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Year 9 Battlefields Trip

Saturday, 20 May 2017

On the 19th of May, a group of Year 9 students and 8 teachers met at 3am. We were very sleepy, but ready to go to Belgium for the World War One battlefields trip. When we arrived, we went straight to Lijssenthoek Military cemetery which remembered 10000 soldiers. This cemetery made us realise just how many soldiers sacrificed their lives, and those buried at this cemetery were just a small number of them. The next place we visited was Tyne Cot cemetery. We had a memorial here as a group, where Miss Chapman read a poem and a poppy wreath was laid on behalf of Presdales. Our next stop was Langemark German cemetery, which had a mass grave containing 25000 soldiers. When we were here, Mrs Yates and Miss Chapman read a poem in German and a cross was laid. The final place we visited on day 1 was Essex Farm cemetery. At this cemetery, we saw the grave of Valentine Strudwick who was just 15 years old when he died, which really brought things into perspective. After this visit, we made our way to the hotel in Ypres, and a bit later we went to a restaurant in the town for a delicious dinner of chicken and chips. It was a lovely treat after such a busy day! Before bed, we went to the Menin Gate ceremony where lots of people were gathered to watch, and we saw thousands of names of the unfound soldiers written in the walls.
On our second day, we spent the morning in Ypres. We all got to go into a Belgian chocolate shop and were given lots of offers from the friendly staff! Once we’d all bought lots of chocolate and sweets to bring home, we spent some time looking around the town and the market. We then drove to France where we went to Newfoundland Park. In the park, there were real trenches from the war, and we walked through one of them. After eating lunch outside in the warm weather, we went to Thiepval which is a huge monument with 72000 names of soldiers who went missing during the Battle of the Somme engraved in it. Before leaving for Calais, our last visit was to the Lochnagar mine crater, which is a massive crater caused by a bomb planted by the British, on the first day of the Somme.
On behalf of everyone who went on the trip, I would like to thank Miss Powell for organising such a moving and memorable couple of days. Also; Mrs Davies, Mr Spurgeon, Mrs Yates, Mr Rock, Miss Mapplebeck, Miss Chapman and Mrs Dewbrey for making it such a brilliant trip.
Emily Morgan (Year 9)