Berger Primary School, Hackney
3 July 2015
LETTER FROM LIONEL TURPIN BERGER PRIMARY SCHOOL
I do not know when I’ll write to you again, but tell father that I am terribly sorry for the upsets that I have caused.
The ground is shaking as I write this and I hope you accept my apology.
Let me tell you the reality of this dreadful war.
Where do I start?
Every time I try to lift this pen I feel the warmth of the gun in my hands.
Paralysed, paralysed with fear, paralysed with fear I sit here in pain.
Rivers of tears rush down my cheeks.
Rivers of, rivers of, rivers of, rivers of tears.
Last night I was gassed by mustard gas.
My lungs are badly burnt, but don’t worry, I’m fine.
I was moments away from heading over the top.
I lifted up my rifle and started taking lives.
A fellow British soldier was a loaf of bread after being hit with a hairbrush.
Another friend has gone West,
I can’t feel anger, only sadness.
As I was running across no mans land
I saw a red flower blossom across the field.
It became a distant memory. It was no more.
I’m so lucky, I made it out alive!
One is left with a horrible feeling that war settles nothing.
Please ask Father to forgive me.
Your beloved son
When at first I enlisted, I felt like I was doing the right thing. I’m really thrilled and the second attack is going to start within a few hours. They provided us with badooks and uniforms. I went to France to fight there. I was terrified. Yesterday I went over the top and I saw hundreds of my friends being slaughtered.
The war is extremely loud, so we make little balls and put it in our ears. The Huns are our enemies. The sergeants are going to teach us how to use rifles and how to put on our uniforms. My captain told me that I am going to be working for the infantry regiment in France. Father I joined the army because I felt like I had to defend Britain, but I still don’t feel stupid about leaving Georgetown, Jamaica.
Student letter 2
October 21, 1916
I am sorry for not writing as I could not bring my hands to write this letter. As every time I try to lift this pen I feel the warmness of the gun in my hands.
As I was running across no men land I saw a red type of flower as it blossomed across the field. It became a distant memory .It was no more.
Dear mother, I do not know when I will write to you again but tell father that I am terribly sorry for what I have caused in the family. Especially arguing with father I hope he finds it in his heart to forgive him as I am lucky to have him as a Father. Tell Roger to never join war as it is a horrifying as your soul will never rest in peace.
PRAY FOR ME AS IT MIGHT BE THE END.
From your beloved son,
Student letter 3
Wednesday 10th September 1918
Dear my loving mother,
Where do I start? Paralysed with fear I sit here in pain on the hospital bed as I write this for you to read. Landed here a few days ago after burning my lungs from a flying pig and a shell piece hitting my back. I know what you are thinking. My poor son in that hospital! But you know what? You might think it’s horrible in here but in the trenches it’s a complete living hell. After days away from this long war I am still in full agony from what I have seen as a soldier fighting for Britain. What’s killing me inside; is the amount of finished people I’ve seen. No matter enemy or brother. It still hurts! Just shocking! Every night images of me aiming at a human being’s heart flashes by. Nightmare from reality!
What have I become? An evil machinery programmed to kill. Help me mother. I remembered at the start… everything was sally sunshine until I learnt how to shoot a riffle into a wall but when it was time to go into the battlefield. My first knock out. Traumatizing! From that night the nightmares live on and on. Even now they’re running through my stressful mind.
I still think about that one time you told me regret nothing and I don’t regret joining the war or having that argument with father but do understand and tell dad I’m very sorry. From the bottom my heart and I need to defend for Britain no matter what. I must go now. The nurses are doing a check-up.
From your beloved son,
Everyone was involved and everyone made their own puppets in their own way (which made each puppet special in their own way). – Lisa
This project could be descried by a thousand words – outstanding, amazing and so much more. – William
The performance turned out brilliantly! – Abida
I learned that teamwork can get you wherever you want. – Gorkem
The artefacts session was a brilliant introduction to the project, as it captured their interest. Children were more engaged throughout the project. – Staff, Berger School
The children were very proud of their puppets. The resources were well prepared and the staff from Little Angel were excellent. The lowest attaining pupils were able to make a puppet as good as the highest so this activity had a positive effect on a number of children and developed their confidence. Staff, Berger School
We felt we had more than enough lesson plans with good resources. The website is excellent and we constantly referred to it. Almost everything we needed was on there. – Staff, Berger Primary School
Students have a deeper understanding of how the war affected people on different levels. Seeing children so engaged from the artefacts session and the puppet making has made me determined to try more creative approaches. The project is a fine example of true cross curricular learning. – Staff at Berger Primary School
All artists and teachers were professional and enthusiastic. The project was well structured, I enjoyed it, and I would love to do it again. – Staff at Berger Primary School
Bomb Crater Investigation
Dressing up as Soldiers