Cockburn School prepares for WW1 commemoration


Peter Nuttall from Cockburn School has been in touch to update us on preparations for next week’s World War One commemoration:

Cockburn WW1 trench 01Just a couple of photos showing the behind the scenes skeleton of the replica trench we are building – it will work so that visitors arrive at the entrance, enlist in the army, are given a train ticket to France and then enter the trench via a railway carriage.

At certain points there will be re-enactors performing short drama pieces, there will be a battlefield soundtrack, explosions, lights etc and finally people will move from the trench to a living room where two women are reading letters from men at the front. The final section will be a sort of memorial with a giant poppy wreath and the names of all the men who are on the school War Memorial projected on the wall.

Cockburn WW1 trench 02As you can imagine we are getting very excited about the whole week – the final ceremony on the Friday promises to be most impressive, attended by the Lord Mayor and other civic leaders as well as representatives of the armed forces and the cadets. The mock battle will feature one of the few working Lewis guns to be found in the country and the whole thing will be rounded of by the East Lancashire Concert Band concert in the evening.

The commemoration event takes place on Friday 18 July. Peter wrote the following article for the South Leeds Life newspaper which is available from community centres, libraries and schools.

As part of a whole week remembering the sacrifices that were made during the First World War, during which students at Cockburn School and seven local primary schools will spend the time looking at different war related topics, the five days will culminate in two events.

On the afternoon of Friday 18 July an open air event, to be attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds and led by the Archdeacon of Leeds will take place at Cockburn School, to be attended by local school children with the participation of the Rifle Regiment, Leeds College of Music musicians, as well as community leaders and local cadet groups.

This event is also to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Sergeant Laurence Calvert V.C., the school’s Victoria Cross holder, who was decorated in September 1918. Members of Sgt Calvert’s family will be making the journey from the south of England to attend; also attending will be the Colonel of the Rifle Regiment, the descendant regiment of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, of which Sgt Calvert was a member.

There will be a mock battle, and guided tours of a replica First World War trench, featuring performances by re-enactors, will also be taking place.

Cockburn_WW1_bandIn the evening of July 18 there will be a final concert of First World War related music, played by The East Lancashire Concert Band, which was closely involved with the Accrington Pals Regiment, and which has a history reaching back to the 1840s. This concert will be open to the general public, and will take place in the Theatre at Cockburn School. The concert will be preceded by a buffet. Tickets for this will be available on line from, or the school box office priced at £7.50 (inc buffet). Tours of the replica trench will also be available at this event.