Battlefields Trip

As the centenary of the end of the First World War looms later this year, Year 9 pupils visited the Western Front.

 

The 22 youngsters went to cemeteries and memorials, a preserved battlefield, reconstructed trenches and a huge bomb crater during the visit to the Somme, Arras, Vimy and Ypres over four days.

 

The group laid a wreath during the Last Post at the Menin Gate and visited the graves of fallen relatives and Old Giggleswickians.

 

History teacher Michelle Davidson said: “The idea of this inspiring tour was to develop knowledge of the First World War before the students study the conflict in the summer term of Year 9. Studying this unit on the Great War also seeks to give the students a taste of the kind of Modern World History they will study as part of their GCSE course. 

 

“The pupils laid memorial crosses. Some said a little prayer. The students unfailingly felt a sense of gratitude to all of the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

 

Students completed various tasks to help them understand the significance of the sites they visited. As well as looking at sources, timelines and exam questions, they carried out other investigations, including comparing different trenches on the Western Front, discussing tactics, looking carefully at inscriptions on mass graves and examining the differences in information on "known" and "unknown" graves. 

 

On returning, the students told the rest of the school community about their experiences at the Accrington Pals' Trench at the Somme, the preserved battlefield at Newfoundland Park, Thiepval Memorial to The Missing,  Lochnagar Crater, Vimy Memorial and Interpretative Centre, Grange Tunnel and the Reconstructed Trenches. They spoke about their visits to Essex Farm ADS Dug-outs and Cemetery, Menin Gate, Langemarck German Cemetery, Tyne Cot and Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery and the In Flanders Fields Museum.

 

A year 9 pupil commented: "Although it is impossible to experience the horrors of what is was like living in the trenches, visiting these sites helped me to understand the destructive power, waste and futility of war."