History KS1 / KS2: U is for Unsung Heroes

Newsreel and schoolchildren’s commentary illustrate and describe the role animals played in the trench warfare of World War One.

Horses were used for transport and to draw heavy guns.

Over eight million horses died during the war.

Homing pigeons were used to send messages.

Dogs pulled machinery and were used to sniff out gas attacks and search for wounded soldiers.

A dramatic monologue, accompanied by animated photos and graphics, tells the story of a dog called Sergeant Stubby.

Stubby was a stray, smuggled to the front by US Corporal Robert Conroy.

Stubby’s exploits in 17 battles made him famous.

The US Army promoted him to the rank of Sergeant and awarded him medals for his bravery under fire.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 1

Pupils could listen to extracts from Michael Morpugo’s book ‘War Horse’ and draw their own illustrations in response.

The children could go on to make simple shadow puppets of horses, using cardboard and paper fasteners, taped to sticks made from drinking straws.

The children could re-enact moments from the story as simple shadow plays.

Key Stage 2

Pupils could discover more about the role of animals in warfare from books and websites.

Do the children think the armies of World War One were right to use animals in their battles?

Children could design their own monuments to animals used in war and make scale models of their ideas.

They could compare their designs with images of The Animals in War Memorial which stands in Park Lane, London.

Curriculum Notes

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

More from the series WW1 A to Z

T is for Trenches
V is for Victory
W is for Women