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Bryn Deri Primary School, Cardiff 2017

Children doing war memorials types picture activity, Bryn Deri Primary School © War Memorials Trust, 2017
Children vistiting Radyr memorial, Bryn Deri Primary School © War Memorials Trust, 2017
Condition survey photograph of Radyr war memorial victory sculpture, Cardiff © Bryn Deri Primary School, 2017
  • County name: Cardiff
  • Group/School name: Bryn Deri Primary School
  • Age group: 5 - 11
  • Group type: Year 6

Bryn Deri Primary School’s Year 6 pupils started the school year in 2017 by studying World War II with a particular focus on war from a child’s perspective. One of their first lessons involved a visit from War Memorials Trust’s Learning Officer and focused on the school’s local war memorial in Radyr, near Cardiff.

The visit started with a classroom based session where pupils shared their initial thoughts on what war memorials are and their purpose.  This led into a hands on, group activity where the pupils looked at images of different types of war memorials and created their own definitions to explain what war memorials are.

Some of the definitions created by the pupils included:

“A war memorial is an object that represents the losses of the brave soldiers who fought for us in war.”

“A war memorial is a tribute to soldiers who fought in the war most commonly in the form of a statue or plaque.”

To illustrate the variety of war memorials in existence further, the pupils were shown images of war memorials in the local area that were all different.  The session continued with the pupils looking at a timeline to establish when war memorials were created, looking at the inscriptions on some memorials to help understand why they are important and also establishing the problems now facing them.  The pupils found the inscriptions particularly interesting and were able to gain a great understanding of why they were created and are still important to communities today.

After this, the class visited the school’s local war memorial. Radyr’s war memorial (www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/node/120541) commemorates “Radyr’s gallant dead” from both World War I and World War II as well as “the one hundred and forty seven from the parish who also served” between 1914 and 1918.  The memorial was designed by the sculptor Alfred Turner who had been commissioned to design other memorials.  The memorial consists of a woman stood on a column holding a laurel wreath and torch aloft.  On one face of the column is a carved cherub kneeling by a cross.  During the visit to Radyr war memorial, the pupils were split into 3 teams of experts who carried out different elements of a condition survey.  The teams focused on the memorial as a whole, the names and inscriptions and the area surrounding the memorial.  There was an additional team who were given the role of photographers.  They worked with the other teams to take photographs to record their observations which contributed to their decision on the condition of the memorial. The pupils were very thorough when carrying out their surveys.  Their observations and findings were uploaded to the War Memorials Online record for Radyr memorial upon their return to the classroom.

The remainder of the day was spent researching the people named on Radyr memorial.  This was done using the database on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.  The pupils found it really interesting finding out more about each of the people they had selected. 

At the end of the visit one pupil commented

“Before today the war memorial in Radyr was just something to remember world wars by and now, since today, I’ve found out it means a lot more to people and it is unique to Radyr.”

War Memorials Trust’s Learning Officer has made annual visits to Bryn Deri since 2012 and the Trust was extremely grateful to have been invited to work with pupils again this year.  Throughout the day the pupils expressed great interest in war memorials and discussed the topic with sensitivity.  The pupils demonstrated a range of skills throughout the different tasks and the day was enjoyed by all involved.

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