Listen to one boy's great, great grandfather's story of joining a pals battalion - a group of soldiers who were friends, joining the army at the same time from the same place. Men often went to the recruiting office with their friends and ended up in the same group (or 'battalion') of the army. The idea was that people who already knew each other well would be good for the army - they would look after each other and keep each other’s spirits up during the hard times. A politician called Lord Derby realised that encouraging men to join up with their friends or colleagues was a useful way to recruit even more soldiers. The men were happy to fight with people they knew, and their families were pleased. They knew the friends would be there to look after each other during the war. By the end of September 1914, over 50 towns had formed pals battalions. War memorials all over the country were built after the war in memory of local people who fought bravely for their country during World War One.

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Teach

Visit the war memorials in your area to find out about the local heroes who fought bravely in World War 1. Pupils could design their own recruitment poster using persuasive language to encourage their potential recruits to enlist. Children could write home as if they were a soldier on the front line. Special mention could be made in their letters of some of the memorable antics or acts of bravery shown by their friends and workmates who are away with them.