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Battlefields Tour June 2015

posted 3 Jul 2015, 05:49 by Daniel Potts   [ updated 12 Nov 2015, 12:47 by Unknown user ]
40 students and 4 staff made the trip to Belgium last week as part of the Flanders Field Tour. The group were based in the town of Menin and spent several days visiting WW1 memorial sites both in Belgium and France. On Saturday they crossed the border back in to France to the Vimy Ridge Visitors Centre. 

The centre provides information about the Vimy Ridge in the First World War and the part played by the Canadian Corps to recapture this important high ground in the Battle of Vimy Ridge from 9th to 12th April 1917. From here the group moved on to the Somme and visited several key sites including the Lochnagar Crater and the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme battlefields. The memorial bears the names of 72,194 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces.

On Sunday the group were based in around the Belgium town of Ypres visiting the Flanders Field Museum and several memorial sites around the town. The biggest site was the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing where there are 11956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated. The highlight of the visit to Ypres was attending the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Every evening at 20.00 hours the road running through the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is closed to traffic. Buglers of the Last Post Association step out under the memorial to play the Last Post as a daily ceremony of Remembrance. In a very proud moment, Robert Beaston, Laura Anderson and Mr Davies laid a wreath on behalf of Greenfield Community College to honour the many soldiers who fell in battle.

Before the group left for home they took part in the CWXRM (Coming World Remember Me) project. From 2014 to 2018 thousands of people spread over Flanders and the rest of the world will take part in the making of the installation by moulding 600,000 sculptures out of clay. Each and every sculpture represents one of the 600,000 victims who lost their lives in Belgium during the First World War. After being baked in the oven, all the sculptures will be identified by a dog tag, the universal system of identification used for soldiers. On this dog tag will be the name of one of the victims mentioned on the ‘The Name List’ which is composed by the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypers. Each dog tag will also bear the name of one of the makers. In this way different generations and nationalities will be united in the commemoration.

Laura Anderson (Y9) said of the visit “It was the most incredible experience and I will definitely take my own children there in the future so that they too can appreciate the sacrifice that so many made”. Emma Lee (Y8) said “I didn’t realise how many people had sacrificed their lives so we could be here today, it was an amazing experience”. And finally, Abigail Charlton (Y8) thought “the monuments were awesome and it made me grateful thinking about all of the men who died giving us our freedom”.