GCSE History WW1 Battlefields visit
GCSE History students and staff made their European visit to the First World War Battlefields of France and Belgium in February / March 2017. The poignant setting for this trip was encapsulated by the continuation of centenary commemorations of the "war to end all wars".
Students and staff marched over the battlefields, where much front line action took place in during World War 1. Bob, our excellent tour guide, originally from N. Ireland told heart-wrenching stories about local soldiers, bringing history to life. Captivated GCSE students were given a detailed tour of the trenches in Thiepval Woods that were occupied by the 36th Ulster Division before they made their advance upon German lines on that fateful day in July 1916, at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. Students also visited the Ulster Tower that was erected in 1921 to commemorate the sacrifices of the Ulster Division during the War and the Thiepval memorial that has inscribed, some 72000 names, of those who fought and went missing during the War or remain unidentified.
During the visit, the harsh reality of death and suffering was apparent due to the many cemeteries dedicated to the memories of many fallen soldiers from British regiments. Students visited the British Tyne Cot Cemetery and were engrossed in the age and details of many of the young soldiers who gave their lives during the War. At Ypres, Belgium, pupils attended an emotive Last Post Ceremony, where all the fallen soldiers from WW1 were remembered, at Menin Gate.
The students also visited the Flanders Field Museum and Ploegsteert, where the Christmas Truce 1914 took place. They saw the memorial dedicated to this event and stood on the field where the Christmas Day football match took place between Germany and England.
On a lighter note students, also has the chance to visit the Eiffel Tower in lights, the Arc de Triumph and Disneyland, Paris.
In all, a fascinating, engaging and educational trip that will live long in the memories of both pupils and staff alike.
“A very interesting and engaging visit.” Connor Reid (Year 12)
“Surreal.” Louise Craig (Year 12)
“The trip to the battlefields was sad and emotional. It put into perspective the suffering and death of World War one.” Jack McQuillan (Year 12)
“It was one of the best visits I have ever had. It was an amazing experience visiting the actual trenches where the brave 36th Ulster Division was located.” Christopher Jamieson (Year 12)