The grim reality of war was brought home to pupils at Horsforth School during their play about a tragic young soldier.
Lancashire lad Jack Banks landed in Normandy on D-Day aged 16. He fought courageously with his battalion of the Durham Light Infantry for six weeks until he died.
One of four Commonwealth soldiers aged under 17 who joined up early, but ended up making the ultimate sacrifice, Jack was the main character in ’A Tale of Two Jacks’, performed by 12 pupils aged 14 and 15.
Horsforth pupil Callum, who played Jack, said: ‘Our play let people know what happened to Jack, an underage soldier with all his life before him, who gave his life in this country’s service 75 years ago.
“Although apparently well built for his age, Jack was still a few weeks off turning 17 at the time of his death. We hope the audience appreciated getting to know Jack and his mates, including French and German lads his own age, as much as I enjoyed playing him.”
Fellow actor Luke added ‘Most of us will visit the Normandy battlefields. We will be honoured to lay a wreath at Jack’s grave at the Jerusalem cemetery. I loved getting to grips with my character, also called Jack Banks but alive in 2019 with his own struggles. He is a tough young boxer, but needed courage, which he got learning about his namesake”.
Writer and director, languages teacher James Bovington. added: “Few of the actors had been in a major production before but they gave excellent performances and their efforts will go a long way towards funding the new WW2 plaque on Horsforth Cenotaph, adding names of those initially missed off.
“I am so proud of the boys who put their all into this project and thereby honoured Jack Banks”.