Year 4 Learn about World War 1


This half-term, Year 4 have been learning about World War 1 and they have learnt a lot already through a variety of activities. This topic is proving to be a great success and enjoyed by all.

The children really enjoy their Big Write on a Thursday morning and since starting this topic, all of their Big Writes have been linked to WW1. For one Big Write, they wrote a letter home to their parents, imagining they had just arrived in France after signing up for the army. At this point, the soldiers would have been full of excitement and pride after signing up.


To Mum,

I thought I would write a few words to assure you that I am here, that I’m alright and that I’ve settled in.

We haven’t really done anything yet. At the moment, I’m sitting under a tree thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow. As soon as we arrived in France, the leader of our army said, “Find some shelter to rest for the night as training starts tomorrow at 9 o’clock.” (Well, if you want my opinion, that’s way too early.) They did all beg me to come; they said I’d be a hero, so I had to say yes.

I’ve met some new friends as well. I actually cannot believe I’m in France, and I’m going to fight for England and the King. I will not let him down.

I now feel a tiny bit worried, because training practise yesterday was all about guns and shooting and having to try and sit in these holes called ‘trenches’. But it’s only going to last for a few months, so I’m not petrified about it. I’m really excited, I can’t believe it. I don’t know how much I like the idea of those trenches though, but as I said, it’s only for a few months. It starts tomorrow. God save the King!

By Monica

The following week, they wrote another letter home, this time after being in the trenches for a year. The children could not believe the difference in the soldiers over that year.


Dear Mum,

How are you? It’s now been a year since the war started and a year since I saw you.

Life here is not nice in the trenches, they smell horrible. I have just witnessed a massive battle. A German soldier has just shot two of our men and one of his own.

We don’t get to wash for several days, so as you can imagine the smell is awful. And, to make it worse, we have to sleep upright. It is so uncomfortable. I feel cold at night, I feel homesick and I’m not so brave after all.

I feel grown up and responsible. War has changed my life. All I keep hearing is BANG! BANG! and shots being fired. All we get to eat here is bully beef – it’s disgusting. At first, I thought it was going to be fun to join the army, it’s not.

Two weeks ago, I was involved in a wild battle. Bang after bang. My friend Joe, who was 18, was sadly shot. I did everything with him, I even shared a bunk bed when we lucky enough to have one. What will I do without him?

I’m wondering, have you heard from Dad? Is everything alright at home? I have to go now as I’ve just heard the biggest yell ever. I hope it’s not another one of our soldiers.

All my love.

By Braund.

We looked at propaganda posters and what they did. Most of them were used to encourage men to join the army. They did this by making it look fun and making them feel guilty if they didn’t join. The children then designed their own propaganda posters.

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We learnt that when the men signed up, they thought the war would be over by Christmas. It wasn’t. The war lasted for four years, but on Christmas day in 1914, something remarkable happened, the Germans and English called a truce and played a friendly game of football in No-Man’s Land. The children wrote a diary entry from that day.

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Whilst on our school trip to Bovington Tank Museum, the children walked around the Warhorse exhibition and got to listen to the stories of WW1 from the horses’ point of view. The children then wrote Hector’s (one of the horse’s) story.

I work on a field in Dorset  of elegant flowers and lovely green, green grass, which I eat in the summer. During winter, I have lovely fresh hay to eat. My life is a treat. I start work at dawn, pulling the plough, reaper and heavy loads; my family get a ride every now and then to town.

Cheerfully, my owner says, “I couldn’t do anything without you Hector”, and that makes me feel a lot better and me work a lot harder. Sometimes, even though I’m not supposed to, I stealthily unlock the gate with my teeth and feed the stray horses some of my hay.

Now, it’s hard, I’ve been sent to war; it’s not all bad. I did meet my friend Jazz there and he’s been like a brother to me. We do allsorts together. When I got weak and was not able to carry things anymore, he helped me out; he also helps me out of the sinking mud.

The worst part was when I accidently jumped in front of a tank; Jazz came to save me. He got crushed. That was a sad day. He was my only friend at war, so I have to try and find a new one, although no one can match up to Jazz, as much as they try.

I did meet Ginger, a gingery-beige kind of colour with chestnut eyes. He was as fast as lightning. Sometimes at night, we’d skulk out and play chase. I groused lots about how most of my friends were dead. I was devastated, numb.

Once, when I was carrying the cart with lots of people in, I suddenly had a weak moment and collapsed. I broke my right front leg. They sent me home.

Back at home, I wished I had Jazz with me. I was miserable with nothing to do. All of a sudden, I had a flash back to the terrible day Jazz died. I fell to the ground. Is this the last time I’ll see the light of day again?

By Siena.

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Year 3 and 4 have also learnt two songs from World War 1; ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Keep the home fires burning.’ They sang these in assembly to remember 100 years since World War 1 began. The first song was a marching song that the soldiers used to sing and the second was sung by the families left at home.

Remembrance Prayers by Year 4.

The response to ‘Lord hear us’ is ‘Send us your peace’

Lord, remember all of those people who died during World War 1, those who were alone and those in the company of others.

Lord hear us

Lord, remember those who acted with compassion, bravely risking their lives for their comrades.

Lord hear us

Lord, remember those whose minds were darkened and disturbed by memories of World War 1.

Lord hear us

Lord, help us to love and take care of one another, to be kind and not selfish. Let us show respect and trust for one another.

Lord hear us

Lord, it has taken us many years to finally understand that we should just forgive and forget and not cause arguments. Help us to forgive each other.

Lord hear us

Lord, we pray for all of those who are currently in the army, fighting for peace in the world.

Lord hear us

Lord, for all of those who are affected by war today, especially those in Syria and Iraq.

Lord hear us

Lord, for those who work tirelessly to make our world a more peaceful place. We pray that one day there will be peace all around the world.

Lord hear us

We turn to our Mother Mary, asking her to take these prayers to her son, who taught us how we should live in peace.

Hail Mary …