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Pupils make poignant trip to the battlefields of First World War

Bourne Grammar School pupils Jack Scholes and Adam Castle at the grave of Poulton Palmer, England's rugby captain from 1914

Bourne Grammar School pupils Jack Scholes and Adam Castle at the grave of Poulton Palmer, England's rugby captain from 1914

 

Pupils made a timely trip to the former battlegrounds of the First World War to reflect on the huge loss of life during the conflict.

More than 40 GCSE history pupils from Bourne Grammar School travelled to northern Europe last month.

They visited Ypres, the Somme and a series of war graves and preserved trenches.

Year 10 pupils Lauren Brown and Jack Scholes wrote about their experiences. They said: “Arriving at our first location, a section of the Ypres Salient called Baynerwald, we were introduced to the geography of the First World War and how this affected trench warfare.

“When standing on top of a forward or reverse slope and, quite literally, standing in a trench system, it became easy to see how the trenches were carved into the landscape in order to give either side the upper hand.

“A short walk from the German trenches brought us to Spanbroekmolen Crater; it is the largest site of mine craters from the War, where nineteen mines set by the British in 1917 exploded, before they launched the offensive on June 7 that year.

“Following this we visited Ploegsteert Memorial. We were given an introduction to military cemeteries including the symbolism of gravestones, cemetery placement and decoration within cemeteries, as well as meeting our first victim of war, Albert French, a rifleman who was killed in action aged 16.

Hearing Albert’s story and reading his letters back home were extremely moving; his story made us realise that every other name also had a story behind it.”

The pupils spent three more days learning the history of the war ahead of the 100th anniversary of the conflict.

 

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