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Sixth formers get hands-on documentary filming

This was just one day of the charity's annual involvement with the University of Sussex Widening Participation scheme (WP) known as the Sussex Study Experience, which enables potential university students from schools in the south of England to get a taste of campus life and university style teaching and learning.

The contribution made each year by the History department in partnership with this charity is to offer some of these sixth formers the unique opportunity of working with experienced television professsionals and historians to make short films. Their mini-documentaries are based on previously filmed interviews with WW2 veterans who'd been involved with Allied special operations, intelligence and resistance and can have the style of news features that would appear on BBC TV News bulletin or or on its web site.

To help the sixth formers achieve this we arrange for them to be mentored by the BBC journalist Robert Hall along with the oral historian Martyn Cox (also this charity's co-founder) plus Alan Benns, the cameraman who filmed most of Martyn's 100+ oral history interviews with so many amazing participants of 'secret WW2'.

The historians on hand with whom the students are able to film short interviews are normally Dr Chris Warne from Sussex and UCL's Dr Andrew Smith, both very knowkledgeable about the French resistance and the support it was given by the Allied secret services and also the RAF - including from the former RAF Tangmere, so this location has great relevance and was, of course, deliberately chosen for this special day.

The finished films which result from this annual initaitive are ready each year in time for the WP scheme's July equivalent of "graduation ceremony" of these pre-university students, which is attended with great pride by their family members and friends ... even though the (often shy and nervous) students themselves are not always so thrilled to be wearing mortar boards and gowns!

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