Pupils appeal for information after uncovering school’s tragic history

Pupils Rebecca Hume, Jack Guy, Abby Broadbent and Alec McKenna looking through Holystone Primary School's logbook which shows those who fought during the First World War.
Pupils Rebecca Hume, Jack Guy, Abby Broadbent and Alec McKenna looking through Holystone Primary School's logbook which shows those who fought during the First World War.

Young historians have uncovered a tragic tale about their school and the bravery of former pupils.

Students at Holystone Primary School had been investigating the mystery of a missing First World War plaque.

We hope to mark not only the ten former pupils who fell in the war but also the 262 who fell from the Killingworth Parish

Headteacher Stephen Baines

But during their research they were shocked to find that out of the 12 young men from their school who went off to fight, only two survived and returned home to their families.

Five of the soldiers died at the Somme in 1916 and the others lost their lives serving in action or they died from their injuries.

The children discovered the shocking statistic when researching their school’s history as part of an English Heritage project and the Killingworth WW1 Parish project commemorating the centenary of the Great War.

Although there is a record of the names of the fallen, the brass plaque with the inscriptions is missing.

Now thanks to a grant from English Heritage, the school is planning to reinstate it at a special ceremony on Armed Forces Day (June 22).

As part of the ceremony the children want to invite relatives of the soldiers and they are appealing to anyone who can help with their research to get in touch.

Headteacher Stephen Baines said: “The children have worked extremely hard researching the names on the missing plaque and planning the ceremony.

“We hope to mark not only the ten former pupils who fell in the war but also the 262 who fell from the Killingworth Parish.

“We would particularly like to hear from anyone who may know of a family link to those brave men listed on our memorial and would be willing to share interesting and poignant family history with this young generation.”

Anyone who can help, contact Stephen Baines on (0191) 200 7426 or email Stephen.baines@ntlp.org.uk