All pals together

A First World War soldier played by a costumed interpreter

Would you like to meet our tommy, Henry Fairhurst?

In this videoconference your students will share one hour in the life of a soldier from a Pals Battalion, Private Henry Fairhurst, played by a costumed actor, as he talks about why he joined up and what life is like in the trenches.

Your students are encouraged to engage with the soldier during the workshop and ask him any questions they like about his life in the trenches: from what he thinks about the war; the aims of the conflict and how it is being fought; to the time he wakes up in the morning; and what he does in his free time. Was it really all mud and blood in the trenches, or did Pte Fairhurst see some benefits in what he was doing?

A range of original documents from The National Archives is used as evidence for his story, such as battalion war diaries, trench maps and soldiers’ files. Students can use the information they have gained during the workshop to complete a profile of Pte Fairhurst and fill in replicas of the documents we hold about him. As a follow up to this workshop, students will be encouraged to think about the usefulness and reliability of this form of historical interpretation as a piece of evidence, by considering what sources and information the actor used to recreate this role.

A pack of preparation materials with suggestions for questions to ask and copies of Pte Fairhurst’s documents will be sent to you in advance of the session. You can also view numerous videos of Private Henry Fairhurst, as well as some of the actor who researched and plays the role.

This session is delivered as a videoconference. Find out more about the types of session we offer.

Thank you very much indeed for this successful event. It was very popular with our students who found it interesting and engaging, and were talking about it for days afterwards….

Head of History at a Portsmouth School

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


in your classroom

1 hour

Available: 9 – 13 November 2015, 19 – 21 January 2016

Cost: Free to UK schools

Suitability: Key stage 3

Request a booking

Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Contact the education team

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