Stalham High School pupils help tell their community’s First World War story

Stalham High School students, Daniel Hansell, 15, Anthony Thirtle, 14, Megan Whiting, 14 and Sam Lan

Stalham High School students, Daniel Hansell, 15, Anthony Thirtle, 14, Megan Whiting, 14 and Sam Langford, 15, interview Alan Whitwood about his grandfathers role in the First World War. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Students from Stalham High School are helping to tell the tale of the First World War's impact on their community.

Stalham High School students interview Alan Whitwood about his grandfathers role in the First World

Stalham High School students interview Alan Whitwood about his grandfathers role in the First World War. A photo of William Whitwood and his medals.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A mixed group of pupils, aged 12-15, have been giving up their free time after school to collect stories and memorabilia from the 1914-1918 conflict, and to animate parts of the tales for a film which is being made to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war.

The school is working closely with the Museum of the Broads and Norwich-based Media Projects East, making use of a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Grant.

Their efforts will culminate in a DVD to be launched at the school on June 10, a website which will include the film, and an exhibition, Broadland During The First World War, which will run at the Stalham Staithe museum from June until the end of October.

Museum curator Nicola Hems, said a public appeal for people to come forward with their stories had produced some interesting results, with interviews and filming carried out by the students.


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Contributors had included Mike Fuller, from Ludham, who had his wife's aunt Louie Smith's extensive collection of First World War postcards, received from her soldier fiancé Sam Gall.

Mr Gall had been severely injured in France but survived both the war and a bout of Spanish flu in 1918, and the couple eventually married.

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A Catfield resident had told the story of the flourishing Dr Harvey apple tree in his garden, planted by soldier Fred Cooke when he returned from the war which had claimed the life of his brother.

And this week Alan Whitwood told the students about his grandfather and great uncle, William and Edward Whitwood, from Antingham, who had both served in the Royal Norfolks.

Edward was awarded the Military Medal for bravery during the war.

The exhibition will also feature the meticulously-kept diaries of Rev Maurice Bird, Vicar of Brumstead during the war.

The impact of the zeppelin raids on the Norfolk coast will also be included, together with items of memorabilia including a Stalham handkerchief made to commemorate National Peace Day in July 1919.

School librarian Julia Lester said the project had opened new horizons to pupils, both in what they had learned, and in the opportunity to meet the community and learn new technological skills.

Are you holding an event to mark the centenary of the First World War? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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