Battlefields Trip 2017
By Lydia McMillan
The annual Battlefields trip went ahead in September and was a huge success. Students from S3 to S5 spent five days in France and Belgium visiting battlefields and memorials from the First World War, learning more about world history and paying their respects.
Some highlights of the trip included visits to Notre Dame de Lorette, the largest French military cemetery in the world, the cells in Poperinge, Essex Farm cemetery, where the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” was written, Tyne Cote Military Cemetery, Langemarck German Cemetery, the Newfoundland Canadian Memorial Park and Sanctuary Wood, where pupils were able to walk through the trench system and tunnels. Poetry and biographies of soldiers were read aloud. On the final evening before returning home, the group attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, and four pupils represented the school by laying wreaths.
I found the trip an experience unlike any other. It was both enlightening and shocking to learn about the conditions endured by soldiers and civilians on both sides of the war, and I think it takes a visit to the thousands of gravestones on the battlefields to truly understand the extent of the losses suffered and lives tragically wasted. I would recommend this trip to anyone: it was a deeply personal and emotional experience, and one I will never forget.