To mark the hundredth anniversary of the formation of British Royal Air Force (RAF) in 2018, the British Council is supporting Never Such Innocence, a UK charity dedicated to engaging young people in the history and legacy of the First World War through the creative arts.

To mark 100 years since the formation of the world’s first independent air force, in partnership with RAF100, children are being asked to consider the war in the skies as a particular theme.  This final competition in 2018 will be the widest reaching and most inclusive yet with entries welcomed in all languages.

Tell me more about the competition

This free competition invites 9-16 year olds to send poems in all languages or artwork inspired by the events of the First World War.  Individual entries or group/class entries are accepted.

The Never Such Innocence website provides free resources to all schools and includes a resource booklet on the First World War which provides information about many different themes of the War to inspire children to enter the competition.

Download a copy of the rules.


What is the closing date?

Please submit all entries by 30 March 2018 midnight UK time.

Winners will be notified by 27 April 2018 and a special ceremony will be organised in May.

How do I submit?

All submissions must include an entry form which can be found here for group/class entries or here for individual entries with the statement.

For entries inspired by the “War in the Skies” theme, don’t forget to tick the box on the entry form in order to be automatically also entered into the RAF100 competition for additional prizes. 

Digitised entries should be emailed to:

Postal entries should be sent to:

Never Such Innocence
11 Slingsby Place
London WC2E 9AB
United Kingdom

Please note, we are unfortunately unable to return original artwork due to the volume of entries we receive. We accept photographs of artwork if you prefer not to send the original.

Where can I found resources for inspiration?

You can downloaded resources here

What are the prizes?

Everyone who enters the competition will receive a personalised Certificate of Commendation for taking part, so please don't filter your entries before submitting, and all winning entries will be published in a special Winners Booklet.

1st Prize
£200 for the winning pupil  and £200 for his or her school

2nd Prize
£100 for the winning pupil and £100 for his or her school

3rd Prize 
£50 for the winning pupil and £50 for his or her school

Additional prizes for runners up in each competition.

Winner of Years 7-9
£100 for the winning pupil  and £100 for his or her school 

Winner of Years 10-11
£100 for the winning pupil  and £100 for his or her school 

Where does the expression "Never Such Innocence" come from

The charity takes its name from Philip Larkin’s famous poem MCMXIV, which reflects on the changes caused by the First World War. The driving force behind Never Such Innocence is Lady Lucy French, great-granddaughter of Field Marshal Sir John French who commanded the British Expeditionary Forces from 1914-15.

External links