Runner up in the Sele School writing competition

By Ben aged 9

One winter day Felix was strengthening part of the wall, as there had been some recent attacks by the natives. It was lashing down with rain and howling winds were all around him. His long, red tunic was drenched, and he was shivering to the bone. Furthermore, Felix was not used to this weather as he was a Hamian archer and came from Syria. Despite the weather he was determined to finish his part of the wall by dusk so he could eat dinner with his family. As he looked at what he had completed he realised that his feet were nearly blue from the cold.

Felix decided to take a rest from his gruelling, demanding work. While he was taking his break he saw the Whinsill on the horizon. He looked around him and every thing was still, apart from the occasional buzzard soaring through the sky. Suddenly, Marcus (Felix’s Celt friend) shouted, “There is a big group of invaders coming our way!”

Abruptly, Felix stood up and looked in horror, as he knew they were the Brigantes tribe. He quickly stopped his job and told all the women and children to go back into the fort and all the soldiers to put their armour on. While the hundreds of men came closer and closer they started to get the catapults onto the turrets. They were just about ready when the first group attacked. Felix ordered the other soldiers to go into the tortoise formation to protect the wall. At the same time the invaders were launching their arrows into the opposition’s half.

The battle was tough and tiring but Felix and his soldiers did not give up. They were at an advantage because they were standing on the 4 metre high wall, which gave them a brilliant opportunity to make the battle theirs. They drew on all their strength and courage. After what felt like hours (but was probably minutes) the Brigantes began to retreat as they realised they were out numbered and ill prepared. Felix shouted to his men “keep fighting and hold your stand, they are starting to retreat!” Cheers erupted from the rest of his men. The rain was now torrential but this didn’t stop their determination to win the mighty fight. The intimidating invaders finally withdrew. Felix punched the air with joy!

As Felix stood still, he realised he had a massive gash down his right leg. Marcus came over and shouted “Felix what happened to your leg?” “Oh this, it’s just a little cut” he replied bravely. “I’ll ask my wife Sara to make a herbal potion to heel it”.

Later that evening he enjoyed a nice hare broth and a glass of mead. Following that, he went off to the inn to play three stones (which was a version of noughts and crosses) with Marcus and a few others of his legionary mates, which was great fun. 

Ben submitted his story to the Vindolanda Trust as part of a writing competition with the Sele First School in Hexham. The children and teachers helped to contribute feedback to the Missing Dead app. Marta, our Site Archaeologist and final Judge of the competition has this to say about his story.

Marta says: ‘This is a nice tale of a difficult day on the Wall. What I liked the most, apart from the very well written battle scene, was that you did not forget about women and children. They played a very important role in Roman society, even in militarised environments like that of the Roman frontier. You are my runner up! Well done!’