A BUDDING historian, whose strong interest in the history of World War 1 inspired him to create his own film, has been overwhelmed by the gift of original artefacts from the battlefields.

Myles Fairhurst, a Year 7 student at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, is creating a film, ‘The Lost Soldier’.

After a trailer for the film featured in The Northern Echo online, PC Sean Godfrey, a First World War history enthusiast and chairman of the Cleveland branch of the Western Front Association, contacted Richmond School with an amazing offer for Myles.

PC Godfrey said: “When I heard about Myles’ story, I was greatly impressed with his enthusiasm, creativity and passion. I was blown away that at just 11 years old, he is producing his own film and has such an incredible knowledge about the history of the First World War. Each year, I spend a week walking around the battlefields of France and Belgium and the landowners and farmers kindly allow me to gather and collect many original pieces from the conflict.

“As the old soldiers used to say, Myles is ‘doing his bit’ to help promote Remembrance of those who fought in the war and he is doing it in such an original way.”

PC Godfrey presented Myles with shrapnel balls, shrapnel from high explosive shells, the nose cone of an artillery shell, part of the fuse of an artillery shell, the base of an artillery shell, a British Lee Enfield bullet case and a German Mauser bullet case. Myles will treasure a WW1 Princess Mary tin, one of 426,000 decorative brass tin which Princess Mary sent and distributed to serving members of the British, Colonial and Indian Armed Forces on Christmas Day 1914. He also received an original First World War postcard that soldiers of the Durham Light Infantry would send to their families from the trenches, as well as folders on the Somme and Passchendale, featuring copies of original documents from the battle, including three aerial pictures of Passchendale where Myles’ Great Great Grandfather fought. Myles is also looking forward to reading ‘Charley’s War', a book from a weekly comic called ‘Battle’.

Myles, who was lost for words and completely overwhelmed with gratitude and sheer joy when he was given the artefacts, said: “I was speechless, I really couldn’t believe that I was holding pieces of shrapnel and bullets that were discovered at the battlefields. I cannot thank PC Godfrey enough for giving me these amazing books and information which I can’t wait to read through. He has also kindly offered to find out more about my great great-grandfathers who fought in World War I, which will be so interesting.”

Jenna Potter, headteacher, said: “I am overjoyed that ‘The Lost Soldier’ film has united two passionate Historians who can share their interest in World War I. It is wonderful that Sean is passing on his expertise to Myles. It is so rewarding for Myles to have his work recognised and to have his interest in World War I history to be nurtured in this way.”

Myles is continuing to work on ‘The Lost Soldier’ film and is aiming to release it in November to coincide with Remembrance Day.

Sean Godfrey is a highly regarded speaker about the First World War and is well known in the North East for his vast knowledge, in particular about the Durham Light Infantry. His only fee for his talks is his travelling expenses. For further information on how to book PC Godfrey for a talk, please contact: sean.godfrey@ntlworld.com.

He is planning to do a talk on September 15, on behalf of the Richmond Branch of the Western Front Association. This event will be is open to the public and will be hosted at Richmond Cricket Club.

For further information about the work of the Cleveland Branch of the Western Front Association visit https://www.westernfrontassociation.com/branches/united-kingdom/cleveland.