a grave inscribed “A Soldier of the Great War, Known Unto God”

Over the years I have been in numerous cemeteries when a school party has entered and see that my specialised knowledge could inpsire the students. With my knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject I can ensure that students benefit fully. I firmly believe that, provided with the right material, all students can benefit from understanding the sacrifice previous generations made on the battlefields and am dedicated to providing a more exciting, relevant service for school visits.  Currently trips appear formulaic with a definite list of ‘must visit’ graves and cemeteries on the list. I can provide a personalised service for each trip, suggesting itineraries that take in relevant places of interest. Along with the usual stops I will suggest equally poignant but less-visited alternatives, far from the battlefield crowds.

The beauty of the former battlefields. In 1917 these fields were a scene of unimaginable horror but the view up the aptly named “Death Valley” to the seldom-visited Regina Trench Cemetery is now a beautiful, tranquil scene perfect for a contemplative and informative visit

Package content

Visits will be personalised by focusing on ex-students or men from the local community. Many schools have a Roll of Honour from 1914-1918. Using this I can provide detailed research and a service history for chosen casualties. The students will literally be following in the footsteps of those who went before. Should the school have been opened after the war’s end then my research will focus on those whose names appear on the local war memorial. Alternatively I can focus on sportsmen, actors, singers, poets or underage soldiers. Students understandably express more interest when they can relate to the subject. It is a sad fact that the litany of deaths in the First World War provides plenty of material from which to choose from.

Services offered includes:

  • Preliminary visit and discussion with teachers regarding areas of focus
  • Research into individual soldier stories where appropriate
  • Construction of a detailed itinerary
  • Written material, maps, information and timetable for the teacher/guide accompanying the trip
  • Pre-trip talk to brief the children and teachers
  • Question/answer session with parents
  • Post-trip debrief with the students to go discuss what they have learned, how they felt and their opinion of the trip

My extensive research and battlefield tour experience has shown me the best ways to bring alive the historical events of the First World War. I believe in connecting battlefield locations to the first hand experiences of real people, using their own words and telling their stories in the places where they unfolded.  Suitable extracts taken from my archive of material (diaries, memoirs & letters) are available to complement your visit.  I can recommend appropriate accommodation and eateries as well as arranging for members of the party to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate ceremony at Ypres.

Contact me for further details.

Part of the ‘Iron Harvest’ stacked up against a CWGC cemetery