~Sheffield Springs students go back in time
to trace WW1 family heroes~
Students from Sheffield Springs Academy took
a trip back in time to trace their WW1 relatives, making a special overseas
pilgrimage to pay tribute to them.
And as a lasting legacy, the academy, with
the support of the West and South Yorkshire Royal British Legion, has now
created a permanent memorial at its Hurlfield Road site to ensure Sheffield’s
fallen heroes are never forgotten.
The academy’s Year 9 and 10 students turned
detective when studying the horrors of the First World War in history, with Tyler Doman, Aaron Stokes, Samuel Longstone
actually tracing relatives who had fought and died in the Sheffield version of the famous ‘pals’
battalions – groups of friends and in some cases, relatives, from the same
towns and cities who trained, fought and died together. In Sam’s case he dug up
the information of a great great uncle Gordon’s dump cemetery.
A trip to France and Belgium in April then
gave the students the opportunity to visit the infamous battlefields of the
Somme and Flanders Field, the Vimy Ridge trenches and Vimy memorial. The
students also attended the ‘Last Post’ service at Menin Gate, Ypres and the Serre
Memorial, sited on land bought by Sheffield City Council, where they laid a
wreath in remembrance of the 517 dead and 75 injured from Sheffield, most of
whom fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Now the academy has created a dedicated
memorial to the ‘Sheffield Pals,’ planting poppy seeds provided by the Royal
British Legion, along with a plaque with the words: Sheffield Springs Academy remembers
those who gave their lives in the first World War 1914-1918, “At the going down
of the sun and in the morning – we will remember them.” This last line is from
Laurence Binyon’s famous poem, The Fallen, studied by the students.
And on Monday (16th June), Christine Spencer, County Chairman
for West & South Yorkshire Royal British Legion and members Veteran Mr D Gillott and Normandy Veteran Mr
B Hartley, just back from taking part in the
70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, visited the academy to take
part in a special plaque unveiling and poppy planting ceremony.
reflected fondly on the meeting, seeming surprised, touched and a little
humbled at the stories the men told and the importance of their past actions to
the present day.
Sheffield Springs Academy
Principal Russell Heritage commented:
“We must never forget the events
of the First World War. This project has helped give our students an insight
into what life was like for soldiers in the trenches and the true horrors of
war. Our new memorial will also help remind all students and staff at the
academy of the sacrifices made by the people of Sheffield during this terrible