Posted on: July 18, 2013
We had a fantastic time in Belgium and France visiting the Battlefields of World War 1. We had a guide with us for the two days and Andre took us to Essex Farm cemetery, where John Mc Rae wrote the very famous poem Flanders Fields, in the dressing station there as he nursed the wounded. We visited Tyne Cot cemetery where there are 11,500 graves of British Commonwealth soldiers. As a contrast the children went to a German cemetery to see the differences in the way the dead of the losing country were treated. The children went to Hill 62 where they are able to run around in the trenches and disappear in the communication trenches. They loved this!!!
On day two we made the long journey to the Somme in France, where we had an emotional day going from the cemetery, where father and son are buried side to side, to the Lochnagar crater, Beaumont Hamel graveyard to the fallen from Newfoundland, and, Thiepval Memorial, which has 73,000 names of the missing of the Somme. The part the children love is the scavenger hunt on the fields where they can find shells, shrapnel and even grenades.
On the final evening we attended the Menin Gate memorial service in Ypres as hundreds crowded around the memorial to the 54,000 men with no known grave. The Last Post was played and then the choir sang Danny Boy and God Save the Queen, which was very emotional.
We have being running this trip for over twenty years and it gets better every year!
The visit was brilliant and the behaviour of mainly Year 9 children was exemplary. It is 100 years next year since World War 1 and we can’t wait to go again. Please watch the video of the trip below.