In 1914, two large army camps were constructed on Cannock Chase, yet little evidence of these camps is evident today – unless you know where to look.

The HLF-funded ‘New Zealand Rifle Brigade & Cannock Chase 1917-19’ project focused on commemorating the New Zealand Rifle Brigade’s (NZRB) stay on Cannock Chase.

As project co-ordinator I was responsible for delivering the four outcomes:

1. Working with two youth groups to record and research WW1 graffiti on a scheduled monument on a National Trust property. Read much more about this on our Audio Trails blog.

Army Cadets recording NZRB graffiti on the Triumphal Arch

The Cannock Cadets Detachment recording NZRB graffiti on the Triumphal Arch

2. Devising a volunteer guided walks programme that interpreted the NZRB, the Messines Model (a model village built by the NZRB to support training) and areas of the wider Brocton Army Training Camp.

3. Four schools participated in a suite of curriculum-linked learning activities based upon ‘The Anzac puppy’, a semi-fictional children’s story about the NZRB and their canine mascot.

A collage of photos from the family activity days

The family activities included cooking (and tasting) battlefield food, making puppets and building periscopes.

4. Appointing a freelance worker to deliver a series of creative family summer holiday sessions linked to the NZRB and their training regime.

5. Working with adult volunteers to research the lives of NZRB soldiers both online and at the records office.

6. Producing a temporary touring exhibition.

Testimonial

“Dan’s interview for the position of Project Coordinator was very impressive and it was obvious he was going to be more than capable of handling the post. His communication skills are very good both with the public and liaising with the committee overseeing the project.

Dan’s excellent organisation of meetings, events, correspondence and deadlines ensured a smooth flow throughout the timescale of the project.

His ideas of how to be flexible and innovative with the outline of the project gave a different and more productive outcome to those that were expected.

Dan has an obvious wealth of experience with this line of work and has contacts that can carry out any task given to a very high standard. I would therefore highly recommend him to anyone else wishing to recruit a heritage interpretation consultant.

He has a good rapport with any generation and observing his handling of events was a pleasure and thoroughly enjoyed by all.”

Trevor Bayliss, Secretary, Friends of Cannock Chase

In addition, Trevor was interviewed for the HLF’s First World War Centenary activity: Year 4 report: Case studies. In this document Trevor highlights the importance of my role:

“we have employed a project co-ordinator which is necessary – they have so much experience to bring to it, I would not say it would have been a flop but it would not have been as professional…He [Dan] had his own company called Audio Trails [now AT Creative] so he had got a lot of business experience and a lot of work in with schools … he produced some superb documentation, especially for the schools and for the two youth groups we worked with.”