WWI Centenary Battlefield TourJanet Burrows
Standing admist the war memorials of France and Belgium, 3 pupils from Malton School read poetry to an international audience. With the backdrop of graves and tributes, they recited verse from various poets. The students were part of a group from the UK who had the unique opportunity to participate in a literary project run by the University College London.
The 3 students, all from year 11, were Alexandra Hutchinson, Rosie Eckersley and Dominika Petikova. They were accompanied by English Teacher, Mrs Vasey.
It was an early departure from Malton at 6am on 6 October, to arrive in France that evening, before travelling on to Belgium. Monday morning saw another early start (7am) as the group travelled around various World War One museums, memorials and cemeteries including: Passchendaele, Tyne Cot and Thiepval. At each stop they discovered some of the individual stories of soldiers from different countries who fought in the war, lost their lives and were buried in Belgium and France. On one of the evenings they also attended the Ceremony of the Last Post at Menin Gate, Ypres – a very moving experience.
Mrs Vasey said, “This was an incredible and fascinating trip for the students, looking into the emotional impact that war had on the soldiers and their families, whilst also educating students about the key battles.”
Now that they’re back in the UK, the Year 11s will complete a Legacy project. For this, they have to reach at least 101 members of the public with the aim of promoting remembrance. The students have devised a plan to work with local primary schools, with a particular focus on the role of animals in the war effort. The pupils will then have the opportunity to enter a national competition and potentially win a trip to the Tower of London.
Thank you to Dennis Higgins, Year 13 for his contributions to this article.