Girls from Farlington Prep School have participated in a half-day workshop run by The History Man commemorating World War One. The History Man brought with him a huge range of artefacts in order to bring the subject alive. This gave the girls a better understanding of why the centenary of the start of the war is so important. They tried on uniforms, discovered the complicated causes of the war, felt the weight of guns, looked at propaganda posters and completed some military training.
The workshop culminated in each group going ‘over the top’ during which they had to role-play climbing out of the trenches and entering no-man’s-land before being gunned down. Girls from prep six commented: “The gas masks were interesting, especially how they developed from a simple pair of goggles and a sponge to cover the mouth to stop the gas from reaching you”; “I learned how it felt to go ‘over the top’. It was really scary when we acted it out”; “it was horrible to experience war, especially at the end when the soldiers went into no-man’s-land and had to cut their way through the wire”: “the barbed wire with bells on was very clever- they didn’t stand a chance of getting through”; “when they shot people on the battlefield they did so on the diagonal so that they could shoot more people effectively.”
The girls came away having enjoyed the hands-on essence of the day, but realising the sombre nature of what they had just re-enacted.