Residential Trip to Belguim October 2017
This term, two students and two staff had the unique opportunity to be part of the national commemorations of the First World War Centenary. This Western Front tour provided students with the opportunity to experience a variety of different historic sites including battlefields, memorials, cemeteries and museums. We joined students and staff from other schools around England and after being picked up by coach, our 4 day tour began!
Day 1: Kingswood Grosvenor Hall. We checked in and went to our rooms and there followed an evening of educational and social events. These included recreational and team-building activities, tour briefing, local soldier research and handling WW1 artefacts.
Day 2: Travelled to Calais via Euro Tunnel and continued to Belguim. The first stop was Lijssenthoek Cemetery. The focus: Every headstone tells a story: the role of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The students searched for soldiers that served in the Hertfordshire regiment.
We then visited the Memorial Museum Passchendaele. The students were able to experience the trenches and a recently excavated dug-out. Here, they were also able to learn about the lives of ordinary people at war.
We finished the day at the Ceremony of the Last Post at the Menin Gate, Ieper (Ypres). Students took part in the daily act of remembrance in Ypres.
Followed by shopping in Ypres for the famous Belgian chocolates!
Day 3: Focus: Was the Battle of the Somme in 1916 really a disaster for the British Army? We visited Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Park, Sunken Lane and Caterpillar Valley Cemetery where students were able to explore the battlefield from the Battle of the Somme. Our last visit of the day was to the Thiepval Memorial.
Day 4: First stop: Langemark Cemetery. This is a German cemetery. It was very different to the others visited in that there were no shrubs or roses growing and the head stones were black.
Next stop: Coming World Remember Me Workshop. This workshop is part of a commemoration art programme, similar to the Tower of London Poppies project, commissioned by the Flanders Government. Each student created a pottery figure which will form part of a memorial to the 600,000 killed in Flanders during the First World War.
The Final stop: Tyne Cot Cemetery.
On returning, students are currently taking part in the Legacy 110 project. The aim of 'Legacy 110' is for every participating student to create an enduring legacy by impacting upon at least 110 people within their local community. If all participants achieve this then the total number of people reached by 2019 will equal 888,246, which is equivalent to the number of British and Commonwealth soldiers who fell during the First World War. 'Legacy 110' reinforces the remembrance of these soldiers who were also so vividly commemorated in 2014 through the art installation of poppies at the Tower of London.
Please visit our project on 9 th and 10 th December 2017 at the Holy Savior Church, Hitchin Christmas Tree Festival.