Project aims to keep Portsmouth's First World War legacy alive in schoolchildren

PLANS are in the pipeline to tell the inspiring tales of Portsmouth's First World War heroes to a new generation.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:14 pm
Soldiers in the First World War

Members of the Pompey Pals project have revealed their ambition to being in a new education programme for hundreds of schoolchildren in the city next year.

The group aims to visit pupils across the city and tell tales of those who fought in the conflict.

It is all part of the centenary commemorations marking all the fallen heroes killed in the four-year war.

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The scheme was revealed last night after a team from the Pals returned from a trip to the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.

Bob Beech, of the group, said there were many schoolchildren paying their respects at the monument.

‘It’s so important that we get children to understand about the war – it’s part of what makes us who we are,’ he said.

‘The Great War has now moved from living history into history.

‘We’re now looking towards the next generation to keep this memory alive.’

The plan would see the Pompey Pals bringing in First World War equipment and telling stories of local soldiers to the children.

The team has already visited some of the area’s schools.

Chris Pennycook, of Pompey Pals, last month went to Southsea’s Priory School, to tell children about the site’s history in the First World War.

Between 1914 and 1918 the Fawcett Road school served as a hospital, treating countless injured and dying soldiers.

Chris said: ‘Some of the stories we can tell really do help make it real for the children.

‘We have taken medical equipment and told them stories of some of the medics and nurses who were based in the school.

‘It’s amazing to see some of the children’s reactions.’

Cllr Neill Young, Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for education said: ‘Despite taking place over 100 years ago, the First World War still has resonance today, especially the Pompey Pals.

‘It’s important their story is still kept alive and going out to schools is a really good opportunity to share tales about young men, not much older than the students themselves, who joined up with their friends to serve King and country.

‘Over 1,400 Pompey Pals tragically lost their lives, but we can make sure the next generation of young people remember them and the sacrifices they made.’

Mr Beech is urging schools to contact the group if they are keen on being a part of the latest project.

Those interested in joining can visit or email [email protected]