Plenty of Poppies

Ambulance trains, war horses, poppies to Paddington; the Platform team pulled out all the stops to commemorate Remembrance Day and all those who fell.

In order to support schools in delivering activities focused on Remembrance Day and its roots, the Platform team put together a sweep of learning resources that would allow children of all ages opportunities for engagement.

The first resource created was The Long Train Home; a Key Stage 3 History resource which focused on how trains were used as ambulances in World War I. The lesson presents source material, extracts and videos to help learners develop their inference skills, before giving them opportunities to  expand their analytical and questioning skills.

This was quickly followed by an assembly titled A Poppy of Purple – applicable to primary and secondary aged students – which focused on the role of horses in times of war. The assembly was inspired by The Shirehampton War Horse Memorial, which has been created to commemorate the Shirehampton Remount Depot, and the 300,000 magnificent horses who passed through there on their way to and from the battlefields.

The team then worked to develop the assembly into a Key Stage 1 English Lesson – Words for a War Horse – and a Key Stage 2 History and Literacy Lesson – A Mile in their Shoes.

On Friday, November 10th, Soo Jackson from the team represented Severnside Community Rail Partnership and Platform by meeting a GWR train at Nailsea and Backwell Station to hand over a poppy wreath. The train then made its way along the GWR Routes of Remembrance to Paddington Station to form part of a spectacular display of poppies.

Florence Pennant – Learning Development Officer at Platform – said, “The World War One Ambulance resource reminds us how warfare shifted towards mechanisation, transporting the wounded as though moving freight. One train after another, full of individuals with individual stories and traumas, bringing soldiers home. The sources simultaneously reveal incredible feats of human engineering, yet the suffering of millions.”

Ellie Swain – Learning Development Officer at Platform – said, “The War Horse lessons delved deep into the role horses played during WWI and the significance of the Shirehampton Remount Depot. Thanks to a project led by a Bristol-based company called Local Learning ten years ago, we were able to include a rich range of evidence (including photographs, a plan of the site and extracts from a letter home written by a young soldier based at the depot), all of which gave students further insight into what life was like there. Inspired by the war horse sculpture in the Daisy Field, students were tasked with making a collaborative 2D war horse memorial, featuring information, thoughts and feelings about the part horses played in WWI.”


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For more information and support, you can contact the Platform team here.