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New tools to help young people explore the legacy of the First World War

New teaching resources that make use of a special recording app can inspire young people to unearth hidden stories from the home front of the First World War, says historian Dan Snow.

Pillbox at Fraisthorpe East Yorkshire

The resources are the latest stage in the Home Front Legacy project led by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and funded by Historic England. The project encourages communities and young people to identify and record the social and physical impacts of the First World War across the UK. The Home Front Legacy website (www.homefrontlegacy.org.uk) now records over 2,000 First World War sites and includes colour cartoons and other educational resources aimed at young people in primary school and for use out of the classroom.

Dan Snow, President of the CBA, said: “What happened across the UK during the First World War is an essential part of our heritage and the cultural changes were enormous. Women replaced men in the factories, airfields sprung up, coastal defences were built, training camps established and practice trenches built. There were internment and Prisoner of War camps, as well as new forms of communication.

“The archaeology of the Home Front is vast. With these new resources, young people in and out of the classroom can help to discover and map missing parts of the Home Front jigsaw and learn map reading, research and recording skills at the same time.”

The cartoons are by acclaimed artist David Chisholm and depict aspects of home front life on land, sea and air. The featured buildings, military activity and people going about their day-to-day business are based on real places and events.

Session plans developed for primary teachers are accompanied by training videos presented by young people and a guide to using the Home Front Legacy recording app. The resources are also available to the leaders and members of the CBA’s Young Archaeologists’ Club branches that are run throughout the UK, as well as for any other youth groups who want to learn about the heritage of their local area. All of the new resources can be found on the Young Archaeologists' Club website.

Since its launch, the Home Front Legacy project has prompted research into the legacy of the First World War locally. The hidden remains of experimental sound mirrors used to provide early warning of enemy aircraft were uncovered on the South Coast (www.homefrontlegacy.org.uk/wp/case-studies/sound-mirrors/), whilst another project mapped First World War pillboxes, built when invasion seemed possible (www.homefrontlegacy.org.uk/wp/case-studies/identifying-first-world-war-pillboxes-in-the-uk/ ).

“Everyone can be involved in discovering the legacy of the Home Front, not just schools. Local involvement is easy and is a way of contributing to the protection of your local heritage” Dan Snow said.

To get involved in the Home Front Legacy project visit www.homefrontlegacy.org.uk or follow it on Facebook /homefrontlegacy , or Twitter @homefrontlegacy

Remains of First World War Pillbox in East Yorkshire
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