Pupils learn all about the world wars

Stockport Express - - Your Views - EMMA CURRY [email protected]­plc.com @em­malouise­curry

SCHOOL­CHILD­REN learned about the hero­ics and tragedy of the world wars when an artist and mil­i­tary his­to­rian vis­ited their class­room.

For­mer head­teacher Henry Quick, now 72, took a life­time’s col­lec­tion of mil­i­tary mem­o­ra­bilia with him to Green­bank Prepara­tory School.

The mil­i­tary his­to­rian and artist is pas­sion­ate about the world and an avid col­lec­tor of mil­i­tary uni­forms and kit, in­spired by his fa­ther and un­cle’s ex­pe­ri­ences in wartime.

He said: “I was brought up in what were then the green fields of Wythen­shawe and all the kids had dads who had been in the war and we all wore and played with bits of old uni­form and kit.

“Ever since then it has been a pas­sion of mine and I’ve read hun­dreds of books, seen all the films, and vis­ited the bat­tle­fields of both the First and Sec­ond World Wars.

“Chil­dren are end­lessly fas­ci­nated, par­tic­u­larly by the Sec­ond World War.

“I think there are so many heroic fig­ures – the fighter pi­lot, the sub­ma­rine cap­tain, the tank com­man­der – that they can iden­tify with.

“Aside from the com­mando knives, I let the chil­dren play with and wear all the kit, even my own fa­ther’s and un­cle’s bits and pieces that I am most proud of.

“It’s a way for me to talk about the his­tor­i­cal facts of the war and ex­plain just what that gen­er­a­tion was fight­ing for.”

Henry, who lives in Great Moor, spent all his work­ing life as a pri­mary school teacher, deputy and head­teacher and re­mem­bers the lat­ter years be­ing quite stress­ful.

He added: “When­ever I felt un­der real pres­sure, I thought ‘well it’s bet­ter than be­ing in a sub­ma­rine and be­ing depth charged’.”

Now a work­ing artist, Henry’s paint­ings of the First World War are be­ing ex­hib­ited in Stock­port War Me­mo­rial Art Gallery and will re­main on show un­til Fe­bru­ary.

Green­bank Year Six pupil and young his­to­rian Louis Such­land, aged 11, loved meet­ing Henry, hear­ing his sto­ries and play­ing with his wartime kit.

He said: “I had so many ques­tions to ask but we ran out of time. That’s the best les­son I’ve ever been to.”

Green­bank deputy head­teacher Adam Dyson added: “Our Year 6 chil­dren han­dled Henry’s mem­o­ra­bilia with rev­er­ence and awe and hung on ev­ery word.

“It was the per­fect way to con­clude our pro­ject on the Sec­ond World War.”

Mike Carter

●●Henry Quick with his Un­cle Rex’s air raid war­den hel­met and pupils from Green­bank Prepara­tory School

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