WHS WW1 Book & Film Projects Receive National Acclaim

We have recently been the focus of national press coverage highlighting two hugely impressive pupil projects run by staff from our History Department. You may have seen articles in local and national press (shown below) regarding a book entitled They Never Returned, which profiles local Wick men who gave their lives in World War 1, as well as our participation in the release of Peter Jackson’s latest feature film They Shall Not Grow Old. Miss Morrison and Mr Tillier, both teachers in the Social Subjects Faculty, were instrumental in these projects and Miss Morrison kindly took time to tell us more about the projects.

The book project began in 2016 when Miss Morrison joined Wick High School. She contacted the local branch of the British Legion to gauge if they would be interested in helping with a book which would be based on detailing the backgrounds of local men who had  given their lives in WW1. This was a type of work familiar to her as she had been part of a similar project in her native Austrailia. She began the process of applying for fudning firstly through the Heritage Lottery Fund, British Legion Scotland,  Developing the Young Workforce and local windfarm community funds. Once this was secured she pulled a great deal of information from a book written by local historian and author, Harry Gray, on Wickers who had fought in WW1, finding accounts of 276 men. Ancestry.com was also a great source of information as Miss Morrison, along with a dedicated band of twenty senior pupils, listed below, spent lunchtimes one day per week, as well as many Friday afternoons, finding out as much about the men as possible, forming biographies to show where these men came from, what they did before they became soldiers as well as going on to research their military service.

The book is now finished and is available from the school at a price of £10.

The school’s involvement in Peter Jackson’s film, They Shall Not Grow Old arose from an inviation that Jackson’s film company made to all Scottish teachers to have pupils particiapte in a digital workshop. These sessions were designed to allow schools to try the learning resources based on the film. Students who were interested in film and history were invited to make short films using state-of-the-art editing and filmmaking technology. Because the WW1 book was being produced it was suggested that a collection of community documentaries could be made on the men featured in the books and these can be found below and on our school’s YouTube channel.

The fine work on this project reached a very glamorous conclusion when two of the pupils involved in the project, Anghos Mhor and Jack Robertson, accompanied Mr Tillier to the youth premiere of They Shall Not Grow Old held at the British Film Institute in London. They had a superb time and were fortunate enough to meet Peter Jackson and TV historian Dan Snow and to give each of them a copy of They Never Returned.

The final event where the school had representaion was the Armistice ceremony held at Westminster Abbey where Miss Morrison, in the prescence of The Queen and other members of the Royal Family, attended after being awarded a place via ballot.


Miss Morrison holding a copy of They Never Returned outside Westminster Abbey.

This week, screenings of the film took place for pupils while a public showing of the film will take place in our school hall on Tuesday 4th December at 7.30pm. Copies of They Never Returned will be available for purchase at this time.

The pupils who participated in They Never Returned: Erin Anderson, Ross Bain, Archie Budge, Samuel Bullen, Iain Fishenden, Cailean Fraser, Kirsten Ganson, Erin Green, Ben Gunn, Ben Hampson, Daniel Lyall, Erin Macgregor, Aonghas Mhor, Georgina O’Doherty, Jack Robertson, Paige Rosie, Carly Sinclair, Kimberly Stewart, Paul Stewart, Adam Williamson.

All in all, the work of the staff and pupils in these remarkable projects has once again showcased to a national audience the talents and hard work of our school community. Congratualtions to everyone involved.

Press Cuttings

Short Films