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St Stephen's

Building Each Other Up in Love and Learning

Year 6 at Hooke Court Nov 2018 - Diary Entry Day 3

It was another good nights sleep for all the children here in Dorset last night and they rose beaming, happy and ready for their final day of life as a WW1 soldier! Another hearty breakfast was on the agenda but this time of the continental variety…ham, cheese, croissants and toast all washed down with fresh apple juice!

Well, where to start. The morning was simply sublime and a joy for all to have been a part of. We began by collecting our rifles and gathering ourselves into marching formation ahead of our journey to the front line. We must say, Captain Alan and Captain Simon were the scariest we’d seen them; we knew it was time to focus and put all our training into action as we advanced into battle! By this point, the rain was hammering down as we stood waiting for our marching orders. It felt like an eternity whilst we stood there being pelted by the rain and knowing battle was to commence – it’s not a feeling we would like to have faced daily like the men in WW1. Soon enough we began our marching orders and headed to the country lanes in order to evade the view of the enemy. To ease our angst, we broke into song and wished each other luck for the battle ahead on the front line!

Into the trenches we went and we must admit, never had we seen such mud in our lives – children or staff! We crawled, we got stuck, we lost shoes, we lost rifles but we never lost our hope! Over an hour later we made it through the reserve trenches with our packs and into our trench camp with acts of real teamwork and comradeship shown by all throughout. This really was not the glamorous war people waved the men goodbye to in 1914; it was tough, exhausting and required the patience of a saint! Upon arrival back at our familiar camp, it was back to manning our posts, filling sand bags, keeping watch on the enemy and maintaining the troops’ spirits. It was all rather hard work and we welcomed the warm sugary tea and home-made carrot and oat biscuits from yesterday for the rain was still teeming relentlessly and now joined by high winds too. But still, it didn’t dampen our spirits!

It was finally time to put all the training into action – it was time to go over the top! We charged up and over straight into No-Man’s-Land which was significantly more daunting than we thought - as the winds picked up, the rain fell harder and our men fell as casualties of war. We learnt about the ratios of platoons that fell during battle and planted poppies in memory of them. A raw, physically demanding and emotional final day as a soldier of The Great War.

Lunch was well welcomed by all and we were even supplied with extra food and jugs of hot chocolate by the teachers for being such superb soldiers out in the field in the worst weather conditions Captain Alan and Captain Simon said they’d ever had to survive in trench life! They couldn’t praise the children highly enough and us Senior Officers cannot agree more – our mantra of ‘no such thing as bad weather, and just the wrong clothes’ proved itself to once again be true!

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t make it outside to complete our ‘bridging the moat’ activity. The ground was saturated with water which it would have made it unsafe. Instead, we went inside to complete some exciting science experiments using a variety of different materials and processes to create supportive structures that would sustain several different tests. For each creation we had to pitch our ideas and then apply our science knowledge to determine if we thought each other’s ideas would be successful or not! Finally, it was the fun part…testing! It’s fair to say some were more successful than others but nonetheless best efforts were shown by all and we all had a lot of fun! I predict some budding engineers and designers will be finding their way onto BBC 2’s Dragon’s Den very soon!

From here on in we had a relaxing late afternoon and evening. We visited the tuck shop to spend our pocket money and (nearly!) all successfully passed today’s room inspection! Next up was dinner…a tasty home-made chicken and potato curry with flavoured rice followed by everyone’s favourite: jelly and ice cream! Delicious dinner for a Wednesday evening if we do say so ourselves! We headed back to the dorms, where we slipped into our comfy and cosy pyjamas before enjoying yet more hot chocolate from the teachers and some chocolate biscuits and other tasty treats too. Our final activity of the day was to write in role as the soldiers we had been for the last three days. We shared our ideas about what we could include and furthermore had to have them checked and censored, so no information could be intercepted by the enemies! Last up was to include our sign-on sheets from day 1 to prove we really did join the British Army! The clock soon struck 10pm so into bed we climbed, lights out and again, 57 small human beings sound asleep by 10.05pm.

Check back in tomorrow at 9am for the next instalment of our time here at Hooke Court. On the agenda for today is a trip to a local farm for the day to gain a greater depth of understanding about where our food comes from, how it is processed and its impact on the environment. In the evening we’ll be donning our checked skirts and cowboy boots ready for a barn dance to enjoy our last evening here in Dorset before we set off back to school at Friday lunch time!

Please follow the link to see images and videos from throughout our day here. When we return we will upload them all, and more, to the school website so you get to see the ins and outs of our time here!