Posted on November 11th 2014
Visit to WWI cemeteries for Year 8 students
On the 7 November 2014, 43 students from Year 8 visited the WWI battlefields in Belgium. This trip offered the students a chance to make a personal connection to WWI and an opportunity to reflect on what they had learnt in the classroom.
The students visited Essex Farm, a cemetery for British and Commonwealth soldiers, where the profound poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ was written. Students spent time here reflecting on the nationality, religion and age of soldiers who had died, including a 14-year-old boy. After this the boys visited Langemark, a German cemetery. Students were asked to reflect on the difference between Essex Farm and Langemark and were immediately touched by the bleakness and lack of ceremony at the German site.
Understanding the significance
Next on the itinerary was a trip to Tyne Cot the largest cemetery for British and commonwealth soldiers in the world. Alex and Joe laid a wreath here on behalf of the school (pictured right) and the boys observed an impeccable moment of silence as the wreath was laid down. Throughout the whole day the boys were able to reflect and understand the significance of what they were seeing and experiencing.
Last post at Menin Gate
The highlight of the day was the last post at Menin Gate. This tradition has been going on since WWI ended. The ceremony involves the bugle being sounded and a minute’s silence. In keeping with the day, the students observed this silence with dignity and respect and did themselves and the school proud.
Dominic said: “Belgium was a great experience, I got to visit a new country plus I learnt a lot about WWI when I visited the war graves and the museum. It was good to see the graves as it gave me the opportunity to reflect back on history and thank the soldiers for what they had done for us.”