On a very sunny 13th of June, a group of keen Year 8 historians travelled down to Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset to explore their current topic of World War One in a practical way. Students had the opportunity to participate in two different learning experiences offered by the museum. ‘Tommy in The Trenches’ gave students a hands-on look into the experience of a ‘Tommy’ in the First World War. As part of this experience, students journeyed from the recruitment office to arriving at the platform in France before making their way through the Communication and Reserve trenches and ending up in the Front-Line trench, peering out across No-Man’s Land. Students were able to get up close and personal with the kit of a British ‘Tommy’ - a Lee Enfield rifle and Brodie helmet- before learning what to do when faced with Gas! Gas! Gas! Students then crossed over to the German lines and compared and contrasted the difference in trench design between the opposing forces.
The second experience ‘A Day in the Life of a British Tank Crew’ enabled students to climb aboard a Mark IV tank (without banging their heads on the entrance hatch) and discover what it would have been like to be a member of a British tank crew during the Great War… It would have been dark, noisy, smelly and crowded as far as I can gather. Students then had the opportunity to explore other World War One tanks and see how tank design and technology developed over the course of the war. After a picnic lunch in glorious sunshine, the Education Officer for the museum enlightened students by talking about the career opportunities- and the pathways leading to them- within the world of museums and historical conservation.
To round off the day students then had some self-guided time to browse the other exhibits of the museum and learn how tanks have changed over time from the early beginnings of World War One to the present day. The day was capped off by a swift stop at the gift shop to purchase mementos of the trip before re-joining the bus and venturing home.
Both Mr Mallett and Mrs Adair would like to commend all students for their respectful behaviour whilst in the museum. They acted as great ambassadors for our school.