Past and Present Collide at The Boulevard Academy

Jayden Platten as Matthew, Jack Harrison’s Bag Man in An Ordinary Hero. The ball photographed is from 1956 and can be seen displayed in the Boulevard Academy Reception.

In November last year, our resident Year 11 thespian, Jayden Platten, joined an all-local cast to tell a story of a man who was a legend at the Boulevard. An Ordinary Hero: The Jack Harrison Story told the incredible true story of local Hullian, Jack Harrison.

Born in Hull in 1890, Harrison became a professional rugby player for Hull FC. In 1914, in the Challenge Cup Final, he scored the try leading to the victory of 6-0 against Wakefield Trinity. Harrison went on to create an unbeaten record of 52 tries in one season, many of which were scored at the Boulevard ground which this school stands upon now.

In 1915, the Great War called and Harrison signed up as 2nd Lieutenant in the East Yorkshire 11th Battalion. He was awarded the Military Cross for leading a platoon successfully into No Man’s land and capturing a prisoner in February 1917.

On the 3rd May 1917, Harrison led a night raid during the Capture of Oppy Wood. The smoke from the guns, combined with the darkness of the wood made it difficult for Harrison’s platoon to see. Under heavy enemy fire, Harrison made a single-handed charge at a machine gun, sacrificing his life but halting the onslaught of bullets on his team. For his bravery, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award.

Jayden and the cast of An Ordinary Hero brought Jack Harrison’s story to life at the Park Street Performing Arts Centre to help bring awareness to the community of the extraordinary life of this ordinary Hull man. There are now groups within the city that are campaigning for a statue of Harrison to be erected in his memory, either in Queens Gardens or in front of Hull Minster, so that future generations can be aware of the Boulevard legend who died a hero.

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