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Walking The Battlefields

Jul 16, 2019

Walking The Battlefields

On the 8th July a group of Year 8, 9 and 10 students set off on a journey to visit the battlefields of the Great War. Read Hannah's account:

"On Monday, 8th July a group of 33 Year 8, 9 and 10 students set off for Hull to catch the overnight ferry to Zeebrugge for the Battle Fields Trip. On Tuesday, after a calm crossing, we had breakfast on the ferry and then set off for Langemark which is a cemetery for the German soldiers killed in World War 1. On the journey we were all given a pack which included a poppy cross to leave by a grave of our choice during the trip. After Langemark, we visited a statue of a Canadian soldier to commemorate Canadian soldiers killed in battle.  Next, we visited the Hooge Crater museum where we were able see the different German artefacts left on the battlefields.  Here, we also explored the trenches that had been used by German and British soldiers at different times and discussed their differences. After some free time for lunch, we set off for a British cemetery which showed the contrast with the German one.  We also visited another cemetery at Essex Farm where there was a very well visited grave of a 15 year old boy called V.J. Strudwick. After dinner, and an enjoyable visit to a chocolate shop, we watched the Last Post at the Menin Gate. This ceremony has been performed every evening for 100 years and is still very popular.

On Wednesday, we were up early to set off for France to visit the location of the Battle of the Somme. First, we visited another monument for Canadian soldiers at Vimy Ridge that was very impressive and had won first prize in a competition. Next, we had a short service including: poems, the story of Lieutenant Kenneth Macarrdle; a 2-minute silence and laid a wreath by the memorial to the Liverpool Pals. We then visited the Lochnagar Crater and learnt about the story of George Nugent whose body was found in 1998. For lunch we visited the Ulster Tower and were treated to ice cream. Our next visit was to Thiepval memorial which lists the names of missing soldiers in WW1. We then walked to a remote cemetery to visit the grave of A. Goodlad which is significant as it represents all the good lads who died.

On Thursday, we visited the Passchendaele museum and viewed dug-outs and trenches which we were able to go into. Our next destination was Tyne Cot cemetery which is the biggest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. It also has the remaining names of missing soldiers that couldn’t fit on the Menin Gate. During the afternoon we had some free time in Bruges before we boarded the ferry and had a disco in the evening.  We returned to Liverpool the next day.

Throughout the trip, as we visited different cemeteries, we placed our poppy crosses on graves that meant different things to us and some students looked for graves belonging to family or friends. Throughout the trip we were able to fully understand and remember the enormous sacrifice that was made for us by the people who died in World War 1 and show our respect for them."