St. Andrew's College
St. Andrew's College News
November 8, 2016

Great War Historian Returns to SAC

Author, lecturer, and TV personality Andy Robertshaw took the Chapel pulpit to engage grade 10 students in a lively presentation on the Battle of the Somme.

It was 100 years ago to the day that Andy’s grandfather, John Andrew Robertshaw, was in a trench at the Battle of the Somme. Andy didn’t speak about his grandfather much or any specific soldiers, but rather focused on why the Somme was fought, the politics behind it, and the types and quantities of armies in place for each country.

Andy is no stranger to the School, as St. Andrew’s has become an annual stop during his yearly travels in Canada. The boys were riveted by the presentation, and it was made all the more meaningful being held in Memorial Chapel – dedicated to the 106 Andreans who lost their lives in World War I.

“It is a huge privilege to have Andy Robertshaw at SAC,” said Dave Stewart, Head of History. “His charismatic approach draws students into the stories that he tells.”

After his passionate presentation, Andy joined Mr. Stewart in his history classes to speak further about the Great War. The boys led the discussion examining daily trench life, innovations of the war, and military leadership, to name a few.

“The boys did not disappoint,” said Mr. Stewart. “The questions were thoughtful and effective.”

Andy is the author of Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph and Digging the Trenches: The Archaeology of the Western Front, along with three books on military history for young people, and several other articles and essays. Andy has appeared on Two Men in a TrenchBlood and BulletsFinding the FallenTrench DetectivesWho Do You Think You Are?Find My Past, and Team Time. His most recent large-scale project was as a military consultant for the feature film War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg.

Among his many accolades, Andy is:

  • Curator and manager of The Royal Logistic Corps Museum in Deepcut, U.K.
  • Honorary lecturer at University College London
  • Honorary research fellow at the Centre for First World War studies at The University of Birmingham
  • Consultant to the Belgian Association for World War Archaeology on identification of Great War causalities
  • Honorary president of the archaeological group, No Man’s Land, which he helped establish
  • Director of Battlefield Partnerships Ltd., which involves conducting archaeological projects on the Western Front, battlefield summer schools, lecturers, and conferences

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