I do apologise for the lack of posts lately, we started this academic year in September without a key member of staff who has moved on to another school library, further north. We have missed her here, personally and professionally, but as a result we have been further stretched than we usually are. I am happy to say that we have now appointed a new member of our team which will allow me to come back to the blog more frequently.
I am writing on Armistice Day, 11th November, when we remember all those who have fought and died during the World Wars and conflicts since. Our Library on our Castle Campus is a permanent memorial to those who attended Berkhamsted School prior to World War I, both in the the capacity of student and members of staff, but yesterday we also remembered those from Berkhamsted School who gave their lives in the Second World War, and subsequent conflicts, in a Remembrance service in our School Chapel.
Within the library, we are are commemorating by thinking about war poetry and books, both fiction and non-fiction as can be seen in our pictures below:
Amongst our new books, we have three which are notable for their storytelling of the tales of war. The first two, Eleven eleven by Paul Dowswell and Soldier dog by Sam Angus relate to the first World War. Dowswell’s novel tells of the closing moments of the war, where a young man who, a few months previously, had still been at school, is going to face the most terrifying ordeal of his life, fighting for survival in a forest whilst searching for German combatants. Angus’s tale is that of a young lad who is a dog handler. It is his job to use the dog to carry messages between the trenches, crossing no-man’s land which will save countless lives. Stanley soon learns, as the fighting escalates and he experiences the true horror of war, that the loyalty of his dog is the only thing he can rely on. Soldier dog has been included on this year’s Booktrust‘s Bookbuzz list for Year 7 pupils and a good number of our pupils chose it as their book to keep.
One day in Oradour by Helen Watts is our third new arrival and it is a fictionalised account of the horrific events which took place in Oradour-sur-Glane on Saturday 10th June 1944. The novel tells the story of Alfred Fournier, whose family had already fled their home town in northern France with the advancement of Nazi soldiers, and how he abides by a plan agreed with his parents and sisters to meet outside the town of Oradour should the soldiers arrive there. Showing great determination, intelligence and strength of will, Alfred survives the atrocities visited on his town against all odds.
Why not tell us about your favourite exciting war stories? Perhaps we can get a good discussion started…
- Talks begin on restoration and mapping of Berkhamsted’s First World War training trenches (historychannelfromthewar.com)