Annual battlefields tour helps pupils remember the dead

Third year pupils travelled to France and Belgium to visit areas of historical importance and learn more about the victims of World War One.

In the French Somme area, the group visited the underground museum in Albert where they saw artefacts from the Great War and learnt about the weapons used by both sides. They then travelled to the Lochnagar crater, created when British mines exploded and marked the start of the Battle of the Somme at 7.20am on 1 July 1916. Pupils also got to experience the trench system first-hand when they visited Newfoundland Park.

battlefields-lochnagar-crater

When the group crossed the border into Belgium they saw the devastation caused by the war in Ypres, a town that was completely flattened during the conflict but has since been rebuilt. They also visited the interactive Passchendaele Museum and explored its vast collection of objects and photographs.

battlefields-newfoundland-park

On the last day of the trip the group visited three cemeteries to understand the scale of lives lost during the conflict and they learnt about John McCrae who worked as a medic and wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

The trip culminated with the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gates in Ypres where wreaths were laid by Caitlin Cutts and Ethan Jones. A wreath was also laid by Georgia Sykes and Cam Whylie at Thiepval in memory of Old Stopfordians who lost their lives in battle. As well as laying a wreath, Cam also visited the grave of his great grandfather’s cousin.

Speaking about the tour, pupil Zoe Jones said: “The battlefields trip gave us a better perspective of what it was like fighting in the Great War. The trip touched us all and it is something that we will never forget.”

During the school’s Remembrance Day commemorations a number of pupils read out reports of their account of the trip. Click play on the video below for one such account.

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