Flora’s War

Souvenir of Airplane Raid on Faversham & SheppeyWe will work with young people to explore and articulate through a range of traditional and social media the impact that the outbreak of the First World War had upon the Isle of Sheppey and young people of the time.

Recognising its strategic position between London and Europe, the 1914 government strengthened and fortified all the services on this “ Barbed Wire Island” as The Isle of Sheppey was called.


This project will map the changes which occurred on the Island due to the massive influx of Navy, Army and Airforce personnel onto Sheppey and people’s reactions to this through the eyes of actual young people who were alive at the time such as Flora, a seventeen year old cook in a Sheerness seaside house in Marine Parade.




We will explore their activities and interests, how they work, life at school and how they play as well as what they think of this very different world & the households in which they now live. We will involve local historians, use census information and archive articles in local newspapers and museums to research the everyday life of the young people and their families one hundred years ago but employ modern technology and today’s social media to record their impressions.

Scan 20 Scan 19 Scan 18 Scan 17 Scan 16 Scan 15 Scan 14 Scan 13 Scan 12 Scan 11 Scan 10 Scan 9 Scan 8 Scan 7 Scan 2 Scan 1 Scan 18 Scan 17 Scan 15 Scan 14 Scan 13 Scan 9 Scan 3 Scan 4 Scan 7 Scan 1 Scan 17 Scan-2 Scan 240px-I-Want-U 220px-Daddy_in_the_great_war Scan 2 Scan 13

We worked with Students from the Sheppey  Oasis Academy

We had weekly meetings with the History Club at Academy East in Minster from March to July 2014

We researched census forms from the streets where the students lived.

66 Marine Parade

We re-enacted the scenes that would have occurred in the families where the sons & daughters were offering themselves for recruitment into the services as soldiers, sailors, Airmen & nurses.

The students suggested and planned a recruitment campaign for the school to recruit more students to take part in the project

We designed posters based on original WW1 posters

The students baked Anzac biscuits using the old recipes and gave out hundreds of biscuits at a lunch time event as an inducement to encourage more recruits

DSCF0823 - Version 2DSCF0829DSCF0819The students planned several drama activities based on stories of local Sheppey people  and their experiences

Students collected and put together their costumes and the students planned their characters



During the Summer we put on a series of Banner Painting workshops

Children & young people were invited to join in designing and painting 12 x 10foot silk banners which were fitted to the lamp posts in Sheerness High St. The banners were to raise awareness of our Summer Promenade Festival ” WAR & PEAS’





The Festival included a series of events including a re-enactment of a WW1  Recruitment Parade.

The schools on the island were invited to take part in the Parade

The participants were dressed in uniform or appropriate civilian attire of the period.  The parade was led by the band and finished by the Clock Tower where we all sang the Great War songs

Sheppey Parade   – Sheerness High St September 20 2014

Costumed_Big_Fish_at_War_Graves_walkBig Fish Arts  Great War Promenade talk in Halfway Cemetery  Isle of Sheppey with   Historians David Hughes & Daf Charman.  A party of families walked round the War Graves in the cemetery and the stories behind the lives & deaths of the individual soldiers, sailors & Airmen were brought to life by David& Daf.  Poems were also read.


Geof & Chris Reed preparing for the Recruitment Campaign noJ7JpG95eoInE09d7tstcFucHkIGwhm1vub3MHS8zURecruitment campaign at Sheppey Oasis Academy West  on 25 September 2014                       
The Students baked 200 Anzac Biscuits from an original Recipe. They were handed out by the students in order to drum up even more interest in the Flora’s War Project

Flora Drama  5

Students from the Oasis Academy prepared and rehearsed a play to show to the pupils at  St Georges C.E.P school  to explain to them aspects of the start of WW1 including recruitment and the unique place which The Isle of Sheppey held in the history of the war


December 2014 After a series of 12 Lantern making workshops in November and early December in Schools, Youth Groups, Cubs & Scouts we made 200 lanterns for the Lantern Parade

mug shots group

floras characters

The Students in The Transition Groups researched the local Census forms and chose the characters they wished to re-enact                                                                                                         We then Took ” Mugshots ” of them all and they completed their Replica permit books in the same way that their chosen character would have done in 1914 66 Marine Parade


We visited the Blue Town Heritage centre which was holding an exhibition about World War 1 on Sheppey


The students planned and wrote the script for the Film News On Sheppey 1915.

In particular the students were keen to explore the Princess Irene Disaster which had occurred exactly 100 years  ago when nearly 100 local dockworkers as well as hundreds more sailors were blown up when the mine laying ship exploded as she was being loaded

We visited The Halfway Cemetery where we filmed some of the scenes relating to the Princess Irene disaster next to the graves of several of the victims.

We also had a trip to our local aviation museum where we continued to film more scenes on the spot of the original Eastchurch airfield.


The students finished the film with some scenes along the Promenade



From March we also worked with the YAF young people’s group. They researched the life of Franz Losel a German photographer who lived & worked on Sheppey until he was suspected of being a German Spy.

Part of the research centred on the Life of James McCudden VC . One of the group Made a beautiful scrap book depicting his life & tragic death


The YAF group decided that they would like to make a time slip film called “Passport to the Past” in which a photograph and other objects found in a time capsule transports a couple of policeman back and forth from 1915 to 2015


“Passport to the Past’ Film By the YAF GROUP


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