On Sunday 11th November, my colleagues and I had the privilege of attending a service to mark the centenary of the Armistice at Westminster Abbey thanks to our work on nationwide debate series, The Great War Debate, since 2016.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that our ancestors were brought up in the shadow of war. Whether fighting on the frontline, helming munitions factories or healing the wounded, every facet of society - male and female - was impacted by the events of the First World War.
This is why it’s so important for young people to commemorate the conflict. Public knowledge of the war has long been limited to the action on Europe’s Western Front, but in many ways this fails to scratch the surface of one of the world’s most complex and impactful struggles.
A lot of the work we do here at Hopscotch has encouraged young people to reflect on the events of one hundred years ago in a new light.
For the British Army we produced an assembly pack and lesson plan to enable students to run sessions on how and why we remember the 11th November.
More recently we’ve had the pleasure of hosting The Great War Debate at schools in Sheffield, London, Liverpool and Nottingham. Now in its third year, The Great War Debate has breathed life into GCSE and A Level students’ interest surrounding the Great War and, above all, has challenged perceptions.
It’s been extremely satisfying to witness students and historians jostling over differences in opinion. We have our final event taking place in Oxford on 6th December, and we can’t wait to see new insights from both the panellists and students regarding to what extent the war sparked advances in technology, surgery and treatment.
Will we commemorate the war in the same way one hundred years from now? Time will tell. We like to think, however, that igniting interest in the Great War has allowed us to instil the importance of commemoration into the minds of future generations for years to come.