The battlefields of the First World War were the destination for 56 of our third year pupils this half-term break on the History department’s annual trip to northern France and Belgium, ahead of this year’s Remembrance Day.
The first full day was spent in and around the area of the infamous 1916 Battle of the Somme.
Pupils visited sites and museums including the underground museum in Albert, where they saw artefacts from the Great War and learned about the weapons used by both sides.
Our pupils also learned about Old Stopfordian Stanley Liddell from New Mills who died on 4th March 1917 aged 26.
Linton Armstrong and Phoebe Roberts, laid a wreath in memory of Old Stopfordians lost in battle at the memorial for the missing at Thiepval and a minute’s silence was held in memory of all those who died in and around the Somme area.
Pupils visited the interactive In Flanders Fields museum, where they followed the wartime stories of four characters, watched videos and learned from many exhibits about the horrors of the war.
Our pupils also walked through the very muddy preserved trenches in Sanctuary Wood and underground tunnel systems to gain an idea of the awful conditions in which the soldiers fought.
A second wreath was laid by Katie Hicks and Matthew Rogan at the moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres.
Upper Sixth pupil Alfie Hall described his experience of the trip:
This was the second time I had made the journey to the Battlefields of Northern France and Belgium, but this time I knew it would mean something different. Not just the personal reason for visiting but also the increased awareness and understanding of the brutal conflict that caused so much devastation and suffering. The trip was a moving and memorable experience bringing home the sacrifice of millions yet still showing the respect that is shown to their memory. In this centenary period, it was a unique opportunity for everyone on the trip to experience the battlefields where men fought and died to create the world we live in today.
The trip complemented the work being done currently by all third years and served as a timely reminder to all those who went of the importance of remembrance.