Thomas Baker Brown: a story of a local Tommy

Newcastle University Library Education Outreach Team worked with Comic Artist Terry Wiley, Lydia Wysocki from Applied Comics Etc and local secondary school students to explore the true war story of Thomas Baker Brown from North Shields, Tyne & Wear, who served as a signaller in World War I.

Firstly, the letters, documents, artefacts and other material in Thomas Baker Brown's archive, which was donated to Newcastle University by his family, was used by comic artist Terry Wiley to create a comic telling Tommy's wartime story.

True War Stories: Thomas Baker Brown
Thomas Baker Brown

Read the comic online

Download a printable PDF version

Next, students from four secondary schools each took part in a day long workshop at Newcastle University Library, in which they explored Thomas Baker Brown's archive to help them understand the story of one 'typical Tommy' from their local area.

In the workshop primary sources, including original World War I comics from Baker Brown's archive, were used to help students understand how historians use archives to learn about the past. With support from Terry, Lydia and the library's education officers, the students learned how to plan, make and read old and new comics before using copies of materials from the archive to plan, pencil, and ink a one-page comic of their own.

All students completed the task to a high standard, shown below.

Educational resources

These resources will help you create your own World War I comic in the classroom.

Suitable for:

KS3
KS4

Instructions and templates

Student handoutInstructions
These instructions will help you plan out your comic strip. Make sure you base your drawings on the Sources.

Powerpoint: How to draw Comics panelsPowerPoint
Learn how to turn stick men into professional-looking comic book illustrations.

Choose and print one of the following templates to draw your comic.

Sources

Use the sources provided to find out about the different aspects of Thomas Baker Brown's wartime story.

Training Camp sources Training Camp

Trenches sources Trenches

Prisoner of War and Coming Home sources Prisoner of War and Coming Home

These sources are strictly for use in educational purposes (e.g. in PowerPoint presentations or in student hand-outs).

For more information about workshops offered by Newcastle University Library Outreach Team please contact lib-outreach@ncl.ac.uk or for information about working with comics in education please contact lydia@appliedcomicsetc.com.