Hodgson Academy is commemorating the centenary of the start of World War 1 throughout this week (23rd to 27th June). There are various activities planned, such as WW1 poetry readings, poppy seed planting in the academy grounds and students penning their own letters to The Unknown Soldier.
On Friday (27th June), we are having a charity day during which students and staff can wear something from the era of 1910 to 1920. Lessons during the day will be educational as always, however, they will have activities based around the era of World War 1. We will also be fundraising for The Royal British Legion with voluntary donations from students and staff.
Students have also been writing their own wartime poems in English. Here are a couple of excellent examples:
By Henry Thompson, Form 11R
As I watch, upon the shore,
The storm that is within our reach.
I dream that day, we marched upon,
The dampened sands of Juno beach.
Where the seas turned crimson with blood.
We’d farewell’d to our dearests,
Our sweethearts, and our hunnies,
We wished we were home again,
As we rode old Hobart’s funnies.
It was like a nightmare.
And as we reached the scarlet tides,
Although they were not scarlet yet.
We sat beneath the scarlet rain,
Our scarlet troops; a silhouette.
Surely this was no place for a war.
Our sergeant walked upon us,
He seemed – like us – dismayed.
He’d never fight with all the wondrous valour he portrayed.
And the landing ramps fell.
Barrages of bullets;
Tore the air apart.
As sand and ichor; rain and mud,
Tore through our Allied heart.
Was the slaughter ever to end?
It was and as the Axis’ guard began to fall to dust,
The weary weathered warriors’ eyes asked:
‘Shall we push on? We must’.
But there was nothing left except the dead.
In trying we had risked failure,
But had we never tried,
French Paris would be German,
Their forces occupied.
We’d leave them to die.
And now as the memories drift past like bygone dreams,
And the years fly by as decades,
No time has passed, it seems.
For seeing things as some have seen,
Is more than one should ever see,
On the day of June 6th ’44,
A day written in history.
By Jade Hardman, Form 11W
Waves slap the sides of this hearse,
Carrying the living dead towards their doom.
Prayers are muttered,
Jokes are shared.
The scent of fear strong in my nostrils,
Mixed with others: urine, vomit and sweat.
The stenches abusing my senses.
The closer we get the louder, more vivid life seems.
Only now do I realise how alive I feel.
I pause, and hear my heart beating strong,
Willing me to live to fight this war.
The boat slows and men spring to life,
Awakening our spirits.
It all sounds so easy,
Men start shaking, holding it in.
Boys utter oaths and wish for their beds.
It’s too late: We have a war to fight,
A war to win.
Let’s get this over,
Either we die fighting or we leave as heroes.
We swim through the icy sea,
Bullets carving a bloody path.
Leaving the water,
Stained a vivid crimson.
Gasping and retching,
We reach the shore,
Bathed in our comrades’ blood.
All around me,
Men are dropping like flies.
Peppered with bullets,
Dismembered by bombs.
The remaining few group together for the final wave.
We duck for cover,
And wriggle over bodies of the men we called friends.
An explosion rocks my body,
Sending debris flying.
Blood splatters my face,
I hear nothing.
It has gone silent,
But the action carries on.
I see dying men rolling around,
Silent tears stream down their faces in to the mud.
With mothers back home,
Waiting for news,
A letter, a picture.
Their son has died a hero’s death,
Brought down in the act of saving his friend.
This time I’m not so lucky.
Thrown into the air,
I land in the water,
Discarded, left for dead and wracked with pain.
The water froths and foams,
Mirroring my distress.
I try to roll over,
But my legs won’t work.
My stomach is weeping blood,
Staining my hands.
I feel my life slowly slipping away.
I think of my family,
My dear mother:
So proud of her son, her solider, her hero.
My sisters depend on me – their older brother.
It’s my job to protect and shield them from harm.
Now that I’m gone, what will they do?
I picture their faces and conjure up memories.
Alone I lay admist the moans of dying men.
My eyes drift shut and my mind goes blank.
Is this the end or the start of my life?
Only 16-years-old but already a man.
So much more to give but it’s been wasted on war.