Every year we remember those who died in the service of their country on what people typically refer to as Poppy Day. This year the commemoration will be particularly poignant, marking as it does the centenary of the end of the 1st World War.
We have been travelling around the country, talking to pupils and teachers, and have been amazed at how committed the current generation of young people is to the act of remembrance. I am sure that attendance at Remembrance Sunday services and parades will be at record highs.
If nothing else, the attention that will be generated around these events gives us all the opportunity to address the question, How did we allow it to happen again? How was it that, a mere 20 years after the signing of the Armistice in 1918, Europe was once again ripped apart by war, a war that spread across the world?
And why is it that, in every single year for the 100 years after 1914, British troops were engaged in conflict somewhere in the world? Considering the so called Great War was supposed to be the war to end all wars, that isn’t a great statistic.
To help pupils make some kind of sense of the horrors of the war that they will be remembering in November this year, we have put together a new anthology of poems, prose extracts and photographs. Never Again was published on 1st September and brings together the best of the war poets – Owen, Sassoon, Brooke etc – with lesser-known voices including a wide range of female poets. We celebrate the sacrifice made by these brave men and women, and explore the traumas faced by the maimed and those suffering from what we now know to have been PTSD. We also pay tribute to those executed for what was laughingly referred to at the time as cowardice.
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.
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 gresham-books.co.uk/never-again