Killed at the Battle of Passchendaele

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

** Try out the new WW1 Medals Interactive resource on My Learning. Pupils can explore the significance of medals, stories of medal recipients and design their own medals online and view them in 3D. **


Curriculum links:

KS2/3/4 History - First World War

KS2/3 English - Narrative texts, creative writing

Aim of resource:

To challenge students' perceptions of the human cost of war

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the Battle of Passchendaele and the story of a soldier involved

Understanding of the human stories behind events of WW1
Skills to contrast individual experience with official or general narratives of events

Discussion ideas:

  • Imagine the belt is in front of you and you want to learn more about it. What sort of questions could you ask?
  • What kind of life do you think Gunner Lewis might have had in London before he became a soldier? 
  • Why were soldiers awarded medals even after they died?
  • Using the links at the bottom of the page, find out about Harry Patch. Discuss why you think he talked about WWI only when he was 100 years old, and not before

Activity ideas:


  • Research biographical details on General Haig. Why did many people disagree with his battle plans?

  • Use the CWGC or Findagrave websites (links below) to search for the grave of a First World War soldier. 

  • Watch the interview ( see YouTube link below) with Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches during WWI. Harry was born in 1898 and lived to be 110. Discuss the major historical events that he would have  lived through.


  • Research and write about an aspect of Gunner Harman's life:
    - His experiences growing up in pre-war London
    - The reasons why Harman and men like him went to war
    - The Battle of the Somme or the Battle of Passchendaele

  • Write a contrasting account of one day in the life of Gunner Lewis before and after he became a soldier. Try to describe the difference between his probable daily life routine before, and the exciting, but scary life later.

  • Imagine you are Lewis and just about to go into the Battle of Passchendaele. Write a letter to your wife Alice telling her how you feel. Think about the fact that Lewis has already experienced horrific fighting during the Battle of the Somme. Would he let his wife know how scared he might feel?

  • Write about how Alice felt when she received his belt and medals four years after he died. Imagine what might have happened during that time.

View other relevant WW1 resources on My Learning or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.

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