Villiers Park

Villiers Park Residential - The First World War in Text and Context


Ten students from Henry Compton School, Fulham joined nine students from King Edward V School, Sheffield at the Villiers Park Educational Trust campus at Foxton, Cambridge for a two day residential in May 2004. The students were involved in a pioneering joint History and English Literature project 'The First World War in Text and Context' under the tuition of Dr Peter Claus (University of East London, Raphael Samuel Centre), Dr Kate Dorney (Sheffield University) and Dr John Shaw (Morley College). Over the two days the students examined the role of the First World War as an 'agent of modernity', the contribution of poets, writers and artists in representing the war and looked at original primary sources from the period including the Headmasters Log Book of the Childerley Street school (now Henry Compton) as well as focusing on a case study about Edward Dwyer VC, a Fulham man who was (at the time) the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross.

For teaching material about Edward Dwyer click here

Here is a selection of the poems written by the students:

Captain John Smith

by Freyja, Helyananh, Zak, Fawad and Dean

The sounds of firing roared on

As Captain John motivated his men for action

Guns loaded, helmets on

Gave Captain Smith great satisfaction


"It's now or never" Captain Smith cried out

"Fellow soldiers get ready,

It's almost time for the bout,

Steady now men, steady!"


A hail of bullets that fall like April rain

One by one they fell.

Whose hands shall claim

The souls of those unlucky

and who will live to fight again?


His soldiers lay in the the water's tide,

Their souls all to live on,

They followed with confidence and strong held pride,

From their hero, Captain John.


Dead Man Walking

by Nadir, Imran, Rebecca, Johnny and Arvin

His fate already sealed, he marches to the festering parapet

Overwhelmed that soon his struggle will be over, his mind rests in peace, his body a lost cause

In his mind there is one prayer, please God, let me see it coming,

To miss his one moment of sweet release, would be too painful, let him witness his salvation

To not be killed would be sheer anguish,

Through the wailing shell fire comes the sweet sound

Flaming guns blazing to cut his life down


Edward Dwyer

by Issa, Abiy, Rachel and Hannah

My hearts thumping like a drum beat in my chest

Waiting for the moment with baited breath

But all I can do is try my very best

Hearing the sounds like there's nothing left.

I run, I run towards the guns

Over the top, into the mists of cloud

It's me or them and then it's done

One of us must wear the shroud.



by Engelbert, Salim and Luis

I was pleased at the beginning with the rest of the crowd,

We were all shouting and cheering, everyone was proud.

I'm volunteering for the war

As soon as I get through that door.

My country needs me ...

And in return I'll receive a V.C.

I'll be unstoppable, glorious, a true hero.

I ain't waiting no more, I'm fed up of being a zero.


Who will remember?

by Helya, Will and Nick

Who will remember the man on the floor?

Bleeding and wound, he is bereft.

He lies still, awake with pain he'll endure

As he thinks to himself is there anyone left?


He pictures his mother, his sister, his bride,

Two little children and a house by the sea,

He moans and he hides the tears he has cried,

Sweet Elizabeth will, one day, be by me.


But who will remember the man on the floor?

Bleeding and wounded, death at the door.