World War One expert gives talk - in exchange for free school dinner

Professor Martin Alexander with, from left, Gabi Sikorski, Laura Daly, Natasha Hall and Abi Bridge, all aged 17

Professor Martin Alexander with, from left, Gabi Sikorski, Laura Daly, Natasha Hall and Abi Bridge, all aged 17

First published in News

STUDENTS from Bolton School girls’ division were invited to a fascinating talk about World War One given by an expert on the subject.

The girls gave up their lunch break and headed for the lecture theatre where they discovered the origins of the war and were able to take a look at some World War One memorabilia.

The talk was organised by head of history girls’ division Craig Owen, who bumped into World War One expert Professor Martin Alexander at a school reunion.

“We were both pupils at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and I asked him if he would come to give a talk to the girls,” said Mr Owen.

Prof Alexander made an 140-mile journey from Wales – he recently retired from Aberystwyth University – to give the talk. But he only agreed to do the talk on one condition.

He said: “I said I’d only do it if I could have a school dinner.”

Mr Owen added: “The talk was attended by dozens of girls from years nine and 10. Some of those attending will be among a party of 44 visiting the battlefields in Ypres and the Somme in October on a three-day history trip.”

Prof Alexander brought along various shells and shrapnel, medals and a French soldier’s hat to the lecture which he gave the girls the opportunity to take a look at following the talk.

The talk focused on events leading up to the war, including the assass-ination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, and the relationship between Britain’s allies and those on the German side.

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