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First World War remembered during moving Battlefields trip

Sixty-nine historians from the Third Year and up took part in the school’s annual journey to the battlefields of the First World War.

The trip, which took place over the Autumn half-term break and is led by the History department, enabled pupils to visit a number of poignant First World War sites across northern France and Belgium.

On the first day, boys and girls visited the location of the nearly five month long Battle of the Somme which took place in 1916. Throughout the day, pupils visited a range of sites and museums, such as the underground museum in Albert and they learnt about the types of weaponry used in the Great War.

The group laid a wreath in memory of the Old Stopfordians lost in battle at the memorial for the missing at Thiepval and a minute’s silence was observed in memory of all those who died in and around the Somme area.

One hundred and sixty Old Stopfordians volunteered to fight in the First World War before conscription was introduced and many more joined the Forces after.

On the second day, the group were able to experience what life was like for soldiers more than 100 years ago by exploring the accurately replicated underground bunkers and trenches at the Flanders Field Museum, Ypres.

The travelling party’s next stop was Hooge, a small village around two miles east of Ypres. From 1914-1917 there was fierce fighting in the area, which was the front line of the Salient, and the village was totally destroyed.

A second wreath was laid by Joseph Eaton and Isabelle Horne at the moving Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres.


Speaking about laying a wreath, Joseph Eaton said: “It was a real honour to lay a wreath and it made me very proud to be given that responsibility. I really enjoy History and this trip was incredibly moving as it gave you the chance to picture how it was during the war and it brought it to life.”

Nina Hedley, who spoke at the Remembrance Day lunch about the trip, said: “The trip was inspiring and eye-opening and it brought what we had learnt during lessons into reality and put it all into perspective. Speaking to the Old Stopfordians during Remembrance Day was an honour and I would definitely recommend the trip to others.”

Edward Hukin found out that his great-great-grandfather died during World War One. He said: “I knew about a relative dying during the war and it was interesting to learn more about the sacrifice he, and many others, made for our future.”