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WWI Battlefields Trip

Year 9

Over two days the History Department took a group of forty three Year 9s to the World War One Battlefields around Ypres and the Somme with a particular focus on surgery and medical treatment as this is part of our GCSE.

After a very early departure from Broxbourne we crossed under the Channel and began the trip with a visit to the installation "Coming World Remember Me" honouring the victims of the World War One in Belgium with 600,000 clay sculptures in a part of land that had been no man’s land.

From there pupils visited the German Bayernwald trench system where our guides described life in the trenches.  We then visited Hill 60, where gas was used with devastating effect for the first time during WWI. The guides showed how the design of gas masks improved (explaining that urinating on a handkerchief could save soldiers’ lives). We also visited the German Military Cemetery at Langemark and the largest Allied cemetery at Tyne Cot, and discussed the differences between two.

Our final stop was the town of Ypres, which was heavily shelled in the War, and after a dinner of roasted chicken and chips, we watched the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, which has happened there almost every night since World War One.

Day two focused on the Somme with a visit to the Lochnager Crater, an amazing example of the immense effect of underground mines in World War One. This was followed by a visit to Beaumont-Hamel, the memorial for the Newfoundland regiment from Canada. The main focus of the second day was the evacuation route for injured soldiers to get treatment, and pupils learnt about the triage system and how difficult it would be to evacuate wounded soldiers.

The final stop was a poignant visit to the Thiepval Memorial honouring the missing British and French soldiers, where pupils had the opportunity to reflect on what they had experienced over the two days.  We held a short memorial ceremony, where two students laid a poppy wreath as a mark of respect from The Broxbourne School to those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

For a selection of photos click here