History Trip to Ypres

Last Friday year 8 and 9’s met at school at the eye watering time of 4.45am (apologies to parents who also had to get up so early). We were off to Belgium to visit some of the World War I memorial sites as part of GCSE History syllabus. I was grateful to be allowed to join them as both my grandfathers had fought in the war as teenagers and I wanted to visit the site where they had been stationed over a hundred years ago.

Our first stop was Sanctuary Wood where a WWI trench still exists. Wellies were a must as the muddy water was quite deep in places. Hard to believe that so many men fought, ate and slept in such appalling conditions for days on end.

Our second stop was Ypres or ‘Wipers’ as many of the British soldiers called it back then. At Menin Gate, where a daily commemoration service is held, Callum (year 8) found a possible relative amongst the 54,000 names of commonwealth soldiers lost in the battles around Ypres.

We had some time to explore Ypres and the delights of a traditional Belgium chocolate shop. Then back on the bus to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum. A very interesting and moving reminder of the horrors of WWI. Here we climbed down into a warren of tunnels that recreated the living quarters that were dug underground away from the continuous bombing.

It was a long day and I was so impressed with the level of enthusiasm and respect the students showed throughout the whole visit. I was very proud of them and grateful to the History Department be able to join them on this fascinating trip.


Ms McCoach (Film and Media Studies).


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