Enriching history through experience

Sarah Hotot L5 writes: In mid-June Ms Manville, Miss Tait and Rev Dykes took 34 girls in L5 to Ypres in Belgium and the Somme in France for a Battlefields trip.

The first place we visited was Lijssenthoek military cemetery where the guide gave us a detailed overview of what happened in WW1 and where we were able to see many graves of people from different countries; this cemetery made us realise how many soldiers had died and it shocked us all. Next we visited Bayernwald, a German trench system, and it was incredible to see how the trenches were made. Later on, a couple of us found the names of our relatives on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing. That evening we experienced the Last Post Ceremony which happens at the same time every evening in Ypres. It was a moving occasion.

On Saturday we drove to the Somme in France. Our first visit was to Morchies Australian cemetery where Reverend Dykes was able to visit the grave of her grandfather’s best friend. Earlier in the year in assembly she had told us how her father was named after her grandfather’s best friend who had died in the war. After that we drove to the Sunken Lane, Beaumont Hammel. Here, standing in exactly the same spot that the Lancashire Fusiliers had stood in on 1 July 1916, we learned about the Battle of the Somme. We then visited Newfoundland Park, which is maintained as a memorial to the Newfoundlanders who fought in the Battle of the Somme. The guide took us to Lochnagar crater, a huge crater created when a mine exploded on the morning of 1 July 1916. We were all given a small wooden cross with a poppy on to place near whichever grave we wanted, some being those of our own relatives.
On Sunday we held our own ceremony and had the chance to read a part if we wanted to. Annie had written a lovely poem.

I would definitely recommend this trip to L5 next year as it really brought to life and enriched everything we’ve been learning about in history.

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