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Trench system to educate children

trench systemA TRENCH system to educate children through experiencing what it is like to step into the frontline of the First World War has opened in Pendine.

It has been built in a relatively small area but the ‘Back to the Front Experience’ trenches are designed to have maximum impact, to show children what the brave soldiers went through nearly 100 years ago.

The team at Morfa Bay Adventure wants to give children, who will never meet a veteran from the Great War, an idea of the sacrifices of so many brave men on the front line.

The site was officially opened last Friday (November 15) by 93-year-old Second World War veteran Morris Baker who is part of the Pendine branch of the Royal British Legion.

Owner Andy Edwards said: “I’m really pleased with the trenches. We want to give children an experience, something to hit home what the people who fought and died in the First World War went through.

“I was proud to have the Royal British Legion there and pleased that Morris, a war veteran himself, officially opened the trenches.”

The trenches, built with the help of a £13,000 tourism grant, include latrines, wash facilities, funk holes (where soldiers rested in trench walls), an officer’s dug out, fire steps and a sapper trench leading to a forward observation area in no man’s land.

There is also the entrance to a tunnel which is being dug out to help illustrate another element of frontline life.

Scattered through them is memorabilia from the time and replica grenades, guns and artillery.

Builder Matthew Hughes, who also worked on Laugharne’s Tin Shed Museum, said they had tried to make the trenches as authentic as possible.

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“There is a sound system built in with speakers behind the trench shorings so when they are on the walls are rumbling, adding to the atmosphere of the trenches.”

Charles Griffiths, a First World War historian who helped advise the project — and built the replica grenades and trench rats among other props — said he hoped the trenches would help to teach young people from across Wales.

“Educating young people about the First World War is extremely important,” he said.

“These trenches are a great way of doing that. They are not exact but they are good to illustrate what life was like.”

As we approach the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, Andy and his team at Morfa Bay Adventure hope to welcome children from across the country to help them experience a little bit of life on the front.