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School wartime link to Turkey

Norbrigg Primary School pupils working on their World War One Gallipoli project
Norbrigg Primary School pupils working on their World War One Gallipoli project

A school in the Chesterfield area that discovered a local soldier had fought at Gallipoli has celebrated a World War One project on Turkey with food, costumes and shadow puppets.

Norbriggs Primary School in Mastin Moor has been working a project about the home front in World War One and has discovered some fascinating links between Derbyshire and Turkey.

Norbrigg Primary School Ahmet Polat in traditional Turkish costume

Norbrigg Primary School Ahmet Polat in traditional Turkish costume

Norbriggs Primary did not exist 100 years ago but nearby Woodthorpe Primary School did.

The Woodthorpe school logbook notes that on January 21, 1917, “Private Parsons, 9th Notts and Derbys, an old scholar who is home at Seymour on leave from the Somme district in France visited the school.

“His experience during the last two years in the army had been many and varied. He was wounded in the Suvla Bay expedition, (Gallipoli Peninsula) and sent to the Isle of Mudros for hospital treatment…”

This direct link between the people of the Woodthorpe area and Turkey, and inspired members of the modern Norbriggs Turkish community to go and look at Gallipoli this summer.

Anzac Cover in Gallipoli, Turkey during World War One

Anzac Cover in Gallipoli, Turkey during World War One

Mum Necla Kilincarslan said: “I have enjoyed being involved in such a lovely history project at my children’s school. I have learned lots of new information about World War One from an English perspective.

“As a family we visited Gallipoli and I feel sorry for soldiers who lost their lives there.”

Necla and her sons, Mahmutcan, Ahmet and Efe brought back lots of resources for the school to use.

The Year 6s were moved by a statement attributed to Ottoman commander Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, reproduced at the Soldier’s Memorial at Gallipoli.

It said: “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.

“You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Sheffield-based Whitworks Adventures in Theatre are supporting the project through research, activity days, writing and helping to organise a final celebration at Christmas.