The Trench Experience
2018 marks the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War. Although used during conflicts for centuries, the trench has come to define fighting in the First World War. The trench experience allows you to experience the sights, sounds and smells of life in the trenches of WW1.
Come along kids and enlist in the army. Take the oath and collect your helmet before heading into the trench. Meet ‘Tommy’ in his uniform and see what food he had in his kit bag. Find out what mustard gas smelled like and, if you’re brave, open the ‘latrine’ tin and see if you could stand the smell of going to the toilet in the trench.
Open the munitions box to see a bomb – and find out if you’re strong enough to lift it. Take a look in the periscope to see ‘no man’s land’ that place between the German and allied trenches where so many soldiers were killed when they ‘went over the top’.
When you leave the trench you will see the faces of men from Chesterfield who fought in the war. Read the information about them and find out that they were ordinary people like you, who had to do extraordinary things. Some of them, those who have a poppy beside them, never came home and some of them were very young when they joined the army.
Imagine you were a soldier and had to write home to your mum or dad, brother or sister, or your wife. What would you say? We have some real letters sent home by soldiers that you can read and you will hear young men reading letters as you walk through the Trench.
Find out about peace and how the end of the fighting was marked in Chesterfield. See a death token that so many local people would have received when a member of their family died in the fighting.
Make a poppy to go on the poppy net and dedicate it to a local soldier who died in the war. Choose a name from the book of men who were killed in the First World War. It could be someone with the same name as you, someone who lived in the same area or someone who you know was in your family.
We hope the trench experience will give you an insight of how terrible World War One was for all the soldiers who fought in it, and those at home who lost people they loved because of it.