Earlier this month I went to the Somme, to visit the scenes where WWI was fought nearly 100 years ago.
I was there to make videos to attempt to help children to understand what happened between 1914 and 1918 in Europe and beyond, and about how I wrote my new book, Over the Line .
Some are set in the places where the book is set. Delville Wood. The English Channel. A network of reworked trenches.
The most important video for me was when I revisited Sid Wheelhouse’s grave. Wheelhouse played for Grimsby Town and features as an uncompromising defender in the first chapter of Over the Line. I also described his death in a gas attack in 1916.
When I visited his grave two years ago – while I was writing the book – I was deeply affected. I knew I had to work harder to get his character and circumstances right.
But it wasn’t easy. How do you describe a man choking to death under gas attack over 95 years ago? I am pretty sure my first visit to his grave helped me to understand the gravity of what I was describing. I hope my second visit and the video I made are respectful too.
Over the Line is out now. You can get it in bookshops and libraries. I can post out signed copies too.
You can watch the films here …
Video 1 : Introduction
Take the quiz on video 1 here.
Video 2 : watch me read from Over the Line chapter 1
Video 3 : The Channel
Take the quiz on video 3 here.
Video 4: Inside a Trench
Take the quiz on video 4 here.
Video 5 : Delville Wood
Take the quiz on video 5 here.
Video 6 : Sid Wheelhouse’s Grave
Take the quiz on video 6 here.
Video 7 : The Flanders Cup
Take the quiz on video 7 here
Thanks for reading.