History GCSE: Aby Bevistein

Aby Bevistein, an émigré from Eastern Europe, joined the Middlesex Regiment in September 1914 aged only 16.

Soon after being posted to northern France, his trench position exploded: a result of underground siege-mining by the Germans.

As a result of the injuries he suffered during the explosion, Aby was sent home to England. However, by 1916 he was back on the front line.

After another attack on his position, he was judged to be fit for duty and ordered back to his position. However, suffering from shell shock, he ignored the order to return to his trench and was subsequently charged with desertion. Found guilty after a swift trial, he was sentenced to death by firing squad.

Contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting. Teacher review recommended before using in class.

This film is from the series Teenage Tommies.

Teacher Notes

As a follow up to the clip, the class could be split into two groups. One group could be asked to write a defence of Aby's actions, making a case for his acquittal; and the other group to write a case for the prosecution, arguing that he should be found guilty during the court martial.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching history. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

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