Inspired by a trip to the Somme

Over the past 4 years we have enjoyed sharing stories from research undertaken at Gresham’s School into their Old Boys and a recent email about how the research, and a trip to the Somme, have inspired current pupils is wonderful.

History competition inspires pupils to create poignant World War One tributes

Year 9 pupils at Gresham’s School in Holt have created some impressive replicas of World War One trenches for a History competition following their recent trip to the Somme Battlefields in France.

Ben Hunt, from Holt, was awarded first prize for his outstanding tribute entitled “Far Field” made all the more poignant as he had individually made 115 poppies for his trench to represent the staff and pupils from Gresham’s who had lost their lives in the Great War.

Ben said, “I feel extremely proud of what I have created as I spent so much time perfecting my trench to ensure it looked as authentic as possible.” The fourteen year old used a shoebox, wood, barbed wire and even some clay he had gathered on a recent trip to France to help recreate his trench.

Head of History, Mr Simon Kinder said, “This term we are studying the Great War and I have been really impressed with how the pupils researched and developed their entries for this competition.  The standard this year has been particularly high and this is a consequence of how important commemorating the Great War centenary has been at Gresham’s. The students have clearly embraced the challenge and learned so much from constructing their trenches.”

More than 500 former pupils fought for their country, leaving a lasting impact on the school and the surrounding community. As part of the commemorations of the end of the Great War, the school held Remembrance Services where the 115 pupils and staff who lost their lives were remembered.

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Living Memory Project – Gresham’s School

Living Memory Project 11 November 2016

This year Gresham’s has been able to get involved with the Imperial War Museum’s Living Memory Project in which communities remember the ‘forgotten front’ of the 300,000 war graves and memorials in the UK.

Head of Teaching & Learning, Simon Kinder, will visit the graves of three local OGs Robert  Beeton, Frederick Chestney, and Mervyn Trendell to lay flowers and leave a marker of their stories in an act of remembrance led by three representatives of the CCF.

The WWI research team have researched the boys and written the following short pieces about them:

Robert Henry Beeton

Robert Henry BeetonBorn on 27 March 1899, the son of carpenter Robert Samuel Beeton, he attended as a dayboy from 1911 to 1915 and went on to study business for a year at St. George’s College, London.  After that he went to the RFC cadet school in Farnborough in 1917, and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in December.

Robert died of severe burns received in a flying accident near Huntingdon on 1 February 1918 and is buried in the graveyard at Weybourne Church. At his funeral were sixteen members of the OTC in uniform, some scarcely younger than him.

 

Frederick William Chestney

Frederick William Chestney-page-0Fred was a local boy who lived in Holt his whole life.  He was born on February 9 1899 and started school as a dayboy in 1910.  In his five years at School he fell in love with the idea of being a teacher, and after leaving in 1915 he joined Holt County School as an assistant.  He was conscripted in March 1917, just a month before his 18th birthday, and became a teacher in an army school.

Frederick was almost immediately struck by tragedy as he became ill with TB in May and was in hospital until July when he was discharged from the army.  He spent his last few months at home battling the illness before he passed away on 30 January 1918, just days before his 19th birthday. Frederick is buried in the cemetery of Holt Church.

Mervyn Henry Wollaston Trendell

Mervyn Henry Wollaston TrendellMervyn was born on 8 July 1899, the youngest son of Rev. George Trendell of Sheringham, and attended from 1913 to 16.  He gained his wings in the RNAS after leaving School, and was reported to be the only one in his class entitled to have the letters ‘VGI'(very good indeed) after his name.

He joined HMS Galetea in February 1918, and was flying a Sopwith Camel carrying despatches when his plane clipped a tree and crashed in May.  Seriously injured, he was taken to a RN hospital where he died of his injuries on 19 May aged 18. His body was brought home and buried in the churchyard at Upper Sheringham where his father was vicar.

Liz Larby

School Archivist