Our work


Luxembourg awaits
We reached a bigger town
We marched up to the top of the hill
But we were sent back down to the ground.

I got very angry
The French were not there
The screaming blisters on my feet
Raged like an angry bear.

I went to the ambulance
To get them bandaged there
But the harsh doctor
Really didn’t care

He told me to come back that evening
Said I should have sorted it out before
So with tears and a lot of anger
I turned and walked out the door.

Often I wish I’d shot them,
Killed them there and then.
I will never forget what those wretches did
When I visited the hospital then.

George Weston


Feet on Fire

When will this ever end?
We’ve been marching for hours.
Every step has made me tremble: I feel like a coward.
My feet feel as if they’re on fire in an enclosed fire pit.
And no one gives any sympathy to me as I suffer.
I race towards the hospital asking them to bandage my feet.
But the doctor rejects my request: he has better things to do
I feel as if I want to shoot him dead.

Iliane Ureta-Vidal


While My Feet Bleed

Dear Mum and Dad

No one is the same any longer. Blood is not a shock anymore. I struggle to move some days. But I know I have to keep going. My whole body aches and never stops. The feeling never stops. The fighting never stops. I have to endure this every day while my feet bleed, and my blisters erupt.

I want to come home.

Your loving son

Nat Sweeney


Emotional Responses

It happened during a very heavy round of shelling that emotions ran rapidly through my body. A shell flew into the trench, directly hitting a soldier, and he died in a matter of seconds. The second fatality came from a shell missing the man but the shrapnel shredding his body. Then our trusted sergeant dropped to the floor, crying helplessly. Confused emotions rushed at me: anger for this cowardice but then also sadness for my strong, brave sergeant having crumpled like a piece of paper. The next day he was taken away and forgotten like a sunken ship.

Oliver Weston


Cowardice – Haikus

Do NOT run away
You will be shot in the head
Paul can’t turn back now.

He has seen cowards
They are seen as scum and filth
They look so sorry.

That’s how it works
Cowardice is a crime
War is so cruel.

Eylem Boz



I’ve ducked behind a tree,
Hoping you wouldn’t see me,
It was too late.
You caught me by the gate.
I’m feeling ready to drown.
I’ve let everyone down.

Cara Beckwith




Caught out
Against regulations

Jacob Bishop and Noam Ureta-Vidal


Just one piece on the skewer

Of all the hundreds who passed in the shadow
A sight to blind a watcher
What pain, what misery and that only on the watcher
And all that is just one piece of food, just one placed on the skewer.

My friends, brothers of man, all dead on the field
The closest to me all of those I knew
What pain, what misery and that only on the watcher
And all that is just one piece of food, just one placed on the skewer.

All of them were young, all junior to me
So much life gone, wasted. What’s the point of such a death
What pain, what misery and that only on the watcher
And all that is just one piece of food, just one placed on the skewer.

Oh Arthur, oh Harry, why Samuel – and all dead
Why did you fall, and leave me alone in such a wasteland
What pain, what misery and that only on the watcher
And all that is just one piece of food, just one placed on the skewer.

Death you fiend, you keeper of silence
Why use war as your playground?
What pain, what misery and that just one piece of food,
just one placed on the skewer.

Daniel Atkin


Mobilisation – off to war!


A letter from a sister to her soldier brother

Dear Rolf

I can’t believe you’ve gone. Off on a grand adventure, with people cheering you goodbye; whilst I have to stay with Mamma. Maybe I’ll become a nurse, so I can play my part, instead of being alone at home.

The crowds were amazing, weren’t they? People throwing bunches of flowers out of their windows and on to the road as we walked along the streets. I put the flower that you picked up and put in my hair in a vase and placed it on my bedside table with your picture.

I can’t help but think about the overwhelming pride and joy at marching by your side, and your shouting to the crowd that you would fight for me. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful elder brother.

Did you see Franz proposing to Anneliese as we passed the fountain? She said yes!

I really felt as if I were in a dream, riding with the knights to the Holy Land; my brother going on a crusade.

I’m sorry if I embarrassed you when I started crying when you hugged me goodbye. It was then that it really dawned on me that you were going and that I might not see you again for a long time.

Savour Mamma’s cake, especially the fruity bits. Come back to me soon, dearest brother. I’ll be waiting for you. I know that when you read this you’ll be smiling.

All my love



The reply from a solider to his sister

To my dearest sister

I am not permitted to tell you where I am this evening, but know that I am all right.

Mamma’s cake was delicious, as always, and was all the more pleasurable to eat whilst reading your letter. Indeed, I could feel myself smiling as I read, and I think some of the men were wondering what could have caused me to smile so much!

Your idea sounds wonderful. As soon as they ask for nurses, go. Who knows, you might end up treating me. I will say that I shall have no nurse but you.

Yes, I did see Franz’s proposal. He’s a lucky man to be marrying a girl like Anneliese. He won’t stop talking about it.

I think we’ll have to start marching again soon. I don’t know where we’ll go and what will happen.

Wait for me, dearest Leah. I promise we’ll be together again soon.

Yours truly


Eleanor Sutcliffe


Dear Diary

Daddy left on an exciting adventure today. Before he went, there was a massive party. People were giving him gifts and wishing him luck. I’m going to miss him lots and lots.

I can’t wait until I’m 16 and then I’m going to join Daddy in the army, and we can go on exciting adventures together. I’ve only got 8 years until I’m old enough. I can barely wait.

Cara Beckwith


Dear Ma

At about 8pm we were ready to march. The commander made a short speech which everyone greeted with loud cheering. We were now heading off to war.

Hundreds of people were on the streets to cheer and wave us off. They threw treats and gifts at us. All the girls hugged us and some of the men gave us cigars. We sang songs and everyone joined in. It was such a jolly occasion.

From your loving son


Jacob Theaker 


Dear Paul

You wouldn’t believe how immensely proud I am of you. You will always be my hero and today you became my superhero! I marched for miles with you and I will never forget this day. Seeing the crowds of people rewarding you with flowers and goodies made my heart melt. They appreciate you as much as I do (which you know is too much to explain).

I will sorely miss you when you are gone, but I know you will come back as a brave strong soldier. I will think about you every day and treasure each of the memories we shared today.

I love you so much.

From Katharina


Dear Diary

I can’t believe they let me follow Papa this far. I’m quite sure they will send me home soon. Everything is deadly silent apart from the monotonous sound of marching feet. Every now and then I glance up at Papa and he just marches forward, looking ahead and avoiding contact. His face is solemn and serious. I’m actually looking forward to going home. I expected the atmosphere to be joyful but find that worry and anxiety fill the air. The war is scary, and the men and weapons very intimidating. I must rest now before we cross into another town.


Jodie Searle


Wittenberg POW Camp, 1915


Dear Diary

I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I wake up every day to an empty stomach. I spend my day hopelessly trying to distract myself from the fact that I am trapped inside a cage and that, at any minute, the savage, reckless beasts who have entrapped me could remove me from this life. I distract myself not for me but for my darling wife. I have hidden the truth from her because I can’t bear to imagine the pain that my being a prisoner causes her, let alone the torture of her knowing that I am being mistreated….

Cara Beckwith


Dear Diary

Today my friend died of the disease that has taken control of the English section. When my friend pushed food into the camp, an English prisoner ran straight at him and that was, presumably, how he became infected.

The dogs are as hyperactive as ever and, as usual, attempted to bite me. The doctor is still refraining from entering the camp and I don’t think that many of the English or Russians survive. I hope all the Russians catch it……

Jacob Bishop


Dear Diary

I have, once again, survived another day in this hell. The Germans treat us horribly and I do wish to return home soon, but I lose hope day by day. More prisoners arrive but none leave.

The terrible disease, typhus, has been doing its rounds and, sadly, a soldier I had become friendly with died of it last night. I’ve told my wife everything is fine and have purposely left out any details she might fret over.

I shall not mention the living conditions here for fear of despair taking control of my feelings. Goodbye for now.


Jodie Searle


Dear Diary

Today was just the same as any other. We pushed plenty of food onto some machinery and then the machine put it into the compound. Then we had to repair the tall fences, which is pointless because if any of the prisoners try to escape they will be shot. The conditions are slowly getting worse with disease spreading really quickly. I do not want to catch it, so the other guards and I are trying not to go in at all.

George Weston


To Home

I am well. The English doctors keep me in excellent condition and I live with my captured friends. The German guards aren’t as hard as the guards in other camps. Supplies come in daily but don’t fill me up. Please send me a parcel with food – tobacco, bacon, ham and cooked beef if possible – and currant buns.

From your beloved Father

Oliver Weston


Poppy Haikus

Swaying in the wind
The infinite fields of red
Speckled with black dots

Splattered with dark mud
Many bodies writhe and squirm
Just one poppy left

Rebecca Impey and Eddy Brown


The Poppy

The theme of a poppy
The symbol of war

Every piece of paper that was placed
Every drop of blood that was shed
The symbol of the war

The darkness of the black centre
The darkness of the muddy trenches
The symbol of the war

The redness of the petals
The everlasting love their families felt
The symbol of the war

The words that the poppy provokes
Heritage, sorrow, freedom, remembrance
The symbol of the war

The long stem on which the poppy stands
The pole on which the British flag hung
The symbol of the war

The clay of the poppies in the moat
The clay of the ground in which people fell and died
The symbol of the war

Every person that was killed in action
Every person that was killed at home
The symbol of the poppy

George Weston


Picking Poppies

I went to see the poppies.
Each was being taken out
One by one.
So carefully, so delicately
Like the poppies themselves
And the lives they represent.
Everyone working together
To pack up the poppies
Just like a factory line.
Crowds still gathered
In awe of the poppies.
And you know when you see that
The fallen will never be forgotten.
What they did for our country
Will forever be remembered.

Chloe Evans



Poppies sprout from where the brave lay as they said goodbye to life,
They fought so hard and this is how it ended.
Left behind are tears of loved ones and memories once shared,
All they have are what was and not what could be.

Friends and family stay awake at night,
They sob and grieve for the piece of their hearts they lost.
They will never find that piece to plug the hole left behind.
Instead their skin sits over their gaping hole,
Trying with all its might not to let the pain through.

Cara Beckwith


The Poppy

Here I am, as fine as clay,
I appear so great, colourful and gay.
Here I am, the burdens I carry,
Some I make cry, some I make happy.

But back when I came,
They called it a game.
Slaughter and death,
And I was the result.

They think I help them,
In that respect I do,
But bear a mind for the poor poppy,
For the burdens it must carry.

I’ve seen war with death and murder,
But I exist to take it further.
Feel free to wear me, remember a Tommy,
But spare a thought for the poor poppy.

Dan Atkin


The Poppy

Every drop of blood
Every bullet spent
Every trench dug
Every shell blown

For every drop
For every fall
For every kill

A POPPY grew.

Is the symbol
Is the light
In the dark

The battles raged
The poppies grew
Red for love.

Remember the love.

Oliver Weston



Respect those who saved our future
Enjoy the peace they gave us
Maybe they died fighting for you
Eleventh of November
Memories were made
Be thankful
Everyone is grateful
Repay the deed
Angels of the past
Never forgotten
Caring men fight for us
End of?

Jodie Searle


What is a poppy?

What is a poppy to you?
Remembering the fallen?
A lovely flower?
A constant reminder of where we’ve gone wrong
and the hope it will not happen again?
Or a new life for people that have died in conflict?
Whatever a poppy means to your or me,
We must never forget.

Keilan Grant



Sometimes life is too precious
to be forgotten.
Remember the dead

Eylem Boz



Poppies are strong in thought
Poppies are remembrance tools
Poppies are to care for soldiers that passed
Poppies are feelings for love
Poppies are as powerful as words

Nat Sweeney



Dear Diary

Today a person approached me and said he was from the future. I couldn’t believe him. I thought he was crazy. But, it turns out he was from the future. He said his name was Sam Whitmore and he came from Sawston Village College, but in the future. I couldn’t believe it – my school – in the future. I asked him what it was like and how Sawston had changed. He said that school was less strict and had less propaganda-themed work. I asked what he meant but he said he couldn’t explain. He then asked me about what I thought of the war and how I thought it was going. Well, I told him the war was exciting and that we were beating the Germans at their own game. He found this interesting and said he had to go back to his own time, and so he left me to think about what actually had just gone on. I believe it was a dream and so I think nothing of it. Time travel, a crazy idea.

Benjamin Hutchcraft

22 October 2014


I time-travelled to 1917 Britain and was hugely surprised at the children’s knowledge of what actually happened in WW1. They thought Britain was the better side and they hadn’t been taught the other side of the war. They were told that the Germans were evil and that the Brits were the best. The children said I was wrong that from the Germans’ point of view they were the best, and the war wasn’t as one-sided as they thought.

Oliver Weston

22 October 1975


Dear Diary
Today brought a reacquaintance with the past which I had not expected. Memories that scarcely seem my own have resurfaced as vivid as if events took place a few days ago. It has been near 60 years since the Great War, and I rather thought I had forgotten most of my war-time upbringing, and indeed I had, but whilst searching through my attic this morning, I think for some trinket of Marjorie’s, I unearthed my old school books…

Severn Whittingham

21 June 1917


Today was very weird. Some people from the future came to visit us. They had some very weird ideas and told us that the war would end in stalemate. What utter rubbish!! I mean, it’s completely obvious that the British are going to win. They kept going on about that it was terrible and millions of people died. They also said that you only had a tiny chance of surviving. So I told them that I thought the war was awesome and that as soon I was old enough I was going to sign up for the army. They were completely shocked and bewildered at the thought that I was completely mad. I mean how rude! After that they left, and I went back to reading my copy of the Boy’s Own Paper.

George Weston

22 August 1970


Today I discovered my old school books from 1915 in the attic and I felt I had been lied to when I was young and at school because, back then, I was told that Britain was in control and the war was going to be over soon. But I know now that the war lasted a long three years more, and the Germans were often the ones in control.

Josh Compton

From the future …


Dear …
I have just returned from the school in 1917 and I have to say what I heard really surprised me in more ways than one. Want to know why? Then I’ll tell you …

I got to the school and the first reaction from the pupils was to eye me like I was some strange hut head, which I suppose was understandable as a 21st century teenager turning up in jeans and shirt, very unlike the fashion of their clothes.

The teacher was a woman named Miss Jenkins, a very pretty lady, and I instantly spotted a ring on her finger. She told me her fiancé Albert had joined up and was fighting in France, but had promised to return to her soon. How terrible it must be to be apart from someone you love, yet hoping they will return. How could I tell her what I knew, what was really going on, going over the top … ?

Damn the censor system!

I asked pupils about what they knew and felt about what was going on. I have to say that one of the most immediate responses was that their fathers, brothers and friends were having one big, fancy adventure and they were missing out. But what if they were killed? Well, they would go to heaven and be with God.

Suddenly, a tall, square-shouldered boy, a farmer’s son I guess, stepped in and proudly stated he had enlisted and was about to go. I asked him why and he said he wasn’t prepared to sit back and miss out on an adventure and the fun and games.

Miss Jenkins’ reaction was to go up to the boy and slap him angrily, shouting that he was too young. Well, he walked out and started blabbing on to whoever went past about his enlistment.

But what did they make of what I said? Well, none of them believed me. All turned away my points, clearly having been taken in by propaganda and books.

But I wonder if they thought differently going to fight in the war that followed? Would they have changed? What happened to some of those boys? I don’t know.

Eleanor Sutcliff



Back in 1914
When they thought the War was fun,
Some were even upset
When it was all done.
The teachers speaking excitement.
The students all hyped up.
Soldier was the ambition.
Let’s go all sign up!
Truth twisted into learning,
The bad side thrown right out.
The Germans are so cheating,
We’ll win the game, go knock ‘em out!
Oh, those poor soldiers,
Fed downright false truth,
Sleeping in the trenches,
Ridden with trench foot!
Running at the Germans,
Falling left and right.
‘Get down men. You know the drill,’
Fighting through the night.
So, let’s remember those men,
Freeing us today,
But at a cost from sneaky teaching,
A cost, a life, what a price to pay.

Daniel Atkin


Poppies surround us everywhere
Each year a ceremony held
To respect the fallen
And the bravery of them.
A minute of silence
To stop and think.
That Great War you fought for us
Didn’t stop all the fighting
Or bring world peace
But it did bring the hope
That for something so dark and horrific
There is still light
At the end of the tunnel.

Chloe Evans


Year by year
I drank bottles of beer
To keep my mind at rest from the Hun
The Great War was not a bore
But forever it will haunt me.

Keilan Grant


It’s all over by Christmas, they said
So on the fateful day we played ball
Eleven strong men and true,
Sportsmen one and all
The result? It was a draw
Till the Generals got to know
Back to your trenches they thundered
Four years later I’ll be found
Wasn’t it still a draw we wondered?
But with most of us under the ground.

Bryan Howe (Mature Student)