Useful trip to practice trenches for pupils

The KEVI students received a talk about life in the trenches in World War I during their trip.
The KEVI students received a talk about life in the trenches in World War I during their trip.

A group of students at Morpeth’s high school headed to the countryside to get a valuable insight into the ground layout during World War I.

The joint Morpeth Antiquarian Society and King Edward VI School Heritage Lottery-funded war project’s latest activity was a trip to see the remains of practice trenches on the moors to the north of Rothbury.

Its leaders engaged the services of leading county archaeologist Dr Chris Burgess and a member of the Coquetdale Community Archaeology Group, Chris Butterworth.

Dr Burgess gave a very interesting talk about the history of the trenches, how they reflected actual trenches on the Western Front, why they were organised in the way they were and what life would have been like for the frontline soldiers.

The students walked through part of the trench remains and two pupils used poles to simulate carrying a stretcher to find out how difficult it would have been.

Morpeth Antiquarian members Angela and Maurice Teasdale provided photographs of the remains and reconstructions of actual Western Front trenches so the teenagers could compare them to their surroundings.

Mr Butterworth interspersed Dr Burgess’ talk with reflective passages about the war from Vera Brittain’s book ‘Testament of Youth’.

The group of students was accompanied by KEVI history teacher Alisdair Ritchie, who said: “Although the weather wasn’t the best, the pupils did very well to walk to the trenches. They were a credit to the school and they gained a valuable insight into what it must have been like for the soldiers.

“The guides were very good and we were lucky to have an expert to talk us through the layout of the trenches.”

Mr and Mrs Teasdale and fellow Morpeth Antiquarian Frank Robinson said they enjoyed organising and going on the trip and they were pleased to see that the students and staff appreciated their efforts.

The main objective of the project is to tell the stories of the men on the Morpeth Grammar School for Boys Memorial who lost their lives during the First World War. Those with any information about them are asked to email