Resource created by the National Football Museum
This resource provides a human story that engages pupils with the First World War and concepts of loss, heroism and sacrifice, and also introduces the history of the Battle of the Somme.
Try out the new WW1 Medals Interactive resource on My Learning. Pupils can explore the significance of medals, stories of medal recipients and design their own medals online and view them in 3D. **
- KS2 - History - First World War - Study of a Named Individual
- KS3 English - Media/Non-Fiction - Print-based Media
- KS3 History – WW1
- KS4 English - Media/Non-Fiction - Print-based Media
- KS4 History – WW1
- Knowledge of a human story of the Battle of the Somme and the history of the Victoria Cross
- Understanding of soldiers’ battle experiences in WW1 and the significance of the Victoria Cross
- Skills to consider that WW1 is made up of human stories and to interpret the conflict from an individual’s perspective
- Why do you think Donald chose to risk his life by destroying the machine gun?
- Why might Donald have been so modest in his letter to his mother?
- Why do you think it is important to reward acts of bravery in wartime with medals?
- In peacetime, killing 50 people would be seen as a crime. How should we view Donald’s act of throwing bombs into the German trench?
- Before the Victoria Cross, only officers could win medals for gallantry.
- Why do you think this was?
- What does it suggest about Victorian society?
- Why might the military authorities have worried that the introduction of the Victoria Cross would inspire more soldiers to risk their lives to win it?
- Watch The Battle of the Somme 1916 film footage on YouTube (see link in resources page). As you watch the film, think about how the makers of the film have used language, imagery, symbols and music to create a certain effect.
- What might they have left out?
- What evidence in the film suggests that it might be real footage?
- Can you spot anything to suggest that the footage might not have been filmed during the battle?
- Whose perspective is the film from?
- Whose voices do we hear in it and whose are not represented?
- Are some images shown for a longer time than others? Why might this be?
- In what way does it tell the story of the battle? Why?
- What do you think the purpose of the film was?
Carry out some research to find out the real history of the film.
- Analyse a source: Pick out six moments from the 1916 Battle of the Somme film (link to the footage on YouTube below). Using what you already know about the Battle of the Somme, think about what the soldiers in the film might have experienced and what they may have been feeling and thinking. Write a caption for each film still.
- Explore a moment in history: Draw a figure covering a sheet of A4 paper to represent Donald Bell. Think about the moment when he set off on his own to destroy the German machine gun. Draw arrows and speech bubbles from different parts of the figure and write notes about what you think he was thinking, feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing, and saying at that time.