YEAR 10 student Owain Denning reports on a First World War project at St Mary's High School, Lugwardine

PERFORMANCES of ‘The Trench’ took place at St Mary’s RC High School, Lugwardine, led by 2FacedDance and Mike Fitzgerald, head of history at the school.

They consisted of re-enactments of what life was like for the British soldiers fighting on the front line during the First World War, expressed through modern dance interpretation and the stories of local men who fought and died.

The whole experience was magnificent – not only was it extremely well-choreographed and danced really well by the students, but it also captured the essence of how difficult life would have been like for soldiers in the 1914-18 conflict.

The trench itself, built on the front field at St Mary’s, underwent construction in mid-February, dug out and fully boarded by local authority workers and our caretaker Les Fancourt.

It was used in the performance, with a poignant candlelit vigil and war poems being read by students.

The project also involved students researching the stories of the 27 soldiers whose names are on the War Memorial at St Peter’s Church, Lugwardine.

One soldier, Samuel Thomas, joined the army in late May, 1915 and died in action on March 28, 1918, aged 34.

Mr Fitzgerald said: “Samuel’s niece, who is now 89, had never seen an army photo of Samuel with his comrades before, as it has only just been discovered.”

Samuel had three elder sisters – Frances, Eliza, and Letty – one older brother, Albert, and one younger brother, William. Their family moved from Blaenavon in Wales to Lugwardine between 1875 and 1881, probably to find work locally.

The Trench project has benefited the school in many ways: the lottery funding enabled us to work with 2FacedDance company and also allowed students to gain access to more learning resources, therefore benefiting their learning.

Students and adults alike have been able to discover how atrocious conditions were for soldiers in both world wars. For me, it has been an insightful experience and will have helped many students doing GCSE History to understand conditions in the war.

For more information on the Trench project and the Lugwardine soldiers, log onto

At The Courtyard from July 16-18, the Senior Youth Theatre presents ‘Hero’, a brand new piece of theatre about First World War soldiers from the Herefordshire Regiment. For tickets and details, go to

To see a video of this project go to our website.