We have an interest in World War 1 and have visited the battlefields of Flanders on a number of occasions. My first occasion was with the school, when we visited museums and notably the trenches. My classmates and I were allocated numbers and then went 'over-the-top' walking towards enemy lines. As we walked our teachers called out our numbers and said we were killed or injured, we had to stop and stand or crouch when our number came up.
This was a really powerful learning exercise as within 3-4 minutes of going 'over-the-top' all my classmates and I were either killed or injured. It shocked all of us when we looked around to see our friends stopped in their tracks. It brought the scale of the war home and left me with a striking image of the Great War.
We do not have any history which directly connects our family to the Great War, but have sought a way to get our boys engaged in the war as a project. This is where my connections with Marlesford come into play.
My family has strong family connections with the village of Marlesford, my grandparents Yvonne and George Hicks lived at ‘Church View’ now called ‘Meadow View’ cottage. They are commemorated in the churchyard along with my mother Yvette Angeline Tyrrell (nee Hicks).
If you looked in the visitors book at the church you will see over the years how many times members of my family have visited the church. Bruce Tyrrell is my dad and was married to Yvette at the church, my brothers Danny and Carl, and I were all christened in the church. We still regularly visit the village and the church.
To engage our boys the project has to be fun as well as educational, so we have tried to strike the right balance between the educational aspect of the project and enjoying ourselves.
As the project is growing we have built connections not only with the village but also with relatives of the people that we have researched.
Many people from all over the world have started to contribute to the project which has been really exciting for us all.
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