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Overmonnow Primary School, Monmouthshire

Monmouth war memorial, Monmouthshire © M Thomas, 2014
Monmouth war memorial sculpture, Monmouthshire © M Thomas, 2014
Pupils learning about their local war memorial with WMT's Learning Officer © M Thomas, 2014
  • County name: Monmouthshire
  • Group/School name: Overmonnow Primary School
  • Age group: 5 - 11
  • Group type: Primary School

As part of their topic on ‘Conflict,’ Year 6 pupils at Overmonnow Primary School were using their local war memorial, in St James’s Square, Monmouth (, to help them find out more about the effects of past conflicts on their local area. After contacting War Memorials Trust, the school was visited by the Trust’s Learning Officer in February 2014.

After braving the local winter flooding to get to the school, the visit started with a walk to the war memorial from the school. Visiting a war memorial or other site of historical interest near your school is a great way of bringing local history ‘to life,’ and, by getting out of the classroom, incorporating a range of teaching and learning methods into the topic. It can also be a great opportunity for children to learn independently – by studying the actual memorial children can pose their own questions about it and the people it commemorates, and the memorial can provide some interesting ‘clues’ about these people and the community in the past.

The aim of the visit to Monmouth’s war memorial was to familiarise pupils with the memorial’s design and its history, and to give them the opportunity to note its features and the people it commemorates so that they could carry out further research work back in the classroom later on. The war memorial consists of a stone plinth on a stepped base with a figure of a soldier on the top. Around the sides of the plinth are metal plaques listing the names of the fallen from the First and Second World Wars. The memorial is situated in a small garden area in the middle of a road junction, and is fenced off from the road and accessed through a gate in the fence. 

The pupils were particularly interested in the figure of the soldier and the detail that could be seen in his uniform. They were also keen to look at the names on the war memorial and realised that some of the surnames were still known locally. After making a note of some of the names on the memorial we returned to school, where each of the Year 6 classes spent a lesson with the Trust’s Learning Officer researching the names they had noted from the memorial. All the pupils were really enthusiastic about this and between them discovered a range of information about the people that had lived in their town in the past. One pupil, using information found in online records about where the men named on the memorial lived, even discovered that the person he was researching had once lived in the house where the pupil currently lives – a fascinating link between the past and the present.  

At the end of the day the pupils learned about the War Memorials Online website ( and how this will help ensure that war memorials are protected in the future. They helped to add some information about the memorial that they had collected during their visit, contributing to the complete picture of the condition of war memorials in the UK that we hope to acquire through War Memorials Online.

Following the visit the classes continued with their ‘Conflict’ topic and we hope that War Memorials Trust’s visit gave them a valuable insight into the commemoration of conflict and why this is important.

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