LAST year Bradford World War 1 Group began preparations for commemorating the Armistice, signed on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

“When the Reverend Alistair Helm was asked if his church would be willing to host an exhibition, his response was enthusiastic. St Paul’s stands at the heart of Manningham’s diverse community and its doors are open to all,” said WW1 Group president Tricia Restorick.

“With 15 large primary schools in his parish, Alistair felt sure that most would engage in a joint ‘end-of year’ project.”

The WW1 Group provided information for schoolchildren to explore a potential shared history of the war. Contributions from participating schools were co-ordinated by Belinda Wardle, headteacher of Westbourne Primary School.

A total of 11 primary schools contributed artwork and prose for a striking display held recently at St Paul’s. Much of the artwork highlights the role of Indian soldiers in the 1914-1918 conflict.

As part of the project, the schools commemorated soldiers from Bradford and India; carving some of their names into benches and plant boxes. A poster accompanying the display said: “We hope this serves as a reminder to all those who gave their lives for us.”

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Zafar Ali, opened the exhibition, which was attended by children and staff from participating schools, as well as parents.

“During WW1 the people of Manningham witnessed hundreds of soldiers passing through Belle Vue Barracks - indeed, supplied hundreds of men and women for service in the war,” said Tricia. “It has been fascinating to see how the schools pursued the theme of Shared Remembrance by looking at the people from across the Empire who shared the ugliness of war with people from Manningham.

“The Bradford WW1 Group has been privileged to be involved in this exhibition, providing themes and research support. However, all the hard work has been done in the schools by pupils and staff! Huge credit should be given to the staff who ‘opened windows’ for their pupils. Let’s hope these ideas can be replicated across the city.”

The schools taking part were: Atlas Community Primary School; Beckfoot Heaton Primary School and Nursery; Dixons Manningham Primary School; Frizinghall Primary School; Green Lane Primary and Nursery School; Heaton St Barnabas Primary School; Lilycroft Primary School; Margaret McMillan Primary School and Westbourne Primary School.

The Rev Helm said: “It was a privilege to host the WW1 exhibition and welcome over 600 people into St Paul’s Church.

“The quality, creativity and care that the children and staff took in preparing the displays was incredible.”

Members of Bradford World War One Group have visited graves of Indian soldiers on pilgrimages to cemeteries and battlefield sites in France and Flanders, including St Vaast Post Cemetery, Richebourg, where Bradford men lay buried alongside Indian Army soldiers.