Education Coordinators report - December 2019.
This report is the last of my first full year as Education Co-ordinator. I have really enjoyed the year, being involved in many interesting events and met some great people. It has been particularly gratifying that, in some of the events, I have been approached by members of the public with a family connection with Gallipoli. There is a lot of interest in Gallipoli, particularly in the Midlands and North West. There is a lot of goodwill towards Gallipoli Association. The challenge for all Trustees is to try to convert this into increased membership. Since the last meeting three events have taken place.
The Monuments project.
The final element of the Moseley, Birmingham, project was a commemoration service for seven local men who served in Gallipoli. Attendance at the church service was small but a number of organisations/groups were represented, including the Mercian Regiment and the relatives of one of the soldiers. This was followed by the launch of a booklet produced by members of the local history group and a talk by myself. This was well attended with over 50 people present. There was also an excellent display of rare photographs, archives and artefacts which had been collected by two local historians. A local resident also produced a display about her relative who had served in Gallipoli and a number of locals asked for help in researching a relative who served/died in the campaign.
The 29th Division Memorial project.
As detailed in my last report the film is now complete and has been officially premiered. Trustees will remember that this project has developed into a partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to develop the avenue or trees and to produce a new information board. I spent a day with Year 6 at the nearby Knightlow School, planning “mini memorials” to remember the 29th Division V.C winners. They also wrote poems about Gallipoli, the best of which will be included on the information board.
In concluding they were asked to do a short piece of writing explaining why they should be proud of being the nearest school to the 29th Division Monument. Here are some of the responses;
“it is important to remember the 29th Division for their bravery, so that their efforts aren’t wasted”,
“they sacrificed themselves so that we could be here today and went through some of most horrific battles in history, some of them only being as old as pupils in high school”,
“because the soldiers were very brave and won 27 V.C.’s which is amazing”,
“we get the honour of seeing the memorial and to treasure it in our hearts”.
Interestingly the school secretary’s great uncle was killed in the campaign. Here is an example of tone of the poems. The judging will take place just before the Trustees Meeting.
By Jessica Scuffle and Sophie Gambling
Krithia, a violent place,
Will we survive the dark and hate?
Too hot, too cold, can never decide,
Our boredom, all feelings are kicked to the side.
With No-Man’s Land flashing red,
Wire, wood, earth and mud all we have left.
Will you let us live?
The enthusiasm of the youngsters is not matched by all of the adults. I held a meeting a fortnight earlier for those interested in planning next years commemoration. No one attended, although I did get two apologies. Given the lack of support from the local community I would suggest a simple church service with a wreath laying at the monument afterwards. I am willing to organise this. If any members wish to help with the organisation or have views on this, they should contact me. There will be a launch of the new information board and the V.C. “mini memorials” later in the year anyway. We then have to decide whether we do something special for the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the monument.
Brune Park School, Gosport.
I received a lot of positive feedback after the presentation by Brune park students at the AGM. I am sure Trustees agree that such tours, given proper planning, preparation and follow up, are very beneficial to the students and the wider school community and clearly contributes to the fulfilment of our charitable purpose. Their appearance at the AGM was part of a visit to London, which included the Imperial War Museum. The development of a memorial in the school grounds is on hold. A much wider garden project proposed by the school, has been shortlisted in a competition held by The Royal Horticultural Society. We will know the result of this just before the Trustees meeting. If they are successful, the remaining allocation will be spent on a Gallipoli feature within the larger garden. The key thing for me is that the local community is engaged in the planning and development of this.
I have also responded to three requests for help/information that came to me from Steve Chambers or via the website. There has been no cost to these
Projects for 2020.
The following new projects are currently being discussed with the Trustees.
- Providing bursaries for university graduates to focus on the campaign,
- A further allocation for a “Museum Champion”,
- A project with a Leeds theatre group and a local radio station,
- A project with Soldiers of Gloucester Museum,
- Supporting the production of a booklet on Billy Unsworth, a young Lancashire Fusilier who was killed in the campaign,
- A further allocation for a Museum Champion,
- A project with the York Army Museum.
If any members wish to apply for a or b, they should contact me. Trustees have also allocated a small budget to support other projects, when opportunities arise during the year. Again, members with ideas for projects should contact myself. Any project must engage community members, whether they are adults or young people and leave a lasting legacy.
The Gallipoli Education Appeal.
Members will be aware that, after the success of the Brune Park trip, Trustees are aiming to support a similar tour each year. They are targeting schools where students are unlikely to have such opportunities. To do this they have launched a fund raising appeal. I am leading on this. Although such fund raising is a marathon not a sprint the response has been disappointing so far. Over 30 organisations in the public and private sector have been contacted but, at the time of writing, none have supported the project. We have only received donations from three members. If any members wish to donate to what is a very good cause, in providing students with potentially life changing experiences, then they should contact me.
By the time you read this, the Northern Regional Conference will have taken place. Hopefully it was a success. I will be discussing with Trustees the possibility of holding a similar conference in 2021, perhaps in the South West.