The young men who marched off to war in 1914, driven by a patriotic fervour and confidence in the justice of their cause, believed that they would be home for Christmas.
Today, as the shops begin the annual torture of blasting us with Noddy Holder and dressing their windows in ever more garish window displays, challenging us not to forget that Christmas is only 12 weeks away, we should spare a thought for those soldiers and the families they left behind.
As we were putting together Never Again, our new anthology of poems and extracts from the Great War, we were struck by the prevailing belief that the war would be over by Christmas. But Christmas arrived, and there was no sign of the promised end; and there remains a degree of Hollywood mystery around the events of what we now refer to as the Christmas Day Truce of 1914.
Talking of Hollywood, if you haven’t seen the remastered film footage in the amazing new Peter Jackson film, which turns the grainy, black and white news reel from the archives in the Imperial War Museum into something that looks as if it were filmed yesterday, do look out for it. It is due for release on 16th October and really brings these people from the past to life. Find out more about the film HERE
With only just over a month to go until Remembrance Sunday, and the centenary of the end of the war to end all wars, we hope your pupils will benefit from the resource pack we have put together, with lessons for English, History and Religious Studies. Designed to be used alongside our new anthology, Never Again, pupils should be able to deepen their understanding of the terrible events of the 1st World War and form their own views as to why we have still failed to stamp war out of our lives.
For details of how you can put Never Again at the heart of your school’s commemoration of the centenary of the end of the Great War, including details of how you can order class sets or bespoke editions of the anthology with content specific to your school, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Never Again webpage HERE
To accompany the anthology we have put together a resource pack with lesson plans, PowerPoints and worksheets, for English, History and RS, and hope that these provide a springboard for teachers wishing to address the question of when we can truly say, with confidence, Never Again.