Our WW1 Writing Competition Winning Entries, 7-11 Year Category

In July, we launched our children’s WW1 writing competition in partnership with Nidderdale AONB. From 135 entries from all over the UK, our judge in the 7-11 year category, Daniel Ingram-Brown chose the following three entries as his winners. 

The winners of our children's WW1 writing competition 2015. From left to right: Elisei Ulrich-Oltean, Theo Burkhill-Howarth, Daniel Ingram-Brown (judge), Benjamin Searle, Susan Burnett (judge), Evie May Richards, Emma Madden, Sacha Rines. Photo: Steve Evans

The winners of our children’s WW1 writing competition 2015. From left to right: Elisei Ulrich-Oltean, Theo Burkhill-Howarth, Daniel Ingram-Brown (judge), Benjamin Searle, Susan Burnett (judge), Evie May Richards, Emma Madden, Sacha Rines.
Photo: Steve Evans


In first place, Benjamin Searle from Halifax for his poem My Night Before Christmas 1914

Hello, my name’s Captain Stead

By the end of the war, I’ll probably be dead

But the night before Christmas 1914

Came a noise across No Man’s Land, through dead trees and muddy streams.

It sounded different, beautiful like angels

At least it was discrepant to gunshots and bombshells


It turned out to be the Germans, all of them singing

As they stopped launching bombs, my ears stopped ringing.

Although I’m stuck inside the trench,

And being covered in rain and drenched

On Christmas Eve the fighting stopped

As we prayed for all those whose lives had been lost.


I was hungry, thirsty, dying for a meal,

But I had to keep hold of the machine gun trigger, made of steel.

My nose is red, my feet are blue,

I’m up to my neck in mud and the rats ate the stew.

It was Silent Night we were singing,

While the church bells in France carried on ringing.


During the war there’s a lot of anger and pain

The weather hasn’t changed though, like Britain, it still rains.

My boots are rock hard, I’m covered in blisters

I hope they’re ok, my brothers and sisters.

We won’t get Christmas dinner, no turkey or chicken

Instead we’ll be fighting, slaughtering and killin’.


I’ve been given position of Captain Major

We’ve got to stop Kaiser Wilhelm or no one’ll want t’

All I see is body, blood and dirt

My best friend has been shot, his name, it was Bert.

The Great War they call it, can’t imagine why

Not that it’s full of blood, sweat and grime.


I would like to end it here

We’re getting ready for a charge, oh gosh, I’m full of fear!

There, that’s the whistle blowing,

Better be off or I’ll get a flocking.

So, rest in peace my fellow army friends,

Hopefully, just hopefully, it is soon when this great war ends!

In second place, Evie May Richards from Harrogate for her poem Air Raids

Bang, boom, bombs again,

Get into the cellar now!

Fear welcomes itself as it

Slips through the door.

Shattered glass on the floor.

Darkness looms through

corridors. Little children screech in terror,

as sirens seem like going on forever.

Dead bodies on the ground, sleeping

through all the sounds.

In third place, Theo Burkhill-Howarth from Harrogate for his poem The Last Day

In a dark field where people lay,

The gun fire starts day after day.

With barbed wire tangled and shell holes deep,

After each blow comes a mud heap.

Flares explode in the air

Lighting up the ground everywhere.

The birds have stopped

Because the men have dropped.

The trenches start to get full

And it begins to get dull.

The men hear the whistle blow

So they all start to go.

Heads down, guns ready,

“All right men let’s go steady.”


With men falling all around,

Slowly dropping to hit the ground,

A platoon of men carried on,

But most of them collapsed one by one.

One man started to run,

All ready with his gun.

As more people fell

He thought this was living hell.

The exploding shell

Threw him to the ground

And the only sound he heard

Was the soft whistling of a bird.

The sound drifted away,

Then he realised this must be his last day.

A huge congratulations to our winners, Benjamin, Evie May and Theo for their poems. You can read entries from the winners of the 12-16 year category here. Thank you to everybody who entered, our judge Daniel Ingram-Brown and our partner in the competition Nidderdale AONB.

Photo by Steve Evans

Photo by Steve Evans

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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