Duke of Edinburgh Award Volunteering
Account by a Year 10 student for the Bronze Award
For the past two terms I have been involved with the planning of an exhibition on World War I at Alleyn’s School, to tie in with the centenary of the war. I first started doing it as part of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and have massively enjoyed the experience, and the new skills I have gained from it. The Duke of Edinburgh scheme sets out to widen people’s horizons and expose them to new things that they may never have considered doing, and I feel this experience has certainly done that for me. It has allowed me to see a whole side of the school many pupils may not know even exist, dedicated to preserving the history of Alleyn’s. I feel that this work has been a great opportunity to build on my interests in History, and has allowed me to see the subject from a more practical, hands-on perspective, for example by undertaking some original research.
One example of this is that we managed to rediscover for the school that it was Charles Francis Tyson, the founder of Tyson’s House, who first established the Army Cadet Corp, which later developed into the Officer Training Corp, and then finally into the Combined Cadet Force, or CCF, which continues to flourish as a co-curricular activity at Alleyn’s even today. It was wonderful to find a lost piece of information about such a key part of modern Alleyn’s life.
I was also able to go through the Board Minutes, and other documents relating to the school in the years 1914-1919, which allowed a wonderful insight into the daily life of the school at that time, as well as allowing us to examine some interesting perspectives on the War from those people who were living in its shadow, forced to reconcile with its impact on their lives and the community in and around the school. From direct references to the old boys and masters of Alleyn’s serving in the Army, to provisions being made for the sons of those killed on the continent, to a detailing of the unexploded bomb which was found on school grounds, these documents provided a new lens through which to view World War I, and I feel very lucky that I was able to go through them in this way.
Overall I feel the experience has allowed me to engage more with the history and legacy of the school, has furthered my historical skills, and has enabled me contribute to the continued preservation of the memory of those who died in World War I.