YOUNG poets have been replacing ballistics with linguistics as they helped launch a national search for public perceptions of war.

Students at Risedale Sports and Community College spent a day working with a professional theatre company, a poet and analysing the work of First World War poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

Year 10 pupils at the Hipswell school, Catterick Garrison, were also inspired to write their own powerful prose, many detailing their personal experiences of belonging to Armed Services families.

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These were performed to an audience featuring Catterick Garrison Commander Colonel Stephen Padgett, Feelgood Theatre Production’s artistic director Caroline Clegg, poet Ben Mellor, teachers, council education officers and archivists.

Col Padgett said: “War is bad but it is sometimes necessary; we have to fight for what we believe in this country. But when you are younger it is very difficult to make sense of it. Poetry and drama are ways to help you understand because they explore feelings.”

The event marked the launch of Feelgood Theatre Production’s national poetry competition, Whispers of War, an initiative to build bridges of understanding between the military and civilian communities on the impact of conflict today using First World War poetry as a springboard.