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I'll retrace my great-grandad's steps to the trenches

A Henry Beaufort student will retrace the footsteps of his great-grandfather when he visits the battlefields of the First World War.

A Henry Beaufort student will retrace the footsteps of his great-grandfather when he visits the battlefields of the First World War.

Thomas Barker, 14, won a trip to the historic sites in France and Belgium in a contest run by the Imperial War Museum. Youngsters were asked about the impact the 1914-18 war had on their community. Thomas borrowed his father’s video camera and shot a five-minute documentary based in Sutton Scotney, where he lives.

Thomas tackled the task in his spare time and learned that the village’s former railway station was used to transport military equipment, and that two brothers from Sutton Scotney were killed in action on the same day.

Thomas’s great-grandfather, Sidney Barker, saw action in the trenches of the Western Front. He signed up with two brothers, and none came through unscathed. Sidney suffered shell-shock, while one of his brothers suffered serious facial injuries. His other brother was killed, and buried in an unmarked grave, which has left Thomas with no hope of finding him.

War memorialHowever, the Menin Gate in Ypres, which commemorates lost soldiers who were never found or identified, will form part of his tour. He will also be going to Arras and the Somme. His trip will take place between November 7 and 12 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the Armistice.

Thomas said: “I wanted to enter the competition because I’m doing History GCSE, so I thought this would help. “I’m really looking forward to the trip. I think it will be really good.”

Dan Phillips, who is organising the museum’s trip, said: “The quality of entries and the enthusiasm show that young people across the UK remain interested in learning more about the First World War.”

 

See the Hampshire Chronicle article here