GALLERY: Stevenage students put through their paces in First World War event at Knebworth House

Stevenage mayor Sherma Batson on parade with school students behind. Picture courtesy of Indigo Plum

Stevenage mayor Sherma Batson on parade with school students behind. Picture courtesy of Indigo Plum/National Army Museum - Credit: Archant

More than 1,000 students were put through their paces at Knebworth House last week with interactive sessions centred on the First World War.

Andy Smeaton from the cavalry section

Andy Smeaton from the cavalry section - Credit: Archant

Students from secondary schools across Stevenage took part in army drills led by the National Army Museum, as well as learning about the role animals played in the war effort a century on.

There was also a chance to learn about the work of Countess Lytton – a relative of the family which still owns the stately home to this day – who set up a hospital for soldiers in London.

Drill sergeant Kirk directs the Barclay schoolchildren

Drill sergeant Kirk directs the Barclay schoolchildren - Credit: Archant

The day, organised by Knebworth House alongside the Stevenage Educational Trust and Stevenage Museum, concluded with a film and exhibition by Herts at War and the opportunity to read personal letters written by soldiers.

Knebworth House education officer Hannah Brownlow said: “Having the chance to see the First World War brought to life and handling original artefacts was an amazing learning opportunity.

“The pupils were so engaged and full of questions. I have no doubt that they will remember this unique experience, I know I will!”

The visits coincided with the launch of a First World War writing initiative with six Stevenage schools – Barnwell, Barclay, John Henry Newman, Marriotts, Nobel and Thomas Alleyne – which will continue until December.

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