Remembering the Wars

Remembering the Wars

At the end of April a group of Year 10 students and members of staff visited the Battlefields in Northern France continuing the centenary commemorations with a focus on the events of 1917.

Students were encouraged to research their own family history to see if they had any relatives who died in the war. Wherever possible an effort was made to locate the cemetery or memorial where they were commemorated.

The student work folder also contained research on 500 local people (from a 6-mile radius of Malton) who were killed in the First World War. This was used to give a poignant local angle to the study visit.

The group held brief ceremonies at the major sites including Thiepval, the Arras Memorial, the Ploegsteert Memorial, Tyne Cot and the Menin Gate where the names of local men commemorated there were read out one by one.

Headteacher Rob Williams, who led the study visit, explained the importance of the trip. He said: “The students learn skills, such as how to carry out family research into this period and how to make sense of and use all the documents at the cemeteries and memorials on the Western Front.”

The trip included a visit to Vimy Ridge trenches and memorial; The Somme, including a guided walk through Thiepval Wood to look at excavated trenches where the Irish fought during the Somme; visits to the Ulster Tower and Thiepval memorials to the missing (73,000 names) as well as a visit to a section of the Somme battlefield called Beaumont-Hamel.

The group also visited The Somme, Peronne museum, a German cemetery (Fricourt on Day Three and Langemark on Day Five), the cemetrary to the Devonshires who were buried in their trench when they were killed during the battle of the Somme, and the Welsh Memorial at Mametz wood where they fought.

On the last day the group visited Ypres, Ploegsteert Wood (where Churchill fought Hitler) cemetery and memorial to the missing; the site of the Christmas Truce of 1914; the biggest British cemetery in the world Tyne Cot and the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate where students Oscar Devos and Natalie Watson took part in the ceremony and were chosen to lay they school wreath.

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