Grace Morris, a Year 10 student, will see herself talking about her history project, which uncovered a heroic relative who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1915, on a landmark ITV documentary at 9:30pm on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November. When researching her history homework, fourteen-year-old Grace from Hunton, discovered that her great, great, great uncle Edward Dwyer won the Victoria Cross after single-handedly fighting off German infantry, at the infamous Hill 60 in the battle of Ypres, by hurling countless hand-grenades to protect his trench.
ITV has commissioned ‘Britain’s Poppies: The Great War Remembered’ a one-hour documentary, narrated by Sean Bean, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. Working with 1418 NOW, the charity behind the Poppies project, ITV tracked down some of the poppy owners to hear the emotional and inspiring stories behind their symbol of remembrance and reflection. Grace’s family had bought one of the ceramic Poppies from the Tower of London’s installation to commemorate Private Edward Dwyer.
Grace travelled with Rachel, her Mum, to Fulham, where Edward Dywer came from, to be interviewed and filmed for the documentary, spending a morning with the presenter, producer and film crew. They visited Fulham Memorial Park where there is a carved flagstone in remembrance of Edward, who was killed in action in the push of the Somme in 1916. They also went to the local library to see a bronze memorial plaque which was kindly funded by the local schools and community in 1918, after the then mayor had refused to honour Edward’s bravery. It was particularly poignant for Grace and her Mum as ITV had created a replica of Edward’s Victoria Cross for them.
Grace commented: “It was really fascinating to see how all the filming was put together and how we had to refilm some parts from several angles. It was also very interesting to go to the library and find the flagstone in the park, as I hadn’t been to Fulham before. I never expected such an amazing opportunity to come off the back of simple piece of history homework. It’s been an emotional and surreal experience and one I definitely won’t ever forget. One day I really hope to visit his grave at Flatiron Copse Cemetery in Mametz.”
The very first installation of ceramic poppies saw 800,000 planted at the Tower of London in 2014 – one for every British and Colonial life lost during the Great War. These were subsequently sold to members of the public and have travelled as far afield as Australia, India, Africa and the USA. Others have been taken to war graves in France and Belgium in memory of fallen relatives.
Comments Sophia Mawer, Head of History: “The students all enjoyed learning about the First World War and were able to make History come alive by finding out about their relatives’ experiences. When Grace was set the research homework, we never imagined that such a poignant and thought-provoking story would be discovered and especially to find a relative who was given a Victoria Cross. It really is a wonderful and unique story and we are delighted that it will be shared on national television.”
With exclusive access to the iconic poppy sculptures, Wave and Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper – which have been seen by millions of people at selected locations around the UK – the documentary will delve into the individual stories behind the poppies of sacrifice, bravery, loyalty and lives lost. The documentary’s producer has advised that Grace has a starring role in the programme, which is scheduled to be broadcast on ITV at 9:30pm on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November.
Grace and Sophia Mawer (Head of History), are also being interviewed by BBC Radio Tees and this is expected to be broadcast on the Mike Parr morning show on either Thursday 8th or Friday 9th November.