The materials include a free toolkit and mobile and tablet app created with TV historian Dan Snow, to help encourage pupils to remember the Battle, which ran from 1st July to 18th November 100 years ago.
To mark the centenary, the Legion is providing easy and accessible content that brings the key moments of the battle to life and helps pupils remember those that fought and died during the 141 days back in 1916. As well as the toolkit and interactive app that provides details on local ‘Pals battalions’, schools are also being invited to enter the 100 Hornbeams for 100 Schools poetry competition.
The winning 100 schools will be awarded with a hornbeam sapling from the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), and a plaque as a lasting tribute to those who fell 100 years ago. The competition is inspired by the solitary Hornbeam tree to remain standing after ferocious fighting at Delville Wood in Northern France, and the NMA’s saplings have been propagated from Hornbeams in the Somme. The competition is open to Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 schools and the deadline for entries is Friday 17th June.
The Remember the Battle of the Somme toolkit – available to order free from the Legion in hardcopy or digital download, will help schools to hold their own commemorative event, remembering those who fell at the Somme from their own neighbourhood. It features a range of materials including soldiers’ letters and diaries, a concise history of the Somme, DVD battle footage, a box of poppy petals to scatter, and much more.
Complementing the toolkit, the Remember the Somme App with Dan Snow and The Royal British Legion free mobile and tablet app features over 250 pieces of multimedia content from first-hand audio accounts and written diaries, to film and photo archives and animated battle maps. It is available as a free download from iTunes and Google Play.
The impact of the Battle of the Somme was felt most heavily at the local level, particularly as a result of the ‘Pals battalions’, who were groups of friends, team mates in sports clubs and colleagues, who joined up together, fought together, and sadly often died together. Resources being offered by the Legion provide information and research tools that will aid teachers and pupils in finding out more about their local battalions, bringing the stories of those close to home into focus.
The Royal British Legion’s Head of Remembrance, The Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch KCVO, said: “It is incredibly important that young people particularly are involved in remembering the sacrifice of those who fell 100 years ago to ensure their Service lives on in the nation’s memory.
For guidance on how to enter The National Memorial Arboretum’s Somme 100: ‘100 Trees for 100 Schools competition, teachers can visit: https://www.thenma.org.uk/learning-visits/somme-100-learning-activities/