Stories of fallen soldiers are told thanks to school project

Nisha Khuttan with one of the displays.

Nisha Khuttan with one of the displays.

0
Have your say

The stories of Bedford soldiers whose lives were cut short in First World War conflicts are being told thanks to a school project.

Year 7 youngsters from Bedford Academy have spent months unearthing untold details about the lives of those called up to face the enemy.

Students Ben Cherry, Julia Paetz, Martyna Maziarz, Mia Cooke and Niamh Hendy.

Students Ben Cherry, Julia Paetz, Martyna Maziarz, Mia Cooke and Niamh Hendy.

Now their hard work has gone on display at Bedford’s St Mary’s Church where the fallen soldiers are listed on the roll of honour.

The Heroes of St Mary’s Parish Project involved students investigating in detail the lives of these men - where they lived, who their family were, what their jobs were, what regiment they served in and how and where they died.

Their research - all done during their own time - included trips to St Mary’s Church, work with the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, a visit to the Imperial War Museum and a trip to Belgium.

Humanities teacher Terry Spencer, who oversaw the project, said: “The students got a real feel for the lives of the soldiers rather than just learning history in a school classroom and learning about the mechanics of World War One.
“They really found out about the lives of these people - as people rather than just as names on memorials.”

Bedford Academy's WW1 project called Heroes of St Mary's Parish Project. PNL-150104-132548001

Bedford Academy's WW1 project called Heroes of St Mary's Parish Project. PNL-150104-132548001

A total of 20 students, aged 11 to 12 years old, were part of the project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which they signed up to voluntarily.

As visitors enter the special exhibition, which will be at the church in St Mary’s Street until the end of April, the tone is set with sounds from the battlefield.

There’s a range of displays and guests can even investigate their own ancestors.

The exhibition is open from 10am to midday and 2pm to 4pm on weekdays, excluding bank holidays.

Students Julia Paetz, Beatriz Cadete and Martyna Maziarz.

Students Julia Paetz, Beatriz Cadete and Martyna Maziarz.

Once the display closes it will be handed over to the 
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, who may use it in future exhibitions.

Bedford Academy's WW1 project called Heroes of St Mary's Parish Project. PNL-150104-132447001

Bedford Academy's WW1 project called Heroes of St Mary's Parish Project. PNL-150104-132447001

People are given the chance to research their own family history.

People are given the chance to research their own family history.