A Greymouth High educational tour at The Great War Exhibition was recently featured in the Greymouth Star. When the history class visited, guided by an educator, the students saw, up close, how soldiers lived and felt the impact of conditions in the First World War,
Their teacher, Kimberley Vernall, says, “It’s a great chance for students to see a different side of World War One … and follow the life of a soldier through battle and war.”
“I like the artefacts,” says year thirteen student Blake Shaw. “The best were the gas masks and the big shells.”
The original gas masks in the war needed to be taken off to change the filters, which often resulted in soldiers dying. In lieu of a gas mask, soldiers would often use a cloth soaked in urine, which was effective in combating the effects of gas.
The exhibition helped the students appreciate how lucky they are today. “Being a youth and being involved in something like this is quite an amazing experience,” Blake says, “because it gives you a perspective on how people our age actually went into war.
Nikita Gagiano agrees. “I guess I’m pretty lucky,” she says.
“They were probably more willing to fight and die for their country,” Blake says. “More than we would be now.”
The article form the Greymouth Star is below, and also appeared in the West Coast Messenger.
Image above: Greymouth High teacher Kimberly Vernall (left) with students (left to right), Blake Shaw, Zeb Markland, Nikita Gagiano.