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St Stephen's

Building Each Other Up in Love and Learning

Year 6 - Hooke Court - Day 2

Hello again from Hooke Court! Day two got off to a tasty start.  Cereal and beans on toast really hit the spot and was a much-needed meal before the day’s adventures got underway!

We’ve quickly learnt that well-fed soldiers are happy soldiers here in Dorset – it helps keeps the spirits high when the work gets tough in the trenches! And boy was today tough! A jam-packed itinerary to say the least beneath the shining sun!  

The children were split into their respective classes for the morning to make the most of the session. 6M started with an extremely eye opening WWI cooking session during which they learned some of the many uses of SPAM on the battle field as well how to make carrot biscuits to enjoy before soldiers went ‘over-the-top’ to No-Man’s-Land!


Meanwhile, 6JM marched over to the long house and were given an up close and personal opportunity to handle a few authentic WWI artefacts.  From barbed wire, to shrapnel shells, the children handled everything with care and played impressively close attention to the task at hand.  


Without doubt we have first class historians in making amongst the ranks! Before the session ended, each child made a personalised paper poppy.  They will be spread out tomorrow in No-Mans-Land to give the children a feel for the extent of tragedy that wartime truly was.                        

Before lunch, the two classes came back together in the officer’s mess hall to try the tasty snacks they had made.  For the most part, the SPAM, potatoes, carrots, cabbage and biscuits were a huge hit…..for the most part. Yet, it would be fair to say there would be some of our troops flailing by the wayside if this was their day to day diet!


Once all the dishes were put away, everyone headed back to the fields near the dorms for ANOTHER lunch of sandwiches and fruit.  (We did tell you at the start that we’ve quickly learnt the importance of consuming all the food in sight!!) All the while, the upcoming hike to the nearby trenches was looming. Tension building. Training imminent. 


Before they knew it, the children were in their waterproof kit and being put through their paces by Captain Alan.  Marching practice, grenade training and bayonet work were on the agenda and we’re pleased to report that each and every Private passed – three even made it to Sergeant rank and Corporal rank proud to serve their country and lead their troops to the front line!  

It’s at this point we could tell you all about our visit to the trenches of the Western Front, however, who’s to know you won’t go and inform our enemy of life behind the barbed wire? Therefore, we’re sworn to secrecy until we return home to our families safe and sound! What we can say, is this: it’s muddy. Very muddy. We got stuck. Very stuck. And there were casualties: Private Wellington Boot is currently missing in action and we fear relatives of the same family may face the same fate tomorrow when we advance to the trenches once again! Of course, we’ll keep you posted! 

Muddy and smiling we returned back to base camp and donned our glad rags for dinner in the Officer’s Mess and had good ole’ sing-song in the old time music hall! We were fed like kings and indulged in all the goods, including the tradition of ‘passing the 'port'’. Hiccup! There was even a dance from our trusty Senior Officers too, which the whole regiment were laughing at and applauded! Good job they’re here all week to continue providing the entertainment for their regiment, and they wouldn’t have it any other way! 
It’s over and out for another night as we nestle down with comrades in our bunks, beauty sleep pending to heal trench foot and lead-like legs is what’s on the agenda before another early rise tomorrow when alarms will sound at 6.45am!

Check back tomorrow…you won’t want to miss a moment of our time here at Hooke Court!​