History KS1 / KS2: B is for Battalions

Newsreel and commentary describe the British approach to recruitment through the formation of ‘Pals’ Battalions’ where friends and neighbours joined up together.

A dramatic monologue introduces Private Fred Prescott, who describes his initial training along with his mates in the ‘Barnsley Pals’.

Fred is nineteen years old. We follow him to the front line, where he is about to go into battle for the first time.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 1

Pupils could draw Private Fred Prescott and label parts of his uniform, as well as all the equipment he carries.

How do the children think Fred feels about being a soldier? How do they think Fred will feel after his first battle?

Key Stage 2

Pupils could discuss the advantages of Pals’ Battalions.

Why were friends, relatives and neighbours keen to enlist together? Can pupils think of any disadvantages? For example, how might a large number of casualties affect a single community?

Pupils could go on to improvise and script monologues for others in Fred Prescott’s life, such as his pals in the battalion or his family at home. How does each of these people feel about Fred joining up?

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching History at primary school ages for Key Stages 1 and 2, or First and Second Level.

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