This week the class were given a series of different tasks (see the “Interesting leads to follow-up” page). One group continued to fill in gaps in the information gathered on some of the remaining soldiers using the CWGC website and other online resources.
The remainder of the class split into pairs and each pair undertook a research activity using online resources listed on this website or reading the topic books provided. The research topics included:-
- Looking at the medals which were awarded to Burghead soldiers
- Reading about two soldiers who had attended Aberdeen University and were commemorated in a roll of honour book
- Looking for more information about the cemeteries the soldiers were buried in
- Researching the battles of the 6th Seaforth Highlanders
- Finding out more information about brothers who both unfortunately were killed in WW1
- The role of fishermen in WW1 including the use of Merchant Navy vessels and private fishing boats in the war effort
- Looking for the war graves of four soldiers in the Burghead cemetery
Reflecting on the work this week the class mentioned again that some of the information was hard to find. In one case they knew the first name of the soldier (Alexander) but when the page opened up it just said A. They had to read through all the information to check it was the right soldier, which it was.
Another group discovered the two Grant brothers were born on the same day but two years apart. It was useful to have online versions of some of the research books so that the information could be captured as text or in a screenshot and pasted into a word page.
“It was interesting to look at things in the past”
“It was a challenge to find some information”
“It was interesting to see what happened in their lives.
“Something different to work we had done before”
Having the children look into the names on a local memorial as opposed to the Cenotaph in London has meant the children recognise street names and the names of the houses the soldiers used to live in.
- Create a table showing each soldier’s name, their address and their job before they went to war. Research the job e.g. bobbin maker if it is unfamiliar
- Create a list of the soldiers who were fishermen and find out the names/pictures of their boats
- Look through the names and addresses of soldiers and see if there are current relatives living in the town at the same address
The class are going to look into where people lived and see if they can go to see the house. This will help them to build up a picture of the impact of the losses on the whole village not just one street or a few houses. The location of the houses will be added to a detailed map of the village.
The photographer, Eric McCormack from the Northern Scot came to photograph the pupils next to the memorial. He then came to talk to them in the classroom about the project. The same day there was a meeting in Elgin to talk about a new four-year project call Moray’s war collecting assets (photos, audio and artefacts) for a new online resource. Currently there is an Edinburgh’s war page.
The class collated their information about each of the people on the war memorial looking at gaps in information such as a missing CWGC certificate etc… Libindx proved very useful by providing information about dates of birth, death, parents’ names and addresses. It even gave information about newspaper records for a specific person. Daniel “Heather” McKenzie had declared for Cessio to protect him from arrest. This was in the 1880s when he was in his 20s. He was a Merchant Seaman and drowned on 10th December 1915 off the Steam Drifter Lucrative. Charles McLennan’s parents both died on 13 July 1911. His Father died suddenly at 6.30 p.m. soon followed by his Mother at 7.30 p.m when Charles was 15.
The class have created a group powerpoint showing a selection of the work they have completed for the project. This has included:
- the internet research CGWC, Moray Memories weblinks, Libindx
- book research – Moray roll of Honour etc..
- asking local people, relatives for information
- producing poster of WW1 adverts e.g. for rationing
- adding addresses to a map of Burghead to show where people lived who featured on the memorial.
Local newspapers have provided a fascinating insight into life in Moray during the war years. Adverts advertise Trench powder and Chemico Shield Jackets. They encourage men to join the Seaforths Regiment or help in other war work if over the age of 40 years.
Week 6 WW2 soldiers on the Village War memorial
Visit by Hettie Milne nee Coutts
Hettie visited the school and the P7 class. As a child Hettie was born in Burghead and was therefore a brocher. Her Father had been the rabbit catcher during WW2 and she had attended Burghead Primary School. She shared what she knew about her Father’s life travelling the area, setting traps and selling the rabbits to English butchers via the train line.
A longer version of her working life and also information about her father’s working life can be found on the main pages of this website. The children enjoyed listening to her tales of her father’s working life and they asked lots of questions about what the school was like during WW2. Hettie spoke about gas masks and air raid sirens.