Part of this project has been to work with school children, exploring the primary research. We had the privilege of working with Mortimer Community College in South Shields with their year 7s over the last few months.
Looking at the original newspaper articles about Yemeni seamen as well exploring creative responses from local writers to these articles, the students were introduced to the facts about the involvement of Black, Asian and ethnic minorities in the First World War. It can be honestly stated that this was the first time that the children had been aware of this knowledge. They engaged with enthusiasm and interest with the project. They developed empathy and understanding for the troops’ contribution to the war effort.
Selected creations, lines of creative writing, will feature over the summer on the Tyne and Wear Metro system. From the end of August and running into September, there will be a placard within each carriage of the Metro displaying these students words with images documenting the hidden stories of the war.
Until then, here are some example of words created by the school children. They did an amazing job and we would like to thank them for their contributions to the project.
I see brown faced men doing work
that isn’t remembered.
I see them suffer.
I feel their hearts racing with constant fear.
These brave men.
The failure to honour the dead.
The role the African troops played in the Great War.
They went down with the ship,
whenever they were hit.
We fail to remember it.
In the poem the writer wanted to show how much the Indians did for us in the war and how little reward they got. We would not have won the war without them. He’s showing they should get as much reward as us.