Award for students who created First World War memorial

Joe Angioni, Alicia Dutton and Abby Smith
Joe Angioni, Alicia Dutton and Abby Smith

Students at Chatsmore High School have received an award after creating a memorial to the men who died at the Battle of Boars Head, in 1916.

The youngsters took part in the Legacy 110 project, which calls on students to deliver a community-based project about the First World War.

The memorial created by students at Chatsmore High School

The memorial created by students at Chatsmore High School

Working with community arts group Creative Waves, Abby Smith, Joe Angioni, and Alicia Dutton put on creative workshops at several local primary schools and invited the children to produce artistic designs for the memorial.

The work - which took the form of a public sculpture - was so impressive, they were presented with the arts and craft prize at the Education Business Awards at the Grange Hotel in St Paul’s, London, on July 6.

The Battle of Boars Head became known as The Day Sussex Died.

At 3am on Friday June 30 1916, the men of the 11th, 12th and 13th battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment clambered from their trenches and ran for their target - part of the German line near the village of Richebourg L’Avoue in northern France.

At the memorial to the Battle of Boars Head

At the memorial to the Battle of Boars Head

It was known as the Boar’s Head and their task was expected to be simple.

An artilliery bombardment had been sent down and was expected to have shattered the morale of the enemy.

But it failed, and the Sussex men were met with unmerciful machine gun fire.

In the space of a few hours, 17 officers and 349 men were killed, and nearly three times that number wounded.

Part of the memorial

Part of the memorial

Among those killed were 12 sets of brothers, including three of the Pannell boys, from Worthing. A fourth was on leave at the time.

Abby Smith said: “It’s unimaginable to be honest, the scale of the people who gave their lives. If you imagine each grave is a person it is devastating really.

“These soldiers deserve to be remembered. Young people don’t realise how much they did. Many of them gave up their tomorrow so we can have our today.”

The Chatsmore students worked with the UCL Institute of Education, which runs the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, and Worthing Library to put together their project.

They were able to speak with current members of the Armed Forces and researching the specific role of the soldiers from Sussex.

As well as working with children in Worthing, they contacted a school in Richebourg, France, and 38 Year 7 students and their teachers will travel there to work on a co-designed commemorative stained glass window.

Versions of the window will be installed in both towns.

David Rich, national education coordinator of the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, said: “We are all delighted that the inspiring project put together by students at Chatsmore Catholic High School has been recognised at the Education Business Awards.

“Winning the arts and craft award is testament to the hard work and creativity of the students and staff involved, and the way in which they collaborated so well with the local community to produce their memorial.

“This is a shining example of the legacy work that has been done by students up and down the country on return from their First World War Centenary Battlefield Tour to commemorate those who fought a century ago.

“Chatsmore Catholic High School’s enthusiasm and creativity continues to ensure that, in the words of the poet Laurence Binyon, 1914, ‘At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them’.”

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