Commemorating men who fell in WW1

Mesopotamia wall hanging done as part of a schools project.
Mesopotamia wall hanging done as part of a schools project.
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A project to commemorate the soldiers involved in the Mesopotamia campaign during World War One has been completed by school pupils.

The research has been carried out as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Lancashire to Mesopotamia’ project, part of the national ‘Away from the Western Front’ project.

It involved young people from Carnforth High School, Central Lancaster High School, Hodgson Academy, Poulton-le-Fylde and Walton-le-Dale High School.

As part of the project, the pupils were involved in the creation of two books, an illustrated short story and also a textile wall about the conflict.

The books, short story and time-lapse photographs of the wall hanging along with its accompanying audio narrative will be available to download at https://awayfromthewesternfront.org.

The 6th Battalions of four Lancashire Infantry regiments were involved in the campaign, alongside many troops from the Indian Army.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “ This fabulous project has enabled pupils to research some individual stories and reveal a truly fascinating insight into how some men from Lancashire participated in one campaign of the First World War.

“The multicultural element of the war is often overlooked, but we have to remember that it was an empire then and we have a Commonwealth now. There were many Indian troops on the Western Front, and we are still immensely proud of our ongoing links with the battalions of the Indian army, who are the heirs to our comrades from the First World War.”

“The materials that the children are producing will provide a lasting legacy for the project and bring this story of shared sacrifice to a much wider audience.”

Pupils started to work on the project last summer, initially to understand why British and Indian troops had been sent to Mesopotamia to fight the Ottoman forces.

The schools then researched some of the Lancashire battalions in the area, the Indian Army, and actions as part of the campaign.

Following on from their research, the students chose an individual soldier whose story they had been inspired by to share with others creatively. The stories picked include a Lancashire and an Indian soldier who received the Victoria Cross, a lamplighter from Preston who lost his life in Mesopotamia, two cousins who joined the army together and a young officer who travelled from a plantation in South America to join a Lancashire battalion.

For more information about the project, please phone 01772 535075, or email david.brookhouse@lancashire.gov.uk

Alternatively, please visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums.