Year 8 History Workshop

Posted on: 04/04/2022

On 30th March 2022, Year 8 students had a rare opportunity to listen to a renowned military expert; they had a double History class with Richard Knight. Mr Knight has been touring the country over many years, has written some highly regarded History books on military campaigns and has advised some major film productions (e.g. Warhorse, Downton Abbey) on key military scenes. As per our curriculum, our Year 8 students are currently covering the topic of 20th Century warfare and this opportunity had been arranged for students at Hatch End High School to stretch their historical imaginations.

Mr Knight did a detailed overview of military uniforms over time; making sure that there was reference to the uniforms of those who were the allies and also the enemies of the British troops. Some of our students had the opportunity to volunteer and wear these uniforms and begin to experience what it would have been like to be a ‘Tommy’ in WWI. Our students were equally fascinated with everyday objects on display; the tins the soldiers would have been eating their breakfasts from in the front lines, which would convert into a mug, then into a shaving bowl and finally a bathing device truly astonished our students.

The highlight of the event for many came with the demonstration of WWI and WWII weapons (please note, these weapons are replicas and are without exception all of these are prop guns). Volunteers had the chance to feel the weight of a WWI rifle, students could observe the very first machine guns deployed on the fronts and received detailed explanation on how much damage shrapnel would have caused once bombs exploded.

Harshit in Year 8 wrote the following in his reflection paragraph:

‘I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Knight’s explanation on how weapons and the clothing evolved as the wars continued. As a student, I did not know much about the development in clothes and weapons in military and this talk really helped me develop a greater appreciation of warfare. It was so exciting to listen to him because most of the stuff from WW2 we are still using today.  Another reason why I loved this talk was because I had never seen a real military expert before and listening to Mr Knight’s presentation truly inspired me.’ 

Richard Knight told us the students of Hatch End High School were ‘absolutely delightful’. It was so pleasing to see our young historians beam with enjoyment and thirst for knowledge. Mr Knight cannot wait to return back to Hatch End High again next academic year.

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