Tinned Food and Trenches

Bayonet charges, tinned food and censorship was what awaited a Year 8 group at Reigate Fort.

As part of the Gatton Remembers project, which the Royal Alexandra and Albert School has launched to mark the Great War, Year 8 pupils had the opportunity to experience a number of aspects of trench life at Reigate Fort.

Throughout the day pupils were taught about the small, everyday details of life at the Front, including what types of foods soldiers ate, what uniforms they wore, and what weapons they used. The first activity of the day was a drill practice, followed by a session on protective gear used by British soldiers in the war. Pupils were also taught about the differences in the lives of privates and officers in the trenches.

Pupils were then able to delve deeper into the lives of soldiers by learning about the popular slang terms they used and the censorship they experienced when sending letters home. Pupils read letters and removed pieces of information from them that could possibly be used against the Allies.

Jonathan Self, a Year 8 pupil, enjoyed stepping back in time. “It was fun taking part in all the activities. We learnt so much about trench life during WW1, and in a fun way. If we had to sit in a classroom and learn what we did, it wouldn’t have been as interesting.”

Head of History, Mark Loveday, agreed, “The Reigate World War One activities day was very beneficial to pupils. The living historians from 10th Essex brought trench warfare to life.”

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