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Thank You Winners

We are delighted to present the winners of The Royal British Legion 2017 'Thank You' competition.

If you’re inspired by the work below, the 2018 Thank You creative competition is open now!  More information can be found here.

You can also find the winning work from the main Never Such Innocence 2017-18 international competition here

 

School Years 5-6  /  Ages 9-11

 

Echoes Across the Century: A Memory Box
by Frankie Barber from St Jude and St Paul's CE Primary School

A56-589 Echoes Across the Century A Memory Box .jpg

War
by Conor Birks, Amy Massey and Layla Shaw from Abbey Hulton Primary School

It must be scary in the war,
I shudder at what you saw.
I wonder what the war was like,
As so many people went out to fight.
The war took over land, air and sea,
I give thanks that you fought for me.
So many men battled on through,
They knew what they had to do.
Sailors on ships had to think,
Of ways to make sure they did not sink.
Those sailors we called the Navy,
Who went out on oceans wavy.
Those who counted bullets with maths,
And the ones who followed and stuck to the paths.
So we go and mark the land,
Some of us may need a helping hand.
Let us give thanks, it can’t hurt us,
Even if we’re on a bus.
Soldiers sent letters to people like me,
Maybe one for you, could it be?

 


Years 7-9  /  Ages 11-14

 

Lest We Forget (Sign Language - Must Not Forget)
byAlice Dorey from Knowl Hill School

Lest We Forget (Sign Language - Must Not Forget)

हमें नहीं भूल जाओ (Forget Us Not)
by Joel Brassington from The de Ferrers Academy

We are the unsung heroes,
The one who were forgot
This war not our war to fight,
But fight it, did we not?
Have you let your discriminatory accidentals overcome our sacrifice?
Are we not worth as much?
Is one life more valuable that the other?
Why?
Why have you forgotten us?
Why have you forgotten our sacrifice, and yet – not your own.
Were they not the same?
History is written by the winners in life.
Did we not win?
But we ask future history,
And generations to come,
Forget us not.

Why did we come so far from our home, our friends, family?
Wives and children – safe at home.
Did we come: to be shunned, worthless, forgot?
No.
We came because we are a part of your whole, your body.
Is one part of the body less important than another?
Could you succeed without a toe, a lung, finger?
Would life be agony without a toenail, left hand, an ear?
To join you we have given up these luxuries:
Legs, eyes, hands.
Do we deserve to be forgotten?
No.
We are the unsung heroes,
The ones who were forgotten;
Forget us not.

We toiled, we worked, we died,
Forget us not.

So when you tell your children, and they tell theirs,
Do not forget to tell them of our great sacrifice,
For we are the Gurkhas of the Great War, the unsung heroes, so remember us.


Years 10-11  /  Ages 14-16
 

Time Never Obscures You
by Danfeng Cai from Alliance Art Academy, Canada

Time Never Obscures You

The Somme Cup
by Freddie Hawkins from King's College School Wimbledon 

A crowd of 60,000 strong, heaving and ecstatic,
thronged along the Paris pitch at Easter.
Then sacrificed, like Christ himself.
New Zealand gave its players up to maul
and be mauled.
The congregation met on the distressed earth,
marked by scrums and shells.
Lift him up, your comrade, in the line out.
Set and lock, then rent apart.
‘In the bonds of love we meet’,
O nag iwi matou ra.

In Belgium, crowds, drowned out by shelling,
saw the players steeling at the ruck.
And freedom flew unfettered from the wreckage.
In the charge down, muscles were not wasted,
but iron and sinew, counter rucking madly.
Faces pressed to ground smelled home’s green pitches,
not the fetid earth of clay and bootpress.
At the breakdown, limbs entwined,
the allies reached out to bind.
‘God defend our free land’,
Me aroha noa.

Through Zeitoun’s dunes the players ran, blindsided,
and strafed the low tide pitch at Lemnos.
No torsos mutilated by the volleys,
only rage transformed and lines defended.
There the acned scrum half heard his mother,
Don't get hurt now. Keep well back from others.
But there is no keeping back in trenches,
so she keeps a parlour light to guide him
home along the maimed path to her door.
‘From the darts of strife and war’,
Kia tau to atawhai.

Do you hear them calling now from stadiums silenced?
Boots unlaced, trophies unlifted.
From Paschendale and Messines, ‘McNeece” and ‘Baird’.
In Paris, ‘Bobby Black’ and ‘Turtill’ are heard.
As tides reclaim the names of ‘Dewar’, ‘Downing’,
Gallipoli, where they lay pale and bleeding,
New Zealand’s losses were too great to bear.
How can we give our thanks unbounded,
to those whose passion for the game we share?
‘Hear our voices we entreat’,
Ata whakaranwgona.

Now, when we feel the pressure and the drive,
with lungs that burst and crowds that chant our names,
we too belong, stand strong as brothers.
But futures safe from gas and trigger.
And afterwards in bruised and raucous glory,
we chorus, celebrating in their honour.
The Moascar Cup held high with pride and sorrow.
For every light, in every home,
that welcomes our return,
‘We will remember them’,
E kore ratou e koroheketia.