Blue Skies youngsters search for Great War secrets

School students are joining forces with soldiers injured in Afghanistan to continue a ground-breaking archaeology project on Salisbury Plain Training Area – this time as part of a First World War Centenary project.

Youngsters from Winton College and Glenmoor School in Bournemouth took part in an exciting archaeological investigation on ANZAC Day - April 25th 2014 as part of the Jon Egging Trust’s Blue Skies programme. 

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), RIFLES archaeology, and Wessex Archaeology have joined forces with the Jon Egging Trust (JET) to provide archaeological experience through DIO and The RiflesOperation Nightingale programme.

The students were able to recover surface material from a First World War Army Camp, as well explore a range of archaeological techniques and processes – assisting in the finds collecting process and reporting on their results.

DIO Senior Historic Advisor Richard Osgood organised the event, following the success of a similar event last year. This saw teenagers help to excavate the 2,700 year old Iron Age midden site atEast Chisenbury.

He commented:

“DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces. Operation Nightingale has been a great success in helping soldiers return to their regiment or prepare for civilian life. It also helps the MOD fulfil its statutory obligations.

"Our Armed Forces continue to develop and evolve through experience gained in combat; with many innovations stemming from the First World War’s enduring impact on operations, equipment and welfare.

"These young people’s ancestors may have played a part in the Great War, helping to shape today’s Britain and the wider world. This has been a great opportunity for them to get involved and find out more about the Centenary.

"As the grandson of an Anzac that fought with the Australians in the Great War, it has been a real privilege for me to share the importance of ANZAC Day with participants.”

The event not only builds upon the skills gained by participants on their project work at Chisenbury Midden, but also enhances their leadership and teamwork skills. The work aimed to recover material of Great War vintage, to record the locations, identify finds, and hopefully discern areas of the New Zealand Army camp.

Op Nightingale participant Cpl Paul Turner of the 6 Rifles said:

It is important that students have every opportunity to learn about the sacrifices made by those that served their countries in the First World War, we were able to add personal stories about the skills one develops as a soldier as one moves through training into conflict.”

The Jon Egging Trust was set up in memory of Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging who tragically lost his life on 20 August 2011, whilst completing a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival. Jon was passionate about inspiring young people through a love of flying and an enthusiasm for teamwork. The Trust was set up to realise Jon’s dream of helping young people to overcome adversity, identify their strengths and work towards their ambitions.

Dr Emma Egging, of the Jon Egging Trust, said:

"Our Blue Skies students are so excited to be taking part in such a fascinating archaeological survey. With the guidance and enthusiasm of our inspirational partners the young people are not only learning valuable lessons in teamwork and leadership but also gaining a great deal of confidence. It's experiences like this which help them to build their self esteem and be the best they can be."

The valuable results of students’ efforts will be added to the archaeological archive and will contribute to the site interpretation, as Wessex Archaeology works with DIO to continue building a comprehensive picture of the region’s fascinating past.

Wessex Archaeology provides a different set of vocational experiences to those seen in the other Blue Skies sessions, thus broadening the students’ experience.

Peter Dean, Commercial Director of Wessex Archaeology said:

“We are proud to continue our association with the Jon Egging Trust and Operation Nightingale. The Blue Skies programme is truly an innovative and inspirational way of engaging young talent in understanding their ‘sense of place,’ particularly as we commemorate the First World War.”

This is the young people’s fourth session in their eight session leadership course, working with inspirational individuals from MOD Boscombe Down, and Swanwick Air Traffic Control as well as DIO and Wessex Archaeology to develop their problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills.


Further information:

Su Ingle, Jon Egging Trust Media Manager     

07789 430642

Tony Moran, Senior Communications Officer 0121 311 3879 or email


Twitter: @mod_dio

Read DIO’s blog:

Notes to Editors

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a vital role in supporting our Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing what the men and women who serve our country need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.DIO is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties, as well as providing related support services, to meet the current and future needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.

Wessex Archaeology

Wessex Archaeology is an established market leader in the provision of quality archaeological and heritage services. With a UK wide network of offices, they offer an unrivalled range of services above ground, below ground and underwater. As a charitable company, Wessex puts sustainability and community engagement at its heart.  Over the years Wessex Archaeology has undertaken vast and exceptional archaeological  investigations  at Boscombe Down, close to the RAF base where the bulk of the Bournemouth Blue Skies Programme will be held (see also WA’s gallery on Flickr)

Jon Egging Trust

Around one in five young people in the UK today are not in education, employment or training. The Jon Egging Trust works with young people before they become another statistic to help them reach their full potential and achieve a brighter future. The charity connects young people with inspirational individuals and environments linked to aviation to build confidence and self-esteem, broaden their horizons and develop their talents. The Trust relies entirely on donations from the public but by 2020 aims to be offering life-changing opportunities though its youth programmes to 1000s of young people every year.

Great War Centenary

The centenary of the First World War offers a unique opportunity for the nation to understand, remember and recognise the debt we owe to those who served in the First World War.Find out more about the centenary and what your ancestors did in the First World War at and partner sites and join in on social media.A national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC Day commemorates Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. It was originally established to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli during the First World War.


Please credit ‘Crown Copyright/MOD 2014’

Brad Kendrick, aged 15, with a piece of brick and six-inch nail from the camp

Richard Osgood and Brad Kendrick mark one of the artefacts with a flag

Jack Goodey, aged 15, with a piece of glass

Jack Goodey, aged 15, with a New Zealand soldier’s shirt button

Information about the Jon Egging Trust:

Information about Wessex Archaeology:

Information about Project Nightingale:

The Defence Military Archaeology Society: