Sheffield schoolboy to hit screens nationally for Battle of the Somme commemoration

Oscar Varns, aged five, has been filmed reciting The Fallen, a poem about the Battle of the Somme. He is pictured at the Thiepval Memorial, in France. Inset picture is Oscar's Great Great Uncle Ernest Copley, who died within moments of the battle.
Oscar Varns, aged five, has been filmed reciting The Fallen, a poem about the Battle of the Somme. He is pictured at the Thiepval Memorial, in France. Inset picture is Oscar's Great Great Uncle Ernest Copley, who died within moments of the battle.
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A Sheffield schoolboy is to appear on screens around the country today as he pays tribute to all the fallen soldiers of the Battle of the Somme.

Oscar Varns, aged five, was filmed reciting The Fallen, a poem about the soldiers who lost their lives, at the Imperial War Museum in London last month.

Oscar Varns, aged five, has been filmed reciting The Fallen, a poem about the Battle of the Somme. He is pictured at the Thiepval Memorial, in France.

Oscar Varns, aged five, has been filmed reciting The Fallen, a poem about the Battle of the Somme. He is pictured at the Thiepval Memorial, in France.

Today, Oscar’s recital will be broadcast on electronic screens around the country to honour the 100th anniversary of the battle.

Dad James, who is with Oscar at the Thiepval Memorial in France, said he was ‘extremely proud’ of his son, who attends Brunswick Community Primary School.

James, of Woodhouse, said: “We are honoured that Oscar was selected to participate in the reading. I’m so proud of him. Oscar’s great great uncle died in the battle and I’ve been explaining a lot of things to him. It’s been a very emotional time.”

James, 39, said he applied for tickets to attend today’s commemoration ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial for himself and wife Laura.

Ernest Copley, who died within moments of the Battle of the Somme, aged 19

Ernest Copley, who died within moments of the Battle of the Somme, aged 19

But as Laura was due to give birth to the couple’s third child, James enquired whether he could bring along his young son instead.

James said: “I explained that his great great uncle, Ernest Copley, died in the battle and they became very interested in his story.

“One thing led to another and Oscar was eventually chosen to recite The Fallen with some other children.

“They’ve been quite tight-lipped about where it will be broadcast, but I understand it will be played on public electronic screens, like train stations and bus stations, around the county.

“It should also appear in the television broadcasts of the ceremony.”

James said that Ernest Copley, who lived in Darnall, joined the war efforts as a 17-year-old.

He said: “Unfortunately Ernest’s service record was burned by Nazi’s in the Second World War. All we know is that he died before 7.30am on July 1, 1916.”

Oscar will be wearing Ernest’s war medal for the broadcast.