YOUNGSTERS will delve into the lives of Burton men who fought and died for their country during the First World War as part of a project to mark its centenary.
Pupils from Paget High School, in Burton Road, Branston, are set to start work on the ‘a day in their shoes’ initiative that will take a closer look at the lives of a group of men who went off to war and never returned in the run up to the 100th anniversary in 2014.
Senior teachers at the school revealed that the project will eventually see children heading to Europe to visit battlefields where people from the town drew their final breath while fighting for their country.
Head teacher Don Smith told the Mail: “We are really excited about this project and think it is a really good project that will discuss a worldwide event but one that pupils can get a local perspective on.
“Pupils will be able to look at the lives of people from the town who lived and work together and then had to go off and fight and die together.
“We will be getting some help from historians as well as making use of some of archives in and around the area.
“We also hope that when the work is all completed we will be able to use it within the school to teach future generations.”
The school has been able to kick start the project thanks to a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The funding will allow Year 9 students to visit key locations in and around the town, including Burton Memorial Garden and War Memorial and the boys’ former workplaces, schools and homes.
The research will culminate in a trip to Belgium next spring to visit the battlefields at Ypres, the Trench of Death in West Flanders, Hill 62 Museum and the cemeteries where the Burton friends were laid to rest.
Paget’s head of humanities Julie Butcher said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will inspire students to discover more about the sacrifices local men made for the town during the First World War.
“It’s a unique project that allows pupils to understand the personal stories behind one of the 20th century’s most devastating conflicts.”
Reyahn King, head of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the West Midlands, said: “The First World War changed the face of modern history touching the lives of everyone in this country and beyond.
“The HLF has committed to funding a variety of projects, from organisations large and small, which will create a deeper understanding of the heritage of the conflict.
“Some of these will capture the memories of individual soldiers, regiments or families, some will restore local war memorials, while others such as A Day in Their Shoes will connect today’s young people to their contemporaries who fought in the conflict.”