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Belgium Battlefields Trip

From Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th July, 48 GCSE History students from Year 9 visited the Flanders’ Battlefields where the British and Commonwealth forces spent much of the First World War fighting.

The trip was for the students to experience first-hand the historic sites and be guided on the realities of war by hearing accounts of what the soldiers had to endure, expertly guided by our trip historian Dave Allen. Included in the trip were excursions to the battlefields and cemeteries at Vimy Memorial Park, the Somme and Ulster Tower.  At the Wellington Quarry Tunnels (a staging ground for the British assault on Arras) the students had an opportunity to see first-hand the cramped, damp and dull conditions of the underground tunnels that the soldiers had to live in during their battles.

The crater at the Somme was caused when the British detonated sixty thousand tonnes of explosives under the German positions.  The mines were triggered as part of a coordinated detonation that was loud enough to be heard in London, and the resulting crater is estimated to be around the depth of two coaches end to end.

At the last post ceremony under the Menin Gate, the students were surrounded by the names of thousands of fallen British and Commonwealth solders causing them to fall silent.  Many students commented on how the whole town of Ypres seemed to go quiet, which is something that has happened almost every evening since 1928.

There was, of course, time to be normal teenagers and watch the England football match at a bowling alley, time for shopping and of course sampling Belgian chocolates!